Intermittent Fasting: How to know if it’s right for you (or not!)

Intermittent fasting is more than just a passing health fad. It’s been shown to help people lose weight, burn fat, and reset your metabolism to help you reach your weight goals. But there’s so much more to it than “not eating.”

On a recent episode of Self Love and Sweat THE PODCAST, I spoke with health coach Brian Gryn to learn more about intermittent fasting. He’s the author of the Simple Intermittent Fasting Journal and creator of the Intermittent Fasting Certification Course. He makes it simple, fast, and completely doable for everyone.

Here are some of the top takeaways from our conversation:

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Brain defines intermittent fasting as “abstaining from food for a certain amount of time.” Two hours in between lunch and an afternoon snack doesn’t count!

“There’s this fear around intermittent fasting because when you say it so simply, people aren’t sure how to do it. They’re used to feeding the body all day, but eating frequently, like six meals a day, is a myth as far as helping your body.”

For the most part, we’re all intermittent fasting at some point. If you sleep eight hours a day, you’re not eating during that time and so your body is in “fasting” mode. According to Brian, intermittent fasting means shrinking that window of eating even smaller. This way, you’re not eating throughout the day — you’re eating later in the morning and earlier in the evening, with longer periods of not eating at all.

Is Everyone a Good Candidate for Intermittent Fasting?

Most people are good candidates for intermittent fasting. However, Brian warns that anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding, or has had eating issues in the past should seek some guidance before trying it.

It’s really important to try it out for yourself and actually see and feel if it works for you (as you should with any diet or healthy eating plan). AND it could be the case that intermittent fasting works for you during some weeks and not during others. You really have to tune in to your body to find the “right answer” for you.

How Do You Start Fasting Intermittently?

It takes some time to build your “fasting muscle,” as Brian puts it. One easy way to start is by going back to the 1970s mindset, where people ate three meals a day with no snacking. “Once you can get through the day without snacks, you can start closing that eating window.”

One thing Brian did to start closing this window is pushing his first meal back by an hour. Once he got comfortable with this, he did it again.

Another approach is to stop eating at night. Skip dessert, Netflix snacks, anything after you finish your last meal for the day. “I suggest giving your body at least three hours of no food before bed. So if you go to bed at 10 pm, you’ll want to do a hard stop at 7 pm.”

Intermittent fasting is a process. It’s not something most people can jump into immediately with both feet. And Brian says that’s completely fine. “I like to take baby steps and work up to my bigger goals. It makes it easier to stick with it, and being consistent is how you get results.”

Hear the full conversation on the Self Love and Sweat THE PODCAST, episode 73.