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Heather's Health Habits, LLC

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  • Heather L. Donahue, CHN

This Will Make You Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is not a new concept but it has been getting a lot of attention. While the word fasting may be scary, intermittent fasting is actually an easy way to do fasting, get health benefits and not give up food. When I started looking into intermittent fasting, I was shocked to learn all of the health benefits.

Let's face it, most of us fast because we want to lose weight. While I will cover how weight loss and weight management is achieved via intermittent fasting, I want to make sure I also provided a summary of other key benefits.


  • Reduction in Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases.

  • Heart health: Intermittent fasting may reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance — all risk factors for heart disease

  • Brain health: Intermittent fasting may aid the growth of new nerve cells. It may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease

  • Gut Health: Environmental changes and stressors have been shown to change the microbiome, which in turn can have a dramatic effect on gut healing. Fasting is especially restorative for a leaky gut, which is described as when the intestine wall exhibits excessive permeability. Fasting provides a break from digesting food, allowing the body time to “heal and seal” the gut lining.


Improving gut health is a health benefit I was not expecting when I started fasting. But my experience has proven gut health is a benefit. Not only have I seen a reduction in gas and bloating, but I am digesting food better even when I am not fasting. How do you know if your gut is unhealthy and will benefit from intermittent fasting?

Do you suffer from gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, lack of energy, moodiness, skin rashes, abdominal pain, anxiety, frequent belching or stomach gurgling? If you answered yes to any of these symptoms, you will benefit from intermittent fasting. Fasting is just one part of my fully customized 5 Step program that will eliminate the embarrassing effects you said yes to only moments ago.


How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:


Be more present with your children

Thrive in your career

Improve your communication and your relationships

Have more fun!

Move your body and improve your fitness

Lose weight and feel better about yourself

Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family

Take an active vacation

Reclaim your life!


I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching people just like you how to stop suffering and get back to living. The TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK coaching call is a FREE 30 minute call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and start creating a crystal clear vision on how to heal.


Book your call directly here.

It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.

If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.

If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.


You can also join our email list by clicking here. You'll receive healthy living tips and gut friendly recipes for free. As a thank you for signing up, I'll send you the 5 Tips To Fight Bloating e-book for free!


While intermittent fasting is great for helping to heal your body, as I mentioned, weight loss is usually why we start fasting in the first place. In order to understand why fasting helps with weight loss, I need to share a little bit of science with you.

Autophagy is defined as the body’s process of recycling its own damaged tissue into usable energy during times when food is not present. These damaged cells are not able to use fat for energy, so they begin to die off and become food for the body. The body will always use the damaged cells for energy before our good cells.


During autophagy, our growth hormone rises in order to protect the muscle and bone. The body shifts to an efficient fat burning mode. Then our body adapts and gets stronger. Since food is always within reach, autophagy seems like a foreign concept. But if we want to reap the benefits of autophagy, we must change our mindset when it comes to eating. This means instead of eating from the moment we wake up until bedtime, we must eat less frequently.


Let me be clear, this is not about restricting calories or dieting.

Any time the body thinks it’s starving, it will go into survival mode and lower the metabolism to conserve fat. This is a survival mechanism. This is why when some people go too low in calories, they gain fat and lose muscle.


The body is smart. It knows exactly what to do in certain situations. When you are constantly eating, you are not giving your body a chance to work efficiently, because it has to constantly digest food. Digesting food takes massive amounts of energy.


Fasting refocuses this energy, and allows the body to tap into its innate intelligence to heal and detox naturally. Since it no longer has to focus on digesting food, the body starts to ask: what am I going to do with all this energy? The answer is, it is going to put that energy into healing. By not eating, your body uses that energy for better processes of healing. It’s simply diverting that energy to repair the body.


Once your body gets into the groove of fasting, it will start burning stored body fat for energy rather than glucose. And as you spend more time in a fasted state, your body will get increasingly efficient at burning fat for energy. When your body gets used to intermittent fasting, you will ultimately have fewer cravings and hunger pangs. The key is consistency.


Here is how to start intermittent fasting:


#1 DECIDE HOW MANY HOURS YOU WILL FAST


Since intermittent fasting is not about eating less, you need to decide how many hours you will fast. In the beginning, 12 hours is enough. As you get used to fasting, then you can increase hours to 14, 16 and some people even do 18 hours. If you are doing 12 hours, simply pick a time in the evening that you will stop eating. Then don't eat again until 12 hours later. Stopping eating in the evening is the best way to fast because you will be sleeping a majority of the time you are fasting.


#2 DRINK WATER


Water is the best beverage to drink when you are not eating. However, you can also drink herbal tea or coffee, as long as you don't add anything to it. Once you add milk (dairy or non-dairy) and/or sweetener, then you are giving your body proteins, fats and carbohydrates. In other words, food!

#3 TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS


By telling your family and friends, it will help you be accountable. It is especially important to tell your family if they like to snack in the evenings. You can ask them not to do so while you are gaining the willpower to fast. Also, you may find a couple of people who want to fast as well! Please do not let children or teenagers fast! Their bodies need food to develop into the great adults we know they will be.


#4 SCHEDULE THE DAY(S)


In the beginning, I highly recommend you start slowly. You may want to fast once a week until you are ready to add another day. The great thing is that to see the benefits, once a week is fine. Plus, by starting slowly, intermittent fasting will become a part of your routine. If you start too quickly and find you can't do it, then you will become discouraged and frustrated and may even give up!


Some people fast 5 days a week, but most only do it 2 to 3 days a week. I find its easier for me to fast during the busy work week since I am in a routine already. I like having the flexibility on the weekends to eat and drink what I want.

#5 PLAN MEALS WISELY


As I mentioned, intermittent fasting is not about eating less. It is about eating less often. So that means you should be eating the right amount of calories for your specific height, weight, age, activity level and health. If you are going to fast, you need to make sure the hours you are eating allows you to get enough calories. If not, your body goes into starvation mode and fasting won't help.


Once you start feeling the benefits of intermittent fasting, you will want to make it part of your lifestyle. Do you think you will try intermittent fasting? Let me know in the comments below.


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