How Fasting Benefits Your Body & Mind

First, let’s clear one thing up—at de la heart we’re not about depriving or denying yourself. We’re all about self-lovecelebrating our bodies and all of the amazing things we can do as women. After going through two pregnancies in three years, it's only natural to state that my body has changed. And now that I have finished breastfeeding, it's time to focus on feeling like my best-self again. Intermittent fasting is a way of mindful eating that I have used in the past to naturally kickstart my metabolism, reduce inflammation, lose weight, and (bonus!) improve memory and brain function. Curious? Read on to understand what intermittent fasting is, and how to do it

What it is:
There are two common approaches to intermittent fasting: One method, known as the Daily Approach, is to fast for a certain number of hours each day. For example, you would fast for 12, 14 or 16hrs. So, if you have dinner at 7pm your next meal would be at 7am, 9am, or 11am, respectively. Another method is the 5:2 approach, where you eat normally five days a week, and limit yourself to just one 500-600 calorie meal on the other two days. The important thing to remember with this approach is your one-meal days shouldn’t be consecutive, they should be spaced out (i.e. you could have one meal on Monday and Thursday, and eat normally the rest of the week).
During times when you’re not eating, you can have water and beverages with no nutritional value like tea, coffee, and water with lemon. If you're familiar with Dave Asprey, you know he advocates having coffee, fat, and prebiotic fiber during your fasting time. And also, remember that intermittent fasting isn’t an excuse for unhealthy eating—it’s important to make the same good-for-your-body choices you usually do, like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein (we love omega-3 packed fish like salmon) and superfood smoothies (find some recipe ideas here!)
How it can help you:
These days, we spend so much time in front of the computer or our phones. It’s tempting to keep sitting—and snacking!—all day. Contrast that with how humans lived in prehistoric times, when we were hunter-gatherers and went for much longer stretches without eating. 
Intermittent fasting is a way to return to our roots, and also help our bodies burn fat more efficiently. As Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson explains, after hours without food, our bodies exhaust their stores of sugar and start burning fat insteadThis is known as metabolic switching and it has many other benefits besides boosting your metabolism. Studies show that intermittent fasting:

• Reduces inflammation 
• Decreases oxidative stress (which can contribute to chronic disease)
• Helps to balance blood sugar 
• Helps to prevent heart disease
• Improves verbal memory and brain function

Intermittent fasting has really helped to give me an energy boost and made my mind feel clearer. It’s a way of eating that our bodies respond to naturally, it’s not a fad or a trend and it's an excellent way to give your body a break from food. 

A few intermittent fasting apps that can help you whether you're fasting for the first time or building a consistent schedule.

**NOTE: Always consult your doctor before incorporating fasting into your health and wellness practice. Fasting is NOT recommended for:

• Children under age 18
• Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
• People with diabetes or blood sugar problems
• Anyone with disordered eatin
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