Want to make summer 2017 the year that you finally lose the extra fat and find a healthy weight-loss diet you can stick with? Intermittent Fasting (IF) is in the news a lot lately, and for good reason. This eating schedule has all kinds of benefits, including reducing risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and other age-related illnesses. Plus, it is the easiest diet to stick with!

What is Intermittent Fasting?

IF is not a diet per se, but an eating schedule. There are several versions of intermittent fasting, including a 5:2 fast (fasting 2 days per week), an every other day fast, or my favorite, the 16:8 fast.

With the 16:8 fast, you eat for 8 hours a day. This is the easiest program to stick with and has numerous health benefits. And since we are hopefully sleeping 7-9 hours at night, that is a chunk of your fasting time. Fasters can pick any window that works for them. Since I tend to eat dinner after 8pm, my window is 2-10pm.

What about breakfast?

The word "breakfast" clearly means break-fast. Somehow we have decided as a cultural norm that this meal should be eaten after we wake up and before we start our day. But in reality, breaking the fast occurs whenever you eat for the first time in your day. For me, I drink coffee in the morning when I get up around 5:30am, and then drink plenty of water throughout the morning.

I eat my first meal (my break-fast) around 2pm, which is when I start to feel hungry.

Why is Intermittent Fasting easier to stick with?

In general, Calorie Restriction feels limiting and wrong. We want to eat the foods we like. If we graze for 12-14 hours a day, which is what most of us were taught was healthiest, we will actually be hungrier.

In fact, clinical studies show that 40% more dieters are able to adhere to Intermittent Fasting in the long term vs. a calorie-restricted diet alone.

IF lowers insulin levels, which encourages the body to use fat stores for energy. Insulin is produced whenever we eat, and is the "storage" hormone that helps us store energy for later, most often as fat.

IF also increases leptin levels, which helps us balance energy, feel fuller, and actually burn fat for fuel. Leptin is the "anti-insulin" hormone.

Finally, since this is purely a schedule, you can combine it with any eating plan. Whether you are vegan, paleo, low-carb, keto, or just a balanced eater, this eating schedule can help you burn more fat and feel more satiated.