Easy Fasting: While You Sleep
Giving the body a break from food now and then is good for our health but for many people fasting for a day or even missing a meal regularly is too extreme. The good news is that you can get many of the benefits of intermittent fasting by simply eating dinner earlier. Even a three hour extension to the time between dinner and breakfast is associated with lower blood sugar levels and a healthier vascular system. This reduces: the risk of insulin resistance, oxidative stress and inflammation.
If you currently have dinner at 7pm and breakfast at 7am, that’s a 12 hour overnight fast, and that’s pretty good. A cup of tea and biscuit at 9pm reduces it to 10 hours and a midnight snack even less. The old fashioned saying: eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper works well here. The big breakfast & medium lunch will keep the sugar cravings at bay and stop an appetite from getting out of control. It then becomes easier to stop eating entirely at 7pm (or even earlier). On the other hand, a huge meal at 7pm is going to weigh heavier on your body and is worse than eating lightly at 8pm. NuMe members are being coached to find out what works for them, you could start with the outline below and then modify to get the plan that works for you.
Start with no change in night time eating patterns and note the following for a few days:
- do you wake up with a foggy head or a mild headache
- do you need a strong coffee before you can function in the morning
- do you have a poor appetite at breakfast
- what else do you notice in the morning?
Now decide what changes you’d like to make and try this for 5-7 days, for example:
- Move dinner time forward by one hour
- Reduce the amount you eat at dinner (lots of veggies or salad, less carbs and some protein)
- Make sure you eat enough food throughout the day
As always, pay attention to the macro-nutrient balance at all meals but especially breakfast and lunch. Skipping meals or eating too lightly will eventually catch-up with you and then a light dinner is going be more difficult. The goal is to go to bed with a mild feeling of hunger (not too uncomfortable). Be careful to avoid drinks high in sugar; a glass of fruit juice or an iced coffee at 9pm still counts as food - in fact the blood sugar spike from sweet drinks is the last thing you need before going to sleep.