I’m sure you’ve heard about it all over Instagram. It’s almost impossible not to hear about it.
Before we get into it with Ingrid, you should know I was just on her podcast talking: business, wellness, intermittent fasting, morning routines, & friendship. Be sure to listen here.
After interviewing tons of experts on the TSC podcast about intermittent fasting, I knew it was something I had to try.
My friend Ingrid, who I met on Instagram ( head over here for the full story ), encouraged me to try it for 5 days a week. At first I was totally overwhelmed, then it became super easy & almost something I looked forward to because it gave me mental clarity. If you’re interested in reading more about this, check out this post.
Ingrid is always super open with sharing recipes, skinny hacks, & diet tips. She’s just not stingy & always provides so much value on all of her channels, including her podcast.
She is the founder & creator of THE METHOD®. More than a workout, it’s a lifestyle based on the principles that THE MIND controls THE BODY. I’ve been doing her workouts via Skype for a while now & I love the low intensity workouts- it really keeps the cortisol down.
Anyways, I’ll let Ingrid take it from here.
First of all, let’s get into disclaimers: intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
I professionally make sure I never ever recommend it to individuals who have a history of eating disorders. When I do recommend it to a client, like I recommended it to Lauryn, I first look at their mental state when it comes to food and evaluate how healthy their relationship with food is.
If you have a tendency to be very “EXTRA EXTRA” ( what I mean by that is: eat nothing at all, or binge and eat the whole fridge and cookie jar), then intermittent fasting isn’t for you yet. You will have to get through some mindset reset stages, and ultimately become an intuitive eater before trying intermittent fasting.
Short of making these adjustments, you may become one of those “intermittent assholes” as I like to refer to them as. Example: instead of doing 16 hrs of fasting, the intermittent asshole will feel so empowered that they’ll do the extra hours till they go into insulin resistance and start eating everything they can get their hands on. I hate those kinds of assholes and I certainly don’t call that intermittent fasting.
If you are a calorie, macro, fiber-minus-carbs tracker, forget about intermittent fasting as it will throw you for a loop that your dietician or health guru may not have prepared you for. Personally, if I wanted to add or subtract shit, I’d be an accountant!
If you are an intuitive eater, or thriving to become one, then intermittent fasting is something that will work for you mentally and physically.
What is intuitive eating & what is the connection with I.F.?
What is intuitive eating? Well, it is a more holistic approach to weight management than following a diet plan, book or trend. I.F. is one of those things I’ve been doing intuitively for years without ever knowing it had a name. I remember when I spoke about I.F. on episode 139 of TSC HIM & HER podcast, Michael said he had been doing intermittent fasting without knowing it was “a thing,” simply out of intuition, because eating first thing in the morning didn’t make him feel good. It’s been the exact same for me since my teenage years. Going to ballet practice ( I was a pro-level ballet dancer), I noticed my performance was always better when I skipped breakfast.
Speaking of BREAKFAST, in French it is called LE PETIT DEJEUNER. Now even if you don’t speak a word of French you recognize the word “petit” and that is a word you absolutely want to remember if you ever want to practice intuitive eating like the FRENCH DO… Petit dejeuner means the small meal, and technically in France that is so true. Breakfast is a croissant ( not an egg and cheese croissant from Dunkin’ Donuts ). A real croissant, with real butter, and it’s the size of your hand ( not the COSTCO size croissant the size of your damn head ). This and a café au lait, or baguette ( again, the size of your hand ) with real butter and jam… Not a stack of pancakes the size of a small pizza, with yogurt and berries, and sunny side up eggs on the side ( the breakfast size in North America ).
Now, I’m not saying to have a croissant, or baguette in the morning, I’m here to talk about intermittent fasting. But my point is to say, the French understand that you don’t need to eat much in the morning. And if you are French and you aren’t hungry in the morning, there is no norm or belief that says you still have to have breakfast or you won’t be productive — because the French don’t give a shit about norms when it comes to eating. They don’t follow anything, they follow their intuition and their cultural habits and traditions.
If you are selling a diet book, the French aren’t going to buy it from you, that’s a fact! So that being said, the French obviously have the whole “eat well, don’t get fat” thing going on and we can take a cue from them. Turns out, back in the day the French didn’t have baguette and croissant for breakfast, they had soup. During WWII they had a broth with the very small quantities of food they had left from supper. Incidentally, soup is very light and easy on the digestive system. Again, this makes so much sense. Why do you need to refuel with loads of protein and carbs when you just slept?
If you don’t like the French and credit their innate skinniness to something else, then you can always refer to MEDICAL GENIUSES like Dr. Steven Gundry ( he was a guest on TSC & has performed over 10K open-heart surgeries ), and the HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL research on intermittent fasting which concluded that physiologically, calorie restriction has been shown to increase lifespan and improve tolerance to various metabolic stresses in the body.
Again, that’s where my French mindset totally aligns with losing weight without dieting, because stress is a huge factor when it comes to inexplicably gaining weight. If you know anything about my philosophy on the matter, you know I believe that CORTISOL levels are a huge culprit when it comes to insulin resistance causing mid-section weight gain and stubborn-fat storage. Guess what causes cortisol to sky-rocket in the morning? DIGESTION! So, it doesn’t take an accounting degree to do the math here: intermittent fasting ( 16 hours from 8pm or 9pm till 1pm the next day ) is going to rest your digestive system, and keep your cortisol levels from rising.
Here are 2 more reasons to intermittent fast ( and follow the 8pm-1pm cycle if, like me, you workout in the A.M. ):
1.If you workout in the morning, it is better to do so on an empty stomach: I have been an athlete all my life, and today more than ever. One thing has always been for sure with my disciplines ( ballet & Pilates ): arriving at 7am or 8am with digestive bloat wasn’t going to do it. Today, I condition professional athletes and it is the same for them- intuitively we workout on an empty stomach. The physiological explanation behind it is: when you workout on an empty stomach you dig into your reserves and burn that fat. But when you workout after breakfast, you don’t dig into your reserves and burn a portion of what you just ate. But, intuitively, think about it: it never feels good to do cardio or Pilates with a yogurt or a banana in your stomach. Working out on a full stomach will also totally raise your cortisol levels, because often the positions our bodies are in while exercising, aren’t facilitating the transit of food through your digestive tract. Intermittent fasting on workout days is a wonderful way of killing 2 birds with one stone.
2.Simplify life AND lower cortisol levels ( the stress hormone). I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating constantly during the day. I.F. narrows down the amount of stress you may be feeling about deciding whether you are going to eat healthy in the morning, and also prevents you feeling like shit about perhaps making the wrong choice at least one time during the day. That’s the very French approach to eating and living: the best way to find happiness and success in life is to diminish unnecessary things we may worry about.
With intermittent fasting, I have been able to increase strength, reduce body fat, and maintain good health while spending less time eating each day. If you can get the same results by making life simpler and only eating twice per day, why would you make life more complex by eating three, four, or five times per day? Fasting will help prime your body to burn your fat stores for energy. This can lead to fat loss and other purported benefits like blood sugar stability and increased energy. Furthermore, intermittent fasting may help promote fat loss simply because you are putting your digestive system through less periods of stress and activity. This will actively contribute in balancing your leptin hormone ( satiation hormone ) into craving less food overall. The leptin hormone is like a trained muscle- the more food and digestive periods you put it through, the more habilitated to demand food it will be to be.
Give your digestive system a break. With 3 meals a day and often a snack, it seems like the digestive system is working overtime. FASTING allows for the body’s enzyme system to focus on detoxifying and breaking down toxins in the body quickly and efficiently without the job of heavy food digestion. During fasts, toxins are being circulated in the body in order for our organs to de-arm them. Resting the digestive system lowers your cortisol levels to healthy levels, while a difficult or lengthy digestion will raise the levels to create insulin resistance, often responsible for that mid-section weight gain. Digestion all day long, is a form of stress imposed on the digestive system which will also contribute to insulin resistance.
Which intermittent fast pattern do I prefer and why?
I eat my normal amount of food in a smaller time frame. So you guessed it- the idea isn’t to lower my caloric intake at all, IT IS NOT A DIET ( besides, diet has the word DIE in it and that’s just bad energy right there ). I usually eat my first meal around 1pm and then I can continue eating until my final meal at 8 pm. After that, I fast until the next day at 1 pm. That is about 16 hours of fasting and eight hours of eating each day.
I do this approximately 5 days a week, electing my days at THE METHOD® when I work out with clients and need to do so on an empty stomach to start with. Weekends are for family time, and breakfast is a privileged moment for us to share together and linger at the table enjoying Simply INULIN High-Fiber Briôches or Square French Gauffre (Waffle)- just one of these suffices, Simply Kefir Pure Probiotic lactose-free coconut yogurt with berries and whole eggs. (PS: don’t be afraid of eggs. Our liver produces up to 3 eggs in cholesterol each day to keep us healthy, so eggs aren’t going to kill you. Protein powder substitutes may age you though, so be kind to your gut and give it REAL LIFE PROTEIN instead ).
Intermittent fasting is not about starving, it’s about being INTUITIVE: if you wake up famished: EAT!!! There is no set of INTERMITTENT RULES you are violating by doing so. The only thing you should be accountable to is your GUT. Start with a Simply Inulin Coffee ( Lauryn talks about Simply Inulin all the time so I wont bore you with the details ). The fiber in it is indigestible and will not interrupt your digestive rest. Use plant-based milks free of gums and shit added, like PLENISH Milk or MALK ( Elmhurst is another good one in the US). If you still feel hungry, have berries. The high-fiber intake you get from berries may just satiate you. If this won’t do, then this is not the day to intermittent fast, just eat and try it again the next day. DO NOT STARVE.
I personally need to have coffee in the morning, so I’ve created this drink that works wonders for me and keeps me going till 1pm without any fatigue or hunger. And let me say right now, COFFEE isn’t the big bad guy it has been portrayed to be. For my athlete clients and myself, coffee has proven itself to be an effective pre-workout booster for endurance to give you that extra kick you need to push a little further. In fact, it is proven that caffeine reduces adenosine levels, which helps delay fatigue and allows the muscles to produce more forceful contractions, for longer. Coffee works on two levels. Firstly, it blocks the neurotransmitters that promote relaxation, making us feel more aware and likely to push further and harder, making it ideal for endurance athletes. Secondly, it has the physical effect of helping us to burn more fat. When consumed pre-workout, caffeine causes fat cells to be used as an energy source. It also helps suppress your appetite and raise your metabolism, helping you burn more calories all day long. It provides the perfect energy boost you need after a long day at the office or to kick-start an otherwise sluggish morning workout, while boosting muscle endurance and strength. It can even keep you going beyond your pain barrier due to its abilities to slightly numb muscle pain.
Intermittent fasting targets the mid-section and belly fat. I experienced this myself when my hormones go out of whack. I gained mostly in the mid-section ( the infamous love handles ) and I found that intermittent fasting combined with the right workout ( smart movements with less cardio ), helped me and my clients lose weight and belly fat. Short-term fasting increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories. And by either skipping a meal ( I only recommend skipping breakfast ) you are also consuming less calories which means you burn more fat and lose some weight. The way you digest when it comes to hormones and hormonal weight gain is way more important than what you eat. In other words, if you are one of those people who diet all the time, cut carbs, calories etc. and still can’t lose that mid-section or the water retention in your thighs or arms, chances are your issue is hormonal and has to do with your digestive system and the stress you put it through.
Intermittent fasting will reduce your insulin resistance, the huge culprit for those that don’t eat much and yet hit a plateau with weight loss. Note: Stop thinking about magical diets and start a real dialogue with your body about food and hormones. Become aware of INSULIN resistance- it is often the culprit for mid-section and hip weight gain. When you cause insulin resistance from cortisol raising ( stressing your body through intense workouts, difficult digestion, excess intake of protein, or eating “crudités” raw veggies ), you allow your abdomen to become a fat depot instead of allowing insulin to go where it is usually stored to be burned by everyday activity.
The gut-brain axis is a thing and I.F. is good for the brain. I noticed this to be true for so many of my clients, myself included, when intermittent fasting performance and skills improve significantly during physical activity. It improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health. This includes reduced oxidative stress, reduced inflammation and a reduction in blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Several studies have shown that intermittent fasting may increase the growth of new nerve cells, which should have benefits for brain function. The mind to body cognitive stimulation is swifter. In other words, the body responds better to signals sent by the brain. The energy level is also higher, the brain is less foggy and a lot sharper.
I.F. changes the function of cells, genes & hormones. Since going through so many motions of the feminine hormonal stages ( from puberty, to motherhood, to miscarriages, to turning 30, to turning 40 and having an estrogen high and progesterone low ), I’ve become so aware of how much hormones affect our weight- even more so than food. I find that intermittent fasting rubs my hormones the right way. It allows blood levels of insulin to drop significantly which facilitates fat burning and human growth hormone levels increase by as much as 5-fold, which can facilitate fat burning and muscle gain.
In conclusion, your body initiates important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Significant changes occur in your body during fasting:
♡ Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning
♡ Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits.
♡ Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
♡ Gene expression: There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.
You aren’t convinced? Your dietician or Instagram health guru advices against it? First of all, do your research and rely on sources like the HARVARD MEDICAL JOURNAL I referred to. Second, the wellness space on social media is VERY NOISY, and that is great, because you can pick and choose what is music to your ears. Use your intuition, and logic too, if a dietician or wellness maven says I.F. isn’t good. Ask yourself: Are they selling a breakfast item? Is intermittent fasting amputating from their profit? If you find yourself very hesitant about I.F., then follow your gut, she is always right.
Did you guys love this post? I always learn something new from Ingrid. We would love to hear your experience with intermittent fasting below. You can read more about my experience with it here.
Also, listen to her podcast, Pardon My French!
Check out all of Ingrid’s other posts on TSC:
♡ Hear her incredible story on the podcast where she talks prison, hardships & divorce.