Have you heard of intermittent fasting? While new weight-loss programs pop up from time to time (that’s an intermittent joke, folks!), intermittent fasting, or IF, is different from other weight-loss methods. Rather than prescribe what you eat, IF is all about when you eat.
Fasting is not a new concept. It is a practice that has often been employed for religious reasons or medical ones. And rather than trying to lose weight by just stopping eating altogether, which is unhealthy, intermittent fasting offers a mix of times of fasting and times of eating that work to help a person lose weight in a healthy fashion.
That said: anyone considering embarking on an intermittent fasting weight loss program should consult with their physician to make sure they’re not putting themselves at risk. Harney & Sons is not recommending this or any other weight loss program, because we’re tea experts, not doctors! However, if you have considered intermittent fasting, we’ll let you know if you can still enjoy the greatest beverage known to humanity and not blow your hard work!
First, however, some basic IF deets.
Intermittent Fasting Basics
Like we said, IF is all about when you eat and when you don’t. But before you think wow, awesome, I just won’t eat when I sleep and then I’ll eat when I’m awake… hold your scales a minute. It’s a little more structured (and disciplined) than that. There are, however, three popular methods from which to choose, so you can pick the fasting program you’re most comfortable with.
- The 16/8 method.The 16/8 represents hours of fasting (16) and hours for eating (8). The idea is that you can eat from 1-9PM (or your preferred range of 8 hours) and then nothing for 16 straight. If you love breakfast, this may not be the program for you as it generally involves skipping that meal, but it tends to be the most popular as it does utilize your sleeping hours as fasting hours.
- Eat-Stop-Eat. Before you think this means eat half a pizza, take a 30-minute break, and then eat the other half of the pizza, think again. This method requires 24 straight hours of not eating, at least once or twice a week. That simple.
- 5:2. With this method, you eat regularly five days a week. The other two days, rather than a total fast, you reduce your intake to 500-600 calories per day, which represents roughly 25% of normal daily caloric intake.
Whichever method is chosen, it’s important not to go hog-wild and binge like crazy during the eating periods of time. That undoes all the hard work of fasting and will not bring about the desired results.
So, why does this style of eating/not eating produce results? There is science behind the effects that fasting has on your body, which include:
- Increasing the levels of growth hormone in your body, which can have a positive effect on fat loss and increased muscle.
- A drop in insulin levels, which allows for greater access to stored body fat.
- Autophagy. After a longer period of fasting, cells begin a repair process known as autophagy. This is the body’s way of recycling damaged or unnecessary cellular components. In other words, it gets rid of cellular junk.
While there are known weight-loss benefits to fasting, studies are still being done to understand its other possible benefits to our health.
So, the big question is: when you’re fasting, can you have tea?
Yes, You Can Have Tea
During the fasting periods, having non-caloric beverages is permitted. They are particularly helpful in helping you have a feeling of fullness, staying hydrated, and being a distraction from not eating. While any non-caloric beverage is fine, for obvious reasons we’re going to talk about how tea can be your intermittent fasting buddy.
It can help you feel satisfied. Reaching for your favorite tea while resisting the desire to eat can bring a feeling of familiarity and comfort. Keep those stress hormones at bay (they can cause you to hang onto weight or eat off-schedule) and your fasting regimen intact with a cup of your go-to tea. A fan favorite like Hot Cinnamon Spice is a perfect way to feel like you’re getting something sweet without having any sugar. A hearty cup of Matcha Iri Genmaicha can feel like you’re cheating and having a cup of soup. Or a cup of Green Tea with Coconut, with its caffeine and strong aroma, can help push you through a moment of weakness and give you the energy to forge ahead.
It’s an opportunity to introduce another healthy habit. While you’re working hard to lose weight, why not introduce yourself to some teas that are made with ingredients that contribute to the overall healthy lifestyle you’re embracing. Our Wellness Teas & Infusions Collection features teas all-natural hemp teas from our sister company, The Hemp Division; teas that make you go “ohm” from the Chopra Center; teas filled with powerful antioxidants, adaptogens, spices and much more to make you feel fulfilled from our Mind Your Body collection; and our herbal infusions and tisanes for those late-night times when reaching for a decaf tea instead of cookies is the better choice. They’re all perfect supplements to an intermittent fasting regimen.
It’s a great time to treat yourself. While you may be denying yourself the pleasure of eating whenever you want, why not treat yourself to trying a new tea every day or during every fasting period? We offer a wide variety of sampler sets, like four tins of our best sellers, a wooden tea chest with an assortment of teas, or our master tea taster collection containing an assortment of classic teas along with professional-level tea tasting tools and Mike Harney’sA Guide to Tea for fascinating insights into the tea industry and tips for making the perfect cups of tea. Not only will this set introduce you to new teas, it will give your mind something else to focus on besides that empTEA feeling in your stomach!