While most nutritionists are likely to throw shade at the idea of skipping a meal, intermittent fasting remains a popular diet trend in the fitness world. Fitness influencer Lita Lewis, for instance, has been sticking to the diet—which typically restricts food and beverages for up to 16 hours per day—for the past two months. And she's loving the results.
In a recent Instagram post, she shared three side-by-side pictures of herself, showing her progress, explaining how intermittent fasting has helped her reach her goals. (Related: Ask the Diet Doctor: The Pros & Cons of Fasting for Weight Loss)
Touching base on my Intermittent Fasting journey! For those asking yupp, still doing it! I typically don't like to adopt a change unless I can sustain it. I'm always looking for something that can become second nature and IF has become just that. I no longer think twice about it, my eating window remains the same, 12noon-8:00pm. On the wkends I'm lenient but do my best to keep the window 8-10hrs, otherwise Monday to Friday I'm on point. . Answering the commonly asked questions I've received: Height 5'5 Weight: May 30: 160lbs / June 20: 152lbs / Today, July 25: 154lbs I've gained a little muscle mass based on the fact that I now have a consistent strength training schedule, before May 30 my workouts were irregular & without much purpose. . - Eating window: 12:00noon to 8:00pm - I do 60mins of fasted cardio & 30mins of circuit training that typically consists of light weights and plyo in the AM, before noon, 5 days per week. - I lift mid afternoon before I train clients! 1hr of isolated training; each day I focus on one specific muscle group. I lift 4-5 days a week - My diet has become a 80% #vegan. I cut all diary & recently eliminated eggs. Breakfast is at 12; oatmeal, toast with avocado/jelly. Piece of fruit, Bullet proof coffee/herbal tea. At 2-3pm; Lentil curry w/spinach, mushrooms potatoes. Sometimes cookies or potato chips & cilantro dip! At 5pm I eat dinner; sometimes I'll cook salmon or veggie burgers, w/big spinach/arugula salad or 2cups of veggies. On lifting days I'll eat more carbs, either rice or mash potato. Before 8p I'll snack; diary free yogurt, mixed nuts, larabars, perfect bars, fresh berries or make a protein shake using coconut milk. . I've pretty much plateaued but that's cool with me. I'm maintaining a weight I'm comfortable with that also allows me to move and train the way I want to. Intermittent Fasting has been good to me. What I love about it the most is the flexibility I have without feeling guilty about eating whatever I want! It has also helped me eliminate unnecessary snacking throughout the day AND night! . Anyone else Intermittent Fasting? Please share your experiences below! . #transformationtuesday #intermittentfasting
"Intermittent fasting has been good to me," Lita wrote alongside the post. "What I love about it the most is the flexibility I have without feeling guilty about eating whatever I want! It has also helped me eliminate unnecessary snacking throughout the day and night," she explains.
Lita explains in the post that over the past two months, her eating window has remained between noon and 8 p.m. during the week, (with some flexibility over the weekend) and she's continued to eat three well-balanced meals a day. "Breakfast is at 12; oatmeal, toast with avocado/jelly. A piece of fruit, Bullet proof coffee/herbal tea," she says. "At 2-3pm; Lentil curry w/spinach, mushrooms potatoes. Sometimes cookies or potato chips & cilantro dip! At 5 pm I eat dinner; sometimes I'll cook salmon or veggie burgers, w/big spinach/arugula salad or 2cups of veggies," she says, adding that she helps herself to a light snack before 8:00 and then calls it a night.
As far as workouts go, Lita says she does an hour of cardio plus 30 minutes of circuit training five days a week. "I lift 4-5 days a week," she says. "Each day I focus on one specific muscle group." On those days, she makes sure she has more carbs like rice or potatoes during her meals. (Related: The Right Way to Eat Carbs)
Even though intermittent fasting seems to be working well for Lita, and it's been touted as a great way to shed a few stubborn pounds, there are a few things to consider before giving it a go. "Some people with specific workout regimens, especially elite athletes, may adopt this practice when getting ready for a big race or competition, but this way of eating is NOT for everyone," explains chef and registered dietitian Jessica Swift (Chef Jess). "Severe caloric restriction or overindulging may occur if you're not careful."
But even though "fasting" sounds extreme, Lita's form of fasting essentially just involves skipping breakfast and not eating at night. Research on the health benefits of eating breakfast is mixed, so it's important to see what works for you. "Some people might notice weight gain on this type of plan because people tend to overeat or not make the best food choices when not eating for extended periods of time," says Swift. "It's important to remember that no one-size-fits-all fasting diet exists."
More importantly, as Swift notes, Lita's diet is nutrient rich and she's still receiving enough calories to fuel her body. "Intermittent fasting is clearly working well for her."
If you're thinking about trying intermittent fasting, Swift says it's important to continue making the best food choices. "As in any way of eating, make sure you consume a balanced diet of lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and vegetables," she explains. You can't just fast for a few hours and then eat garbage the rest of the time.