5 Things You’ll Learn From My Newest Book Intuitive Fasting
My new book, Intuitive Fasting is all about taking a wellness practice with a reputation for being restrictive and extreme and making it gentle, flexible, and graceful. The positive responses I’ve already received from people all around the world have been overwhelming — I’m so glad its messaging has resonated with so many of you!
If you’re still on the fence about giving intermittent fasting a try, either because you’re not sold on its benefits or you’re hesitant about its punitive reputation, here are 5 things you’ll learn in Intuitive Fasting that will benefit your health and wellness for years to come.
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1. Fasting doesn’t have to be restrictive.
As I write in the book, taking periods of time without food may seem strange at first, but it’s actually the most natural thing in the world! Before drive-throughs and packaged foods, humans naturally went longer periods of time without eating and focused on longer, sit-down meals where they ate until they were fully satisfied. Intuitive Fasting is about reconnecting with those days. Throughout the Flexible Fasting Plan in the book, I offer suggestions about eating and fasting windows but also encourage you to always listen to your body. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not, don’t! It’s all about reconnecting with our natural intuition about food, instead of blindly following the food rules we’ve been taught since we were kids.
2.Fasting is not the same as calorie restriction
This is one of the most common misconceptions about intermittent fasting. Because while there are some forms of fasting that involve calorie restriction, the type of intermittent fasting we use in the book — called time-restricted feeding — resolves completely around when you eat, not how much. So what is the exact difference, exactly?
- Calorie restriction: Reducing your average daily caloric intake below what is normal for a long period of time.
- Intermittent fasting: Limiting how often you eat during certain times of the day, week, or month.
Despite these differences, many people will still argue that the benefits of fasting are simply due to weight loss. But the truth is, studies have shown that the benefits of fasting — like improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure, and abdominal fat loss — are independent from its effect on weight. Fasting can help you lose weight in a way that is healthy and sustainable — but that’s not where its benefits begin and end. Instead, you’ll learn in the book that fasting helps awaken mechanisms in the body that are only turned on when we’ve got more than 10 or 12 hours without food. Pretty cool if you ask me!
3. The secret to food freedom is metabolic flexibility
If you read the word intuitive fasting and thought: Well, what if my “intuition” is telling me to eat cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? You’ll learn in the book that when we have certain underlying health imbalances — like metabolic inflexibility and chronic inflammation — it can cloud the body's ability to send us the right signals, cravings, and hunger cues. We can end up fatigued, foggy-brained, and craving sugar and carbs all the time. But when you correct these underlying issues and establish metabolic flexibility — a term that comes up dozens of times throughout the course of Initiative Fasting — you’ll be able to trust your body to tell you when you’re hungry, tell you when you’re full, and crave the kinds of foods that will really support your health.
4. Fasting isn’t for everyone
Fasting is often touted as a practice that anyone can do but the truth is, you should talk to your doctor before you try fasting if you have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or an autoimmune disorder. The good news is that usually, as long as you start small and ease in, fasting is still something you can still incorporate into your routine. That said, there’s one exception — and that’s people with a history of disordered eating. Research has shown that fasting can exacerbate or reignite an overfixation with food or weight and may lead to an increase in the onset of binge eating. So despite the fact that Intuitive Fasting is all about a gentle, non-restrictive, self-loving approach to fasting and eating, it’s not right for everyone. If you have a history of disordered eating, consult your doctor and eating disorder specialist and get their approval before you experiment with fasting.
5. Fasting can free your mind
When we’re metabolically inflexible, food can rule our lives. We struggle with cravings, wonky hunger signals, and our self-control is constantly being tested. It’s like trying to keep a dam from breaking every single day; it feels utterly arduous and punitive, and you have to be “perfect” without diet and lifestyle or everything will fall apart. Food occupies so much of your headspace that there’s barely room for anything else!
Once you’ve established metabolic flexibility, everything changes. Healthy eating becomes more effortless, intuitive, and you don’t have to think about food all the time. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that you get your life back!
Intuitive Fasting is designed to ease you into fasting with grace, lightness, and total self-love. This book is designed to meet you where you’re at and elevate your wellness while helping you dissolve shame and bask in the light of food and body peace.
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BY DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.