You are probably reading this because you are an intermittent faster, you are interested in intermittent fasting, or because someone you know and love has suggested that you look into intermittent fasting as a lifestyle. Good news! You are on the cutting-edge of the biggest health and weight loss trend to come along in decades. If you want to know more about the science behind intermittent fasting and some of the amazing health benefits related to intermittent fasting, check out my 2017 blog post and this follow up 2018 blog post. In fact, intermittent fasting is the health plan with a side effect of weight loss, and you can be confident that it is not only healthy, it's total FREEDOM from all of those "diets" you may have tried and quit over the years. Intermittent fasting is NOT a diet, in fact: it is a lifestyle.
So? Why do I say that in 2019 intermittent fasting is mainstream? Keep reading!
I first began dabbling in intermittent fasting ten years ago in 2009. Unfortunately, I was VERY intermittent in my approach, so I didn't really ever give it time to work before I quit and raced on to something else. Ten years ago, I'm not even sure people were calling it "intermittent fasting." I read Brad Pilon's "Eat Stop Eat" and Dr. Bert Herring's free Fast-5 ebook, but that was pretty much it. I was still in my "try all of the crazy diets" phase, and intermittent fasting seemed to fit the bill. Whenever I tried to explain the concept to anyone, they looked at me like I had lost my mind. The world wasn't ready. *I* wasn't ready. So, it's not a surprise that I never did find success with intermittent fasting in those early days. I also hadn't discovered the life-changing magic of implementing a clean fast (explained in this blog post), so it all just seemed SO. HARD. and also a little bit nuts.
Fast forward to 2014. I topped the scale at 210 pounds, which was obese for a 5' 5" woman.
Thankfully, I gave intermittent fasting one more shot in 2014. My whole story is in my #1 Amazon best-seller, Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. In that book, I explain how you can design an intermittent fasting lifestyle that will change YOUR life, the way intermittent fasting changed my life and the lives of tens-of-thousands of intermittent fasters from around the world.
I lost over 80 pounds by using various intermittent fasting techniques, and I have kept off the weight (and continued to get leaner) over the years. I started a few different Facebook intermittent fasting support groups (as of today, the last day of 2018, we have about 140,000 combined members from around the world) and began mentoring others as they changed their lives by adopting an intermittent fasting lifestyle for themselves. To hear some of their amazing stories, you can listen to my podcast, Intermittent Fasting Stories, on the website linked here, or through your favorite podcast app.
As people changed their lives with intermittent fasting, one concern still rose to the forefront for many: how do we explain to others what we are doing? What will people think?
Good news! Over time, the tide has turned. As you can imagine, I LOVE to talk to people about intermittent fasting. These days I have noticed that more and more people have heard about it when I bring it up. Most people have seen a magazine article, or a news snippet, or perhaps they have a friend who has had great success. Now when I mention it, more people have heard of intermittent fasting than have NOT heard of it.
And, if that weren't enough, I have two pieces of evidence that will convince you that intermittent fasting is, indeed, mainstream.
First, it's the rise of "intermittent fasting" products. Remember the low-fat craze of the 1990s? We knew it was big-time when every food product boasted that it was "fat free". Well, yesterday I was scrolling through Facebook, and I saw an ad for a new bar that you can "eat" while you are doing intermittent "fasting." After I stopped laughing (How gullible do they think we are? Eating isn't fasting.) I realized that the rise of these products is a very good sign! You can always follow the money to see what is on-trend. So, when they start making "food" for "fasting" you know there's a large market. (Side note: promise me you won't fall for it. Repeat after me.... Eating isn't fasting. Eating isn't fasting. Eating isn't fasting.)
The second exciting piece of evidence is more scientific, and it should thrill you. In the 2018 "Food and Health Survey" (linked here) conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation, they reported that 36% of consumers claim that they follow an "eating pattern" of some sort. Of those following an eating pattern, guess what the TOP self-reported eating pattern was? If you guessed "intermittent fasting," you are a winner! (Side note: you're still a winner even if you didn't guess that, because you are here learning about intermittent fasting. And, if that doesn't make you a winner, I don't know what does.)
On page 26 of that survey report (linked here), there is a graphic showing all of the most-reported eating patterns. You can see intermittent fasting there at the top. A full TEN PERCENT of the participants following a structured eating plan reported that they were doing intermittent fasting, more than any other diet/eating pattern. It's higher than Paleo. Higher than gluten-free. Higher than vegetarian/vegan. Higher than Keto. Whoa! Mainstream, baby.
So! Now you know: intermittent fasting is no longer in the shadows. It's so mainstream that it's the #1 self-reported "eating pattern" of the past year and the marketers are ready to sell you fasting bars for your fast (promise me... NO!... eating isn't fasting). For those reasons, you can live the lifestyle with confidence. You don't need to hide what you are doing or lie about it. You don't need to feel embarrassed or like you need to keep it to yourself. Say the words "intermittent fasting" to others with pride. If they react critically, look at them with a surprised look and tell them that you can't believe they haven't heard of it yet, since it is everywhere. No need to feel defensive or nervous.
And, remember that if people have questions, you don't need to have all of the answers, and you certainly do NOT have to spend your time defending what you do. Nope. If you find that someone is still giving you a hard time about intermittent fasting, or if they say it isn't "healthy," lend them your copy of Delay, Don't Deny and tell them you'll be happy to discuss it with them once they have read the book. I'm happy to explain it to them on your behalf. And, if they aren't willing to learn, you can release their thoughts from your mind. YOU know what you are doing. YOU know intermittent fasting is the health plan with a side effect of weight loss, and YOU are confidently living the intermittent fasting lifestyle.
So! Bring it on, 2019. We, the intermittent fasters of the world, are mainstream. We know it, and you know it. We are ready to #ShareWithoutFear and #ChangeTheWorld.
Gin Stephens lives in Augusta, Georgia, where she has been following an intermittent fasting lifestyle since 2014. In addition to writing the #1 Amazon best-seller Delay, Don't Deny and the follow-up book Feast Without Fear, Gin is host of the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast and co-host of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, along with fellow intermittent faster and author, Melanie Avalon. Check out www.intermittentfastingstories.com and www.ifpodcast.com or search for the podcasts through your favorite podcast app.