Intermittent fasting (IF) is currently one of the world's most popular health and fitness trends.

People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles. Less meal prep and planning with less time to eat, right?

Many studies have shown that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and may even help you live longer. So, what exactly is IF and is it right for you?

IF is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting. But, I do the most popular fasting method, which is the 16/8 method. I find it to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to. You’re fasting for 16 hours out of every 24-hour period and eating for eight hours.

For me it looks like this Monday - Friday: I break my fast everyday between 10am and 11am and eat between 10/11am – 6:30(ish)pm. But, I need to stress when I am in my “eating hours” – it’s not a free for all. I still eating whole, nutritional food and only drink water or iced tea. (Coffee is also OK, but I am not a coffee drinker). You also are allowed to drink (coffee, water or tea) while you’re in your fasting state. I never feel deprived and I always listen to my body. If I do wake up one morning and at 8am and I’m hungry and feeling weak, I will break my fast early and eat something. That doesn’t mean I cut my eating hours down because I started earlier. I will still end that day at 6:30pm and try again the next day.

Intermittent fasting has been known to boost metabolism and improve your overall mood, but I want to stress - it is not for everyone. If you’re underweight, have a history of eating disorders or have other medical issues, you should not fast without consulting with a health professional first.

Overall, eating real food, drinking your daily water intake and getting the rest and sleep your body needs are still the most important factors to focus on to live a healthy and positive lifestyle.

Ashley Conneely