Thinking of pulling a Kourtney Kardashian and trying intermittent fasting? Nutritional expert Naomi Whittel explains how it works and the potential benefits.
“An intermittent fast is basically a window of controlled eating,” Whittel tells PEOPLE. “Scheduled eating is when you eat for eight hours within the intermittent fasting hours. So you don’t eat for 16 and you do eat for eight and those have to be consecutive hours,” she says.
“It’s like a metabolic confusion, so your metabolism is almost forced to do a better job. [Your body] never knows exactly what’s happening and it’s really, really healthy for us. It improves our immune systems.”
Whittel says she based her new book, Glow15: A Science-Based Plan to Lose Weight, Revitalize Your Skin, and Invigorate Your Life, on the Nobel Prize-winning science of autophagy, which she describes as “cellular detox.”
“We all have a mechanism inside our bodies that, when switched on, can literally help us to live more youthfully, with more energy, to lose weight,” the 44-year-old founder of Reserveage Nutrition says. “We activate [autophagy] through natural exercise and foods.”
While some experts have concerns over the sustainability of intermittent fasting long term, Whittel stands by her claims.
“This is a lifestyle, it’s allowing ourselves to detox and cleanse and be more youthful,” she says. “Once I hit 40, it was evident to me that I was aging more quickly than I should be. That was due to chronic stress. I was CEO of the company and I was experiencing accelerated aging.”
Besides fasting, her plan involves special teas that “boost metabolism,” a guide to less intensive (and more effective) workouts, and advice for better sleep — all with the goal of activating autophagy in the body. Whittel says those who follow the plan should see results in 15 days.
Glow15 is on sale now.