The TODAY with Hoda & Jenna hosts started their first day of intermittent fasting on Monday and kicked things off in a pretty bold way: by weighing themselves on live TV.
The ladies are not totally focused on losing weight. In fact, Jenna said the two are doing it "to be healthy." Some forms of intermittent fasting, however, have proven helpful with weight loss. So to keep tabs on their progress, the fourth hour duo stepped onto the scales to see how much they currently weigh.
But first, they playfully kicked off their heels and held hands. "It's like jumping off a cliff," Jenna joked.
Hoda weighed 158 pounds, and Jenna, who had her third child in August, weighed 171 pounds.
"Y'all know what is plugged into my Fitbit for real?" Jenna said. "130 pounds. I weigh 40 more pounds than I tell everybody I do!"
"You just had a baby," Hoda said.
After the weigh-in, Hoda and Jenna sat down with Dr. Natalie Azar to learn more about how to successfully fast.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
Azar began by explaining that intermittent fasting can particularly help those who are obese or have Type 2 diabetes, which can have negative effects on your health in the long run.
Intermittent fasting might also have some other great health benefits. "I think more in its infancy is the stuff about longevity and Alzheimer's, and, you know, maybe it has a role in treating or managing chronic disease and cancer," Azar explained. "There's no large trials of any of those things, but mechanistically it's a very interesting, hot topic right now."
How does intermittent fasting work?
"There is no rule because there are so many different ways to approach this," Azar said. "Conceptually, it's not a diet. It's a way of eating. It's when you're eating as opposed to what you're eating."
If you're considering intermittent fasting, there are a few potential methods:
- Alternate days: You eat normally one day then fast the next day by taking in fewer than 600 calories.
- 5:2 plan: For two days, you take in limited calories (fewer than 600) and a moderate amount on the other five days.
- Time-restricted eating: You can choose a period (up to 12 hours) during which you eat each day.
Hoda and Jenna will be exploring the time-restricted eating option. Azar explained that you can think of it as 12 hours available to eat and 12 hours of fasting. In some ways, it's like you have 12 hours of storing up food and 12 hours of burning food.
If you're hoping to lose some weight with intermittent fasting, Azar recommends going 16 hours between eating and fasting.
What about liquids?
While you're fasting, you can drink as much water as you want, but Azar recommends avoiding drinks like juice.
"If you're fasting — but you're drinking juice all day — you're negating all the positive benefits. But things like green tea and herbal tea (are OK)," she said.
You can even add a little bit of milk to your coffee if you want.
"I would never do it without cream in my coffee. You have to live!" Azar said.