The Utter Simplicity Of Intermittent Fasting
Most of us eat throughout the day, starting with breakfast when we wake up and perhaps ending with a dessert or snack after dinner. If you have breakfast at 7 a.m. and a final snack at 8 p.m., youre consuming food for 13 hours thats your current eating window. The idea behind IF is simply to shorten that window not necessarily to eat less , but to eat less often.
For example, most experts agree that you can start to experience IF benefits with an eight-hour eating window, meaning a 16-hour fast. So you could have lunch at noon and still finish your snack by 8 p.m. Thats it. If you can stick to that, it may be enough to produce results.
But, wait: Isnt that just skipping breakfast? And havent we heard for years that skipping breakfast actually leads to weight gain? Yes and yes. However, IF requires a clean fast to be effective , and once you get accustomed to it, your appetite should correct so that you no longer overeat once your window opens.
Heres what I love about this: It costs nothing. It requires nothing. You dont have to buy books or gear or supplements or meals. You just adapt yourself to a slightly different way of eating and thats it. The simplicity and affordability of IF is what drew me to it.
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Best Hacks For Sticking With A Whole Food Diet
Here are some tips to help you stick with a whole food diet and develop this lifestyle.
1. Practice Batch Cooking
Especially in the beginning, if youve been used to eating more convenience-based or packaged foods, youre likely to feel like you spend the majority of your life in the kitchen. So, Id suggest getting your cookbooks out and planning around five things to make per week. If you make double, or even triple portions depending on your household, youll have enough quantity to last several meals.
For example, his could be homemade granola. Make it once, and thats breakfast sorted for a week. Whole food diet ingredients like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, and seeds are all delicious, and great nutritional resources to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
I also love to make big stews, sauces, and curries that can happily be reheated and added throughout the course of a few days.
2. Make Your Own Convenience Foods
Sticking to a new way of eating can be really difficult, especially for your willpower. So, its very important to make it as easy as possible for yourself.
Pre-chop. Pre-chop. Pre-chop.
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Intermittent Fasting And Ketosis
Your body runs out of glycogen and starts using fat for fuel on the keto diet, but this also happens when you are practicing intermittent fasting . After a 12 hour fast, your glycogen reserves are getting low. Exactly how long it will take your body to release ketones depends on many factors, including whether you have been in ketosis before or not.
With experience, you will be able to feel when you are in ketosis. For me, it takes around 18 hours each day. You will need to experiment to find out how long YOU need to fast .
Intermittent Fasting Vs. Keto
In a way, the ketogenic diet mimics fasting by helping your body run out of glycogen without avoiding food. For those getting started, doing the keto diet is a great way to kickstart ketosis fast. Intermittent fasting will be a lot easier once you have been in ketosis.
She Experimented To See What Worked
There are a lot of different options for intermittent fasting, and Etienne-Mesubi started with 18 hours of fasting and a six-hour eating window. In the beginning it was challenging but within two weeks it became very normal, she says.
She learned that hunger often comes in waves, and if she drank some water or tea, or read to get her mind off the hunger, the wave would pass. The minute I shifted my mind onto something else I wasnt hungry, and before I knew it, I was at my eating window, she says.
She had no trouble skipping breakfast, and sometimes wasnt hungry at noon, so she would push the start of her eating window to 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. and finish eating by 6 p.m.
Alec Baldwin Breaks Down In Tears Over Shooting Tragedy
A mum-of-eight has revealed how she lost a staggering 68 kilos in just one year using intermittent fasting.
Stay-at-home-mum Katie Silva, 42, from Niceville, USA, started gaining weight after the birth of her fourth child Ethan in 2003.
Katie had six of her children in the space of nine years, being affected by postpartum depression and turning to food for comfort.
With so many young children to look after, Katie found it hard to get out and active, so she continued to gain weight until she reached a total of 152kg.
I did my best to stay afloat, to keep the children loved and well cared for, but in the process, lost myself, said Katie.
My care was my lowest priority, and food became my only comfort. So, I ate. I ate when I was sad. I ate when I was angry. I ate when I was lonely. I ate when I was stressed. I ate and ate and ate.
Katie admitted she felt disgusted at her lack of willpower.
I knew I had a toxic relationship with food. I knew it was unhealthy. I knew I needed to change, but I just couldnt bring myself to do it. No matter how much I wanted to, I just never stuck with it, she explained.
I would binge on food, then hate myself for it, which just led to binging even more. It was a horrible cycle that I seemed powerless to end, which just deepened the resentment I had for myself.
And unfortunately, her self-hatred was only exacerbated by the people she had once thought were friends.
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You’re Not Eating Enough
If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau after losing a few pounds, says Melanie Boehmer, R.D. of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, you may be eating too few calories.
That’s because our bodies adjust to whatever we throw at them, she says.
“If, on average, youre only taking in 1200 calories, which is something none of us should be doing on a regular basis, your body is going to learn to function on 1200 calories,” she says.
Reduce calories slowly and aim for more moderate weight loss, says Boehmer. She advises cutting enough calories to lose about a pound a week.
“When we talk about losing weight, the goal is always to lose as much weight eating the most that you can so you dont create that metabolic inhibitor,” she says.
What Can You Eat On The 1: 8 Diet
This diet isnt suggesting you cram all the food you can into 8 hours. You need to make sure youre eating a balance of fat busting and health boosting foods. Experts have suggest making sure you get a balance of lean meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables, nuts and beans each day.
Make sure to eat a balanced diet.
Tom said, Many people fail the 16:8 diet by packing in too many calories into the 8 hour period, often trying to get some in before the 8 hours ends. You should still be following a strict diet with a complete nutritional breakdown, to ensure you are consuming a targeted number of calories, not to mention macro nutrients and ensuring youre not consuming too much sugar.
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Diet Plan: What Can You Eat And What Are The Benefits
The 16:8 diet has been one of the most popular diet plans weve seen in years and with good reason.
The 16:8 plan also called the 8-hour diet is an easier and more consistent way of fasting that avoids heavily calorie restricted days found in other popular intermittent fasting plans like the 5:2 diet or Fast 800 calorie diet.
A famous fan of the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan is Hollywood icon Jennifer Aniston. In an interview with the Radio Times, Jennifer revealed that shes a big fan of intermittent fasting in general but specifically this plan. I do intermittent fasting, so no food in the morning. She said, I noticed a big difference in going without solid food for 16 hours.
Fasting Can Even Slow Down The Aging Process
Im seeing more and more science showing major benefits of intermittent fasting, so this way of eating is definitely more than a trend. Its also fascinating that so many animal studies have consistently shown that caloric restriction, which includes fasting, slows aging and extends life span.
No wonder scientists became so curious about the effects of fasting in humans!
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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
You’re Eating Too Many Calories
Restricting the time you get to eat doesn’t always cut back calories as much as you might think, if you over-consume during your eating window.
What’s over-consuming? Do a reality check on how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight. This can be done using a formula or the body weight planner by the National Institute of Health.
Track everything you eat in a given week using FitDay.com,Lose It!, or MyFitnessPal, and see if you’re eating more calories than your body needs, even though you’re restricting the timing of those calories. If you are, you know what to do.
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Intermittent Fasting Results The Bottom Line
I started using Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and I did achieve my weight loss goal with it relatively quickly, but what I discovered were a host of other benefits that I did not anticipate.
And it is those extra benefits that keeps me going with Intermittent Fasting.
I have another article about the full benefits of Intermittent Fasting, but to summarize they are:
- With 16/8 Intermittent Fasting I have more energy
- I love the extra time I have with 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
- I have less intestinal problems with 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
- I am more conscious about what I eat
- I have more mental clarity throughout the day
- I just feel better overall.
I realize there is something called the Placebo Effect that might account for some of this, however Id argue that after 2 years that mental trickery is not likely to continue and that instead the real life physiological effect of Intermittent Fasting shows through. Maybe thats true, maybe not, but for me, Intermittent Fasting is the way to go.
What about YOU?
Alternate Day Fasting : 2 Method
Some people fast on alternate days to improve blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight loss. A person on the 5:2 method eats 500 to 600 calories on two non-consecutive days each week.
Some alternate-day fasting regimens add in a third day of fasting each week. For the rest of the week, a person eats only the number of calories they burn during the day. Over time, this creates a calorie deficit that allows the person to lose weight.
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Intermittent Fasting Teaches Discipline
Wright says intermittent fasting is effective because it taught her self control. Since the rule required her to stop eating at 8 p.m., it prevented her from snacking before bed.
It helped me not to go into the kitchen at night and eat cake or ice cream very late in the night, says Wright. And I feel like that is why it works, because it teaches you discipline when it comes to what time youre eating your food.
When you are intermittent fasting, Wright explains, its easy to become obsessive about timing your meals. She says its important to not be too fixated on time.
Dont be so tedious with time if that makes sense, says Wright. Like, its okay to be a couple of minutes off like 10, 15 minutes off. Thats okay.
The Best Part About Intermittent Fasting
No food is “off limits” with IF, you can eat whatever you want during your window.
Gin Stephens is the author of Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. Those first three words of the book are the key to what makes this WOE worthwhile: You’re not denying yourself anything, you’re merely delaying it. You don’t have to give up, say, pizza because of the carbs or ice cream because of the sugar. You just have to wait until your window opens then you can eat what you want to eat. No, not the entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream you still have to be reasonable. But there are no exclusions. And that’s incredibly liberating.
Think about nearly every other diet in history: Atkins, South Beach, paleo, keto. They all require you to either cut out certain things entirely or eat an excess of something else . The reason these diets typically fail is they’re not sustainable.
Stephens is fond of this saying: “‘Diets are easy in contemplation and hard in execution. Fasting is hard in contemplation but easy in execution.’ I absolutely love that quote, because it’s so true,” she says. “We’ve all started a new diet and we’re all in. Then, as the days go by, the diet gets harder and harder to stick to. Intermittent fasting is the exact opposite. Instead of getting harder and harder, it gets easier and easier.”
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Intermittent Fasting Is A Good Long
As mentioned, with intermittent fasting, you donât have to count calories. This means that you may be happier and less stressed on this diet and may find this diet easier to adhere to long-term. The reason why many diets fail is because people are so miserable while theyâre on them that they can only stick to them for a short while. This may not be the case for everyone, but many people say that intermittent fasting is simply easier, and this allows them to have greater success on this diet.
Why 3 Pm Is A Key Time To Start Eating Less Food
Peeke also recommended that I stick to having lunch be my biggest meal of the day. Theres a study that a majority of Americans eat over the course of 15 to 16 hours out of the day, with the majority of their calories coming after 3 p.m. Its a recipe for disaster, she says, referencing a study published in November 2015 in Cell Metabolism.
Peeke suggested that rather than having my banana protein shake as an evening dessert and not eating anything before exercising, I instead drink it first thing in the morning. This way, the carbs from the banana would give me an instant source of energy to fuel my workout and my body would be processing the carbohydrates at an optimal time of the day.
The switch immediately paid dividends. I had way more energy throughout my workout. Because my body was working at a higher intensity, I was burning more calories than I would be even if Id been doing fasted cardio. Peeke recommended that I try to stay under a 12-hour window of restricted eating, but I was able to manage my dinnertime to keep my eating in a 10-hour window. Although my weight drifted up by 2 lb, it was because I was adding muscle mass instead of fat. The additional muscle in my arms and shoulders were noticeable. And as my body fat percentage got lower, I started to see some veins popping out of my biceps, forearms, and calves.
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Why Might Changing Timing Help
But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An in-depth review of the science of IF recently published in New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function. The article is deep, but worth a read!