What Intermittent Fasting Isnt
One reason why intermittent fasting doesnt work for many is because they use it as a licence to eat everything they want. If thats the reason why youre looking to start intermittent fasting, youll run into trouble.
Its not a diet its an eating pattern. Keto is a diet . The Zone is a diet .
A diet gives you specific food choices or a ratio of nutrients. Intermittent fasting only gives you an eating schedule. And the schedule itself cant compensate for poor food choices or too much food.
Yes, you can indulge a bit more when using an intermittent fasting approach. But if you turn it into an all-you-can-eat crap-fest, youll be in for a world of trouble!
Intermittent fasting can be done with any type of nutrient ratio. You can do keto intermittent fasting, Zone intermittent fasting, high carb intermittent fasting, etc. But what you cant do if you want to see favorable results is crap-fest intermittent fasting.
First itll make you gain fat. Youll also feel like a bloated turd. But more importantly, itll just reinforce bad eating habits and make it even harder to come back to eating clean.
Intermittent Fasting While Pregnant
Like childhood and adolescence, pregnancy is a time of intense growth.
Weight gain is a desired outcome of a developing pregnancy, and is a sign of a healthy, growing baby.
Even though weight gain during this time is wanted, many women feel uneasy about the upward-creeping scale. Women who are especially body-conscious, or those who wanted to lose weight before pregnancy may still think about weight loss during this time.
Some women may even be advised by a doctor to manage weight during pregnancy.
Even if weight management is suggested by a medical professional, fasting is not appropriate during this time.
Instead of restricting food, focus on increasing nutrition: aiming to get adequate protein, healthy fats, quality carbohydrates, colorful vegetables, and fruits.
For more information on nutrition during pregnancy, check out our infographic: What to eat during pregnancy.
You can also improve health and regulate weight gain by exercising, provided thats been cleared by your doctor. If youre curious about what to do, weve got an infographic for that too: How to exercise during pregnancy.
Why Is If Better Than A Regular Diet
Depending on the diet, intermittent fasting may reduce the amount of muscle loss and avoid the decrease in metabolism thats often seen with longer-term calorie restriction . Nothing in particular says it is better, compared to any other. Its just another tool to try, and one that happens to be very effective.
Also Check: Can You Drink Alcohol While Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Actual Fat Unlike Most Diets
When someone says they want to lose weight, they actually mean they want to lose body fat.
Ideally you dont want to lose muscle mass, nor do you want to; lose much water . This type of weight loss does not reduce fat stores and serves no good purpose.
Research indicates that fasting helps you lose more fat mass and less muscle mass or water weight than very low calorie diets or weight loss cleanses and detoxes.
This review study found that intermittent fasting helped people cut 4-7% from their waist circumference over a period of 24 weeks. That means they lost actual belly fat, which is the harmful fat around the organs .
These findings are in line with a more recent review study that looked at all the current evidence.
The researchers found that compared to following a very low calorie diet a type of intermittent fasting called alternate day fasting caused an average of 8.4 lb extra fat loss .
Summary:;When you lose weight, you want it t come from fat stores and not muscle or water. Research indicates that intermittent fasting causes more fat loss than a very low calorie diet.
How This One Buddhist Teaching Turned My Life Around
My lowest ebb was around 6 years ago.
I was a guy in my mid-20s who was lifting boxes all day in a warehouse. I had few satisfying relationships with friends or women and a monkey mind that wouldnt shut itself off.
During that time, I lived with anxiety, insomnia and way too much useless thinking going on in my head.
My life seemed to be going nowhere. I was a ridiculously average guy and deeply unhappy to boot.
The turning point for me was when I discovered Buddhism.
In many ways, Buddhism is all about letting things go. Letting go helps us break away from negative thoughts and behaviors that do not serve us, as well as loosening the grip on all our attachments.
Fast forward 6 years and Im now the founder of Hack Spirit, one of the leading self improvement blogs on the internet.
Just to be clear: Im not a Buddhist. I have no spiritual inclinations at all. Im just a regular guy who turned his life around by adopting some amazing teachings from eastern philosophy.
Recommended Reading: Does Fasting Help With Belly Fat
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.
Why We Get The Feels For Fasting
Its catching on among the mainstream dieters now, although fasting has gone in and out of style for ages. Its popularity is on the rise because of short-sighted beliefs like this:
- If you dont eat, you lose weight.
- I should be able to eat what I want and lose weight.
Its true, not eating for 16 hours will automatically conjure images of huge weight loss in an average persons brain. So right off the bat theyre convinced that itll work. It even FEELS like its working when you learn to suppress your hunger that long.
Then if their particular fast allows them to indulge in foods at the end of the fasting period, theyre sold!
How To Get Started With Intermittent Fasting
There are several types of intermittent fasting you can follow:
- The 16/8 or Leangains Method: Fast for 16 hours per day and eat in the remaining 8-hour window. Most people will skip breakfast and eat from 1pm to 9pm for example.
- The 5:2 Diet: Eat normally for 5 days of the week, but only eat up to 600 calories on the other two days.
- Eat-Stop-Eat or Spontaneous Fasting: Fast for a 12 or 24 hour period multiple times per week. There is no real schedule for this one.
- Alternate Day Fasting: Fast for one day and eat normally the next day. Continue to alternate days of fasting and normal eating.
You can view a more detailed description of each type here.
May Support Sustainable Weight Loss
According to a 2019 review published in Current Obesity Reports, nearly all studies done on intermittent fasting have found its beneficial for some degree of fat loss, ranging from 2.5-9.9%. Some research suggests this is because intermittent fasting may improve the balance of some fat-burning hormones in the body, boosting metabolism to promote weight loss. However, other studies conclude that the fat loss associated with intermittent fasting is explained by the caloric restriction that almost always accompanies it and that it is not any more effective for weight loss than restricting caloric intake.
Also Check: Is Fasting Necessary For A1c Test
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!
Why Its Hard For Women To Get A Six
We know low-energy diets can reduce fertility in women. So can being super lean. 3 4 5
When you think about it, it makes good evolutionary sense that the body might want a little emergency padding on the abdomen.
Human females are unique in the mammalian world. Get this: Nearly all other mammals can terminate or pause a pregnancy when conditions arent right.
If it doesnt seem like a good time to raise young, embryonic development is paused until conditions improve .6
Youve known this since middle school health class: Female humans cant pause pregnancies.
In humans, the placenta breaches the maternal blood vessels, and the fetus is in complete control.
The baby can block the action of insulin in order to hoard more glucose for itself. It can even make the mothers blood vessels dilate, adjusting blood pressure to get more nutrients.
That baby is determined to survive no matter what the cost to the mother. This phenomenon, which scientists actually compare to the host-virus relationship, is whats known as maternal-fetal conflict.7 8
Once a woman becomes pregnant, she cant sweet-talk the fetus to stop growing. The result: Fertility at the wrong timelike, during a famine could be fatal.
Hence, a little calorie-storage pooch is reproductively protective in case times get tough.
Read Also: Do Fasting Help You Lose Weight
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting.
Most types of this dietary pattern focus on limiting your meals and snacks to a specific time window typically between 6 and 8 hours of the day.
For example, 16/8 intermittent fasting involves restricting food intake to just 8 hours per day and abstaining from eating during the remaining 16 hours.
Other types involve fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week or significantly cutting calorie intake a few days per week but eating normally during the others.
Although most people practice intermittent fasting to enhance weight loss, it has been associated with many other health benefits as well. In fact, studies show that intermittent fasting may improve blood sugar levels, decrease cholesterol, and boost longevity .
Intermittent fasting is a popular eating pattern that restricts your food intake to a specific time window. It doesnt limit the types or amount of food you eat.
Are There Any Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting For Women
Based on what we know, intermittent fasting probably affects reproductive health if the body sees it as a significant stressor.
Anything that affects your reproductive health affects your overall health and fitness.
Even if you dont plan to have biological kids.
But intermittent fasting protocols vary, with some being much more extreme than others. And factors such as your age, your nutritional status, the length of time you fast, and the other stressors in your lifeincluding exerciseare also likely relevant.
And, as we mentioned in the research update box above, there may be some support for trying intermittent fasting in women who have PCOS.
But for most women, intermittent fasting is probably not the best approach.
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You Simply Don’t Want To Eat In A Designated Time Frame
It takes a lot of mental strength to commit to IF. “It takes a lot of willpower to go for extended periods of time without food,” says Calder. “If you’re not mentally ready to do this, you could potentially develop an unhealthy relationship with food. Fasting periods may cause you to obsess over food, leading to overeating and bingeing during non-fasting periods.” Instead of adhering to a strict IF diet, try these 11 Mindfulness Hacks to Eat Less, According to Experts to cut back on calories.
So Why Doesnt Intermittent Fasting Work For Everyone
Its common knowledge that theres no one-size-fits all diet.
So its puzzling that so many people believe that intermittent fasting could be the golden boy.
Yes, some people make mistakes that blunt the benefits of intermittent fasting, but in some cases, no mistakes are made.;
Intermittent fasting is just the straw that broke the camels back.
FASTING is stressful for the body.
Earlier in the report, we discussed how chronic stress can barrage your body with all kinds of harmful implications like anxiety, depression, problems with digestion, trouble sleeping, low energy levels, trouble getting it up, trouble getting in the mood, and most importantly
Weight loss resistance.
Well, fasting is another stress on the body.
That means when youre going long periods of time without eating, your body releases stress hormones.;
When cortisol is released, most of your bodily systems are suppressed.
Digestive system, reproductive system, immune system, and more.
Read Also: What Are Intermittent Fasting Hours
Restrictive Eating Can Influence Disordered Eating
Any diet that supports skipping meals or restrictive eating can trigger some not-so-great food relationships. Especially when the positive weight loss effects are directly impacted by not eating, or restricting food intake.;
This isn’t a great mindset to go into fasting with and can lead some people to take intermittent fasting too far, developing disordered eating patterns, or getting caught up in a yo-yo dieting cycle.
Not to mention that not eating enough calories each day to meet your basic needs can lead to nutrient deficiencies, decrease your immunity and create havoc in your body.;
Whatever your reason for wanting to intermittent fast, remember to incorporate basic nutrition principles including calorie control and a balanced diet to set yourself up for success.;
Going rouge during your non-fasting periods can sabotage any hopes you have for reaping the health benefits when intermittent fasting.
Let us help take the guesswork out of your meals and meal prep. Order ready-to-eat macro balanced meals delivered directly to your home. We’ve got the food and tools you need for success in your health and wellness and are rooting you on.;
Focus on your journey, we’ll take care of the food.;
Intermittent Fasting And Muscle Growth
Intermittent fasting is not a good way to build muscle. Sure, youll find examples of people whove added muscle using it, but we dont know the whole story. Their fasting may have been what they were doing at the time, but it doesnt necessarily mean that it was the cause of their muscle growth.
Were they beginner lifters? Were they eating a crap diet prior to that? Did they use anabolic assistance? Were they training inconsistently? Did they stop doing tons of cardio? There are a ton of different things that may have lead to their gains.
I do believe a small percentage of people can build muscle on it, but for the rest of us it wont lead to hypertrophy. Some will be able to maintain their muscle mass and others will actually lose muscle.
I used intermittent fasting for 3-4 months at a time, but they were never periods where I wanted to build muscle. Heck, one time I used intermittent fasting because I needed to get smaller! Ive used it to lose fat, lose size, to experiment, to be able to eat what I wanted without gaining fat, and to create a fat loss program for clients.
But Ive never built noticeable muscle mass with it, nor have I used it with a client who wanted to build muscle at an optimal rate.
Recommended Reading: How Much Weight Can You Lose In 2 Weeks Fasting
Why This Diet Didnt Work For Me
Even though I had great results from this intermittent fasting diet, in some ways, this diet did more harm than good. About one or two months after I started fasting, I experienced mood swings which Ive never experienced before. I was depressed at times while anxiety would take over during the other times.
I would be on my afternoon walks and thoughts like my life doesnt matter or no one in my family cares about me or everyone would be so much happier if Im dead would creep and dominate my mind but I didnt dare tell my doctors or my family about these symptoms as my mind has ways of jumping to the worst conclusions. I was also sure my hormones was out of whack from all the stress I was putting on my body from not eating.
Slowly, I was noticing I was always angry, irritated, and frustrated. I began fighting with my mom over the smallest things. I even fought with her on Christmas Eve. Over what, exactly? I cannot recall.
I would scream and shout like a child having tantrums even though my brain would tell me thats not what I do.
Now I know my body was full-on revolting at this point not only my thyroid hormone were out of whack, I could feel my female hormones were screwed up too as my cycle became incredibly erratic. I complained to my mom once and she told me it wasnt good because it would cause me to age faster.
I was probably 3 months into the diets when the overeating began. Every meal felt like the last and no matter what it was, I ate until I felt over-full.