Nutrition Strategies To Support Your Muscles
If you choose to use intermittent fasting as a tool for weight loss and health, there are several things you can do to maintain as much muscle as possible.
As discussed, exercising especially weight training can help maintain muscle. A slow and steady rate of weight loss may also help.
Research has shown that you are more likely to lose lean mass, including muscle, when you lose weight quickly .
This means that if you are performing intermittent fasting, you should try to not drastically reduce your calorie intake all at once.
While the ideal rate of weight loss may vary, many experts recommend 12 pounds per week. However, if preserving muscle is your top priority, you may want to shoot for the lower end of this range (
It is possible that adequate protein intake is particularly important when using intermittent fasting, since your body will go for longer periods of time without receiving nutrients .
Summary Important nutritional strategies that may help you maintain muscle during intermittent fasting are attempting a slower rate of weight loss and ensuring adequate protein intake. Choosing nutritious foods is also recommended.
Why You May Not See Results
Although there is research supporting the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, there are many reasons you may not see results. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you may not be eating enough calories during your fasting window. If you severely restrict calories, it can backfire. Sudden under-consumption can lead to metabolic adaptation, a process where your body becomes more efficient at using energy and storing fat which means youll burn less calories. The goal is not to count calories and cut them, its to eat minimally processed, nutritious foods during your eating window until you are full.
If you eat ultra-processed, energy-dense foods during your meals, that could be another reason why youre not getting the results you desire. Fasting can help you burn fat, but it doesnt mean that its magic! Remember to fill your plate with lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
Finally, make sure you drink plenty of water during your fasting window. Hydration helps you feel full and satiated, and its easy to mistake thirst for hunger. If youre not hydrated when you approach your eating window, you may be prone to choose and eat ultra-processed foods.
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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.”
Dangers Of Fasting For Weight Loss
When you dramatically reduce your calorie intake, you will lose weight. But it can also cause all kinds of health problems, including muscle loss. Further, when you start fasting, your body goes into conservation mode, burning calories more slowly.
Keep in mind that the initial weight lost on a fast is primarily fluid or “water weight,” not fat. And when you go back to eating, any lost weight usually gets a return ticket back. Not only do most people regain weight lost on a fast, they tend to add a few extra pounds because a slower metabolism makes it easier to gain weight. Worse, the weight that is regained is likely to be all fat — lost muscle has to be added back at the gym.
Side effects of fasting include dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar, muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue. Prolonged fasting can lead to anemia, a weakened immune system, liver and kidney problems, and irregular heartbeat. Fasting can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle breakdown, and diarrhea. When you drink laxative concoctions during a fast, there is an increased risk of fluid imbalance and dehydration.
The risks get more complicated and severe the longer you stay on a fast, or if you repeatedly go on fasts.
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Choose Your Best Protocol
Krystal began her intermittent fasting journey about a year ago, and she experimented with various protocols until she found the right protocol.
I alternate what kind of fasting I do. Sometimes I stick with a traditional 16:8 fasting period, other times I will do a longer time frame, she says. My longest fast was five days.
Though five days might seem a bit overwhelming to a beginner, Krystal urges readers to find whats best for them. For her journey, Krystal admits, I read a lot about the health benefits of fasting, plus with following a ketogenic diet fasting came naturally as my hunger levels decreased.
Days Water Fasting Plan For Weight Loss
To make sure that you get the most out of this fast, I have divided the fasting period into 3 phases. The first phase or the pre-fasting phase lasts for 2 days, allowing your body to consume less and less solid foods and making your body more comfortable with liquid only diet. The second phase or the water fasting phase is the toughest of all, but by the time you complete this phase, I assure you that you will feel like a new person. Drink neither less nor too much of water. Drinking less water can make you dehydrated and drinking more water can flush out all the salts from your body, which can prove to be fatal. Drink about 1-2 liters of water per day during the water fasting phase. The last phase of breaking the fast is crucial. You have to gradually re-introduce the solid foods or any other liquid food over a period of three days. Eating fruits and veggies in the first and third phases will provide your body with enough vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber to survive the water fasting phase as well as for recuperating from the fast.
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Why This Works
Day 1 allows you to eat a good amount of fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are nutrient-dense foods that will keep you healthy and keep your hunger pangs at bay. Fruits and veggies will also make your skin glow. Probiotics are gut bacteria that help in digestion. The probiotic drink will keep your digestive system healthy.
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When Can I Eat On The 1: 8 Diet
You can pick an 8 hour window to suit your day. So, for example it could be between 10am 6pm or 11am 8pm and so on. Plus, you can still drink tea and coffee outside of those hours too, although because of the benefits of drinking water you are also encouraged to stay as hydrated as possible.
Most people choose to fast through the night, and opt to eat their first meal at about 11am or in the middle of the day.
Tom says, The most common hours adopted for the eating period is 12 till 8pm. The reason for this is because people arent normally that hungry in the morning, you dont want to be consuming too many calories during the evening and this allows us to eat our lunch and dinner as well as a healthy snack.
Eat Plenty Of Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient your body needs to survive and thrive.14 In addition, boosting your protein intake may help speed up your weight loss.
For starters, protein can suppress your appetite by triggering your body to release hormones that help you feel full and satisfied.15
In addition, protein has a higher thermic effect than fat and carbohydrates. This means your body burns slightly more calories digesting protein compared to the two other macronutrients.16
Eating plenty of protein can also help you retain your all-important lean mass and prevent your metabolism from slowing down as you lose weight.17
Indeed, several systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials have shown that higher-protein diets tend to promote weight loss while preserving muscle.18
We recommend consuming 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of reference weight or ideal body weight per day. For example, a woman who currently weighs 170 pounds but whose ideal body weight is 130 pounds would aim to eat 69 to 118 grams of protein per day.19
Check out our list of top 10 high protein foods which includes vegetarian options to see how much protein your favorite foods provide.
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Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight
By Elizabeth Levinson, MDVirtua Family Physician
Americans are always looking for the best, most effective form of weight loss. Thats why the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar business. But diet crazes and fads come and go, and many of them arent effective in the long term. The most recentintermittent fastingis an eating pattern that involves regular, short-term fasts, or periods of time when you eat few or no calories.
Intermittent fasting is receiving attention from the media as it becomes popular amongst celebrities. Supporters say that it promotes weight loss or weight maintenance while helping maintain muscle mass and control insulin levels.
While intermittent fastingalso known as the IF or fast dietis trendy, you might wonder if it actually works AND is safe.
The Birth Of The Dopamine Fast And What It Is Not
In November of 2018, ImprovementPill, a YouTube channel, posted a video about Dopamine fasting, and it went viral. The life coach, Richard, who runs the channel, has been given credit for the idea. Richard himself, according to VICE, states that he had heard of the idea back in college and, while in a rut himself, chose to try it.
Dopamine fasting hit the viral media circus again in August 2019. This time it was in a written by Dr. Cameron Sepah. He wrote the article to clarify what dopamine fasting was and its rules.
According to the article, he defines dopamine fasting as the following:
an evidence-based technique to manage addictive behaviors, by restricting them to specific periods, and practicing fasting from impulsively engaging in them, in order to regain behavioral flexibility.
Dr. Sepah further clarifies that dopamine fasting is NOT that the media purports it to be.
Additionally, he expressed its intention in another article on November 7, 2019, due to multiple reports of others misusing the dopamine fasting, resulting in further polluting of its intent. Of course, its title doesnt help in that misunderstanding.
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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.
Other Advantages To Fasting
Intermittent fasting has a few other benefits, beyond weight loss. After you eat, your body is tied up with the digestion process. Taking a break from food shifts the focus to other areas, like maintaining optimal performance and repairing cell damage. “It gives our bodies time to heal, because they’re not constantly dealing with the influx of nutrients,” Varady says.
And that’s good for your health in general. Early research finds intermittent fasting could help ease things that could harm your heart, like high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol — sometimes significantly.
Courtney Peterson, PhD, an assistant professor in the University of Alabama department of nutrition sciences, studies the effects of intermittent fasting on conditions like diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease. She says some of her participants had their blood pressure drop 10 to 11 points from the practice. “That’s a huge effect. It’s about equivalent to a blood pressure-lowering medicine.”
Most of the health benefits from fasting are likely due to weight loss, and some people with type 2 diabetes could also benefit, she says.
“There is research that suggests that intermittent fasting improves blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes,â Peterson says. âHowever, they need to be more careful about blood sugar drops. Episodes of hypoglycemia are more common than usual.â
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Meal Planning Ideas For Quick Weight Loss
Putting together very-low-carb meals can be simple:
- Start with a generous serving of protein
- Add as many low-carb vegetables as you like
- Use fat as needed for cooking or in salad dressing
- Season with salt, pepper, and spices
- Drink water, coffee, or tea
What about calories? We dont recommend counting calories when trying to lose weight. However, we suggest that you eat only when hungry and stop as soon as you begin to feel full.
Fasting Isnt One Size Fits All
There are several ways to do intermittent fasting, and they all yield similar benefits. So choose the one that seems easiest for you:
- Alternate-day fasting: You move back and forth between one complete fasting day and one day eating and drinking as you normally would. For example, if you eat on Monday, you fast on Tuesday and eat again Wednesday and continue this way through the week.
- Modified fasting: You severely restrict how many calories you eat and drink for two days a week . On the other days of the week, you eat and drink normally. You may have heard of the popular 5:2 diet, which follows this format. For example, on Monday and Thursday you would only eat 500 calories , while on the rest of the days of the week you would eat normally.
- Time-restricted eating: Each day you only eat and drink within a specific timeframe the rest of the time youre fasting. If you usually eat a late breakfast and early dinner, you are already close to this schedule. Try to restrict all of your calorie intake to an eight-hour period. For example, you might eat only between the hours of 12 noon and 8 p.m. every day.
Final Thoughts On Dopamine Fasting
Dopamine fasting, in its original intention, stands to hold a lot of benefits for those who approach it with a healthy mindset. Many of us have habitual behaviors that could use some reigning in. Therefore, it enables us to make time for calmer activities, family, and friends. Additionally, youll find personal alone time to reflect.
Dopamine fasting can be a great method for your average person with a touch of obsessive behavior toward one or a few stimuli. Anyone who has an actual addiction should seek out specialists and therapists to better address the problem.
Unless a person chooses to attempt to take out everything in his life that creates a rise in excitement and stimulation, there is no harm in giving this a try. Between self-reflection, increased exercise, and hopefully calmer use of your time, it stands to hold many overall benefits. As the experts explained, dopamine fasting can help clear your mind and make you lose weight fast!
Loss Of Lean Body Mass
In one study, scientists proved that it’s possible to destroy as much as 13 pounds of lean body mass during a 21-day water fast.
Now, maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t really care about how much muscle mass they lose during a water fast.
Maybe you just want to get rid of that annoying body fat as quickly as possible, and you’re willing to sacrifice some lean body mass as you do that.
But even if that’s you, you should know that the single most important muscle in your body that can suffer because of this is your heart.
And while a short water fast isn’t likely to cause any serious damage your heart, I’m telling you about this stuff to make sure you always stay on the safe side with fasting.
But still. If you ask me, losing even a single pound of muscle mass mass as you go after a quick drop of that number on your scale isn’t really worth it.
Especially since science has already discovered a better and more effective way of fasting.
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