Intermittent Fasters: Two Ways To Know
Inverse talked to five intermittent fasters on Reddit to find out: how do you know your intermittent fasting regimen works?
Their responses echo some of the researchersâ replies, too: They observed changes within their body and these changes tended to include weight loss. Hereâs what they had to say:
- âI started for weight maintenance, and itâs been good for that,â writes Patrick, a 30-year-old based in Australia.
- âMy resting heart rate has gone down by 40 points ,â writes Reddit user u/mogli_170, who is 27 years old. âMy weight has reduced a significant amount .â
- âThe reasons that I feel that is working for me are that Iâm losing weight in a steady way,â writes Reddit user u/RS_Stylish, who is a 24-year-old man.
- âI guess I know itâs working because itâs the steadiest, most consistent weight loss Iâve ever achieved,â writes Reddit user u/Miszteek, who is a 35-year-old woman. âI fasted for two weeks sans exercise and lost the same amount of weight as the two weeks in which I did exercise.â
Essentially these responses boil down to two quantifiable things: Steady weight loss and a lower resting heart rate.
But much of the fastersâ enthusiasm for the regimen seems to stem from other, more qualitative factors â intermittent fasting was something people could realistically maintain, and intermittent fasting resulted, perhaps most crucially, in a change of their relationship with food and dieting.
Listen To Your Bodys Signals
Perhaps theres no better sign than when your body lets you know that something isnt right. Feeling lightheaded, having issues with coordination, and experiencing blurred vision are all ways that your body tries to get your attention.
If you experience any of these things during a workout, you most likely need to stop exercising immediately. Consult your doctor so that you can adjust your exercise and fasting plan accordingly. Burning fat is a good thing, but when youre sacrificing your healthsay, if you pass out while holding heavy weights or during a runit’s not worth it.
Your Energy Levels And Moods Will Fluctuate
Research has shown that fasting can cause some people to feel fatigued, dizzy, irritable and depressed.
In the beginning, your energy levels might be low because youre not getting the proper nutrients that you need, said Sharon Zarabi, a registered dietitian and bariatric program director at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
As your body gets used to intermittent fasting, your energy levels will pick back up. Your body becomes more efficient at using energy and this helps improve mood, mental ability and long-term performance, Zarabi said.
Theres even some evidence that suggests intermittent fasting can ultimately help fight depression and anxiety. The body releases a hormone called ghrelin when youre hungry or fasting, which in high amounts has been associated with an elevated mood.
Also Check: How To Do Intermittent Fasting
The Lean Gains Approach: 16 Hours Off/8 Hours On
Berkhans Lean Gains method is designed for lifters and fitness enthusiasts who also have a real life. Its also easy for people with regular working hours to maintain. Its not very hard to eat lunch at noon, when you ate something at 8-9 pm the previous day, once you get used to skipping breakfast, says Berkhan.
The approach is favorable because a 16-hour period is long enough to trigger autophagy , while an 8-hour eating window may be more conducive to fat loss for some. And you can eat around your training, placing an emphasis on eating plenty of protein, controlling carbs, and scheduling meals around your workouts.
Berkhan himself, like many Lean Gains enthusiasts, doesnt eat a full meal before training. Instead, he opts to consume some BCAAs in advance of his workout. DOrazio suggests a different approach. He says that in order to maximize training performance and maintain muscle, someone on a 16/8 fasting split should try and eat at least one meal before their workout, and place their training session in the middle of their eating window.
Intermittent Fasting: Is It Right For You
U-M dietitian Sue Ryskamp weighs in on intermittent fasting benefits, who it works best for and how to get started
Weight loss can be difficult, but could intermittent fasting help? This eating pattern, which features cycles of fasting and eating, is making headlines as research confirms its not only what you eat, but when you eat, that matters in the struggle to lose weight.
During intermittent fasting, individuals use specific periods of eating typically within an eight-to-10 hour window to lose weight, says Michigan Medicine dietitian Sue Ryskamp, who sees patients at U-Ms Frankel Cardiovascular Center.
The premise behind intermittent fasting is relatively simple, she says: When our insulin levels go down far enough and for long enough, as they do during a fasting period, were able burn off fat.
Insulin levels drop when a person is not consuming food. During a period of fasting, decreasing insulin levels cause cells to release stored glucose as energy. Repeating this process regularly, as with intermittent fasting, leads to weight loss. In addition, this type of fasting often results in the consumption of fewer calories overall, which contributes to weight loss, Ryskamp says.
A Harvard research study also reveals how intermittent fasting may slow the aging process through weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.
How To Know If Intermittent Fasting Is Working
You decided to start intermittent fasting. You chose your method, maybe you created a meal plan to help you minimize cravings and you planned your workouts. But how to know if intermittent fasting is working? Youve been doing it for a while, you think youre seeing some results, but youre not quite sure if its working.
The answer depends mostly on your goals. If youre on this journey to lose weight, you may think the scale is the best measurement. This is not always true. If youre also working out, you might be gaining muscle and losing fat, so other measurements, such as your waist circumference will be better at indicating results. The Health benefits of intermittent fasting may take weeks or even months to be visible. However, if you find youre having more energy, sleeping better, you find it easier to focus on your tasks during the day, and have better blood sugar management, it means intermittent fasting is working.
Lets dive deeper into this topic and explore all the signs that show you how to know if intermittent fasting is working for you.
How Is My Athletic Performance Affected While Intermittent Fasting
Again, this depends on your fasting plan. A lighter schedule, such as 16/8 intermittent fasting, is easy to combine with working out. However, other methods, such as OMAD and multi-day fasting, may be more difficult for those who count on their athletic performance for competitions or their vocation.
A study was conducted in 2009 during Ramadan, a month-long fast from sunrise to sunset in Islamic practice, which involved testing practicing Muslim athletes and their athletic performance. The results stated that the fast imposes a major challenge to Islamic athletes. They experienced fatigue however, the effects were lessened with those who were conscious about getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods.
Another study confirmed the fact that proper sleep habits and nutrient intakeboth hydration and caloricaided in better performance. In short, if you are a competitive athlete who’s practicing intermittent fasting, you need to concentrate on the basics of quality sleep, staying hydrated, and being conscious about when and where your calories come from.
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Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Research is limited on how well intermittent fasting works for weight loss. Some studies have indicated that it can help people lose weight in just a matter of weeks, while others found no weight-loss benefit at all.
It may also depend on the type of intermittent fasting schedule that you choose. Here’s what research says about three of the most popular intermittent fasting methods:
- 16/8 intermittent fasting. A 2020 study of 116 adults found no significant difference in weight loss between a group that limited all calorie intake to between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day and a control group that was allowed three meals per day, plus snacks. Notably, the 12-week study found fasting could lead to loss of muscle mass.
- Alternate-day fasting. A 2017 study that compared an alternate-day fasting plan with a typical calorie restriction diet found no significant difference in weight loss between participants. The study involved 100 obese participants, and there was a significant dropout rate only 69% of the subjects stayed until the end.
- 5:2 intermittent fasting. A 2013 study found that, from a sample of 115 overweight women, those who tried a 5:2 intermittent fasting diet for 3 months lost more fat and experienced a greater reduction of insulin resistance than women who followed a standard calorie-restricted diet for the same time period.
Intermittent Fasting And Morning Workout Tips
When you start, measuring your progress as described above, and following these tips, you should feel stronger and more athletic, not weaker.
Follow Rule #1: Eat enough
Many people on IF plans lose weight because its harder to overeat in a shorter time window. But, under-eating is just as problematic, especially if you are trying to maximize your results from a workout plan.
Track your calories and make sure youre eating enough. We share how to calculate and track your calories in our 30-Day Weight Loss Challenge.
Follow Rule #2: Hydrate like crazy
Just because youre not eating, doesnt mean youre not drinking water. Do not let fasting cause dehydration. Start your day with a big glass of water and carry a full water bottle with you as a reminder.
Drink at least one half of your body weight in ounces. For example, an individual who weighs 200 pounds should drink at least 100 ounces or three full Nalgene bottles.
If you want to keep it really simple and avoid math, just try drinking a gallon of water a day and see how you feel.
Ease into it and optimize
Be patient during your transition. Youll likely find that on moderate to high-intensity workout days you want to eat right after.
If you cant resist the hunger, have a banana and peanut butter. If it doesnt get easier, move your workouts closer to the start of your eating window.
You be the judge
Also Check: How To Do Fasting To Lose Weight
Tips And Tricks About Fasting
#1) Dont freak out! Stop wondering: can I fast 15 hours instead of 16? or what if I eat an apple during my fasted period, will that ruin everything? Relax. Your body is a complex piece of machinery and learns to adapt. Everything is not as cut and dry as you think.
If you want to eat breakfast one day but not another, thats okay. If you are going for optimal aesthetic or athletic performance, I can see the need to be more rigid in your discipline, but otherwisefreaking chill out and dont stress over minutiae!
Dont let perfect be the enemy of good when it comes to your intermittent fasting plan.
#2) Consider fasted walks in the morning. I found these to be very helpful in reducing body fat, and also gave my day a great start to clear my mind and prepare for the day.
Simply wake up and go for a mile walk. Maybe you could even start walking to Mordor?
#3) Listen to your body during your strength training workouts. If you get light headed, make sure you are consuming enough water.
If you notice a significant drop in performance, make sure you are eating enough calories during your feasting window.
And if you feel severely off, pause your workout. Give yourself permission to EASE into intermittent fasting and fasted workouts. This is especially true if you are an endurance athlete.
#4) Expect funny looks if you spend a lot of mornings with breakfast eaters.
#7) Track your results, listen to your body:
This is just one tool that can contribute to your success.
Popular Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has recently become a health trend. Devotees claim it can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, and maybe even extend life span.
Every method can be effective, but figuring out which one works best depends on the individual.
Several methods of this eating pattern exist. But before embarking on an intermittent fast or deciding how often to fast, you should speak with a healthcare professional.
Here are 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
Isnt It Important To Have Breakfast Every Morning
Not necessarily. This appears to be an old misconception, based on speculation and statistics, and it does not hold up when its tested.57 Skipping your morning meal gives your body more time to burn fat for energy. Since hunger is lowest in the morning, it may be easiest to skip it and break your fast later in the day.58
Top 6 Questions About Intermittent Fasting
1) Wont I get really hungry if I start skipping meals?
As explained above, this can be a result of the habits you have built for your body. If you are constantly eating or always eat the same time of day, your body can actually learn to prepare itself for food by beginning the process of insulin production and preparation for food.
After a brief adjustment period, your body can adapt to the fact that its only eating a few times a day. The more overweight you are, and the more often you eat, the more of an initial struggle this might be.
Remember, your bodys physical and cognitive abilities most likley wont be diminished as a result of short term fasting.
2) Where will I get my energy for my workouts? Wont I be exhausted and not be able to complete my workouts if fasting?
This was a major concern of mine as well, but the research says otherwise: Training with limited carbohydrate availability can stimulate adaptations in muscle cells to facilitate energy production via fat oxidation.
In other words, when you train in a fasted state, your body can get better at burning fat for energy when there are no carbs to pull from!
Ill share some of my experiences, now doing heavy strength training for 3 years in a fasted state:
Here I am pulling 420 lbs. at 172 BW after a 16 hour fast:
A post shared by Steve Kamb on Nov 21, 2018 at 10:43am PST
LeanGains digs into various options here, but here is really what you need to know:
4) Wont fasting cause muscle loss?
Also Check: How Does Fasting Affect Your Body
Benefits Of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
16/8 intermittent fasting is a popular diet because its easy to follow, flexible and sustainable in the long term.
Its also convenient, as it can cut down on the amount of time and money you need to spend on cooking and preparing food each week.
In terms of health, 16/8 intermittent fasting has been associated with a long list of benefits, including:
- Increased weight loss: Not only does restricting your intake to a few hours per day help cut calories over the course of the day, but studies also show that fasting could boost metabolism and increase weight loss (
16/8 intermittent fasting is easy to follow, flexible and convenient. Animal and human studies suggest that it may increase weight loss, improve blood sugar levels, enhance brain function and extend longevity.
This Is Your Body On Intermittent Fasting
Its no surprise that intermittent fasting is one of the most popular types of eating plans. You dont need to measure out food or buy any prepackaged shakes. There are no required weigh-ins or calorie counting. All you really have to do is not eat during certain hours. Its pretty simple.
There are different ways to go about it, of course. Most people do the 16:8 diet, in which you fast for 16 hours and then eat within an eight-hour window. Theres also the 5:2 diet, where you drastically cut back on calories just two days a week, and there are 24-hour fasts, where you dont eat anything one day each month.
Regardless of the method, significantly restricting when you eat can throw your body for a loop and cause a handful of odd side effects. Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone.
Its important to know what to expect before you jump into any new eating habit. Heres what happens to you mentally, physically and emotionally when youre fasting intermittently.
Read Also: What To Have During Intermittent Fasting
Pointer #: Time Eating Around Workouts
As youll see throughout this ebook, theres no one best way to organize fasting and non-fasting periods. Self-experimentation can show you what works best for you.
However, most people find they do best when they schedule their workouts on the days theyre better fed. It allows them to have enough energy for workouts as well as nutrients for recovery.
In this regard,the intermittent part of IF can work more effectively than a standard caloric deficit.
For instance, if you were cutting calories by 75 percent three days a week and eating normally on the other four, your workout schedule might look like this:
|Low intensity only|
Everything You Wanted To Know About Intermittent Fasting From A Dietitian
As a dietitian, I often get asked about intermittent fasting. What is it? Are there any benefits to intermittent fasting ? How long do I have to go without eating? Can I work out when I fast? Who should not do Intermittent Fasting?
We are a 24/7 nation. Food is available about every place you turn. We are bombarded with commercials about fast food and we have delivery companies that will deliver food anytime, anywhere from your favorite restaurants. Food is easily accessible all of the time. And most people find it difficult to fast.
Over the years as portion sizes have increased, so has our waist size and risk for CVD and type 2 diabetes. In fact, an estimated 88 million Americans have prediabetes. And most of them donât know they have it. Pre-diabetes puts you at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Before considering intermittent fasting, check with your doctor, especially if you have been diagnosed with a chronic disease or if you are on certain medications that require you to take them with food.