Frequently Asked Questions Concerns And Complaints
Im a woman. Should I do anything differently?
I havent worked with women on implementing an intermittent fasting schedule, so I cant speak from experience on this one.
That said, I have heard that women may find a wider window of eating to be more favorable when doing daily intermittent fasting. While men will typically fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours. The best advice I can give anyone, not just women, is to experiment and see what works best for you. Your body will give you signals. Follow what your body responds favorably to.
Also, if youre a female, there is an allfemale page on Facebook that discusses intermittent fasting. Im sure you could find a ton of great answers and support there.
I could never skip breakfast. How do you do it?
I dont. Breakfast foods are my favorite, so I just eat them at 1pm each day.
Also, if you eat a big dinner the night before, I think youll be surprised by how much energy you have in the morning. Most of the worries or concerns that people have about intermittent fasting are due to the fact that they have had it pounded into them by companies that they need to eat breakfast or they need to eat every three hours and so on. The science doesnt support it and neither do my personal experiences.
I thought you were supposed to eat every 3 hours?
Here’s why this was a popular idea for a brief period of time:
Here’s the problem:
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.
The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
In the Obesity Code, Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking.
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Intermittent Fasting: What Is It And Is It Safe
Intermittent fasting may seem like a recent trend, but actually, humans have periodically refrained from eating for millennia for a host of reasons: Believe it or not, physicians of yesteryear used to prescribe fasting to treat a host of ailments, while ancient philosophers pushed their plates away in attempts to boost their mental clarity. Fasting has also been a form of political protestthink: the hunger strikes of Mahatma Gandhi, Irish Republican prisoners in the 1980s, or British and American suffragettes in the early 1900s.
To this day, avoiding food is a regular part of many religions. Traditionally, Muslims forgo food and beverage during daylight throughout Ramadan Jews skip eating and drinking on Yom Kippur and Hindus and Buddhists fast weekly.
Now fasting is trickling into the secular spotlight due to media coverage that claims intermittent fasting not only leads to weight loss and boosts metabolism but that it may also curtail cancer risk and even extend lifespan.
But is intermittent fasting, a practice thats both ancient and newly trendy, as effective as some attest? Below, we take a closer look.
What is intermittent fasting? The ultimate guide
The theory is that this process may strengthen some cells ability to withstand additional stressors, which explains the potential link between IF and delayed aging as well as a reduced risk of cancer risk. But the benefits have yet to be proven.
Different types of intermittent fasting
How Much Weight Can You Lose On 1: 8 Diet
To lose weight on the 16:8 diet, its important to match the fasting with healthy eating and exercise. If done so correctly, theres a typical weight loss of around seven to 11 pounds over a ten week period. This is according to a review of 40 different studies published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrincology who found that on average, someone weighing just over 90kg would lose 5% of their total body weight in the ten week period.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Eating revealed that the 16:8 diet plan can help people lose weight, without having to count calories as the 8-hour fast produces the same kind of calorific restriction and weight loss.
However, whether theres a distinct weight loss advantage achieved on the 16:8 diet compared to other diets remains to be seen. Some studies have demonstrated that theres almost no difference between people who do intermittent fasting compared those who count calories and cut back on unhealthy food.
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Intermittent Fasting Vs Calorie Restriction
Hereâs where it gets tricky: calorie restriction can also lead to weight loss and changes in cardio-metabolic markers.
Some mouse studies have kept calories constant to evaluate intermittent fasting independently and only changed the feeding schedule. They have compared a regime of caloric restriction with intermittent fasting to a regime of calorie restriction alone. These studies have yielded somewhat mixed results, so there are no clear answers to be had there.
One human study on intermittent fasting, which involved changing only the timing of peopleâs meals without any calorie restriction, found very negligible results for participants.
This interplay can make it hard to know whatâs really behind the weight loss, blood pressure changes, insulin and glucose regulation, and other effects seen in research and people who follow intermittent fasting regimens. Is it the timing, or the reduction in calories that yields results?
âI think thatâs mainly just driven by people eating less.â
Three of the five fasters Inverse interviewed also practice a ketogenic diet, have cut out certain foods , or exercise while intermittent fasting, which may contribute to their results.
But Longo tells Inverse that this kind of drastic restriction isnât recommended.
Measurements & Tools I Use
- A scale. I use the Weight Gurus Digital Scale with smartphone tracking. This particular scale measures weight, body fat, muscle mass and more.
- Weight loss tracking app. I love the Happy Scale mobile iOS app . It shows how your weight loss is trending, allows you to break your goals down into smaller milestone goals and can predict based on your current weight loss rate when you will hit your goals and more.
The above two are the most helpful and what my friends and I use daily. The below are additional things Ive done to measure success . I love data, so I choose to do the following as well:
- Visual Progress. Take before photos! You may feel uncomfortable especially when youre first getting started, but youll be thankful for them later.
- Measurements. I also decided to take measurements using a flexible measuring tape when I first started and every four weeks or so. Sometimes the scale doesnt accurately show all of your progress and photos, and measurements tell a better story.
- MyFitnessPal. I use this app to track my calories on Eat Days . I only do this to get a sense of how much Im eating and make sure Im eating more than enough on Eat days.
- Detailed spreadsheet.In a spreadsheet I created for myself, I track all of the above and have used it to identify daily/weekly trends and help me figure out how to further experiment with IF. This has been a highly requested spreadsheet, and I hope to share the template in the very near future!
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Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss Meal Plan
The plan that has proven to be the easiest to integrate into everyday life is the 16/8 method. It is basically up to you which 16 out of 24 hours you decide not to eat.
However, it is helpful to fit the 8 hours of sleep into the fasting period. This way, you shorten the fasting period to 8 hours a day.
Therefore, it makes little sense to skip lunch. However, some people have accomplished results by skipping lunch based on their unique daily routines.
Nonetheless, the sample intermittent fasting weight loss meal plan is limited to lunch and dinner since most people like to eat dinner with their family.
- Lunch: Avocado tuna salad with egg
- Dinner: Pork chops baked with cheese and steamed broccoli in olive oil
- Lunch: Chicken mayonnaise salad with cucumber, avocado, onion, and walnuts
- Dinner: Roasted chicken legs with cauliflower puree
- Lunch: Ground beef lettuce wraps with cheddar cheese, onion, and bell pepper
- Dinner: Chicken stuffed with cream cheese, served with roasted asparagus
- Lunch: Roasted pork belly, served with steamed kohlrabi
- Dinner: Mackerel fried in coconut oil with kale and toasted pine nuts
- Lunch: Grilled salmon with a salad of leafy greens, feta, and tomato
- Dinner: Ribeye steak with butter and coleslaw
- Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil, feta cheese, olives, and lettuce
- Dinner: Pasture-raised beef burger with tomato, onion, cheese, and kale
What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Heres what the science says about the ways IF might help you get healthier.
One study with 150 participants for 50 weeks showed IF to be as effective as a diet that restricts calories other small studies have shown that IF will help you lose weight in the short-term. A review of 27 trials found that weight loss from .8 percent to 13 percent of baseline body weight occurred with IF, though the researchers pointed out that larger studies of longer duration are needed. In 16 of the studies that measured BMI, the participants BMI decreased by 4.3 percent, says Kelly. Reducing the daily eating window may also decrease caloric intake for the whole day, resulting in weight loss without restrictive calorie counting.
Chronic inflammation is associated with a long list of health conditions, including dementia, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, says Cohen. While mice studies have demonstrated that short periods of fasting show a reduction in inflammatory markers, a small human study showed IF reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory factors such as homocysteine and C reactive protein, which contribute to the development of plaque in the arteries. Another small eight-week study in overweight patients showed an improvement of asthma symptoms including better pulmonary function.
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Intermittent Fasting The Best For Weight Loss
Ive been a personal trainer and nutrition coach since the mid-2000s and intermittent fasting is without a doubt the most effective diet for weight loss and slowing aging . Its also very simple to follow since youll just be restricting the times youre allowed to eat.
With intermittent fasting your body doesnt have any calories coming in. This allows your body to feed off your fat stores as an energy source . Since youre restricting your feeding hours youll instantly be cutting down on how many calories youre eating . Lowering your caloric intake does play a significant role in how much weight youre able to lose .
Finally, your body will release fat-burning hormones such as human growth hormone . This helps to preserve lean muscle mass which is needed to get a toned and slim physique . But dont worry about getting big bulky muscle mass from fasting.
But a lot of the weight youll lose with intermittent fasting depends on how much you have to lose in the first place. If you only have 10 pounds or so to lose then the results will be lesser if only doing it for a short time. But if you have more than 30 pounds to lose then your results will be much more.
You can expect to lose the most weight in the beginning few months and then itll start to slow down from there. And if youre trying to break through a weight-loss plateau then fasting for longer hours can get you there too .
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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You Are Not Drinking Enough Water
If you are reading, drink some water right now. Intermittent fasting restricts your meal times but places no restrictions on water drinking throughout the day.
Drink enough water to stay hydrated during your fast. You can also take tea or black coffee to replenish your lost fluids without breaking your fast.
Drinking water can keep you full till your next eating period. Therefore it keeps you from snacking and packing on extra calories.
Staying hydrated is important for your overall health. If you are exercising, you ought to drink even more water to replace what you lost through sweat.
You might also need to change your lifestyle to include better sleep if you are thinking of starting intermittent fasting.
How Much Weight Can You Lose In A Month
Well, this another question to which theres no exact answer because each body reacts differently to a fast.
But generally, the first days are very crucial. When you will fast for the first time, you will compel your body to a new style of eating.
What happens is it will get confused if I can say this. Thats why the first days of fasting, the body can burn more fat.
When I did the alternate-day fasting, I lost 9kgs in my first week.
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Tips For Intermittent Fasting For Healthy Weight Loss
Are there ways to use intermittent fasting to make sure you lose weight in a healthy way?
Yes! Here are our top tips:
May Help With Inflammation
Some types of intermittent fasting have been associated with a decrease in chronic inflammation . While this research did not involve the intermittent fasting 20/4 method, you may still reap the same benefits. Excess inflammation can lead to illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, bowel disorders, and more.
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Intermittent Fasting May Affect Men And Women Differently
There is some evidence that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for some women as it is for men.
One study showed that blood sugar control actually worsened in women after three weeks of intermittent fasting, which was not the case in men .
There are also many anecdotal stories of women who have experienced changes to their menstrual cycles after starting intermittent fasting.
Such shifts occur because female bodies are extremely sensitive to calorie restriction.
When calorie intake is low such as from fasting for too long or too frequently a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus is affected.
This can disrupt the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone , a hormone that helps release two reproductive hormones: luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone (
For these reasons, women should consider a modified approach to intermittent fasting, such as shorter fasting periods and fewer fasting days.
Intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. To reduce any adverse effects, women should take a mild approach to fasting: shorter fasts and fewer fasting days.
Intermittent fasting not only benefits your waistline but may also lower your risk of developing a number of chronic diseases.