How Intermittent Fasting Works
The primary goal of intermittent fasting for weight loss is to get the insulin levels to decrease to a level where the body will begin to burn stored fat for energy.
Here is how it works. When the food we eat is metabolized , it ends up as molecules in the blood stream. One such molecule is glucose . Normally, when there is more circulating blood glucose than the body can use for energy, the excess is stored as fat for future use. But, for glucose to be utilized by the cells, it requires insulin. Between meals the body doesnt require insulin so insulin levels decline. When insulin levels are low, the fat cells release some of the stored glucose, resulting in weight loss.
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?
What Is The Most Popular Way To Do Intermittent Fasting
The most popular way to intermittent fast is the 16/8 method also known as the Leangains Protocol. This involves counting your calories and limiting your food intake for 8 hours a day and fasting for the remaining 16. Within this 8-hour window, you should fill up on healthy nutrients and try to balance every meal with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and good sources of protein.
This method is popular because it is generally a lot less restrictive than other forms of dieting and requires minimal effort when considering the potential benefits. Because you will be fasting for long periods of time, you will have a lot less to think about. Counting calories during this method isn’t as pivotal as it is with other forms of dieting, either. If you are looking to do more extreme versions of fasting, this type would definitely be the best one to start with. As stated previously, however, please consult your doctor before embarking on this journey.
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Weight Loss And Fat Loss
Eating during a set period can help people reduce the number of calories that they consume. It may also help boost metabolism.
Research from 2016 reports that men who followed a 16:8 approach for 8 weeks while resistance training showed a decrease in fat mass. The participants maintained their muscle mass throughout.
In contrast, a 2017 study found very little difference in weight loss between participants who practiced intermittent fasting in the form of alternate-day fasting rather than 16:8 fasting and those who reduced their overall calorie intake. The dropout rate was also high among those in the intermittent fasting group.
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How I Feel After 2 Years Of Intermittent Fasting
1. The biggest benefit of intermittent fasting is simplicity.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, President Obama described an interesting strategy he uses to make his life simpler. Youll see I wear only gray or blue suits, he said. Im trying to pare down decisions. I dont want to make decisions about what Im eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.
What President Obama is referring to is a concept called decision fatigue and it can drastically impact your ability to make decisions throughout the day. I explained the science of decision fatigue in this article.
For the President, simplifying his clothing choices is a way to make life simpler and improve his decision making abilities. For me, intermittent fasting provides the same benefit. Eliminating breakfast and not thinking about food until 12pm each day has allowed me to reduce the number of decisions I make in the morning, thus reducing decision fatigue and increasing the willpower I have for the rest of the day. That means I have more energy to put toward doing work that is important to me.
One of the best ways to find happiness and success in life is to strip away the unnecessary things and focus only on what is needed.
2. Intermittent fasting is an excellent travel strategy.
The solution? Treat your travel days as a fasting day and then eat twice as much good food the following day.
3. So far, intermittent fasting has not hurt my long-term health.
You Are Not Eating Enough Food
Though it might sound counterproductive, you need to eat well during your eating window.
Intermittent fasting does not mean starvation and you can continue with your normal diet.
When you are not getting enough calories during your eating window, chances are that you will eat a whole lot more during your next window. That is because of the uncontrollable hunger that you will feel.
Also, starving yourself might cause your body to store more fat long-term. Your body notices that you are going for extended periods with little or no food and to ensure that you have a reliable energy source during such periods, your body stores the extra food you eat as fat.
So, instead of burning energy from your meals, your body begins to conserve energy.
Calorie counting could help you ensure you are getting sufficient fuel for your days activities.
Intermittent Fasting Method For Women
Hands down, the 16:8 intermittent fasting method is one of the most popular ways to practice intermittent fasting, and today I want to uncomplicate this practice for you and help you get started.
Whether youre looking to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle for health reasons, weight loss, or its benefits, having a simple schedule to follow can help .
This post will break down the 16:8 intermittent fasting method and explain:
First, you should consult a licensed medical physician before you jump into intermittent fasting. IF isnt for everyone, and therefore, its something to discuss with a licensed professional.
The purpose of this post is to give you a simplified version of the confusing rules youll find on the internet when it comes to the 16:8 intermittent fasting method it is not to provide any professional/medical advice.
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What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Weight loss isnt the only benefit of IF. Fasting is a practice that dates back to ancient times, and in some cultures is still practiced regularly.
Health benefits are a pleasant side effect of IF, and many of those perks can affect womens health specifically.
Musculoskeletal health. This includes conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, and lower back pain. Fasting has been shown to promote hormone secretion from the thyroid. This can promote bone health and help prevent bone fractures.
Metabolic health. Some women go through menopause in their 50s. Menopause can cause changes in your body that increase belly fat, insulin, and glucose. Fasting can help you decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol, and belly fat, which can improve insulin sensitivity. Fasting can also keep your metabolism on track as you age.
Mental health. Fasting has been shown to promote mental health. It may reduce anxiety, depression, and the emotional roller coaster that can go hand-in-hand with menopause. Fasting has also been proven to improve self-esteem and reduce stress.
Other proven benefits of IF include:
- Improved memory
What Should You Eat On A : 8 Intermittent Fasting Plan
There are no rules about what you can and cant eat on an intermittent fasting protocol IF works with any eating plan. If youre adopting intermittent fasting for health reasons and particularly if youre fasting for weight loss then being mindful of what you are eating during your eating window is essential. The standard American diet of ultra-processed foods wont help you achieve the health benefits you desire.
To get the most out of intermittent fasting, make high-quality nutrition the cornerstone of your plan. In other words, prioritize unprocessed foods, focus on vegetables, quality protein, and healthy fats, and leave the processed junk for an occasional indulgence.
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How Long Should I Intermittent Fast To Lose Weight
To lose weight, it is recommended to intermittent fasting, men can fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours while women are recommended to fast for 14 hours and eat what they want for the remaining 10 hours.
You are not expected to eat any food during the fasting but can drink as many no-calorie drinks as you want and it can be done once or twice per week or every day.
Realistic Weight Loss Numbers
If you do intermittent fasting properly, which means that youre also fat adapted and youre metabolically flexible, its not unusual to lose an average of 1.5-2 lbs of fat every week. Some people lose more. So you want to focus on fat loss, not weight loss.
If you give it 12 weeks or three months for example, at 2 lbs of fat loss per week, thats 24 lbs of body fat gone forever. Thats life changing.
If you dont know what losing 25 lbs of fat looks like, heres one of my other students. She lost exactly 25 lbs without exercise because she did everything else right. Thats how effective intermittent fasting can be if you do it properly which means that you prioritize on getting fat adapted and youre metabolically flexible.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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Choosing A Time Window
To get started, begin by picking an 8-hour window and limiting your food intake to that time span.
Popular 16/8 time windows include:
- 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Many people prefer to eat between noon and 8 p.m., since you need to fast only overnight and skip breakfast but can still eat a balanced lunch and dinner, along with a few snacks throughout the day.
Others opt to eat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., which allows plenty of time for a healthy breakfast around 9 a.m., a standard lunch around noon, and a light, early dinner or large snack around 4:30 p.m. before starting your fast.
However, you can experiment and pick the time frame that best fits your schedule.
It may help to set timers at both the beginning and the end of your eating window to remind you when to start and stop eating.
Intermittent Fasting And Keto: Should You Combine The Two
The keto diet and intermittent fasting are two of the hottest current health trends.
Many health-conscious people use these methods to drop weight and control certain health conditions.
While both have solid research backing their purported benefits, many people wonder if its safe and effective to combine the two.
This article defines intermittent fasting and the keto diet and explains whether combining the two is a good idea.
Perhaps the most popular kind of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method, which involves eating during an eight-hour timeframe before fasting for 16.
Intermittent fasting is mainly used as a weight loss technique.
However, studies found that it may benefit health in many other ways.
For example, intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve brain function and blood sugar control .
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves rotating between periods of fasting and normal eating. Popular methods include the 5:2 and 16/8 methods.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Fasting
- What can you drink while fasting?
Generally, you can drink plain water, unsweetened coffee, and various teas. If youre not sure if you can make it, you can try dirty fasting and enjoy drinks that contain less than 50 calories during your fasting windows, such as water with lemon or bulletproof coffee.
- Should you mix intermittent fasting and exercise?
Combining fasting with exercise is generally a great way to boost your metabolism and improve your overall health. Everyone should increase their heart rate for 150180 minutes per week or about 30 minutes per day to stay healthy. However, if youre trying more strict fasting regimens such as the Warrior diet, you shouldnt train too hard.
- What is dry fasting?
Dry fasting is a dangerous practice that eliminates not only food but also water from your diet. It isnt recommended for most people, as dehydration raises multiple health issues.
- What can you eat or drink while on intermittent fasting?
Fasting works best if you follow a balanced, high-quality diet. You can achieve it by following a simple proportion. Half of your daily food intake should include non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of it lean protein, and the final bit should consist of whole grains or starchy vegetables. You can easily follow it if you visualize this proportion on your plate.
- Can you chew gum while fasting?
- Can you drink green tea while on intermittent fasting?
- How to gain muscle while intermittent fasting?
Whats To Eat During The 8 Hour Eating Period On The Intermittent Fasting
Meals include either breakfast or lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. For those who need after dinner snacks low carb, portion controlled salty or sweet snacks are available. The last evening snacks signals the beginning of the 16 hour fasting phase. The two meals and snacks can come from any diet plans including Dr Lipmans Miami Diet, the Keto Diet and even the HCG diet. One can increase overnight Ketosis by eliminating carbs for 4- 6 hours before the final meal. This speeds up ketosis during the night because then the carb restriction is almost 24 hours..
Intermittent Fasting Can Still Lead To Weight Gain
Feeling starved during your fasting period might make some people more prone to binging behaviors when theyre not fasting. And eating more calories than what your body burns will lead to a long-term increase in body fat even if you consistently fast for 12-16 hours each day.
In other words, if you are having trouble maintaining your hunger and end up going completely rogue on your non-fasting periods, you could end up gaining weight.
Going rouge during your non-fasting periods can sabotage your health goals, start a meal prep routine or plan your meals to ensure youre nourishing your body.
Not sure what style of diet is right for you? Use a meal plan quiz to get started!
You Are Eating The Wrong Type Of Food
Many other diets come with a list of foods that you can and cannot eat. However, that is not how intermittent fasting works.
Intermittent fasting lets you eat anything you would like within a specific eating window.
Because intermittent fasting does not restrict your diet, it is easy to slip right into unhealthy feeding habits. Binging on unhealthy processed foods even if it is only in your eating window could be responsible for your slow results.
Stuffing too many calories during your eating periods is also counterproductive.
During your intermittent fast, consider changing your meal plan. Toss out the unhealthy processed food and switch to healthier options. Think of foods like whole grains that are rich in dietary fiber.
Staying away from sugary foods protects you from sugar highs and the sugar crash that results after. It also helps keep your blood sugar within the normal range.
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Overeating And Potential Weight Gain
Restricting your intake to just 8 hours per day may cause some people to eat more than usual during eating periods in an attempt to make up for hours spent fasting. This may lead to weight gain, digestive problems, and unhealthy eating habits.
Interestingly, current research doesnt suggest that intermittent fasting leads to any more weight loss than typical diets that recommend overall calorie restriction. Both eating patterns may lead to modest weight loss .
If weight loss is your primary goal, you may therefore prefer to lower your calorie intake instead of fasting intermittently to prevent the overeating that may occur when restricting intake to a certain time window.