Introduction To Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern adapted throughout human evolution history, characterized by consecutive eating and fasting sessions. In ancient times, hunter-gatherers had to bear with an empty stomach for hours or up to days until they could hunt for food in the wild. This process has trained the human body to adapt to maintain its functions without food for an extended time. Fasting is also a common practice amongst countries with different religious backgrounds and for political reasons . For example, in Ramadan month, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, to reflect spiritually by abstaining from physical pleasure like eating and drinking. Also, in Roman Catholics, gluttony is considered to be a sin, so fasting is practiced from time to time to detoxify oneself from all the indulgence. In modern days, weight loss has become the biggest motivation for people to adopt fasting.
I Took A Day Off Every Week
I followed the above regimen for six days each week and then I had a day off. Some people call this a cheat day or a re-feed day, but its just a day when you can relax and eat a bit more of what you fancy. Its not an excuse to eat whatever you want though, but you can eat more food, more calories and more carbs. You can even have a bit of junk food or a sugary desert if you want to. But just the one and just on this one day.
The purpose of the re-feed day is to give your metabolism an additional boost, and raise your leptin levels even more. If done right it will accelerate your fat loss during the following week. But if you overdo it, you will just undo a lot of the good you have done the previous week.
So on this day I’d still skip breakfast, but for lunch I would have some cheese in my omelette as well as a slice of whole wheat pita bread. Id have a glass of red wine with my evening meal, and afterwards I might have a desert a piece of cheesecake perhaps. Or possibly a bowl of oatmeal instead. And I might also have some chocolate with my cocoa.
During the week I did get my cravings for sugary foods, but I just told myself that I couldnt have any until Saturday. That worked quite well you can stick to something better if you have something to look forward to thats not too far off.
The Daily Calories Intake During Interval Fasting
Counting calories is not sufficient, and you dont need to count calories. However, a low intake of food can make it difficult for you to succeed in the long run.
If you tend to eat far too much or far too little food, it can make sense to check your calories as part of an initial control during Intermittent Fasting.
At least until you have learned how much food you can or should eat in your relatively short 8-hour eating phase.
You can calculate your total daily calorie requirement using basal metabolic rate and power metabolic rate. And try to consume at least 80 percent of it.
Of course, it doesnt matter if you eat only half of your calories one day and maybe even exceed your needs the next. A change in the amount of energy consumed daily is even quite beneficial to keep the metabolism at a high level during short-term fasting.
On a weekly average, however, you should not be below this 80 percent threshold to take advantage of Intermittent Fasting in the long term and to avoid damaging your metabolism.
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Does The 1: 8 Intermittent Fast Diet Actually Work
As far as the benefits of intermittent fasting go, one study found that it helped people lose a modest amount of weight and also lowered their blood pressure. Its suspected that the reason it helps people lose weight is that eating within an eight-hour window simply limits the total amount of calories consumed in a day, New York-based nutritionist Lauren Harris-Pincus, RD, tells Health. But ultimately, the only way to lose weight is to create a caloric deficit where you consume fewer calories than you expend.
Is The : 2 Diet A Healthy Choice For You
If you’re not sure whether the 5:2 diet is the right intermittent fasting program for you, there are other protocols similar to this plan to consider. Here’s how they compare:
- Warrior Diet:This intermittent fasting protocol involves fasting for 20 hours each day and eating all or most of your food within a 4-hour window in the evening. However, this plan lacks sufficient evidence and is not recommended by nutrition experts.
- 16:8 protocol: One of the most popular intermittent fasting methods, the 16:8 protocol involves consuming all of your calories for the day in an 8-hour window and then fasting for the remaining 16 hours. This method works well for beginners because 16 hours is typically a doable fast, especially if you count your sleeping hours.
- Eat Stop Eat: On this plan, youll observe a complete 24-hour fast once or twice a week. For example, if you stop eating at 8 p.m. on Sunday night, you wouldn’t eat again until 8 p.m. on Monday night. Like the 5:2 diet, youre free to choose your fasting days on the Eat Stop Eat diet.
- Alternate-day fasting:This intermittent fasting protocol involves an ongoing cycle: Fast one day, eat normally the next, and so on. You can eat 500600 calories on your fasting days on this diet. Ultimately, alternate-day fasting ends up as a 4:3 diet, versus a 5:2 diet.
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Mistake #: Youre Pushing Yourself Too Hard
Ive been doing IF almost 2 months, mostly OMAD, sometimes 48/72 hours extended fasts. The last 3 or 4 days whenever I break my fast I feel a great regret. I always feel like I could push the fast a little longer. What should I do?
Extending a fast doesnt supercharge the powers of IF. If this sounds familiar to you, please find yourself a counselor who specializes in eating disorders. Im not saying you, or this person here, has an eating disorder, but food should not induce feelings of remorse or regret. Left untreated, this could develop into a larger problem. And also, huge kudos to this person for so bravely speaking up and sharing their food feelings!
What Is The 1: 8 Diet
The 16:8 diet is a type of intermittent fasting where you break each day into two parts a 16 hour stretch and an 8 hour period. For 16 hours every day, you consume nothing but water, coffee, tea and other unsweetened drinks. Then for the other eight hours of the day, you can eat all your meals and snacks.
The 16 hour stretch sounds like a long time, but if youre getting enough sleep, you should be asleep for about half of that time.
Sports Scientist Harry Aitken tells GoodtoKnow, Intermittent fasting is a dietary technique in which all food is consumed within a relatively small window of time. Fasting is going for a significant period of time without eating, and intermittent fasting simply brings in a small window of time where you are able to eat.
Intermittent fasting has been popularised and studies have gone on to confirm that it leads to weight loss and fat loss.
The 16:8 diet stems from the book 8 Hour Diet by author David Zinczenko and editor-in-chief of Mens Health Peter Moore, who suggested that a longer fasting time between eating gives the body the time it needs to process the food and burn away extra fat.
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/6eating Too Much Too Soon
It is obvious to feel ravenous after fasting for 14 or 16 hours. But you have to be mindful about the number of calories you are consuming while breaking the fast. Some people just fill their plate with all the food items available in the kitchen at the beginning of their eating window. This approach is incorrect. Even when following intermittent fasting, you have to keep a track of your calorie consumption throughout the day.
Branch Chain Amino Acid Supplement
A final IF-approved supplement is the BCAA. While this muscle-building aid is most beneficial for the individual who enjoys fasted cardio or hard workouts at the crack of dawn, it can be consumed all throughout the day to prevent the body from going into a catabolic state and preserve lean muscle mass. Note: If you choose to follow a vegan diet pattern, this supplement may be off-limits, as most are sourced from duck feathers.
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Side Effects And Safety Concerns
Proponents of intermittent fasting find that it is an effective approach to lose weight and simplify their diet.
However, this diet has drawbacks and may not be appropriate for everyone.
As you might imagine, the most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger.
Additionally, people sometimes report symptoms such as weakness and fatigue during the fasting window, especially when first starting the 16:8 eating plan.
Overeating or binge eating can also occur during the eating window. This may result in weight gain, digestive issues, and unhealthy food habits.
If you are underweight, intermittent fasting may not be the right option for you and could result in harm to your health.
Additionally, individuals who have a history of eating disorders may want to avoid intermittent fasting, as this regimen may not provide enough flexibility to support treatment and recovery.
People with underlying medical and health conditions should speak with a healthcare professional before trying the 16:8 diet.
This includes anyone who:
- Has a history of an eating disorder
- Is trying to become pregnant
- Is pregnant or breastfeeding
Furthermore, if you find that you are uncomfortable with the idea of fasting for 16 hours, then the 16:8 diet may not be the best choice for you.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all way to nutrition, and the best diets are the ones that you can maintain for the long run.
Fasting Meal Plan Sample
Are you interested in trying the 16:8 diet?
Below is a 7-day meal plan that has everything you need to get started. Each day consists of lunch and dinner with snacking between meals.
- Meal #1: Avocado chicken salad
- Snack #2: Handful of mixed nuts with apricot slices
- Meal #3: Macadamia basil pesto pasta
- Snack #4: Glass of red wine and cheese
- Meal #1: Vegan chickpea salad
- Snack #2: Apple slices with peanut butter
- Meal #3: Teriyaki chicken and cauliflower rice
- Snack #4: Mixed berries with coconut cream
- Meal #3: Asian fried noodles
- Snack #4: Two chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk
- Meal #1: Broccoli tofu salad with quinoa
- Snack #2: Piece of dark chocolate and bowl of mixed berries
- Meal #3: Seared salmon with brown rice and parmesan-kale salad
- Snack #4: Baked apple with cinnamon
- Meal #1: Turkey chili with cornbread
- Snack #2: Organic edamame and almond slices
- Meal #3: Grilled shrimp served with corn and black bean salsa
- Snack #4: Fruit salad with walnuts
- Meal #1: Grilled salmon with brown rice and mixed greens
- Snack #2: Greek yogurt topped with raspberries
- Meal #3: Mexican tempeh quinoa salad
- Snack # 4: Watermelon slices sprinkled with sea salt
- Meal #1: Sprouts, chicken, and quinoa Buddha bowl
- Snack #2: Hummus and pita with raw veggie sticks
- Meal #3: Hearty chicken tortilla soup with garlic bread
- Snack #4: Banana slices dipped in dark chocolate
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting was working perfectly for me, and it was easy to follow. I began to think more deeply about why it was working. Was my body changing because I was fasting for those 16 hours each day, or was it simply a trick I was playing on my mind to eat fewer calories? And if it was a trick, would my mind eventually figure it out?
In general, I think intermittent fasting helps people get more in touch with their needs, Varady says. Weve become accustomed to eating or drinking something every couple of hours. Wed never even noticed when were actually hungry or full. So when you go for longer stretches of time without eating, all of a sudden, your body becomes more attuned to it.
In my case, intermittent fasting made me more aware of my tendency to emotionally eat. Getting up early to get my young son to school, it wasnt as if I wanted to have that bagel and soda. I felt I needed that sugar rush to wake me up and get me going. Exercise replaced that without my needing to ride a sugar roller coaster every day.
So How Does If Work For Weight Loss Exactly
Intermittent fasting is about when you eat, says Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN, CPT, owner of Shaped by Charlotte, LLC. Depending on the IF approach, youre either shortening the eating window each day, or engaging in about 24-hour fasts one or more times a week. One of the most popular approaches is the 16:8 method, which is when you fast for an 16-hour window, like from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. the next day.
Essentially, by restricting your food intake to a shortened time window, you naturally decrease your caloric intake and, in turn, can lose weight. “Not only are you taking in fewer calories, but youre also slowing down your insulin pump, which may boost fat burn,” explains Martin.
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May Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Intermittent fasting is generally associated with improving blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity . A pilot study done in 2017 showed that fasting for 18 to 20 hours a day could lead to weight loss and post-meal blood sugar control . This shows that fasting could be extremely beneficial to patients with type 2 diabetes. However, if you are suffering from this disease, please talk to your doctor before trying the 20-hour fast, or any other form of intermittent fasting.
Keeping The Weight Off
After six months on the diet, Wentworth lost about 50 pounds. He said the diet worked for him because he only had to restrict his eating twice a week instead of every single day, and could still eat some unhealthy foods.
With the excess weight gone, Wentworth says he has a ton of energy. He still tracks his weight and goes back to fasting temporarily if he sees it start to go up.
I run a lot now, Wentworth says. I feel great.
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What Types Of Intermittent Fasting Plans Lead To Weight Loss
The review included studies on three types of intermittent fasting:
- Alternate day fasting , which typically involves a day of unrestricted eating alternated with a fasting day where 500 calories consumed in one meal account for the total daily calorie intake
- The 5:2 diet, a modified version of alternate day fasting that involves five feasting days and two fasting days per week.
- Time-restricted eating , which limits eating to a specified number of hours per day , followed by 16 hours of fasting
Its worth noting that the review wasnt designed to compare the effectiveness of different types of intermittent fasting plans because the studies were done in different groups of people and using different parameters. But the results did indicate that individuals who followed either the alternate-day diet or the 5:2 plan both averaged a loss of around 7 percent of their body weight , and were able to maintain that loss for a year. Despite fasting much less frequently than alternate-day fasters, subjects who participated in the 5:2 diet lost an equivalent amount of weight, a finding that surprised researchers.
While all plans led to some weight loss, following a time-restricted eating plan was the least effective plan for shedding pounds. In total, participants with obesity who followed a time-restricted eating plan lost an average of 3 percent of their body weight.
Recommended Foods And Tips
While the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan does not specify which foods to eat and avoid, it is beneficial to focus on healthful eating and to limit or avoid junk foods. The consumption of too much unhealthful food may cause weight gain and contribute to disease.
A balanced diet focuses primarily on:
- fruits and vegetables, which can be fresh, frozen, or canned
- whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley
- lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, low fat cottage cheese, and eggs
- healthful fats from fatty fish, olives, olive oil, coconuts, avocados, nuts, and seeds
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber, so they can help keep a person feeling full and satisfied. Healthful fats and proteins can also contribute to satiety.
Beverages can play a role in satiety for those following the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help reduce calorie intake because people often mistake thirst for hunger.
The 16:8 diet plan permits the consumption of calorie-free drinks such as water and unsweetened tea and coffee during the 16-hour fasting window. It is important to consume fluids regularly to avoid dehydration.
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On Training Days I Had A Post
I trained with weights three times per week, doing a brief but intense full body workout. On these days I had two scoops of whey protein in ¾ pint of low-fat milk after training. I also had a ripe banana at this time to provide a readily assimilable source of carbohydrates.
The post workout shake is important as it helps put back what the training has taken out of you and it gets the recovery process off to a good start too. You then need to eat a good meal about an hour or two later.
Some form of resistance training is important whilst dieting in order to preserve muscle. But if you dont want to go to the gym and lift weights, you could always do some bodyweight exercises at home instead.
On non-training days I did not eat anything after lunch until the evening meal.