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How To Do Intermittent Fasting Properly

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What Does Starvation Mode Imply

How to properly do intermittent fasting (Complete Guide)

What people generally refer to as starvation mode is your bodys natural response to long-term calorie restriction.

It involves the body responding to reduced calorie intake by reducing calorie expenditure to maintain energy balance and prevent starvation.

This is a natural physiological response, and the technical term for it is adaptive thermogenesis .

The term starvation mode is a misnomer, as true starvation is something that is almost completely irrelevant to most weight loss discussions.

Starvation mode is a useful physiological response, although it does more harm than good in the modern food environment where obesity runs rampant.

Obesity is a disorder of excess energy accumulation.

The body puts energy into its fat tissues, storing it for later use.

If more calories enter your fat tissue than leave it, you gain fat. Conversely, if more calories leave your fat tissue than enter it, you lose fat.

All weight loss diets cause a reduction in calorie intake. Some do so by controlling calorie intake directly , while others do so by reducing appetite so that you eat fewer calories automatically.

When this happens, the number of calories leaving your fat tissue becomes greater than the number of calories entering it . Thus, you lose fat, which your body views as the beginning of starvation.

As a result, your body fights back, doing everything it can to make you stop losing.

Struggling To Cook Healthy Well Help You Prep

Ive been a dietitian for nearly 15 years, so Ive read my share of research on IF, Ive written about it a handful of times, and Ive even tried intermittent fasting out for myself. Heres my take: it works really well for some people regardless of what type of IF they follow, but one common denominator is that plenty of folks out there are doing it wrong.

There happens to be a lot of misinformation floating around the internet , so I culled a list of some of the top comments and questions on Reddits Intermittent Fasting thread and answered them the best I could. Here are some common questions I found about IF, plus some common mistakes to avoid when trying it.

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/8youre Not Taking It Slow

When people switch to a particular diet, one common mistake they make is jumping right to it and not taking it slow and steady.

With intermittent fasting, people do the same. Given that average human beings are used to eating after every few hours, leaping forward to a 24 hour fasting may not be the best solution. Rather one must start with a small fasting window and then gradually increase the frame.

If you go all in on your first try, you may not remain consistent and may lose track over time.

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What Else You Should Know

Cost: None beyond your shopping. In fact, because you will eat much less 2 to 4 days per week, your grocery costs should go down.

Support: There are several books and websites detailing variations on the basic idea of fasting a few days a week. So though there’s no single destination for support, there are plenty of resources once you’ve decided which version of the plan appeals most to you.

Seek Help For Severe Dehydration From A Healthcare Professional

How To Do Intermittent Fasting Correctly

You can usually manage your mild dehydration by increasing your fluid intake. However, its important to note that severe dehydration can be life threatening and should be treated by a healthcare professional.

If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of severe dehydration, contact a healthcare professional immediately. This is especially important for infants, children, and older adults, who are more susceptible to dehydration.

Risk factors for severe dehydration included prolonged diarrhea or vomiting, extreme exercise, laxative use, burns, and certain medical conditions (

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It Could Lead To Negative Side Effects

The Warrior Diet may lead to side effects, some of which could be severe.

Potential side effects include (

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Weight gain

In addition, many health professionals argue that dieters will not get enough nutrients when following an intermittent fasting plan like the Warrior Diet.

However, as long as healthy, nutrient-dense foods are chosen and calorie needs are met, nutrient needs can be covered by carefully planning your food choices when following the Warrior Diet.


The Warrior Diet is inappropriate for many people, can be hard to stick to and may lead to negative side effects such as fatigue, insomnia and hormonal imbalance.

Hofmekler suggests that anyone starting the Warrior Diet should follow an initial three-week, three-phase plan to improve the bodys ability to utilize fat for energy.

/9this Is The Right Way To Break Your Intermittent Fast

Breaking the fast is more complicated than eating the right food. What you eat right after breaking your fast determines if your fasting was successful or not. You just cannot have anything you like as this can sabotage your result. Your first meal should be light and small. Eating a heavy meal, right after fasting can confuse your body and you can suffer from indigestion and bloating. Fill your plate with protein, vitamins and other healthy nutrients and add a small number of carbs and fats. Vegetable smoothies, nuts, soups, fruits and fermented foods are some healthy options.

Also Check: Why Should I Do Intermittent Fasting

Does Intermittent Fasting Have Different Effects On Men And Women

The quick answer is: yes, Intermittent Fasting can affect men and women differently.

Anecdotally, we have many women in our online coaching program that swear by Intermittent Fasting, while others have had adverse effects.

Lets dig into the science and studies.

A recent PubMed summary concluded thatfasting can be prescribed as a safe medical intervention as well as a lifestyle regimen which can improve womens health in many folds .

Now, in that extract, many of the studies cited are focused on specifically calorie restriction , and they also say that future studies should address this gap by designing medically supervised fasting techniques to extract better evidence.

Digging into the PubMed Archives brought me to the following conclusions :

One small study resulted in the following: Glucose response to a meal was slightly impaired in women after 3 weeks of treatment, but insulin response was unchanged. Men had no change in glucose response and a significant reduction in insulin response.

Another small study studied the effects on their menstrual cycles after a 72 hour fast which is significantly longer than any fast recommended in this article: in spite of profound metabolic changes, a 72-hour fast during the follicular phase does not affect the menstrual cycle of normal cycling women..

Precision Nutrition a great resource recommends not attempting Intermittent Fasting as a woman if:

My Initial Fasting Experience


Knowing the potential health benefits of intermittent fasting for women, I was eager to give it a try. Unfortunately, I failed MISERABLY at my first attempt. Lets just say I did NOT experience increased energy and clear-mindedness.

The first day I under-ate and couldnt sleep for hunger pangs. The next day, tired and cranky, I overate with the veracity of a starved animal. Thats when my hunger and hormone roller coaster began. And after one full week of this, I had to quit.

As a physician I wondered if other women had experienced something similar. And when I searched the internet, I discovered that, across message boards, blogs and online communities, women were complaining about intermittent fasting and its effect on their hormones. In fact, there was scientific literature that supported all of our experiences.

Related: The Warrior Diet: Reviews, Meal Plan, Pros & Cons

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How To Do Intermittent Fasting Safely

Fasting for weight loss can be effective, but you need to do it safely. Here’s what you should know first.

Fasting for weight loss can be effective, but you need to do it safely.

You’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting, the popular diet that involves restricting the hours during which you can eat. It’s heralded as a weight loss method, and research suggests that it can also boost your immune system, cure high blood pressure and more.

Intermittent fasting is well-known, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fasting diets in general. There’s practically infinite ways you can adopt a fasting regime that suits your own lifestyle and health needs. Let’s take a look at all the different fasting diets, the health benefits they may bring and how to do them safely.

Read more: The health risks of intermittent fasting: It’s not for everyone

How Long Should I Fast

The minimum I would recommend you fast is 14-16 hours. Theres no physiological reason to be eating any sooner because your body will be still digesting the food you ate from the previous day. By the 16-18 hour mark, youll be in mild ketosis and have triggered at least some of the processes of autophagy.

Other metabolic reactions, like increased insulin sensitivity and released human growth hormone will have also kicked in. Growth hormone soars to outer space and rises by 1300-2000% , which is just astonishing.

This hormone preserves lean muscle and burns fat for energy. Fasting wont make you lose muscle or gain weight because it would be unsustainable from the perspective of evolution. Its not the same as starvation either.

Fasting for 20-24 hours is also very healthy and easy. Youll be simply increasing fat oxidation.

If youre a sedentary person who doesnt move around a lot during the day, then there isnt any physiological reason for you to eat more than once a day either. But I need to eatBullshit you do. I workout quite hard almost every single day and can easily get away with it. So can you.

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/9how Intermittent Fasting Work

The main objective of intermittent fasting is to divert the body’s attention from things other than the digestion of food like recovery and maintenance. During the fasting period, your body basically goes into starvation mode and a series of metabolic changes take place inside it. As there is no food left in the stomach to be digested the body focuses on the recovery and maintenance process. Secondly, due to the unavailability of carbohydrates, the body enters into ketosis, a state in which fat stored in the body is used for energy. This process helps to shed kilos.

Embrace The Dinnertime Community

The Intermittent Fasting Trend: What Is the Best Way to Do It?

Theres a good reason most people skip breakfast instead of dinner. Our evening meals are intimately social and interpersonal. Its been that way throughout history! We use dinner as an opportunity to recover from the day, reconnect with family, and celebrate the end of another day. You dont need to deprive yourself of that rich experience.

Instead, take the opportunity to practice mindfulness as you eat. Youll appreciate every bite of your food so much more than you would have if youd been snacking your way through the day. Zane sees this frequently with his clients: Fasting is most successful when we keep dinner as our core food connection.

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Should You Do Intermittent Fasting And The Keto Diet

We have a crazy extensive guide on the Keto Diet in case youre not familiar with it, so here it is in a nutshell:

This process is called ketosis, and there are two ways for a body to enter ketosis:

  • Eating in a way that induces ketosis .
  • FastingHey, thats what youre reading about right now!

We actually have an amazing success story here on Nerd Fitness, Larry, who followed our strategies, went Keto and start intermittent fasting. He ended up losing weight, getting stronger, AND overcame the challenges of rheumatoid arthritis !

Heres how the fasting portion of it works:

As your body enters a fast period when there are no sources of glucose energy readily available, the liver begins the process of breaking down fat into ketones.

Fasting itself can trigger ketosis.

Fasting for a period of time before kicking off a Keto-friendly eating plan COULD speed your transition into the metabolic state of ketosis, and fasting intermittently while in ketosis could help you maintain that state.

I personally love fasting for the simplicity: I skip breakfast every day and train in a fasted state. Its one less decision I have to make, its one less opportunity to make a bad food choice, and it helps me reach my goals.

WHY KETO + IF WORKS = eating Keto can be really challenging. And every time you eat, its an opportunity to do it wrong and accidentally eat foods that knock you out of ketosis.

Youre also tempted to overeat.

Your value may vary!

You need to decide what works for you.

What Is Clean Or Dirty Fasting

Surprisingly, you can follow a clean fasting schedule or play it out a little bit dirty.

These terms refer to defining what kind of foods break the fast. The clean path defines a zero-calorie approach: you cannot drink or eat anything other than water, plain black coffee, green tea, or any type of herbal tea.

While dirty fasting, you might consume drinks that contain less than 50 calories, such as lemon water, coffee with MCT oil, bone broth, or zero-calorie drinks. You might even enjoy a piece of gum or an occasional mint.

Both of these methods are valid. As a beginner, you might want to start fasting dirty and go clean once you get a handle on your new routine.

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Intermittent Fasting: Surprising Update

Theres a ton of incredibly promising intermittent fasting research done on fat rats. They lose weight, their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars improve but theyre rats. Studies in humans, almost across the board, have shown that IF is safe and effective, but really no more effective than any other diet. In addition, many people find it difficult to fast.

But a growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.

You’re Probably Doing Intermittent Fasting The Wrong Wayhere’s Why

How to do INTERMITTENT FASTING the right way and LOSE WEIGHT!

A dietitian weighs in on the trendy eating approach, plus the common mistakes people make.

The concept of intermittent fasting seems fairly straightforward. You abstain from eating in intervalssomewhere between 16 or 20 hours a dayor heavily restrict your intake and eat a very low-calorie diet a couple days a week. There are also some IF followers who eat just one meal a day .

Theres quite a bit of research proving that IF works for weight lossand improves things like blood sugar control and cholesterol, which are markers for chronic diseases. Some studies have even found that IF may boost peoples energy and help them sleep better.

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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?

Poor Concentration And Altered Mental State

Not taking in enough fluids can take a toll on your brain and reduce your ability to concentrate.

Some studies have shown that dehydration can be detrimental to short-term memory, concentration, and mood.

A small study including 12 men found that abstaining from drinking water for 36 hours led to higher error rates on tests and negatively affected energy, mood, attention, and memory. Rehydration with water alleviated these symptoms .

Many other studies have also shown that dehydration can negatively affect mood and cognitive performance in both men and women (

  • an increased heart rate
  • an altered mental status

Although mild to moderate dehydration is common in children who are sick, any kind of dehydration can be extremely dangerous to your childs health if not treated quickly. Severe dehydration can be life threatening.

If your child is showing signs of dehydration, contact their pediatrician for advice. They may suggest that you bring your child to a healthcare facility where they can be appropriately treated and monitored.


Babies and kids may not show the same signs of dehydration that adults do. If your baby or child is showing signs of dehydration, contact their doctor for advice.

2 ).

For example, its common to become dehydrated when youre experiencing symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and high fever.

Hydration needs vary widely and depend on factors like activity levels, body weight, pregnancy and breastfeeding status, and the environment.

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