Intermittent Fasting Tips For Success And How To Start
When starting a new healthy habit, it’s important to think about what challenges you may face or barriers that may arise during the process.
This is actually a crucial step in planning SMART goals, a common tool used by health coaches to help clients set achievable goals that last long term. When it comes to intermittent fasting there are a few common challenges or questions that tend to arise:
- What do I eat during my non-fasting period?
- What happens if I feel dizzy or nauseous?
- Is intermittent fasting safe?
- How long should I intermittent fast for?
What You Can Eat And What You Can’t
You can eat mostly what you want on days when you dont fast. But to lose weight and get the nutrients you need, you should stick to healthy foods and limit treats like dessert and processed foods.
On fasting days, youll eat very little food or none at all.
For example, the Every Other Day Diet says to eat no more than 500 calories during each fast day.
Another program called the 5:2 Fast Diet involves eating 5 days a week and fasting for the other 2 days, when women can get no more than 500 calories and men no more than 600. Thats a quarter of the amount you likely eat on the days when you dont fast. Whether you eat those calories in one sitting or spread them across micro-meals throughout the day is up to you.
Cardiologist Andrew Freeman Md On How To Make It Work For The Heart
The best approach to intermittent fasting for patients’ heart health may be a combination strategy, according to Andrew M. Freeman, MD, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver.
Freeman, who serves as co-chair of the American College of Cardiology’s nutrition and lifestyle workgroup, answered MedPage Today‘s questions about the popular diet. A lightly edited transcript follows.
What should healthcare professionals know about intermittent fasting?
First, I usually tell everybody that there are always going to be fad diets and changes to the status quo that sometimes really are quite beneficial and sometimes not. Fasting has been around for eons. Human beings did not always have food abundance like we have today. And so fasting is probably a natural thing, which is why we store fats.
In short, fasting is a great way to become more mindful about your food choices and when you eat and what you’re eating. When you’re only eating, say, 4 hours out of the day or 6 hours out of the day or even 8 hours out of the day, you really limit yourself. The goal then is to become mindful about what you’re doing and how much you’re doing rather than the so-called mindless eating which we find everywhere.
What are the cautions when thinking about intermittent fasting?
How does this interact with the data around eating versus skipping breakfast?
What is the worst thing you can do for your heart from a diet standpoint?
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Enhances Your Bodys Natural Rhythm
Our circadian rhythm or body clock is a cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep, rise and eat. It regulates many physiological processes. Environmental cues like sunlight affect our internal body clocks. Due to modern technologies like artificial light we are able to sleep in and stay up later. In response, we eat at abnormal times and force our bodies to metabolize food during non-beneficial periods.There are many types of intermittent fasting but I like to fast during times that enhances my bodys natural rhythm. In other words, I eat during day time hours when I am most active and needing energy to perform daily tasks and fast at night.
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?
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Wont Intermittent Fasting Burn Muscle
That depends on the person and the duration of the fast. During fasting, the body first breaks down glycogen into glucose for energy. After that, the body increases body fat breakdown to provide energy.
Excess amino acids are also used for energy, but the body does not burn its own muscle for fuel unless it has to.49
Some studies, however, suggest that leaner individuals are at higher risk of lean body mass loss, and even reduced metabolic rate. Yet it appears this is less of a concern with overweight subjects.50
How To Avoid Messing With Your Mental Health While Intermittent Fasting
Right up front: If you have experienced any kind of eating disorder, I do not recommend intermittent fasting. If you’re dealing with depression or anxiety, I advise speaking with a health care practitioner before you undergo a fasting plan. It’s important to recognize that while intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool, it’s not necessarily the best for everyone.
If you do want to give it a try but are worried about it being too stressful, I recommend starting with a 12-hour fast. Make this easy on yourself. Wrap up dinner by 7 p.m., close down the kitchen for the evening, and then push breakfast forward the next morning. You will still get all the benefits of intermittent fastingjust at a pace that’s right for you and your body.
Can you go till 9 a.m. without breakfast? Score! You’ve created a 14-hour fasting windowand the great thing is you’ll be sleeping for eight or nine of those hours. As your body feels more comfortable with fasting, you can experiment with different types of fasting, to see what works best for you. Just be sure to be mindful of the approach and periodically check in with yourself, to ensure it’s not taking a negative toll on your mind or mental health.
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Intermittent Fasting: Effects Of Expanding Time Between Meals
Intermediate or intermittent fasting refers to alternate periods of AL intake with complete or partial restriction of calories. Similar to CR, IF does not mean severe nutrient deprivation/starvation and all IF regimens are on a background of adequate vitamin and mineral intake . The most widely used IF paradigm in animal studies has been alternate day fasting, which has been adapted for humans in the form of the increasingly popular 5, 2 diet, which involves 2 days of complete or partial CR during a weekly period . Notably, IF does not necessarily reduce overall caloric consumption or lower body weight, since subjects may compensate for reduced intake during the restriction period by overeating on the AL phase, although in many studies implementation of IF results in a 2030% reduction in caloric consumption over time .
A recent study put forward the complementary concept of time-restricted feeding, where subjects can only consume during a regular daily window of 89 h, where the benefits are proportional to fasting duration . Moreover, this study also showed that benefits are maintained when the time-restricted feeding is interrupted by AL periods, such as during weekends, a finding of particular relevance to humans. This study also reports that periods of time-restricted feeding protect against, or rather reduce, the negative impacts of an obesogenic diet .
Anuradha Sharma, … Gurcharan Kaur, in, 2019
Will I Lose Weight
Most likely.64 If you have weight to lose, it is extremely likely that you will lose weight if you do not eat.
In theory, its possible to eat more after fasting, of course, cancelling out the weight lost. But studies generally show that most people tend to eat significantly less overall.65
I call intermittent fasting the ancient secret of weight loss because it might be one of the most powerful dietary interventions for weight loss, yet it has been mostly ignored by doctors and dietitians for a long time.66
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Drawbacks Of Intermittent Fasting
Girgen says that hunger is a common fear when starting intermittent fasting. Its true that hunger may be experienced in the beginning, but your body adjusts to this over time. Hunger isnt a bad thing. On the other hand, intermittent fasting should not be miserable, says Girgen. Many people find they have more energy when they fast, who advises that you should listen to your body and progress into intermittent fasting gradually.
Headaches can be another initial side effect of intermittent fasting, says Girgen. To prevent them, be sure to drink plenty of water. Herbal tea and black coffee are also allowed. She also recommends drinking electrolyte water or adding a pinch of salt to your water depending on the length of your fast to help regulate your electrolytes.
In addition to these potential drawbacks, intermittent fasting may be contraindicated for certain people depending on their health status and history. Girgen recommends that anyone interested in experimenting with intermittent fasting should consult their physician, particularly those with the following conditions:
- Type I or II diabetes
- Low blood pressure
She adds that intermittent fasting is not appropriate for individuals who:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are adolescents and still growing
- Are underweight
- Have an active eating disorder
- Have advanced kidney or heart disease
Find The Best Time To Workout
Many people make the mistake of thinking they cant workout while theyre fasting, but the opposite is true. The morning is the best time for a vigorous workout! Youre fresh and have hormonal optimization on your side.
Afternoon and evening workouts arent always as effective as they could be youre fatigued from the day, consumed with whatever new stressors landed in your lap at work, and are fighting the urge to slip off your shoes and unwind.
I was loyal to my afternoon workout routine for more than a decade, but switching to an early morning gym schedule has been a game-changer. If I dont workout first thing in the morning, I can practically see the sliding scale as I lose my opportunity throughout the day for a quality workout. Life gets busy, and the body gets drained!
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Intermittent Fasting Rule #: Stop Stressing About What Breaks A Fast And What Doesnt Break A Fast
Does chewing gum break a fast?
What? I dont even know what to say to that question.
You can fine tune as you get closer to that dream physique. Focus on starting your days off by getting shit done. Water, sparkling water, and black coffee will help you get through the morning. When youre ready to go from 6 pack to 8 pack we can apply the advanced tricks.
You dont need any fancy gimmicks to get started tomorrow .
Some people argue the rules for intermittent fasting to lose weight. The use labels like clean fasting and dirty fasting. I tend to disagree with those labels. Dirty fasts allow you to chew bubble gum and to drink bulletproof coffee as long as youre cutting calories back. Clean fast requires you to be more strict.
Our goal will always be progress over perfection.
The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Fat loss is great, but it isn’t the only benefit of fasting.
1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.
I’m big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress. Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy. When I wake up, I don’t worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.
I enjoy eating and I don’t mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me. However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal. It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When youre starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.
Theres just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?
I dont know about you, but Im interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesnt sound that appetizing.
The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction. In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.
Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.
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What Defines Successful Fasting
Is fasting just skipping meals? Not exactly.
As Zane explains, Theres more than one way to fast. Generally speaking, our dependence on body fat for fuel starts to be elevated after about 12 hours of not taking in any sort of calories.
At its core, intermittent fasting is putting at least a 12-hour window between meals.
After 12 hours, your body is mobilizing excess fat to burn energy. This means that an extended period without caloric intake jumpstarts weight loss and creates a healthy gap that gives your body a chance to regain homeostasis.
So what exactly defines successful fasting? Put simply, a successful fast means staying out of your bodys way for 12 hours or more. Rather than overloading with food every few hours, successful fasting gives your body the opportunity to reset, recalibrate, and burn fat.
The most effective intermittent fasting uses a 14 to 18-hour window of no-calorie intake followed by a 10 to 6-hour window of healthy eating.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help Weight Loss
IF makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains , are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells dont use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.
Between meals, as long as we dont snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.
Start With Time Restricted Feeding
Assuming you have the above in check you can begin to experiment with fasting. I recommend starting with time-restricted eating, which is a great tool to heal the gut, enhance our sleep, and increase your vitality and energy. The most basic protocols are as follows:
Fast for 16 hours and eat for 8
Fast for 18 hours and eat for 6
Fast for 20 hours which is basically one meal a day
Mimic Fasting: Eating anywhere from 500-1,000 calories a day
Before deciding which protocols to go with you need to examine your current day and answer this question:
When do I start eating and stop eating each day, do not forget late night snacks or beverages
If you currently eat from 6AM to 10PM you can reduce that by 2 hours and eat from 6AM-8PM, that is a start!
If you currently eat for 10 hours, you can reduce that to 8 hours
If you currently eat for 12 hours a day, DO NOT JUMP TO 6 hours, we need to ease into this
Intermittent Fasting: Surprising Update
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
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 incredibly 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.
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