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.
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
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
Because when you are pregnant you are eating for the health of two people, fasting is probably not a good idea. Rather than thinking about losing weight, concentrate on what your body needs to do for the baby. Eat properly to boost maternal fat stores for breastfeeding later.
Remember, the food and nutrients you eat are building your childs body and developing their brain. Some pregnant women struggle to have adequate iron stores. Not eating your complete food requirements could cause iron deficiency, starving your baby of needed iron. Your baby is receiving the required nutrition from your body so youve got to make sure its there.
As for breastfeeding and fasting, its best to avoid long fasting periods because your baby needs nutritional milk, and fasting may affect both production and quality. While there is not a ton of research or medical warnings not to, Id recommend not fasting longer than 12-14 hours if breastfeeding so as not to interrupt milk production. Definitely, if you find your milk supplies drying up, try stopping your fasting and eating more regularly throughout the day to see if that helps resolve the issue.
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A Sample Day Of A : 4 Fast
7:00 am Wake and drink 500 mL of water with lemon
9:00 am Eat 1 boiled egg white, a handful of berries or 1 cup of green tea
1:00 pm Drink grapefruit juice, 1 cup of yoghurt or ½ cup of raw vegetables
8:00 pm Eat dinner containing protein, healthy fats and complex carbs
9:00 pm Drink 1 cup of warm milk with turmeric
10:00 pm Eat desserts such as dark chocolate or fruit custard
Does Lemon Water Break A Fast
If you mean plain water and lemon juice then no, it wont break a fast! Lemon juice has little to no carbs compared to other fruit juices so if youre looking to add some flavor to your water, go for it! Lemon water has a bunch of benefits.
Just make sure that you dont go over 3 ounces of lemon juice, otherwise, your metabolism will notice the 0.3 grams of sugar from the lemon .
Cons Of 1: 6 Intermittent Fasting
For those who are used to eating all day long, limiting your meals and snacks to a six-hour window may seem impossible. It can also be tough if you have to consume a ton of daily calories, as you might find it hard to eat as many as you need without feeling stuffed. If you’re going from 16:8 to 18:6, it’ll take a week or so to get used to cutting your eating window by two hours. Also, if you don’t make a point to eat enough calories or eat enough protein and healthy fats, 18:6 may cause you to feel hungry or tired.
Any form of intermittent fasting, especially 18:6 since it’s stricter, could potentially be a trigger for unhealthy behaviors for those with a history of eating disorders. Lisa Eberly Mastela, MPH, RD, told POPSUGAR that any form of IF should be done under the supervision of a registered dietitian, and any diet that encourages a restrictive eating schedule really should be approached with caution from the start. You might be fine doing a less rigid form of intermittent fasting, such as 16:8, but if you have any doubts, it’s best to talk to a doctor or dietitian, and, if you have a history of disordered eating, a therapist. Intermittent fasting shouldn’t negatively affect your life.
This Is Your Body On Intermittent Fasting
Its no surprise that intermittent fasting is one of the most popular types of eating plans. You dont need to measure out food or buy any prepackaged shakes. There are no required weigh-ins or calorie counting. All you really have to do is not eat during certain hours. Its pretty simple.
There are different ways to go about it, of course. Most people do the 16:8 diet, in which you fast for 16 hours and then eat within an eight-hour window. Theres also the 5:2 diet, where you drastically cut back on calories just two days a week, and there are 24-hour fasts, where you dont eat anything one day each month.
Regardless of the method, significantly restricting when you eat can throw your body for a loop and cause a handful of odd side effects. Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone.
Its important to know what to expect before you jump into any new eating habit. Heres what happens to you mentally, physically and emotionally when youre fasting intermittently.
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May Lead To More Fat Loss
Combining the diet and the fast may help you burn more fat than the diet alone.
Because intermittent fasting boosts metabolism by promoting thermogenesis, or heat production, your body may start utilizing stubborn fat stores .
Several studies reveal that intermittent fasting can powerfully and safely drop excess body fat.
In an eight-week study in 34 resistance-trained men, those who practiced the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting lost nearly 14% more body fat than those following a normal eating pattern .
Similarly, a review of 28 studies noted that people who used intermittent fasting lost an average of 7.3 pounds more fat mass than those following very low-calorie diets .
Plus, intermittent fasting may preserve muscle mass during weight loss and improve energy levels, which may be helpful for keto dieters looking to improve athletic performance and drop body fat .
Additionally, studies underscore that intermittent fasting can reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness, which may aid weight loss .
Combining intermittent fasting with a keto diet may help you reach ketosis faster and drop more body fat than a keto diet alone.
Combining the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting is likely safe for most people.
However, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with a history of disordered eating should avoid intermittent fasting.
Though some people may find merging the practices helpful, its important to note that it may not work for everyone.
Tip #: Breakfast Is Not The Most Important Meal Of The Day
- Cutting out the first meal of you day wont cause you to gain weight or slow down your metabolism. The old adage boasting the importance of breakfast is a myth!
- If you really love breakfast foods, but fasting in the mornings is the most realistic way for you to stick to your eating plan, try having breakfast for dinner! Also known as Brinner , you can still enjoy the foods you love, just at a different time. I make some truly delicious pancakes but I just wait until dinner time. Then the hubby is home from work and we can both enjoy them!
- This brings me to my next tip
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Tips And Common Mistakes To Avoid When Intermittent Fasting Fow Women
To make the transition to fasting easier and to keep yourself on track, remember these points:
- If you ever feel lightheaded or weak when exercising, shorten the session, rest, or drink some water
- If you have an off day where it seems too hard, take a break and hop back on the fasting wagon the next day
- Stay hydrated at all times
- Eat well and include protein, fiber, healthy fats, and complex carbs in your eating window
- Avoid processed foods you want the food you eat to benefit your body rather than be empty calories
- Beware of fast-breakers like toothpaste and medications such as Advil with a coating that may contain sugar
A Couple Of Tips About The Process
Im going to give you a few tips about the whole process and intermittent fasting in general. There are also a few things you should know:
Intermittent fasting is a tool for losing weight, not a diet. If you are struggling with choosing the right diet you can pick some of these healthy diets. You can take it for a week, month or even for the rest of your life. There are no cases recorded where intermittent fasting caused negative side effects!
Water intake is extremely important. Water will flush out all the toxins and your hunger level will be much lower.
Make sure to have more potassium in your eating window.
It would be great if you could make yourself some of these fat burning detox drinks every day. They will help your body throw all the toxins out and it will rebuild your digestive system.
Avoid sugar and sweets. They cause serious insulin spikes, food cravings, and hunger.
During the BOOM day or the first day after, dont exercise or go to the gym. Your body is under the stress, and you dont want to faint out. Relax, take a cup of water, and watch Netflix or something.
Coffee and green tea CAN interrupt your fasting window! Even though you read everywhere that they are calorie free and everything, Im telling you from personal experience. Drinking only water in fasting window will give you the best results! Keep it clean and without cheat attempts!
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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:
- youre pregnant
- you dont sleep well
- youre new to diet and exercise
How Is My Athletic Performance Affected While Intermittent Fasting
Again, this depends on your fasting plan. A lighter schedule, such as 16/8 intermittent fasting, is easy to combine with working out. However, other methods, such as OMAD and multi-day fasting, may be more difficult for those who count on their athletic performance for competitions or their vocation.
A study was conducted in 2009 during Ramadan, a month-long fast from sunrise to sunset in Islamic practice, which involved testing practicing Muslim athletes and their athletic performance. The results stated that the fast imposes a major challenge to Islamic athletes. They experienced fatigue however, the effects were lessened with those who were conscious about getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods.
Another study confirmed the fact that proper sleep habits and nutrient intakeboth hydration and caloricaided in better performance. In short, if you are a competitive athlete whos practicing intermittent fasting, you need to concentrate on the basics of quality sleep, staying hydrated, and being conscious about when and where your calories come from.
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Day 1 Dont Eat After Dinner
| Eat your usual meals throughout the day, but stop eating after dinner.
Its unlikely that youre really hungry around 8-9 PM after you ate dinner at 7 PM. But its when you lounge on the couch, watch TV, or spend time with your loved ones to unwind. And it usually comes with popcorn, chips, or ice cream.
Tips to help you through the night:
- Have a glass of water or a warm cup of calming herbal tea instead of eating food.
- Brush your teeth. The minty taste can help curb cravings. It also sends a subliminal message that youre done eating for the day or youd have to brush your teeth again. Its enough of a barrier that can keep you from eating.
- Sleep it off. Its okay because you ate all day and you had dinner.
How To Start Intermittent Fasting For Women
Good news. Its easy to start, and there are two rules to keep in mind that make Intermittent Fasting pretty plain and simple.
Firstly, when fasting, keep hydrated to avoid headaches and feeling hungry as you get used to going lengthy times without eating. If you are feeling hunger pains, add 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to your water. It can curb hunger and is also known to help with weight loss. Additionally, dont eat anything when you are fasting. That is the second straightforward rule. Check out my video on what does and doesnt break a fast for more info on what to choose and what to avoid.
Keep it simple and steady. Start off by going several hours in between meals to see how you make out. Skip a meal, and eventually build up to skipping two. Make a point when you do eat, to eat clean wholesome foods so that you feel your best. Take a look at my Clean Eating Guide for Beginners to get the scoop on how to shop for healthy food. Or, if visuals work better for you, watch my clean eating video.
Do check with your doctor, though, before starting IF. Any time you are making significant changes to your lifestyle, whether it be food or exercise, get a clean bill of health first.
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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
Now, you might be thinking: okay, so by skipping a meal, I will eat less than I normally eat on average , and thus I will lose weight, right?
In this example, youre eating LARGER lunches and dinners than you normally do, but by skipping breakfast youll consume 500 less calories per day.
And thus, weight loss!
This is highlighted in a recent JAMA study in which both calorie restricted dieters and intermittent fasters lost similar amounts of weight over a year period.
That doesnt tell the FULL story, as the timing of meals can also influence how your body reacts.
Intermittent Fasting can help because your body operates differently when feasting compared to when fasting:
When you eat a meal, your body spends a few hours processing that food, burning what it can from what you just consumed.
Because it has all of this readily-available, easy to burn energy , your body will choose to use that as energy rather than the fat you have stored.
During the fasted state your body doesnt have a recently consumed meal to use as energy.
Thus, it is more likely to pull from the fat stored in your body as its the only energy source readily available.
Burning fat = win.
The same goes for working out in a fasted state.
Without a ready supply of glucose and glycogen to pull from , your body is forced to adapt and pull from a source of energy that it does have available: the fat stored in your cells.
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