Intermittent Fasting: How To Get Started
You’ve probably already heard about all the reasons to try intermittent fasting – Maybe through a friend or maybe you just read my post that talks about the benefits of intermittent fasting. Either way, you know how great it is for fat loss, and how it can help with insulin resistance, inflammation, brain function and even increase energy. The health benefits are endless! But this time approached eating pattern is not for everyone.
If you don’t know anything about fasting and whether it’s safe for you, then read my article Intermittent Fasting: What to Know Before Getting Started. I go through research based information on IF, the benefits, and a few commonly asked questions so you can make an informed decision on whether intermittent fasting is safe for you.
For those who are ready and want to start fasting, I have a few steps and tips that I want to share with you – They are to help make your intermittent fasting journey successful!
Popular Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has recently become a health trend. Devotees claim it can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, and maybe even extend life span.
Every method can be effective, but figuring out which one works best depends on the individual.
Several methods of this eating pattern exist. But before embarking on an intermittent fast or deciding how often to fast, you should speak with a healthcare professional.
Here are 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
How To Do Intermittent Fasting: Step
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So you finally realized that breakfast is just a regular option, not healthiest, the best, a must meal in your life. Well, glad you did. The fasting trend started just a few years ago and it is proven to have many health benefits. This intermittent fasting step by step beginners guide will make fasting easier for you because its not really easy.
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What Should You Eat
Most diets focus on eating healthy foods, and intermittent fasting is no exception.
Do keep in mind that your body needs nutrients to function optimally. When you eat junk and processed foods that are not nutritious, you wont be able to lose weight.
During your eating period, you should eat and drink:
- Probiotics like yogurt
- Fermented foods and drinks such as sauerkraut
If you follow an intermittent fasting routine, avoid eating a lot of red meat and alcohol. If you must, restrict your meat intake to once in a while and drink wine instead of other alcohol. Also, avoid eating sweet foods and desserts as much as possible for the best results. In case your nutritional needs are not met by your diet, do take some vitamin and mineral supplements.
Make The Calories Count
Not all calories are the same. Although these fasting methods do not set restrictions on how many calories a person should consume when fasting, it is essential to consider the nutritional value of the food.
In general, a person should aim to consume nutrient-dense food, or food with a high number of nutrients per calorie. Though a person may not have to abandon junk food entirely, they should still practice moderation and focus on more healthful options to gain the most benefits.
Fasting has several effects on a persons body. These effects include:
- Reducing levels of insulin, which makes it easier for the body to use stored fat.
- Lowering blood sugars, blood pressure, and inflammation levels.
- Changing the expression of certain genes, which helps the body protect itself from disease as well as promoting longevity.
- Dramatically increases human growth hormone, or HGH, which helps the body utilize body fat and grow muscle.
- The body activates a healing process doctors call autophagy, which essentially means that the body digests or recycles old or damaged cell components.
Fasting dates back to ancient humans who often went hours or days between meals as obtaining food was difficult. The human body adapted to this style of eating, allowing extended periods to pass between food intake times.
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Warnings About Intermittent Fasting
Okay so there are actually some warnings about intermittent fasting that Id like to mention here:
- If youre diabetic, you should consult your doctor before trying this. I honestly dont know how diabetes works in most cases, and there are different types with different relationships to the hormone insulin. Check with your doctor.
- If youre regularly engaging in physical activity, you might need to adjust your intermittent fasting so that you can fuel up with carbs and burn them off first thing, and then go into a fasted state later in the day. It will still work though!
- You might overeat: If youre not ready for this or you panic at the start, you might overeat, thinking that youre never going to have time to eat enough calories. Just calm down a bit and track your foods and calorie intake. Youll be surprised how easy this can be to actually do
- You might feel tired at first: It can be a big change to adapt to at first and you might feel tired. This is just while the body learns to burn fat for fuel in your fasted period of time
- Youll get drunker: I dont drink alcohol and most readers of this site dont either but if you do, remember that drinking on an empty stomach will get you drunk faster, so be careful!
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that focuses on time-restricted eating – fluctuating between specific periods of fasting and allowed eating time. Fasting encourages our body to rely more on burning fat for fuel, releasing ketone bodies into our bloodstream.
At first glance, fasting may seem a bit odd, but in all reality, fasting has been around for a long time.
When you think about it we often fasted before the times of refrigeration and convenience food. Only in the past 50-60 years has it become more common to eat continually throughout the day, which isn’t always a good thing. Overeating and imbalanced diets play a large role in the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Intermittent fasting mainly focuses on when you eat but what you eat during your non-fasting period is just as important.
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When Should I Exercise
When Varady and her colleagues conducted a study that combined alternate day fasting and exercise, they allowed the participants to pick whether they wanted to exercise on a feasting or fasting day, and found there was no strong preference one way or the other. But the researchers were surprised the dieters actually reported feeling more energetic on fasting days.
Isnt Fasting The Same As Reducing Calories
No, not necessarily. Fasting can reduce the time you spend eating and primarily addresses the question of when to eat.62 Calorie reduction addresses the question of what and how much to eat. They are separate issues and should not be confused with each other.
The Medium Way To Do Intermittent Fasting
If you want to increase things a bit, you can move into the medium-difficulty method, called 16:8 Intermittent Fasting.
With this method, youre fasting for 16 hours of the day and eating for only eight hours.
In other words, you need to consume all of your calories for the day within an 8-hour eating window.
The 16:8 Intermittent Fast is the method that gets the most attention in the diet world as well as the research world.
This is also the method that my husband used along with his ketogenic diet to lose 53 pounds in a 22-week period.
You can watch the video if youd like the details about his ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, but basically he stops eating at 8 oclock at night and does not resume eating until noon the next day.
His lunchtime meal is typically a high-fat salad with limited carbohydrates. So, he adds healthy fats, like sunflower seeds, feta cheese, and full-fat dressing, but avoids croutons, fruit, and sugary dressing.
We documented his weight loss each week on our YouTube Channel called 2 Fit Docs. If you are looking for some inspiration, you can Watch Keiths Progress From Start To Finish Here.
Are There Health Benefits From Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can teach us some important lessons when it comes to crafting intentional eating patterns and building healthy eating habits like:
- Reducing your consumption of sugars and refined grains
- Eliminating mindless snacking during the day and before bed
- Avoiding making unwanted food choices and planning a healthy diet
Along with building healthy habits, some studies suggest that adopting this practice may help with weight loss, improve memory and mental performance, cardiovascular health, type 2 diabetes, and the effectiveness of cancer treatments .
Is it Safe?
Fasting may not be appropriate for individuals with type 1 diabetes, pregnant and breastfeeding women, elderly individuals with eating disorders, and those who need regular food intake to take medications .
If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe to try intermittent fasting as long periods of fasting can lower your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling lightheaded, dizzy, with headaches and/or nausea.
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Should You Do Intermittent Fast Every Day
If you can follow a daily intermittent fasting schedule, your body gets used to the cycle, and you may not feel as hungry as you do when you start. Your body adapts to the change in eating patterns.
Lets face it we are used to eating several times a day. And if you gradually ease into intermittent fasting, you will find it gets easier.
However, suppose you feel that you simply cannot do this. In that case, you can try expanding your eating window to 12 or 14 hours and eating a lot of vegetables and fruits, which are filling and yet not very calorific.
Do you find this very restricting? Then opt for skipping meals occasionally. Whatever method you adopt, know that eating fewer calories and eating healthier will enable you to lose weight and improve your health.
Science Of Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
To understand the science of intermittent fasting, we need to look into the basics of nutrition.
And it is quite straight-forward: the food we eat gets broken down to molecules and ends up in our blood, which feeds the cells in our bodies.
Part of those molecules are net carbohydrates and our body turns them into sugar so our cells could use it for energy.
To be able to use sugar for the energy we need insulin, which is produced in our pancreas and spikes each time we throw in some food with carbohydrates.
Any excess sugars that we dont utilize get stored in the form of fat with the idea that we will use that fat for energy later, once we have no sugar left.
The best way to NOT end up having huge fat reserves is to spend the same amount of energy you get from food.
However, life is not perfect and many of us have lifestyles that limit our chances to move throughout the day. In fact, office workers tend to spend 75% of their waking hours sitting.
So, what can we do to lose or not gain weight?
One way to do it is to focus on increasing your energy expenditure through increased physical activity or in laymans terms exercising and doing sports. But you knew this one already, didnt you?
Another way though is to focus on consuming less food than you need for the energy that day and as a result, creating a caloric deficit.
And thats where intermittent fasting comes in.
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What Laura Martin Md Says
Most of the intermittent fasting diets recommend cutting back to 500-600 calories on fasting days. In general, for many people this would be medically safer and easier than not eating at all on those days.
Remember to drink enough on fasting days to prevent dehydration. And youll need to eat a healthy diet on days that you dont fast.
How To Do Intermittent Fasting
As mentioned in the example above, we get a 16-hour fast gig. So 8PM to 8AM thats twelve hours and lets say you fast until 12noon to 2PM, so you could have an easy 16 to 18-hour fast. With this you could have an 8-hour window for eating. If you want, you could extend the fasting from 16 to 19 or even up to hours. And depending on your choice, your window of eating could be anywhere between four to eight hours.
So in general, how we do it is take that window and we shorten it, so were trying to avoid breakfast. We could have a later lunch around 2 or 3PM. The key is we have to make sure that the window that we eat in is within the 8, 5, or 4 hour time frame. Personally, I like to eat later because I want to maximize the fasting time and if I eat a bit earlier that fasting time will be cut off so I would rather have that fast go really well.
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Day 2 Delay Breakfast
Good morning! You just did a 12-hour fast.
Your last meal was at 7 PM last night, and its now 7 AM. Thats 12 hours. You didnt eat for half a day. Youve balancedeating and fasting to a ratio of 50:50 12 hours of eating and 12 hours of fasting. This is a good thing.
That wasnt so hard, was it? All you had to do was stop eating after dinner. Time flies when youre sleeping!
But now its the morning rush. You need to get out of the house asap or youll be late. So you eat as fast as you can or grab something on the go to eat in the car. But why?
| Delay breakfast today. Eat it when its convenient. Have water, coffee, or tea instead.
Theres nothing extreme about delaying your first meal of the day until its convenient. Like after youve arrived at the office or the kids have been dropped off to school instead of amidst the mad morning rush.
After you get to work, settle in. Check your email, look at your calendar, plan your day. You dont have to sneak in breakfast before or have breakfast while youre doing all this.
- 10 AM. Its time to enjoy your breakfast without the chaos.
- 12 noon. Lunch time. Youre probably not hungry because you just ate. The clock says its lunch time but your body doesnt say so. Its okay to wait to eat until you feel hungry again.
- 2 PM. Youre hungry now, have a nice lunch.
Eat dinner at 7 PM.
Build up on the prior steps: Dont eat after dinner, delay breakfast until 10 AM.
Use The Rhythms Of Fasting To Schedule Lunch And Dinner
Youve heard enough youre ready to dive head-first into the wonderful world of intermittent fasting. So when, exactly, can you eat?
The simplest approachis skipping breakfast, having coffee or tea, Zane outlines. If your goal is weight loss, eat a low-carb lunch and dinner.
Your first meal of the day takes place after your fasting window ends, which means all of your eating occurs in a compressed window of about six to eight hours.
Thats give or take. Make it work with your schedule. If its six hours, great. If it has to be nine one day, dont beat yourself up, Zane emphasizes.
Thats the beauty of intermittent fasting: theres no right or wrong. Its one tool to improve your health in whatever way makes sense with your routine.
If Zane could recommend an ideal intermittent fasting schedule, heres what hed suggest:
- Stop eating after dinner
- Skip breakfast, enjoy your black coffee or tea, and fast until noon
- Break your fast with a low-carb lunch
- If you need a snack, make it light
- Enjoy a healthy dinner, then start the fast again
Once you feel comfortable with the rhythm of intermittent fasting, you can experiment with extending your fast until 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00 instead.
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Tips For Intermittent Fasting When You Have Diabetes
According to Diabetes UK, there are some general tips that are important to follow if you have diabetes and you plan to start an intermittent fasting diet. These include:
The safety of fasting for those with type 1 diabetes has not been fully established. You should never fast if you have type 1 diabetes without first consulting with your healthcare provider.
/5should You Exercise While Fasting
If you are even a little bit into eating healthy and staying fit then you must have heard about Intermittent fasting. The latest eating trend has emerged to be quite beneficial for all those trying to shed kilos and suffering from chronic health conditions. The dietary pattern, which alternates between eating and fasting period does not restrict any food groups and so people find it comparatively easy to follow. They need to manage their hunger in the fasting period and follow some basic fasting rules. But there is one question that concerns most people who try intermittent fasting- how to exercise safely when following this diet pattern.