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How To Start Intermittent Fasting For Beginners

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Can I Have During A Fast

How to Start Intermittent Fasting for Beginners

The general rule is that anything with calories breaks a fast. The main exceptions are supplements, electrolytes, and medications:

  • Supplements: You can continue taking any that are recommended to take on an empty stomach. Read labels to know for sure, and pay attention to how you feel if you take them while fasting.
  • Electrolytes: Its a good idea to take these during a fast. Just make sure they dont have calories or sugar. If you want to be less strict, you can have a keto electrolyte drink which has 8 calories, probably few enough to be okay for a fast.
  • Medications: Many of these need to be taken with food or taken at certain times for optimum absorption. Talk to your doctor before changing when and how you take medications.

Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

People successfully lose weight with intermittent fasting for a good reason: fasting is the best way to lower insulin levels.;

Insulin is responsible for signaling cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream and store excess energy as fat or glycogen.;

Accordingly, researchers can already predict 75% of the gain and loss in overweight people using insulin levels .;

Moreover, insulin prevents the breakdown of body fat .;

The fasting window stops nutrient intake, lowers insulin levels, and thus ends the bodys storage mode.;

Therefore, the body can start to deplete carbohydrate stores. Once they are empty, body fat can be burned for energy production instead.;

This mechanism is probably the essential goal of intermittent fasting for most people.;

Consequently, our bodies build up fat reserves during times of abundance to draw from this body fat during food shortages.;

Because we now eat at all times of the year and around the clock, we gain weight. In contrast, Intermittent Fasting restores the natural balance between eating and fasting.;

Accordingly, fasting corrects the hormonal imbalance that causes obesity .;

Plan Ahead And Be Flexible

Once youre used to fasting, you may find that you can incorporate a short fast on little notice. But when youre just starting out, make sure to plan your fast at least a few days in advance. Youll want to ensure that your fast isnt going to interfere with work, family, or training, all of which can counteract the positive effects of the test run.

Put some thought into where and how you will be fasting. Fast at home before trying it in the wilderness or on vacation. Have plenty of water on hand. Tell your friends and family youre fasting so they know whats going on if you start feeling irritable, and so you wont have to answer the same questions 25 times at the next group dinner.

Lastly, dont be too rigid. If you typically eat from 11 a.m. to 7 a.m., its perfectly fine to eat before a morning race or a big training day, breaking that fasting window. Consistency is good; inflexibility is not.

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Why Does My Blood Sugar Go Up During Fasting

While this does not happen with everyone, it can occur due to hormonal changes that occur during intermittent fasting. Your body is producing sugar in order to provide energy for your system. This is a variation of the dawn phenomenon and in general is not a concern as long as blood sugars are not elevated the rest of the day.45

More Resources About Intermittent Fasting

A Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Ive been a dietitian now for a long time , and if theres one thing I know for sure, its that fad diets are best avoided. This is why Im so pleased that whole food diets are being talked about more and more.

Rather than a diet, I prefer to think of a whole food diet as a way of life. Eating this way is balanced, and it is a great way to support your all-around body health and longevity. Plus, its delicious andin my opinionnot limiting either, which is a massive bonus.

A well-balanced diet follows some fairly basic principles and, in essence, consists of plenty of the following:

  • Fruit

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Intermittent Fasting Side Effects

It goes without saying that practicing intermittent fasting can also have side effects, and thats why you need to listen to your body and customize your eating habit according to it.

The most annoying side effect is hunger: at the beginning, you may feel weak, and you may think your brain is not functioning well because of the lack of food. Its a normal reaction that our body has when we change our habits, but this will automatically disappear after a few days of doing it.

Even if IF seems to be recommendable to anyone, you need to be aware of the potential problems it may cause if you have the following problems:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have problems with blood sugar regulation
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Have a history of eating disorders
  • Are pregnant

So make sure you consult your doctor if you want to try Intermittent Fasting and have underlying conditions.

What Is A Whole Food Diet

In other words, it involves a lot of cooking because whole foods do not involve anything processed. That means no premade sauces, dips, or convenience foods like chocolate bars, sweets, or ready-meals. It also includes things like tinned vegetables and white bread.

Why? Processed and convenience foods are often high in salt, saturated fat, and additives in comparison to anything homemade. Because of this, their toll on your overall health is higher.

Recommended Reading: What Can Be Consumed During Intermittent Fasting

Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Weight Loss

Is it practical to do intermittent fasting for weight loss? Absolutely. Studies show that intermittent fasting can naturally restrict calorie intake and appetite, which can lead to weight loss .

However, intermittent fasting also works on a hormonal level by releasing more norepinephrine, a fat burning hormone. This hormonal shift can increase your resting metabolic rate , which means you can burn more calories, more efficiently even in a resting state.

By restricting calories and increasing the rate at which you burn calories, an intermittent fasting schedule can lead to weight loss.

Intermittent Fasting For Beginners

how to start intermittent fasting | Intermittent Fasting for Beginners | Best weight loss technique

Im here to help you learn more about numerous aspects of this simple health technique so that you can answer the following questions, and much more:

  • What is intermittent fasting?
  • Why is fasting good for you?
  • How to do an intermittent fast?

Ive been practicing intermittent fasting for over a decade for its health benefits because intermittent fasting works incredibly well with the Keto Diet. Together, they reduce inflammation and improve physiological function in the body and cognitive performance in the brain.

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Can Other Diets Also Be Whole Food Diets

Heres where it gets confusingyes, other diets can also be whole food diets. Eating a whole food diet is a lifestyle choice, but many other diets can exist within a whole foods construct. So, diets like the MIND Diet and Mediterranean Diet are also whole food diets.

For example, here are the foods involved in the MIND Diet:

  • Green, leafy vegetables five times a week
  • Five or more different colored fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Berries five times a week
  • Five or more servings of nuts a week
  • Olive oil five times a week
  • Whole grains five times a week
  • Oily fish twice a week or take an algae-based omega-3 supplement
  • Legumes and pulses five times a week
  • White meat/mix of plant-based proteins twice a week
  • No more than one glass of wine a day
  • One or two coffee or tea a day max
  • Two liters of water a day

Thats pretty much a whole food diet, right? As long as any meat or plant-based proteins are as unprocessed as possible, then it can be a whole food diet.

Other diets, like a vegan diet, for instance, could be whole food diets or not. It really depends if processed foods are included. Some food substitutes are really heavily processed, so its important to read labels really carefully. But its only some, not all.

Do Drink Plenty Of Water

As with any food plan, youll want to gulp down your water. And only water.

The only exception to this rule is green tea which is loaded with antioxidants and is a thermic food in itself, meaning it helps to burn fat.

Staying hydrated can also lessen food cravings as scientists have proven that thirst is often mistaken as hunger.

Stay away from coffee, creamers, milkshakes and other heavy drinks laden with sugar.

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What Is The Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, very low-carb way of eating.

Carbs are typically reduced to 20 to 50 grams per day, which forces your body to rely on fats instead of glucose for its main energy source .

In the metabolic process known as ketosis, your body breaks down fats to form substances called ketones that serve as an alternate fuel source .

This diet is an effective way to shed pounds, but it has several other benefits as well.

The keto diet has been used for nearly a century to treat epilepsy and also demonstrates promise for other neurological disorders (

8 ).

Whats more, it may reduce blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and lower heart disease risk factors like triglyceride levels .


The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet linked to potential health benefits, such as weight loss and improved blood sugar control.

If you commit to the ketogenic diet while doing intermittent fasting as well, it could offer the following benefits.

Types Of Intermittent Fasting For Beginners

How To Start Intermittent Fasting

People are individual. So is intermittent fasting.

From a colorful variety of methods, I have summarized those that are very well known.

Accordingly, different methods also have individual advantages and disadvantages, which we will dive into together.

From the following methods, you should choose the one that fits best into your daily routine. Finally, intermittent fasting should not become an additional stress factor.

Because of its simple rules, which you can tailor to your daily routine, beginners achieve the best results with 16/8 intermittent fasting.

16/8 Intermittent Fasting

Classic 16/8 fasting is also called Peak Fasting or Lean Gains Method because it allows you to gain lean mass while losing body fat.

In this method, you eat between 12 and 8 pm, for example. Therefore, your body can fast for 16 hours with an 8-hour eating period in between. Since you sleep 8 of the 16 fasting hours, classic intermittent fasting is easier than you might think.

Although you can start with fewer fasting hours with this method, 16 hours has proven effective since some health benefits for longevity dont kick in until after 14 hours.

Since it is simply unnecessary due to the high energy level in the morning , it is easiest for most people to skip breakfast at 16/8.

Nonetheless, forgoing dinner has also proven successful for some people.

  • Fasting period: 16 hours

Crescendo Method

The Crescendo Method is a milder form of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting.

One Meal A Day

  • Fasting period: 23 hours;

Also Check: What Should Your Blood Sugar Be Fasting

How To Eat On Fasting Days

There is no rule for what or when to eat on fasting days.

Some people function best by beginning the day with a small breakfast, while others find it best to start eating as late as possible.

Generally, there are two meal patterns that people follow:

  • Three small meals: Usually breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Two slightly bigger meals: Only lunch and dinner.
  • Since calorie intake is limited 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men it makes sense to use your calorie budget wisely.

    Try to focus on nutritious, high-fiber, high-protein foods that will make you feel full without consuming too many calories.

    Soups are a great option on fast days. Studies have shown that they may make you feel more full than the same ingredients in original form, or foods with the same calorie content (

    There is no specific, correct way to eat on fasting days. You have to experiment and figure out what works best for you.

    It Helps To Build A Personal Routine

    Having a routine is fundamental for humans, and it helps keep things under control. Thats why, on a different and less scientific level, intermittent fasting can be seen as a routine that allows those who practice it to bring order to their lives and reduce anxiety and stress. It can certainly be hard to develop the routine at first, especially if you love having breakfast and after dinner snacks but as soon as you start seeing benefits and developing a serious plan, youll find this routine beneficial on many levels, for example giving a precise schedule to your days.

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    Intermittent Fasting 20/4 Aka Warrior Diet

    How:;Fast for 20 h and Eat for 4h

    In contrast to other methods, while following the 20/4 Intermittent Fasting Schedule, you are allowed to eat some raw fruits and vegetables, and some lean protein during the 20 hr fast period.

    This fasting schedule is based on the idea that our ancestors spent their days hunting and gathering and would then feast at night. Therefore the 4-hour eating window shall be in the evening and you should follow a special order of eating specific food groups: starting with vegetables, proteins and fat, and eating carbs only if you are still hungry.

    To read more about this type of fasting take a look at The Warrior Diet: All About Intermittent Fasting 20/4.

    How Does Fasting Help Weight Loss

    Beginners guide to intermittent fasting- start here!

    During fasting, your body uses your own stored fat for energy. This happens because of lowered insulin levels, increased growth hormones, and increased norepinephrine in your body. All of these hormone changes cause your body to increase your metabolism, which can help with weight loss, body fat reduction, and increased muscle mass.

    This all happens after 12 hours of fasting, when your body enters a fat-burning state. Most people are going to take advantage of their natural sleep cycle. After dinner the night before, theyre going to stop eating around 6 pm and use the overnight hours to get their fasting started.

    Also Check: How Fasting Affects The Body

    Can Intermittent Fasting Make You Gain Weight

    Intermittent fasting itself should not make you gain weight. There are a couple of related behaviors that might cause you to put on pounds rather than taking them off.

    First, coffee. Yes, drinking too much coffee during your fast can make you gain weight because excess caffeine can increase blood glucose levels, instead of ketone bodies which burn fat.

    Second, be sure to stick to low-carb food during your feeding windows if you want to continue burning fat and losing weight. Fasting doesnt give you a free pass to drink alcohol, eat chips, or scarf down a pizza. Though if you do want to drink, I have a fabulous Sugar-Free Keto Margarita for you that shouldnt kick you out of ketosis.

    And if youre craving carbs you may want to try my favorite keto cereal;or make your own Low-Carb Granola.

    If you are looking for traditional baked goods, stick to those made with low-carb almond flour, like my fan-favorite Keto Bread.

    Finally, sleeping. Make sure you get enough sleep as sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and prevent you from losing weight.

    What Is Calorie Restriction

    According to the National Institute of Aging, calorie restriction means reducing average daily calorie intake below what is typical or habitual, without malnutrition or deprivation of essential nutrients.5

    Some people prefer to eat a small amount of food during a fast which makes the practice more calorie restriction than intermittent fasting. Both practices give the body a chance to rest and heal by reducing stress in the gut. And both can provide great health benefits.

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    What Is Intermittent Fasting And Why Would You Do It

    Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesnt change what you eat, it changes when you eat.

    Why is it worthwhile to change when youre eating?

    Well, most notably, its a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you’ll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.

    With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. We’ll talk about how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss in a moment.

    Perhaps most importantly, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies we have for taking bad weight off while keeping good weight on because it requires very little behavior change. This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of simple enough that you’ll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.

    When Did The Term Intermittent Fasting Catch On

    Essential Guide To Intermittent Fasting for Women: 8 ...

    Its hard to say exactly, but probably about 10-20 years ago.

    In 2002, Ori Hofmekler published The Warrior Diet .

    In 2006, Brad Pilon published Eat Stop Eat, which recommends fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.

    These are the earliest examples Im aware of, when people started advocating what we now call intermittent fasting as a strategy for health and weight loss.; So I suspect thats about when the terminology started catching on as well.;

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