Avoid These Common Fasting Mistakes To Reach Your Weight Loss Goals
Intermittent fasting is often lumped in with other trending eating strategies namely, the Keto Diet and labeled a fad diet. This is a negative connotation, of course, one that implies that IF is a flash in the pan rather than a viable option long-term.
Truth be told, IF is sustainable. It can also be one of the easiest and most effective ways to drop body fat and improve overall health if you do it correctly. As with any diet, theres a right way and a wrong way to do it. If youre thinking of giving IF a try, avoid the below six mistakes to keep your fat loss on track and your muscle gains up, too.
When Do I Stop The Intermittent Fasting Plan
If your focus was on losing weight and you are now at a healthy weight that enables you to lead a healthy lifestyle then you are in a good place to then review if you need to continue fasting.
- Note: The content on this website is meant to be for information and it should not be taken as medical advice. The content and the products mentioned in them are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Always speak with a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, exercise plan, and /or taking any supplements or changes.
Importance Of Fat Loss & Muscle Growth
One of the most important reasons why you should try an intermittent fasting plan is to help you achieve your body composition goal. A good portion of your calories should come from fat, while a smaller portion of your calories should come from protein. As you become leaner, your muscle mass will start to increase and you will start to feel more energetic, which is great! This is the ideal time to start an intermittent fasting plan.
A great way to start an intermittent fasting plan is by following a 1-day diet. You can eat dinner on Monday and Tuesday, while consuming nothing on Wednesday and Thursday. If you are really serious about your goals, you can try following a 5-day diet.
Another great way to start an intermittent fasting plan is by experimenting with the 12-hour time-restriction method. This method allows you to fast during the hours that you are prevented from eating certain foods, such as work or school, or religious obligations.
How Does An Intermittent Fast Burn Fat
Assuming youve never gone on an intermittent fast before, you may be fascinated with how this works. How does the body burn fat while fasting? Is it simply by calorie restriction alone?
Actually, no. To understand how your body torches fat, we first have to talk about the bodys energy source.
From the moment you wake up until when you go to sleep , your body needs energy. This is what allows you to get up, go about your daily routine, and enjoy your life rather than feel like youre dragging through it.
This energy comes from glycogen, a polysaccharide of glucose. Bacteria, fungi, animals, and humans alike all rely on glycogen to fuel our daily activities. When our systems receive glucose, a simple sugar, we can synthesize it to glycogen for energy through glycogenesis.
Where does glucose come from? Mostly in the foods we eat. The foods with the highest quantities of glucose are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Thus, if you eat a diet rich with olive oil, avocados, peanut butter, cheese, meat, fish, dairy, fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice, and bread, you get plenty of glucose.
If your body has more glucose than it needs, it holds onto it for later. This can increase your insulin, meaning your body will always burn glucose, even if given the chance to burn fat instead. Should you develop an insulin resistance and this becomes chronic, your body increases insulin production when youre full.
Protein Intake Prevents Muscle Loss
Clinical trials with protocols resembling contemporary intermittent fasting mostly show that intermittent fasting is either the same or better than caloric restriction when it comes to preserving lean body mass. But there are some studies showing more lean-tissue loss with intermittent fasting, which begs the question: what can we do to counteract that possibility?
In the general medical literature, as well as the weight loss literature, it is well known that protein intake is critical when it comes to preserving or gaining muscle while losing fat.15 Diets that are moderate to high in protein will almost always preserve more muscle than low-protein diets.
People doing intermittent fasting may be concerned that it is too difficult to consume adequate protein within their eating window. Further, there is a myth that we cant absorb or use more than 20 to 35 grams of protein in a meal and that any protein eaten beyond that amount will be oxidized .
To address those concerns, we should first point out that, with the right dietary approach, it is absolutely possible to eat a higher protein diet while doing intermittent fasting.
Next, we need to debunk the muscle-full hypothesis the myth that there is a ceiling for how much protein we can use from any given meal. That hypothesis is based on several studies that have consistently shown a maximal amount of muscle protein synthesis after ingesting 20 to 35 grams of protein.16
Recommended Reading: How To Start Intermittent Fasting And Keto
Lower Insulin Means Greater Fat Loss
There are a number of physiological mechanisms involved. It reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, leads to increased numbers and quality of mitochondria, and increases autophagy, the cellular self-cleansing process.
Many of the beneficial effects are entwined with lower levels of insulin.
The function of insulin is to promote energy storage and the growth of the organism. When insulin is increased, fat is stored in fat cells, and other cells take up glucose from the blood.
Most importantly, when insulin is increased, lipids cant leave fat cells. Since fat loss is all about getting lipids out of fat cells to be burned, losing fat requires some attention to how diet, exercise, and fasting cause insulin to rise or fall.
Take a look at the following graph, taken from a paper by Volek et al. It shows that even small increases in insulin, within the normal range, virtually abolish lipolysis .
This is where intermittent fasting comes in, as one of its effects is to lower insulin levels and thus increase lipolysis. The question is: how long do you need to fast before insulin comes down?
Eating causes insulin to rise. The amount of the rise is dependent on a number of factors, such as type and amount of food eaten and the insulin sensitivity of the person doing the eating.
Types Of Intermittent Fasting
Common types of intermittent fasting include: Complete alternate day fasting – this method involves alternating days of fasting, where no energy/calorie-containing foods or beverages are consumed with eating days .
Modified fasting or 5:2 diet – this method involves consuming 20-25% of energy needs on non-consecutive fasting days and eating ad-libitum the other five days.
Time-restricted feeding – this method allows ad-libitum food consumption during specific feeding windows of the day. Fasting windows can range from 12-20 hours, with people most commonly fasting for 16 hours/day.
Religious Fasting – A wide variety of fasting regimes undertaken for spiritual or religious purposes.
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Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Can intermittent fasting improve your health? Recent research has found that using intermittent fasting for weight loss may have some benefits in the short term.
It appears that fasting for a short time can produce ketosis, which is a process that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough glucose for energy, so it breaks down stored fat instead. This causes an increase in substances called ketones. This, coupled with fewer calories consumed overall, can lead to weight loss. Research suggests that alternate-day fasting is about as effective as a typical low-calorie diet for weight loss.
Fasting also affects metabolic processes in the body that may work to decrease inflammation, as well as improve blood sugar regulation and physical stress response. Some research shows this may improve conditions associated with inflammation like arthritis, asthma and multiple sclerosis.
Little long-term research has been done on intermittent fasting to examine how it affects people over time. As a result, long-term health benefits or risks are unknown.
Need Help Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting
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Read Also: What To Eat After Fasting
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Drink Black Coffee During The Fasting Period
It is said that drinking black coffee when youre not allowed to eat or during your fasting window, may fasten fat burn and weight loss. However, were not sure of the scientific veracity of this claim it is believed that drinking the beverage makes up for the fasting slump and curbs appetite, making it easier for the dieter to prolong their fast.
Intermittent Fasting for weight loss: Drinking black coffee may fasten fat burn and weight loss.
Why I Chose To Try Time
The definition of intermittent fasting is pretty basic. Its really just a period of eating, followed by a period of not eating, says Krista Varady, PhD, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois in Chicago. For over a decade, Dr. Varady has researched the effects of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is kind of an umbrella term, but there are three major types of intermittent fasting. Theres alternate-day fasting, which means that you would eat fewer than 500 calories every other day and eat however many calories you want on the remaining days of the week. Theres also whats called the 5:2 approach to intermittent fasting, which means you would eat fewer than 500 calories for two days per week and however many you want on the other days. And then theres whats called time-restricted eating, which means you can eat within a certain window of time each day, like between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., says Varady.
Given that I was becoming more active through exercise, I wasnt sure that taking in only 500 calories a day would be the best idea for maintaining my energy levels. With that in mind, I decided to try time-restricted eating instead.
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Why 3 Pm Is A Key Time To Start Eating Less Food
Peeke also recommended that I stick to having lunch be my biggest meal of the day. Theres a study that a majority of Americans eat over the course of 15 to 16 hours out of the day, with the majority of their calories coming after 3 p.m. Its a recipe for disaster, she says, referencing a study published in November 2015 in Cell Metabolism.
Peeke suggested that rather than having my banana protein shake as an evening dessert and not eating anything before exercising, I instead drink it first thing in the morning. This way, the carbs from the banana would give me an instant source of energy to fuel my workout and my body would be processing the carbohydrates at an optimal time of the day.
The switch immediately paid dividends. I had way more energy throughout my workout. Because my body was working at a higher intensity, I was burning more calories than I would be even if Id been doing fasted cardio. Peeke recommended that I try to stay under a 12-hour window of restricted eating, but I was able to manage my dinnertime to keep my eating in a 10-hour window. Although my weight drifted up by 2 lb, it was because I was adding muscle mass instead of fat. The additional muscle in my arms and shoulders were noticeable. And as my body fat percentage got lower, I started to see some veins popping out of my biceps, forearms, and calves.
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Reduce Stress To Balance Cortisol
Too much cortisol causes your body to store fat. Some stress is healthy as your body will overcome it and become stronger. Thats how exercise and fasting benefit you. They put some stress on your body. At the same time, you dont want to overdo it. Meditate, take care of yourself to avoid becoming overstressed.
Inflmmatory Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Studies on alternate day fasting and modified fasting have shown improvements:
- Inflammatory markers, including c-reactive protein , tumor necrosis factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor
- Improved fasting insulin levels.
- These fasting models showed reductions in fat cell size, cell proliferation, and levels of insulin-like growth factor in rat models.
In summary, intermittent fasting may help reduce systemic inflammation.
Also Check: Fasting Techniques To Lose Weight
When Should You Worry About Weight Loss
Whether its with intermittent fasting or another plan, losing weight is not the right choice for everyone. Low body fat, in turn, isnt necessarily a marker of good health.
Health itself is a hazy concept, one vaguely gauged by a number of factors taken as a whole. BMI, or the body mass index, doesnt measure health and a high BMI doesnt mean youre unhealthy. Mental health is also an important factor to consider because the stigma of weight loss can be linked to diminished mental health.
That said, excess body fat or obesity can put people at major risk for a host of problems including heart disease the leading cause of death in the United States musculoskeletal diseases, diabetes, and some cancers.
The 2015 review on intermittent fasting did suggest the practice had broad-spectrum benefits for many health conditions and could be an option for overweight people or those with hypertension, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. Those authors did advise against it for elderly people and children.
Generally, if youre considering changing your diet or are worried about body fat, Harney says its worth talking to a doctor or nutritionist first. The right diet for someone else may not be the right diet for you.
Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes
When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular waste removal process called autophagy .
This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.
Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease .
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When Does The Body Oxidize Fat During Fasting
As your intermittent fast progresses, its possible for fat oxidation to occur. This is when your body consumes fuel, especially during athletic pursuits. The fat becomes energy without the need for intermittent fasting. Instead, its all about your level of physical activity.
You can trigger fat oxidation during a fast, too, just that its not always necessary. According to a 2004 study in the journal Nutrition, exercise intensity and duration are important determinants of fat oxidation.
If your intensity of exercise hits an oxygen consumption rate of 59 to 64 percent as an athlete, your fat oxidation is maximized. Even an oxygen consumption rate of 47 to 52 percent should be okay for the general population.
The journal also notes that fat oxidation happens more with certain exercises than others, such as running and endurance training instead of cycling.
What about when youre fasting? Nutrition says this: Ingestion of carbohydrate in the hours before or on commencement of exercise reduces the rate of fat oxidation significantly compared with fasted conditions, whereas fasting longer than 6 h optimizes fat oxidation.
In other words, avoid carbohydrates, since theyre a source of glucose. Also, it takes six hours or more of consistent fasting to maximize the effectiveness of fat oxidation.
What Should I Eat During Intermittent Fasting
If youre intermittent fasting, there are a few things to consider when it comes to what you eat. First off, youll want to make sure youre getting enough calories and nutrients to support your body. That means eating healthy, balanced meals that include protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
Youll also want to make sure youre drinking plenty of water and getting enough electrolytes like sodium and potassium. This will help keep your body properly hydrated and functioning during intermittent fasting and promote weight loss.
Finally, remember that intermittent fasting is not a diet its simply a pattern of eating. That means you can still enjoy your favorite foods while intermittent fasting, as long as they fit into your overall calorie intake for the day. So go ahead and enjoy that slice of pizza or piece of cake just dont overdo it!
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