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Should I Do Intermittent Fasting

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You’re Trying To Gain Or Maintain Muscle

Should I Do Intermittent Fasting?

While intermittent fasting is often used to boost weight loss, it could backfire for athletes and exercise enthusiasts, particularly those trying to get stronger.

Research has shown intermittent fasting may make you more likely to lose muscle mass, compared to other types of weight loss diets.

Skipping meals can also make it hard to stay in a calorie surplus which is necessary for building muscle, particularly if you’re also exercising intensely and often.

You Simply Don’t Want To Eat In A Designated Time Frame

It takes a lot of mental strength to commit to IF. “It takes a lot of willpower to go for extended periods of time without food,” says Calder. “If you’re not mentally ready to do this, you could potentially develop an unhealthy relationship with food. Fasting periods may cause you to obsess over food, leading to overeating and bingeing during non-fasting periods.” Instead of adhering to a strict IF diet, try these 11 Mindfulness Hacks to Eat Less, According to Experts to cut back on calories.

So Which Intermittent Fasting Schedule Is Best For Weight Loss Whichever One You’ll Actually Stick To Tbh

In short, the one that’s easiest for you to follow. “It is all about sustainability for the individual,” says Lemein. “If one of these diets work well for you and your lifestyle and preferences, then you will likely see some success. If not, then you’ll likely not see the results you’re are looking for, as the sustainability piece will not be there.” That means picking a diet that work best with all the lifestyle factors you need to consider, like your work schedule, family dynamic, living situation, commute time, and travel commitments, notes Lemein.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that the 16:8 diet seems to be the most doable for a lot of people who are into IF. The 16:8 method also scores points for preventing overeating at night, which can often be a big obstacle for weight loss. And sticking to an eight-hour eating window during daylight hours allows your metabolism to run as itâs supposed toâyou fuel up for energy during the day , and stop eating for rest and recovery at night, per a 2017 article in the journal Nutrition Reviews.

The bottom line: All intermittent fasting schedules may lead to weight loss if you can follow them sustainably, and the 16:8 method may be the easiest way to follow an IF diet.

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The Best Part About Intermittent Fasting

No food is “off limits” with IF, you can eat whatever you want during your window.

Gin Stephens is the author of Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. Those first three words of the book are the key to what makes this WOE worthwhile: You’re not denying yourself anything, you’re merely delaying it. You don’t have to give up, say, pizza because of the carbs or ice cream because of the sugar. You just have to wait until your window opens then you can eat what you want to eat. No, not the entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream you still have to be reasonable. But there are no exclusions. And that’s incredibly liberating.

Think about nearly every other diet in history: Atkins, South Beach, paleo, keto. They all require you to either cut out certain things entirely or eat an excess of something else . The reason these diets typically fail is they’re not sustainable.

Stephens is fond of this saying: “‘Diets are easy in contemplation and hard in execution. Fasting is hard in contemplation but easy in execution.’ I absolutely love that quote, because it’s so true,” she says. “We’ve all started a new diet and we’re all in. Then, as the days go by, the diet gets harder and harder to stick to. Intermittent fasting is the exact opposite. Instead of getting harder and harder, it gets easier and easier.”

What Is An Intermittent Fasting Diet

What Breaks A Fast: Dos And Donts Of Intermittent ...

In general, intermittent fasting refers to any eating schedule that alternates periods of going without food with meals. There are many different types of plans, including those that restrict calories for only certain hours of each day or certain days of the week. The main difference between IF and traditional calorie-restriction diets is that IF doesnt limit portions or foods, only when you eat them.

The review, which included more than 25 studies that looked at intermittent fasting in humans, found that IF consistently resulted in people consuming fewer total calories between 10 and 30 percent fewer than they had been eating at the onset of the studies which led to weight loss.

The review also included safety considerations and practical advice for how these diets should be implemented in everyday life.

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So Is Intermittent Fasting As Good As It Sounds

According to metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, says “there is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective.” But still she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”

So, heres the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.

What Side Effects Can I Expect On An Intermittent Fasting Diet

For many people, transitioning to eating this way is not easy. Per the April 2019 Nutrients research, IF can lead to migraine, dizziness, nausea, and insomnia. It can also make people feel hungry and weak in general, limiting their activity throughout the day.

Some women might stop menstruating as a result of calorie restriction, according to the same Nutrients study. If you miss three periods in a row, its time to see a doctor, says the Mayo Clinic.

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What Is The Best Way To Get Started On A Fasting Diet

In addition to considering your health goals, follow these steps before diving into IF:

  • Talk to your primary care doctor. He or she can determine if this eating style would be beneficial for your body. If you have questions about what is right for you, it’s important to talk to healthcare professionals, Lowden says. Everybody is an individual and your specific doctor might have preferences about what you do and don’t do based on your specific circumstances.
  • Choose the best type of IF for you. For instance, if you often socialize late at night, 5:2 likely will be a better fit than 16:8. If you decide to try 16:8, Gottfried says to ease into it. I recommend starting slowly at first and ramping up, with a 12-hour fast and a 12-hour eating window, then move to a 14-hour fast with a 10-hour eating window, and from there to 16:8, she says. She also says to keep in mind that there is flexibility with the eating and fasting window. Some like to eat at 10 a.m. and stop at 6 p.m. others prefer to wait until 12 p.m. and stop eating at 8 p.m., she says. Find what works for you.
  • Make sure you have water handy. The 2019 Nutrients study suggests drinking plenty of water during the day to reduce your risk of dehydration and to help replace fluids that you normally would source from foods.
  • Limit physical activity. Its also a good idea to limit your activities during your fasting windows until you know how your body will react, Gottfried says.

/5is It Safe To Do So

How Often Should You Do Intermittent Fasting?

Itâs important to remember that both Keto and Intermittent Fasting do have their fair share of pros and cons. So, following two diets at once could also mean that you end up at the risk of double the side-effects, especially if you are a beginner.

Experiencing low blood sugar, nausea, mood swings, fatigue, constipation can also be common in the starting days. More so, do remember that trying the two diets together also requires a lot more patience and commitment, since itâs a narrow way of eating.

If you do try the diets, the best would be to ease into them, rather than going all-in. Add foods in your diet which release energy slowly, and donât completely quit out carbs. If you have a history of eating disorders, trying this method out wouldnât be wise.

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Avoid Intermittent Fasting If You Are At Risk For An Eating Disorder

Intermittent fasting has a high association with bulimia nervosa, and as a result, individuals who are susceptible to an eating disorder should not undergo any diet associated with fasting. Risk factors for an eating disorder include having a family member with an eating disorder, perfectionism, impulsivity and mood instability.

Daily Intermittent Fasting Plan

Try these various schedules, selecting the eating plan that works best for your lifestyle and fasting experience. Remember to repeat the same cycle every day.

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  • 14:10: Eat between 9 a.m.-7 p.m. fast between 7 p.m.-9 a.m. the following day.
  • 16:8: Eat between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. fast between 6 p.m.-9 a.m. the following day.
  • 20:4: Eat between noon-4 p.m., fast between 4 a.m.-noon the following day.
  • 23:1: Eat one big meal per day, at whatever hour you wish.

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It May Aid Weight Loss

Various methods of intermittent fasting, including 20-hour fasting cycles, have been linked to weight loss.

One study, which closely mimicked the Warrior Diet , found that people who consumed meals over four hours in the evening experienced more weight loss than those who consumed the same amount of calories in meals throughout the day.

Whats more, those who ate one meal per day showed significantly reduced fat mass and greater muscle mass .

A recent review of six studies concluded that various types of intermittent fasting, ranging from 3 to 12 months, were more effective at promoting weight loss than no dietary intervention.

However, the review found that there were no significant weight loss differences between dieters using intermittent fasting or continuous calorie restriction , meaning that calorie restriction without fasting was equally effective .

Additionally, although reducing calorie intake is the most common outcome of the Warrior Diet, some people following this eating pattern could technically consume too many calories during the four-hour overeating period and experience weight gain.

Lack Of Scientific Data

Intermittent Fasting: How Often Should I Do It

The thought behind intermittent fasting is that after the body is depleted of carbohydrates, it starts to burn fat. This starts to occur around 12 to 24 hours after starvation. Therefore, starving the body of food for 12 to 24 hours will potentially lead to weight loss which can improve health. However, most of the studies done on this topic have been performed on animals over a short period and have measured glucose levels rather than long-term health outcomes.

Yes, it is possible to lose calories, fat and weight from this popular diet. However, it is also possible to quickly gain the weight back, develop low energy stores which can result in a depressed mood, have problems sleeping and even develop organ damage if the fasting is extreme.

The following are reasons why individuals should avoid intermittent fasting:

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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?

Should You Try 1: 8 Fasting

Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. But there are a few beneficial behaviors you can try without committing to the riskier elements of 16-hour fasts. The first is to better understand mindfulness and how it relates to your food choices. To get started, consider these questions when you’re deciding when and what to eat:

Where are you physically when you decide to eat?

Many of us eat based on scenario, not hunger levels. Case in point: Raise your hand if youve ever gone to the movies after dinner and suddenly wanted popcorn? Yep, me too!

By considering the moments when you eat, you may become aware of patterns you didn’t notice before. Say youre a person who loves to graze during The Bachelor. If youre fasting after 8 p.m., youve automatically cut hours and subsequently, calories from your post-dinner snacking.

Are you getting enough sleep?

If you’ve cut out late-night snacking, that alone could help you go to bed earlier a very crucial component to any weight loss plan. Getting seven hours of sleep per night has been linked to better weight management, reduced risk of chronic disease, and improved metabolism.

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You’ve Had A History Of Disordered Eating Or Eating Disorders

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Disordered eating is used to describe a range of irregular eating behaviors that may or may not warrant a diagnosis of a specific eating disorder.” Disordered eating is described as a descriptive phrase rather than a diagnosis. However, if irregular eating patterns and habits are not addressed, it can turn into an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating. Sass says that intermittent fasting may not be a wise choice for anyone that has experienced either disordered eating or an eating disorder.

“Any strategy that encourages restriction can trigger a disordered pattern in people with this history. For anyone, but particularly for someone with this history, it’s so important to listen to your body, and be mindful of what allows you to feel well both physically and emotionally. If limiting your eating window doesn’t support this, it’s not the right path for you,” she says.

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Can Reduce Oxidative Stress And Inflammation In The Body

When Should I do Intermittent Fasting?

Oxidative stress is one of the steps toward aging and many chronic diseases .

It involves unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals react with other important molecules, such as protein and DNA, and damage them .

Several studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the bodys resistance to oxidative stress 30319-3″ rel=”nofollow”> 18 ).

Additionally, studies show that intermittent fasting can help fight inflammation, another key driver of many common diseases .


Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. This should have benefits against aging and development of numerous diseases.

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Risks Of Intermittent Fasting

There are also risks associated with fasting. For instance, people with diabetes or blood sugar control issues may be at risk for low blood sugar levels when fasting, which can be life-threatening.

However, for most, the primary concern with intermittent fasting may be sustainability. Figuring out how to fit fasting into your work, social, and health routine can be challenging, especially for those who keep unusual hours or lack routine. With any eating method, the goal should be consistency and overall health for the long haul.

For some, intermittent fasting may lead to new or trigger previous disordered eating behaviors.

Remember that the more dietary pressure you put on yourself, the more likely you are to experience inflammation. This inflammation can worsen your autoimmune reactions or interfere with your thyroid function. For this reason, we recommend finding a way of eating that you can manage in the long-term.

Children, endurance athletes, underweight people, and women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding should avoid intermittent fasting. Also, people with a risk for malnutrition, such as those with vitamin deficiencies, should not fast.

How To Do Intermittent Fasting: 4 Fasting Schedules To Try

Whether youre new to keto or have been doing it for a while, you may be wondering how to do intermittent fasting. At one point, the health and wellness industry advised eating 5-6 small meals per day for optimal metabolism. The claim was that smaller meals lead to weight loss, while a fasted state puts the body into starvation mode, causing it to hold on to calories.

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