The List Of Intermittent Fasting Benefits Goes On
Lets not dig any deeper into these hormones, and quickly summarize what we have learned. If you research further you may come across additional hormones that are affected by intermittent fasting such as adrenaline, leptin, glucagon and though its all important, the point is to understand that intermittent fasting has a very real and natural mechanism behind it that causes IF to work so well.
If you had wanted, you could have read only the top part of this article and known exactly how to start intermittent fasting, but the subject goes very deep because we need to know that something isnt bullshit before we try it.
So after all that we have learned, lets take a step back and quickly summarize what happens to the body throughout a day of IF.
Lessons Learned From 4 Years Of Intermittent Fasting: The Good And Bad
Its a scientific fact that you need to eat breakfast every morning to lose weight.
You shouldnt skip meals, its not healthy. You have to eat six small meals every day.
These were some of the objections I raised to a nutritionist, who prescribed a three month intermittent fasting protocol, during a consultation over four years ago.
The nutritionist was adamant that intermittent fasting would solve the main problems I battled with at the timeweight gain, an unhealthy diet, constant tiredness and poor concentration, to name a few.
Even though I was skeptical, after thirty minutes of listening to the nutritionist preach about the benefits of intermittent fasting, I decided to self-experiment and give it a go.
The next day I skipped breakfast, broke my fast at 12 p.m and ate my last meal at 7 p.m. For next three months, I would adhere to this protocol like a trooper.
On the final day of the prescribed three month period, I walked into a local gym, took off my shoes and placed my two feet on a white weight scale.
I had little to no expectation for results . Then, I watched the numbers on the scale go up and up and up, then it stopped. And I was stunned.
I had lost 22 pounds of weight.
Needless to say, I was elated and immediately set out to complete another three months of intermittent fasting. Those three months turned to one year, then two years and today, after four years of intermittent fasting, Id say it has been one of the best decisions of my life.
You’re Overtraining During The Diet
If you’re planning to hit the gym during your IF period, make sure not to overdo the HIIT circuits or else you may not see the intermittent fasting results you were expecting.
Of course, your workout schedule will depend on which IF diet you’re following:
- 8:16: If you’re following 8:16 and skip your usual breakfast, engaging in a morning workout on an empty stomach will leave you feeling extremely low on energy and could impact your workout performance and speed of muscle recovery, White says.
- 5:2: Similarly, working out during the calorie-restricted days on 5:2 won’t help you get the most out of your workout and leave you feeling ravenous. “The body has to be eased into the process of IF. The process works if you do it correctly, but eating too little and training too hard can lead to adrenal fatigue.
Working out is great, but too much stress on the body will be a problem,” Shapiro tells us. Planning to take a stab at this trend? You’ll want to see what happens when someone tries intermittent fasting for 10 days.
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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.
Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.
Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.
Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
Intermittent Fasting And Muscle Growth
Intermittent fasting is not a good way to build muscle. Sure, youll find examples of people whove added muscle using it, but we dont know the whole story. Their fasting may have been what they were doing at the time, but it doesnt necessarily mean that it was the cause of their muscle growth.
Were they beginner lifters? Were they eating a crap diet prior to that? Did they use anabolic assistance? Were they training inconsistently? Did they stop doing tons of cardio? There are a ton of different things that may have lead to their gains.
I do believe a small percentage of people can build muscle on it, but for the rest of us it wont lead to hypertrophy. Some will be able to maintain their muscle mass and others will actually lose muscle.
I used intermittent fasting for 3-4 months at a time, but they were never periods where I wanted to build muscle. Heck, one time I used intermittent fasting because I needed to get smaller! Ive used it to lose fat, lose size, to experiment, to be able to eat what I wanted without gaining fat, and to create a fat loss program for clients.
But Ive never built noticeable muscle mass with it, nor have I used it with a client who wanted to build muscle at an optimal rate.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Aids In Weight Loss
The best and most obvious benefit of intermittent fasting for men is that it aids in weight loss.
During the hours you are eating, it’s important that you don’t pack in as much food as possible.
You want to eat the normal amount of meals you would for the time period.
Intermittent fasting will help you to eat fewer meals and snacks in a 24-hour period.
Intermittent fasting also helps to improve the function of the weight loss hormone.
As long as we dont snack, our insulin levels will go down, and our fat cells can release their stored sugar to be used as energy.
Studies have shown that alternate day fasting blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for both diabetics and weight loss promotion.
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Reason : Not Drinking Enough Water
I cannot stress enough how important it is to drink LOTS of water when youre fasting.
When your body is in a fasting state, its working hard to burn fat and detox the body.
The fasting state is when autophagy happens. Autophagy is the cellular self-cleaning process that breaks down and recycles damaged cells.
Think of it as your bodys way of cleaning house. So you need to make sure youre drinking even more water than you usually do.
If youre working out, you need more water. If you live in a hot climate, you need more water. Do I sound like a broken record yet?
So drink more water than you think you need while intermittent fasting.
As a minimum guideline, try to drink about 2/3 of your body weight in ounces each day.
So a 200-pound person would drink about 133 ounces a day .
If youre not up for the math, heres a handy water intake calculator you can use to get a ballpark idea of how much water you should be drinking.
For some yummy ideas for infused waters, check out my favorite detox water recipes.
Do whatever you have to do, but drink enough water.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help Weight Loss
IF makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains , are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells dont use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.
Between meals, as long as we dont snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.
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How The Lessons Learned From Intermittent Fasting Led Me To Abandon It
Throughout my many efforts at weight loss over the years, I usually found myself doing 2 things:
- restricting calories
- cutting out certain foods
Those are pretty much the golden rules of weight loss and acquiring culturally-acceptable bodies. While I had done both over the years, in my 30s I became less and less successful using those methods.
While Id always blame my lack of willpower , Id later learn that it was a purely natural biological response.
Knowing these methods werent helping, I came to a couple realizations.
1. Calorie counting doesnt work for me. Id either be beyond starved or forcing myself to eat so as not to waste allowed calories. It ultimately always led to overeating/bingeing.
2. Restricting food meant obsessing over food and bingeing. The minute Id restrict a foodeven if its not a food I like all that muchits pretty much all I could think about. Like my many efforts to cut out carbs and sugar just led me to binge on carbs and sugar.
Which was why intermittent fasting appealed to me. Because I didnt need to restrict calories or what kinds of foods I ate. Id simply restrict when I ate.
That sounded like something I could handle.
Reason : Youre Not Fasting Long Enough
If youre not seeing results, it could be that you arent fasting long enough for your body.
Try ramping up the duration of your fasting window.
While its possible to lose weight fasting as little as 12 hours at a time, try increasing your fasting window if your weight loss has stalled.
A fasting period of 14-16 hours seems to work best for most people.
Double-check that youre not actually breaking your fast too early.
If you find that you are, try extending your fasting period a bit at a time until you can hit that 14-16 hour window.
Extend your fasting window to at least 14-16 hours if your weight loss has stalled.
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Types Of Intermittent Fasting
The most common form of IF is the 16/8 fasting method, where you eat all of your calories during a predetermined 8-hour window and eat nothing for the remaining 16 hours of the day. Alternate day fasting is another type of fasting method, where you eat at normal times one day and then either eat no calories the next day, or no more than 25 percent of your typical calorie intake for a day .
An actual 100 percent fast every other day is uncommon, and could cause some loss in muscle mass over time. The 16/8 fast seems to fit our normal work schedules pretty nicely, and has all of the benefits of fasting without getting to the point of muscle loss. People who have done IF before may see benefits from longer fasts as their bodies adjust to the routine. In the end, pick a window that works with your schedule and lifestyle.
Maybe You Are Losing Fat But Dont Realize
Maybe you are burning fat weight. For example, body weight tends to fluctuate if you are measuring it every day. You may actually be gaining muscle while losing fat. So instead of just standing on the scales, you can measure your waist circumference, body fat percentage once a month, and see how your clothes fit.
Taking progress photosare also helpful in spotting the difference in your intermittent fastingjourney.
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Why Hasintermittent Fasting Stopped Working
Beginning of 2020: Aaahh, yeah! Gonna start doing this intermittent fasting to lose weight super quick. I can already see my abs from here!
The first week in: Its working! I can feel it! Ive already lost at least 5 pounds of pure fat.
End of January 2020: What the hell! Why is this not working anymore? Ithought youd just lose all your fat and get shredded with no effort. Thissucks!
You know, intermittent fasting can often give you fast and easy results but as with many things, it sometimes stops working. I know its unmotivating and most people would quit right then and there. What you need to do instead is look at why has intermittent fasting stopped working and what you have to do to make it work again.
In the rest of this article, Im going to tell you 7 reasons whyintermittent fasting stopped working for you and what to do about it. Let meknow in the comments which one hit you the most.
So How Does If Work For Weight Loss Exactly
Intermittent fasting is about when you eat, says Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN, CPT, owner of Shaped by Charlotte, LLC. Depending on the IF approach, youre either shortening the eating window each day, or engaging in about 24-hour fasts one or more times a week. One of the most popular approaches is the 16:8 method, which is when you fast for an 16-hour window, like from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. the next day.
Essentially, by restricting your food intake to a shortened time window, you naturally decrease your caloric intake and, in turn, can lose weight. “Not only are you taking in fewer calories, but youre also slowing down your insulin pump, which may boost fat burn,” explains Martin.
Reason : Youre Accidentally Breaking Your Fast
Strictly speaking, during your fasting period, you shouldnt be consuming ANY calories.
The waters get a little muddied though because some people believe that a splash of cream in your coffee is OK as long as you keep it below 50 calories or so.
I still have great luck fasting when I put just a touch of half and half in my coffee.
But if youre not losing weight on intermittent fasting, you should try a strict fast where you dont consume ANY calories during your fasting period.
My video below explains why you may need to eliminate all calories during your fasting window if your weight loss is stalled.
If youre not losing weight intermittent fasting, try being completely strict during your fasting window, and dont consume any calories.
How Cortisol Can Blunt Fat Loss
Technically, cortisol should help with fat loss, after all, its a mobilization hormone. One of its functions is to break down stored fat and glucose to make them available for fuel.
So how would it make you GAIN fat? The problem isnt acute cortisol production, which is normal and beneficial. The problem is chronically elevated cortisol production .
When cortisol is elevated chronically it will lead to a decrease in the conversion of the mainly inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3.
T3 is one of the main hormones that regulate your metabolic rate meaning, how much fuel you burn even at rest. T4 is mostly a pro-hormone for T3. The body doesnt produce a lot of T3, it mostly produces T4. It will only produce as much T3 as the body deems safe, otherwise the metabolic rate might be too high which the body will deem a danger for survival.
So chronically elevated cortisol levels are one of the main things that will decrease that conversion from happening. This means that over the long run this excess cortisol can slow your metabolic rate, even if youre ingesting plenty of calories.
Bottom line is, intermittent fasting can be detrimental to muscle growth in around 60-80% of the population, and it can slow down fat loss in about 20% of the population.
Plus, you can really overload the digestive system by ingesting a lot of food in a compressed period of time. This can lead to problems in the long run.
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