For Coaches: Find The Best Intermittent Fasting Schedule For Your Clients
The topic of IF poses quite a few challenges for nutrition coaches. First, some clients really shouldnt be fasting at all. Others might do okay with some fasting approaches, but miserably on others.
And still other clients might come to you convinced that the most extreme fasting method is right for them, even though theyve never fasted before.
How do you navigate these turbulent waters? In this section, youll find advice from Robin Beier, PN2, a German nutrition coach we mentioned earlier in this chapter.
To match clients with an intermittent fasting schedule, consider these questions.
Factor #1: Have they practiced the fundamentals?
A number of fundamental nutrition strategies form the underpinning of all successful IF schedules. Your client will want to have these down before trying any fasting style. Is your client usually
- eating only when physically hungry?
- eating slowly until satisfied?
- consuming minimally-processed whole foods?
- eating balanced meals that include lean protein, healthy fats, smart carbs and colorful veggies?
If possible, try to spend some time on these practices before diving into any of the fasting schedules mentioned in this chapter.
Factor #2: Have they fasted before? If so, how did it go?
Consider asking: What experiences have you had with fasting schedules or meal skipping?
Factor #3: What kind of exercise are they doing? And how often are they doing it?
Factor #4: Whats their lifestyle like?
Two words that can reign in overzealous clients
Schedule #: Alternate Day Fasting
With alternate day fasting you eat every other day.
What it involves
You eat normally one day. The next day, you dont eat. Repeat.
People who benefit
This is an advanced fasting schedule that works best for people who have already mastered fasting one or two days a week.
As with schedule #6, its ideal for people whose lifestyles reinforce the fasting schedule. Think of hospital medical professionals who work 12-24 hour shifts. For them, it might be easier and even preferable to not eat during their shift.
If you try it:
- Practice fasting for shorter periods, first. Again, this is an advanced practice. Before trying alternate day fasting, experiment with fasting once or twice a week.
- Plan for when you will break your fast. Make sure youve got food at the ready.
- Be flexible. If you break the fast early, you didnt screw up. Try to learn from it and move on. Also, try not to compensate for mistakes by fasting even harder. For example, if you eat dinner on a fasting day, dont skip a meal on your eating day in order to make up for it.
- Take time off from fasting when your life gets busy. ADF doesnt pair well with hard training, excessive life stress, or even someones monthly menstrual cycle.
Youveadapted To The Fast
The body adapts to fasting by becoming more fat-adapted and stimulating certain pathways that promote stress adaptation and energy efficiency. Fasting can indirectly lead to the growth of new mitochondria by activating SIRT1, AMPK, and FOXO3. This increases the bodys energy efficiency, which is great for longevity and energy production, but it can also create mild metabolic adaptation because the body begins to need fewer calories.
It is true that if you do the same kind of intermittent fasting every day,it begins to cause less stress on the body. This is great because youllexperience less of the side effects like hunger and tiredness. However, it canalso create some metabolic adaptation.
To overcome the metabolic adaptation from fasting you have to change thesignal youre sending by either going for a longer fast or going back toeating more often for a while. This will reset your sensitivity to thestimulus.
The caveat is that if you go back to eating 3 or 5 times a day, you mayjust start to subconsciously over-eat calories. Some people also get used tolarger meals with IF and thus have to be more cautious with portion control andsatiety. Thats why I think going back to regular eating isnt the best optionfor most. Instead, you can still do time-restricted eating, just extend youreating window by a few hours first and see what happens. Then, having a 48-hourfast is also great for breaking plateaus.
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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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The Five Stages Of Intermittent Fasting
. In this state, your body starts to break down and burn fat.
Some of this fat is used by the liver to produce ketone bodies . The two main ketones, acetoacetate and -hydroxybutyrate , serve as an alternative energy source for the cells of your heart, skeletal muscle, and brain, when glucose isnt readily available. Did you know that your brain uses up some 60% of your glucose when your body is in the resting state? During intermittent fasting, ketone bodies generated by your liver partly replace glucose as fuel for your brain as well as other organs. This ketone usage by your brain is one of the reasons that intermittent fasting is often claimed to promote mental clarity and positive mood ketones produce less inflammatory products as they are being metabolized than does glucose, and they can even kick-start production of the brain growth factor BDNF! Ketones have also been shown to reduce cellular damage and cell death in neurons and can also reduce inflammation in other cell types.
As their level in your bloodstream rises, ketones can act as signaling molecules, similar to hormones, to tell your body to ramp up stress-busting pathways that reduce inflammation and repair damaged DNA for example.
Within 24 hours, your cells are increasingly recycling old components and breaking down misfolded proteins linked to Alzheimers and other diseases . This is a process called autophagy.
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What Are The Different Intermittent Fasting Patterns
Intermittent fasting involves consuming all of your calories within a short period of time. There are many intermittent eating patterns, so its important to choose one thats right for your body, your activity level and your lifestyle. Here are two popular options:
The 16:8 DietThe 16:8 diet involves fasting for 16 hours each day and consuming all of your calories during an 8-hour window. Many people who follow this 16-hour fast eat 2 meals between noon and 8 pm, but you can adjust the 8-hour window to suit your lifestyle, exercise habits and work schedule. With this option, however, plan your eating so that the majority of the fast occurs during your normal sleeping hours. This will help you avoid feeling hungry during your waking hours.
The 5:2 DietAnother popular option is the 5:2 diet, which involves 5 days of normal eating and 2 days of eating around 500-600 calories per day. The 5:2 diet gives you the flexibility to choose the 2 fasting days that work best for you, as long as theyre separated by at least one normal eating day.
/8your Diet Is Not Nutritious Enough
One of the drawbacks of the plan is that it focuses on when to eat, but fails to convey what one should eat.
For those, who really want to reap the benefits of the plan must indulge in eating nutritious, healthy foods, rather than resorting to processed, high calorie foods. While you may have fasted for long hours, it is important that you only consume fibre-rich, low-caloric foods during your eating window. Only when you do this, will you find some amount of transformation in yourself.
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So If Im *not* Losing Weight With If Whats The Problem
There could be a few reasons. Here are 12 intermittent fasting mistakes that you might be making, and how to fix them.
1. Youre eating too much during your eating window.
As mentioned, in general, Weight loss essentially boils down to calories in versus calories out, reminds Martin. If you end up consuming the same number of calories during your eating windows as before you started intermittent fasting, then you wont lose weight.
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In other words, if you just pack all of the calories you’d normally eat into your eating window, you’re not really changing your diet at all.
How to fix it: Try a calorie-counting app. “Although I dont typically recommend calorie counting, it may help to track your caloric intake for a few days using a calorie-tracking app,” says Martin. “These apps will usually tell you the approximate daily calorie amount you need to be at in order to lose weight. Although these estimations are usually off, they can be used as a good starting point.” The app can also reveal meals or specific foods that have more calories than you’d expect, and you can adjust your diet accordingly.
2. You are not consuming enough calories on non-fasting days.
When you dont consume an adequate amount of calories on non-fasting days, your body may conserve the energy you consume, rather than burning it, says Smith.
3. Youre eating less-nutritious foods.
How One Woman Used Intermittent Fasting To Lose 65 Pounds In Six Months
At 337 lbs, health and beauty influencer Janielle Wright was afraid she would die. Her body was in pain and she had trouble breathing at night.
I was going to sleep worried that I wouldnt wake up the next morning, Wright told NBC News BETTER.
She was also afraid that she wouldnt live to see her 3-year-old daughter, Novah, grow up. That was when Wright, 28, realized something had to change.
This is no way to live thinking youre going to die because youre overweight and youre unhealthy, she says.
Intermittent fasting is a time-restricted eating method where you only allow yourself to eat within a certain window of time.
In January, Wright began her weight-loss journey through intermittent fasting. Its a time-restricted eating method where you only allow yourself to eat within a certain window of time. Wright says the method helped her lose 65 pounds so far.
I just prayed and asked that could see me through this journey, and could be consistent and be patient, because I feel that patience is key when it comes to weight loss, recalls Wright.
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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.
You Skip Planning Ahead
Planning is an important part of any healthy routine. Whether it is planning out your meals for the entire week, or even just a day ahead, being prepared is a key step in staying on track.
Knowing exactly what to eat and when can help you avoid turning to fast food or highly processed foods. One of the easiest ways to be ready to plan a healthy meal is by keeping your pantry stocked with healthy items.
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You Arent Consuming Enough Calories On Non
If you follow a 5:2 intermittent fasting plan, it is important to consume adequate calories on your non-fasting days. If you consume too few calories, your body may conserve the calories you consume instead of burning them.
If you are looking to take the guesswork out of intermittent fasting, Isagenixs 5:2 nutritional cleansing program outlines exactly how many calories to consume on fasting and non-fasting days, including healthy meal and snack ideas.
Isagenixs nutritional cleansing program consists of two consecutive cleanse days per week. These cleanse days usually involve specially formulated cleanse-approved snacks and Isagenix Cleanse for Life. These targeted supplements fuel the body with nutrients, rather than relying on harsh cleanses or extreme deprivation like some plans or diets does.
You Skip Meals During Your Eating Window
Skipping meals or not eating enough during your eating window can make you hungrier during fasting periods, increasing the likelihood that you will break your fast or overeat during your next eating window.
During your eating windows, make sure you eat until you are satisfied and focus on eating nutrient-dense meals and snacks that will keep you satiated and nourished.
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Does It Work For Weight Loss
Several studies show that intermittent fasting may boost weight loss via several mechanisms.
First, restricting your meals and snacks to a strict time window may naturally decrease your calorie intake, which can aid weight loss.
Intermittent fasting may also increase levels of norepinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter that can boost your metabolism to increase calorie burning throughout the day .
Furthermore, this eating pattern may reduce levels of insulin, a hormone involved in blood sugar management. Decreased levels can bump up fat burning to promote weight loss .
Some research even shows that intermittent fasting can help your body retain muscle mass more effectively than calorie restriction, which may increase its appeal .
According to one review, intermittent fasting may reduce body weight by up to 8% and decrease body fat by up to 16% over 312 weeks .
Your Fasting Plan Doesnt Fit Your Lifestyle
There are several types of intermittent fasting plans. It is important to choose a schedule that works with your goals and lifestyle.
For instance, if you always work out in the morning and prefer to have a small meal before working out, a plan that prevents you from eating in the morning may not work for you.
When choosing an intermittent fasting plan, be careful to choose a routine that matches your lifestyle and can be sustained in the long run.
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May Improve The Health Of Your Gut
Your digestive system may also benefit from getting periodic breaks. Studies suggest that it might improve gut health and even longevity. Other studies have demonstrated that intermittent fasting can promote the beneficial reaction of white adipose browning and decrease obesity by changing the gut microbiota in positive ways.
/8you Skip Meals When You Should Be Eating
Intermittent fasting is all about fasting when you’re supposed to and eating during the allotted eating window. But if you continue to fast and skip meals even when you’re supposed to eat, then you’re sabotaging your own goals and plans. This will only make you weak and in time, will deprive you of the energy to continue.
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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.