Intermittent fasting is one of the world's most popular health and fitness trends.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting.
Most types of this dietary pattern focus on limiting your meals and snacks to a specific time window.
There are several different intermittent fasting methods but the most common method is the 16:8. It involves fasting for 16 hours, then eating for eight hours this is call the feeding window.
There is also intermittent fasting 20:4 also call the Warrior Diet. It involves fasting for 20 hours, then eating for four hours. This is because you burn the most fat and lower the most insulin around 18 to 24 hours of fasting.
Can I eat whatever I want and as much as I want without counting calories?
No you can’t eat whatever you want, or as much as you want during your feeding window. If you do this you will gain weight instead of losing it.
To lose weight and enjoy all the health benefits of intermittent fasting, you need to eat health and be in a calorie deficit every day during your feeding window. Therefore, you will need to have a calorie intake and stay within it every day.
How Does Intermittent Help Lose Weight?
We won’t confuse or bore you with the scientific aspects of it, so we will keep it basic and straight to the point.
Your body gets energy from the food you eat. Fats typically provide more than half of the body's energy needs. Fat from food is broken down into fatty acids, which can travel in the blood and be captured by hungry cells. Fatty acids that aren't needed right away are stored in your fat cells.
When you’re fasting, your body gets its energy from your fat cells i.e. burning your body fat and converting it into energy to fuel your daily activities and exercise.
Does Sleeping Hours Counts Towards The Fast?
Yes, it does. So, for example, if you have a protein shake right before bed, then wake up eight hours later, you're already eight hours into your fast with only eight more to reach your goal of 16.
There are many benefits of intermittent fasting but I’ll focus on the main reason most people do it.
Most people do intermittent fasting because it’s easy to follow, flexible and sustainable in the long term.
It’s also convenient, as it can cut down on the amount of time and money you need to spend cooking and preparing food each week.
How To Get Started?
To get started, begin by picking an 8 hour feeding window and limit your food intake to that time.
Many people prefer to eat between noon and 8:00pm, as this means you’ll only need to fast overnight and skip breakfast but can still eat a balanced lunch and dinner, along with a few snacks throughout the day.
Others opt to eat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., which allows plenty of time for a healthy breakfast around 9 a.m., a normal lunch around noon and a light early dinner or snack around 4 p.m. before starting your fast. However, you can experiment and pick the time frame that best fits your schedule.
Regardless of when you eat, it’s recommended that you eat several small meals and snacks spaced evenly throughout the day to help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep hunger under control.
What To Eat When Fasting
Anything that has sugar or carbs will increase your insulin and as sooner as your insulin goes up it will take you out of the fasting state.
During fasting your calories intake should be zero therefore, you can only drink plain water, black coffee no sugar or milk. You can take vitamins tablets, L-Carnitine and Apple Cider
What To Eat On This Diet
Although intermittent fasting is flexible on food, binging or over eating unhealthy food will make you gain weight instead of losing it. It can also negate the positive effects associated with 16/8 intermittent fasting, and may end up doing more harm than good to your health.
To maximize the potential health benefits of your diet, it’s important to stick to nutritious whole foods and beverages during your eating periods.
Try balancing each meal with a good variety of healthy whole foods, such as:
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, peaches, pears, etc.
- Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, etc.
- Whole grains: Quinoa, rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, etc.
- Healthy fats: Nuts, peanut butter, avocados etc
- Sources of protein: Chicken breast, eggs, fish, meat etc.
The above food is only a suggestion. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns or health issues.
What Should I Eat As My First Meal Following A Fast?
Intermittent fasting allows you to be relaxed with eating compared to other strict diets. When breaking your fast, we recommend a high-protein meal as opposed to one loaded with carbs.
Work from the lab at Yale University found that when you fast then re-feed with a low-carb meal, the activity of the genes that increase calorie consumption and fat burning is further increased with the meal. However, when you re-feed with a high-carb meal, the activity of many of these genes is decreased.
Who Is Intermittent Fasting For And Who Shouldn’t Do It?
Intermittent fasting is for anyone trying to lose weight, or maintain a lean physique but also want a flexible diet that allows them to enjoy delicious food.
If you have any underlying health conditions or history of eating disorder, you should speak to your doctor before giving it a try.
Intermittent fasting is not recommended for women who are trying to conceive or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.