Fasting is one of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to get proven results from your diet. Anyone from fitness models to regular, every-day people can use fasting as a tool to reach their goals.
About Intermittent Fasting
What is “intermittent fasting”?
First, let’s define “fasting”. Fasting is simply the act of ‘not eating’. The only difference with “intermittent fasting” is that it usually involves some type of schedule. Historically, a fast would normally be a single, or intentional occurrence; often for religious purpose. People have been fasting for thousands of years, and you can even read about it throughout the Bible.
When people use fasting for health purposes, it is usually done on a shorter, and recurring basis. For example, we all technically fast while we sleep. When we wake up, the first meal of the day breaks the fast – hence, “break-fast”.
How long should a period of intermittent fasting last?
Ultimately, the duration of the fast is up to you. Keep in mind, we need to eat food to survive, so make sure you listen to your body – and more importantly, your doctor. For most people that are not used to fasting, a few hours can seem unbearable. In other cases, experienced fasters are able to go days, and in extreme cases, weeks without consuming calories.
When most people decide to give intermittent fasting a try, they will usually start out with a small “fasting window”. A fasting window is the period in which you simply don’t consume calories. As a general rule of thumb, go as long as you comfortably can without putting yourself in danger. A fasting window of 6 pm to 12 pm may be a good place to start. Just finish your eating before 6 pm, and wait to eat again until noon the next day. This is the most common method used.
How long should I continue intermittent fasting?
Generally speaking, as long as your body has weight to lose, you have energy to fuel your body’s functions. If you have excess fat on you, your body will usually burn that first; that is why fasting is commonly used to lose weight.
If you have low body fat, fasting could be dangerous; at a minimum, your body will start to burn your muscle. I do not recommend fasting if you are already very skinny. For most healthy adults, intermittent fasting can be done virtually indefinitely.
What to Expect When Fasting
When it comes to intermittent fasting and being hungry, it is always the worst in the beginning. If your body is used to a poor diet, perhaps loaded with sugars and other simple carbs, your blood sugar will probably react dramatically. I like to start my fast overnight, because I am always less hungry if I skip breakfast than if I skip lunch or dinner.
If you have issues with blood sugar, read my article on carbs. It will help you understand how reducing carbs like sugar and simple, white grains will help you with this blood sugar crash.
Once you get used to fasting, it really isn’t as bad as you might think. Most of the time, when I’m in the middle of a fast, I am not even really concerned with eating. It becomes an afterthought; that is, until someone at work orders pizza. But in all reality, after about day 2 or 3, you really do get used to it.
Yes, you will experience weight loss. If you have excess fat, you will start to see your body start to shed some of that off. Fasting will also slow, or halt muscle growth. It can also cause your body to even lose muscle mass. I recommend resistance training (weight lifting) to minimize muscle loss and maximize results. Check out my free workout program if you need a guide to keep you on track.
How long will it take?
The length of time it will take to lose the weight is heavily dependent on many factors. First you have to consider how much you need or want to lose. Also, you need to regulate the amount of calories you are eating when you aren’t fasting. On top of that, it depends on how long your fast lasts.
It is normal and healthy to plan on permanently losing 1 pound of fat each week. It is possible to lose more than that, but that tends to be a good estimate for most people. So if you want to lose 50 pounds of fat, make sure are honest with yourself and you don’t expect to lose it in a month.
Tips for Successful Results Through Intermittent Fasting
Food and Drink
Unfortunately, there aren’t many options as anything with calories will technically break your fast. In my own experience, however, I have noticed that cheating a very small amount of calories won’t throw me off. For example, I like to use 1 single-serve Coffee-mate creamer with some Pyure zero-calorie sweetener in my coffee in the morning when I’m fasting. This brings me to 30 calories, and I can tell that isn’t enough to throw my body out of ‘fat-burning mode’.
I drink a lot of Zevia. It’s a great-tasting zero calorie soft drink sweetened with stevia. When I’m fasting, this is a game-changer since it also helps with cravings.
Tea is great for fasting because it naturally suppresses hunger. Sometimes, if I’m feeling wild, I will even use my creamer/Pyure trick above in my tea for a nice breakfast beverage or mid-day treat.
Exercise is great because not only are you burning calories, but you are also not eating. As a bonus, I notice if I start a workout when I get hungry, the hunger goes away until some time after my workout. If I’m at the end of a fast and I want to just try to go 2 more hours, I might workout for 1 hour and then I am usually not hungry again until maybe an hour after I finish.
These are debatable on the actual health value, but they definitely help when it comes to hunger. They are generally loaded with caffeine, which will suppress your hunger big-time. Not to mention, if you combine it with the exercise tip above, it’s even more effective.
My Results From Fasting
I did quite a bit of intermittent fasting when I got these results:
I outlined the entire program to share with all of you if you want to follow what I did. I would say, most of the Intermittent fasting occurred between months 4-6 above. As you can see that’s when I shed off my extra layer of fat. I also tracked my weight using this free weight tracking tool.
My secret to always reaching my goal weight was simple. I just picked a number and I would fast until I hit that weight. Before a meal, I would weigh myself and then I would fast after the meal.
For example if I was 170 pounds, I would eat my meal and then I would fast until I reached 169.8 pounds. Then I would repeat the process for 169.6 pounds, and so on and so forth. In doing this, I always reached my goals and I would reward myself with my next meal.
This Also kept me disciplined. Because I knew if I stuffed myself, I would have to go even longer before I would get to eat again.
Hey! Appreciate the info, thanks! Will help me prep to actually understand intermittent fasting.
That said, I was wondering if you had any up to date recommendations for good books/resources to learn info about the method? I realize its existed for a few years, and I like doing my research before going into a fresh meal plan because I have problems with yo-yo eating or getting fooled by popular diet programs.
I’ve seen a little about the Eat Stop Eat e book on another website I read If anyone’s interested, google “PushPedalCrank Eat Stop Eat” for more info.
Have you examined that/checked it out? If so, How’d you like it?It sounds like a enlightening book to purchase from the reviews, but I’m still on the fence.
I just want a great, top quality researched ebook on the methodology of Intermittent Fasting – I think doing that type of research would help me stick with it when things start to get challenging, or when donuts start to get irresistable.
Thanks anyway, even if you don’t know much about the e-book. This was a wonderful read!
YouTube has always been my best resource. There are hundreds of people that have done it and are happy to share their success with you.
My best advice for IF would simply be not to overcomplicate it. It is more of a lack of a thing than it is adding anything. The more complicated you make it, the less you will want to stick with it.