If you’re reading this article, it means that you’ve heard of intermittent fasting and you are looking for information to better understand how it works and if it is something that could benefit you.
Whatever your reason for wanting to try intermittent fasting, rest assured, it is safe and can be part of any diet or eating habit.
Most of us probably do fast intermittently without realizing it, when we skip breakfast for example because we are late for work or other responsibilities.
Note: This article is based on my personal experience and results. If you’re looking for medical advice, I recommend you discuss with your doctor.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting consists of scheduling your daily meals in a way that allows you to eat during a given interval.
You will not be reducing your calories in any way but you will be getting used to eating during shorter time frames.
It’s an effective strategy to get the most out of your meals without changing the types of foods you are eating.
And with time, you will notice that you are slimming down without a restrictive diet or any heavy exercise routine.
How does intermittent fasting work?
When considering intermittent fasting, many schedules can be followed.
The most popular are the daily schedule (16 hours fast every day); the once a week schedule (24 hours fast once a week); and the alternate days schedule (24 hours fast every 2 days).
I have been following the daily intermittent fasting, which is the most effective in my opinion.
It consists of a 16 hour fasting interval followed by an 8 hour eating interval.
It doesn’t matter when you start and stop eating, as long as you do it within the allowed eating interval.
I personally stop eating at 8pm and start eating at noon.
This means that I can eat anywhere from noon to 8pm.
You can experiment with different schedules depending on your lifestyle.
If you really can’t function without breakfast, I’d recommend you start eating at 10 am and stop at 6pm.
If you like eating late in the evening, you can try eating at 2pm and stopping at 10pm.
And in no time, this whole fasting will be second nature and you’ll find yourself following it every day.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
#1: The most important benefit is the fat loss.
But how does this work?
Well, it starts with the foods you’re digesting which can take anywhere from 4 to 5 hours for every meal you consume.
Since your body uses glucose as its main source for energy (using insulin), it starts by burning the glucose from your meals and stocks any excess in the form of fat for later use.
Once the glucose from foods is depleted, your body will start burning fat.
If your meals are rich in carbohydrates, your body will only use the glucose it needs and will stock the rest in fat cells.
Hence, why we gain weight!
So let’s see, the only time during which you are not eating is usually when you are sleeping, anywhere from 7 to 12 hours.
During this time interval, your body is not processing any foods and so there is no additional glucose to burn for energy.
Your body will then turn to stored fat to burn for energy.
Entering the fat burning stage takes time and so the longer the fasting interval, the better the results!
Fasting is the fastest way to enter the fat burning state without exercise or changing the type or the quantity of foods you eat.
#2: Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler and is way easier than dieting.
If you’ve been contemplating to start a diet but you find it way too daunting in the long term and just not practical, and you’re still looking for a simple way to change your eating habits without feeling stressed, then look no longer because intermittent fasting is here to help you reach your goals.
What’s interesting about intermittent fasting is the fact that it is so easy to implement.
It allows you to decide which meal to skip and helps you manage your other meals around your own particular schedule.
If you’re anything like me; you like cooking and enjoying a nice meal with friends and family, then you understand where I’m coming from.
I enjoy having lunch with co-workers and friends, and having dinner with my family, and so I have no problem skipping breakfast.
I usually grab a coffee or tea and go about my day.
#3: Intermittent fasting may help you live longer and may reduce your risk of getting diseases.
Fasting has been followed for centuries and it is in fact an important part of many religions (i.e. Islam and Judaism).
Your body does cellular repair when you’re sleeping and guess what?! you’re not eating when you’re sleeping!
In fact, it is scientifically proven that some brain cells can only regenerate at night.
So when you fast intermittently, your body focuses on repairing damaged tissue and creating new cells.
And this in turn will help protect you against many diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, Alzheimer, etc.
So, you’re really doing your body a favor when you fast for a certain period of time each day since you’re allowing your brain to focus its energy somewhere else other than your stomach.
Does intermittent fasting work with any diet?
Yes, intermittent fasting can work with any type of diet.
Actually, in the Ketogenic diet, it is used to accelerate the process of ketosis and minimize the side effects of the Keto flu.
I have personally done it this way and it made a big difference in my overall performance during the day.
I would have my bullet proof coffee in the morning and fast until 1 pm.
This schedule worked for me as I only had to pack my lunch and a small snack and have dinner with my family.
I stopped eating at 8pm and fasted until 1pm the next day.
Keep in mind that when following a high-fat diet, you don’t feel hungry for hours compared to low-fat diets.
You may need to experiment with different fasting schedules until your body gets used to it.
Is intermittent fasting right for you?
Intermittent fasting is safe for most people as long as it is part of a healthy lifestyle.
There are always exceptions to the rule and following your gut feeling is important.
Once you figure out the right pattern for you, you will discover how simple intermittent fasting can be.
At the beginning, you may need to adjust the size of your meals to fit in the calories your body requires.
If you suffer from a chronic illness or have a family history of some kind of illness or disease, please make sure to discuss with your doctor before attempting any type of nutrition changes.
Obviously, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not be restricting their food intake schedule since they provide nutrients to their baby as well as their own body.
Also, anyone diagnosed with diabetes should be cautious when attempting intermittent fasting as it can cause significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels that may be dangerous.