THE COMPLETE GUIDE
As the popularity of intermittent diet continues to soar, many people who seemed to have tried numerous diets without any tangible success are equally wondering on whether the unique method of losing weight can work for them. Intermittent fasting is not only popular because of the diverse benefits that one gets to enjoy while following through with the process, the fact that fasting is more flexible and natural makes it to be preferred by many. Many people who have tried the traditional dieting methods find the process of limiting food options and counting of calories to be quite daunting.
The fact that one can realize weight loss alongside other benefits without having to worry about regaining the weight again makes intermittent fasting to be quite epic and worth trying out. The fasting methods are also easy to follow through with and the fact that you don’t have to bother much about the foods that you get to eat during the eating window makes the process to be quite appealing. One thing that makes intermittent fasting to be more effective is the fact that it enables the body to switch to fat burning mode which then leads to loss of the belly fat as well.
When the body is in the fat burning mode; it becomes more insulin sensitive, as the production of human growth hormone also increases. Practicing intermittent fasting comes with numerous benefits and this book has shared in detail some of the benefits that one gets to experience. Whether you are already well versed with intermittent fasting and all that in entails or you are just getting started; you will find all the information that you need to know in order to not only get started but also get to realize success with intermittent fasting.
Take your time and read the book all through to the end as each chapter has shared valuable information that you can take advantage of as you practice intermittent fasting.
Understanding Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is gradually rising in popularity and has become a hot topic in the field of nutrition with many people seeking for more insight on what it actually entails. Intermittent fasting provides people with an effective dieting method that even those with very tight and busy schedules can still practice. Understanding what intermittent diet entails is vital if one is to realize success with the diet. Since there are a lot of variations about the diet, finding valuable resource that provides finer details and enables one to not only build lean muscles but also get to burn fat in the process can be of great benefit.
With intermittent fasting, you don’t have to engage in regular interruptions after every 2 – 3 hours in order to take meals. You can also enjoy your meals at will and not by forcing them down all day as if it’s a rule. Intermittent fasting is not necessarily a diet but more of a dieting technique and can also be termed as a lifestyle. Intermittent fasting expresses very little information regarding the foods that one should eat and the required ratio which makes it not to be fully considered as a diet. It however expresses a radical way regarding when one should be eating.
What is intermittent Fasting?
The concept of intermittent fasting is actually not new, it definitely means going without food or a drink for a given period of time. It’s also an eating pattern where one shifts to periods of eating and of fasting over a given period of time. Intermittent fasting is not actually a diet but a dieting pattern where one makes a decision to skip some meals on purpose. It means that one consumes calories during a given time within the day then avoids taking food for a larger part of the day. Intermittent fasting comes with diverse benefits and whether you intend to fully adopt the dieting pattern or not; you can still benefit in a way with this health trend.
Intermittent fasting is gaining a major traction especially amongst celebrities who are actually embracing the health trend for the weight loss, health, and cognitive benefits. As you limit the meal taking times, you can make the eating time to be more purposeful. Intermittent fasting does not state the types of food that one should eat and those to be avoided; it merely focuses on when the foods can be eaten. Majority of the people get to fast everyday as they sleep and intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending the fasting time longer. You can decide to skip breakfast then eat the first meal and the second by around 8pm.
To clearly understand what intermittent fasting entails; its ideal if one gets some basic understanding on what fasting is all about. You can also decide to fast for 16 hours each day and restrict the fasting period to 8 hours. This is also the most popular type of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is quite easy to do and not as technical as many people might be thinking. Many people also report having more energy and feeling better during the fasting period. Intake of food is not allowed during the fasting period however one can take water, coffee or any other non-caloric beverages. There are some forms of intermittent fasting that allow intake of small amounts of low calorie foods during the period of fasting. Intake of supplements is also allowed provided they don’t have any calorie.
Brief History of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is not a new concept as it has been practiced since the earliest times by different groups of people all over the globe. Human beings have been fasting for thousands of years and at times it was undertaken as a necessity when there wasn’t any food available for consumption. There were instances where fasting was done strictly for religious purposes. Various religions such as Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity involve some level of fasting during specific times. People also instinctively fast whenever they are sick.
A look at the books of religion and ethnology has remarkable descriptions of a number of fasting practices and forms that people engaged in at different periods of time. The renewed interest in fasting has been witnessed through a number of popular publications and diet recommendations that have expressed diverse benefits that are realized through fasting. There are a number of books that tend to promote various fasting dietary patterns and with diverse benefits. There are also numerous websites and blogs online that offers fasting related information however the health benefits that have been scientifically proven are based on some observational data that was undertaken on religious fasting.
A lot of the information that is available on intermittent fasting that also proves the health benefits of the fasting are based on a research undertaken on animal models. Some of the reported health outcomes are associated with change in weight and metabolism, cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2 and cancer. There are also research findings that have detailed intermittent fasting in humans and evidence has been provided that evaluates the impact of intermittent fasting on human health. There is actually nothing that’s unnatural about fasting and the human body is well equipped to handle the extended periods that one can take in fasting without eating.
Fasting when compared to dieting may seem to be quite simple and unambiguous as it’s always been done. Many people engage in intermittent fasting unconsciously especially when they skip breakfast or even lunch. Historically, our ancestors were involved in hunting and gathering and they were always in a state of fasting as they looked for food. After the introduction of agriculture, civilization also came but whenever there was scarcity of food or when the seasons changed, fasting still stood out as the way of life. People stored grain and cured meat for consumption during winter and before irrigation came, lack of rain often meant famine and people often engaged in fasting so that their preserved food would take them for longer periods of time. Religions also prescribed fasting with each religion from Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity amongst others having their unique way of engaging in fasting.
Fasting is quite beneficial and engaging it is also ideal for quality health. All the body processes tend to change when one takes time in fasting for a while. When fasting, one gets significant reductions in the level of blood sugar and insulin alongside increase in hormonal growth. Intermittent fasting is one of the simplest ways that leads to weight loss as one is able to restrict intake of calories and also burn fat. Understanding the different types of fasting can therefore express clarity and give further insight on what intermittent fasting is all about.
Types of Fasting
Understanding the different types of fasting can therefore express clarity and give further insight on what intermittent fasting is all about. Here are some of the different types of fasting.
Alternate Day Fasting: This type of fasting involves observing fasting days where one doesn’t consume energy containing foods or even beverages. It is a less regimented eating pattern where one switches between periods of no calorie intake to actual eating. There are those who follow it up with a high fat or ketogenic diet on the days they aren’t fasting. There are also those who stick with a balanced meal plan on the days they are to eat. This type of fasting if effectively observed has been proven to be as effective as reducing caloric intake and also reduces the concentration of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides.
Alternate day fasting was found to help with weight loss and also improvements in metabolism. This type of fasting has also been proven to improve the functioning of vital organs.
Time restricted feeding: This method of fasting entails fasting for between 12 – 16 hours per day which then leaves you with 8 hours for eating. This type of fasting is recommended mainly because it doesn’t it doesn’t result into negative conditions such as fatigue, anger, confusion and depression amongst other negative issues. Most of the people engage in this type of fasting by skipping breakfast in the morning then eating the first meal around lunch time. They can then stay for about seven hours before feeding themselves until the following day.
Religious fasting: Fasting is a common practice in the religious circles and is practiced both for physical and spiritual benefits. The Islamic type of fasting does not require restriction of energy however since fasting can vary between 11 – 22 hours, the less intake of fluids and foods ends up in changing the body in various ways and weight loss is likely to be realized.
Those who engage in various religious fasting in a routine manner normally exhibit significant weight loss with lower fasting glucose and lower prevalence of diabetes.
Modified fasting: This type of fasting entails eating about 25% of the recommended calorie needs for two days and then you can follow with five days of being on a normal diet.
Busting Fasting Myths
As much as intermittent fasting is getting a lot of publicity, there are a number of people who are still wondering whether the diet pattern is healthy, safe and useful. There are various misconceptions that have been associated with intermittent fasting and lack of sufficient understanding of the dieting pattern can hinder one from enjoying the benefits that it comes with.
Here are some of the misconceptions.
Intermittent fasting has been associated with weight loss but only for those who take time to fast and eat less food overall.
Although most of the people who practice intermittent fasting ends up consuming less food; its however important to note that one may still lose weight even when eating as much as long as they practice intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can still lead to weight loss and fat loss even if one fails to reduce the overall calorie amount that they consume in a day. This happens simply because, intermittent fasting helps in reducing body inflammation which is a big driver for weight gain. Glucose metabolism also gets better and sensitivity to insulin also increases when one is involved in fasting.
You shouldn’t eat anything during your fasting periods
There is a common myth that when engaging in fasting, one shouldn’t take anything. If you are practicing intermittent fasting then you needs to keep drinking water however water may not be the only thing you get to consume during the fasting period. One of the major benefits of intermittent fasting stems from the fact that you are extending the amount of time that you spend while you are in low insulin state.
Taking drinks like coffee that may not stimulate insulin might be allowed or even some little fat that is capable of keeping the body in a state of ketosis. It can then help with burning fat and production of fuel for metabolism.
Alternate day fasting is the best type of fasting
Intermittent fasting exists in various forms. There is alternate day fasting where one is expected to severely restrict intake of calories to less than 500 which should all be consumed at one meal and should be done consistently. The 5:2 fasting entails eating regularly for 5 days and then restricting intake of calorie for the remaining two days. The 16/8 fasting entails fasting for 16 hours then you can eat during the 8 hour window.
Although alternate day fasting can be occasionally adopted to enhance weight loss and also contribute to cardiovascular health, 16/8 fasting is one of the easiest dieting pattern that can be practiced daily especially with the approval of a doctor.
Intermittent fasting is not possible for those who work out a lot
As much as it’s vital that you check with a doctor before changing your dietary regimen, engaging in a lot of physical exercise and work out is not an excuse for not engaging in intermittent fasting. One can still benefit from intermittent fasting even if they are involved in intense work out. One should just schedule the work out and fasting appropriately.
Intermittent fasting is a starvation diet
Skipping a meal for a number of hours doesn’t necessarily mean starving; various research studies have revealed that one can fast for 60 hours straight without realizing a drop in the metabolic rate. Human beings know how to fast and its one of the ways that helped many survive famine for centuries. Starvation means suffering as a result of hunger, a person who is undergoing starvation often have their fat stores depleted which forces the body to break the muscle tissues as a source of energy.
In intermittent fasting, the body releases energy that’s stored as fat and the lean body tissues and muscles are spared. Unless one is consistently involved in running marathons or have the body fat levels below 4 percent, intermittent fasting doesn’t have the ability to affect lean body tissues especially if carried out with the guidance of a dietitian.
You will be hungry all day long
Various researches shows that hunger is likely to decrease on the fast days by the second week of practicing intermittent fasting, individuals who are obese were reported to experience less hunger which remained low. Eating sufficient calories on the days that one isn’t fasting is more of a struggle and not hunger.
Once you get started with Intermittent fasting, it then becomes your way of life
One great thing about intermittent fasting is the fact that once you get started with it, your cravings and hunger gets altered. After you let go of the potato chips or the midday snack long enough, you will realize that you no longer want it and you shall not have worked hard to let go of the feeling.
The focus should be towards training your taste buds to only desire good food and to reject foods that are more likely to lead to weight gain and acquiring chronic disease.
Macronutrients and caloric maintenance
Since success with intermittent fasting requires that one restricts intake of calories if they are to lose weight and realize some of the benefits that are associated with the diet; having some insight on what the macronutrients are is therefore vital. Here is a brief description of the macronutrients that the body needs in order to function well.
Protein: If you are involved in intense work outs and exercises even as you fast then you should be well versed with proteins and their importance in the body. Proteins are considered as the building blocks for muscles and also aid body recovery after undergoing some intense training sessions. Protein is quite important and can be found in foods such as meat, legumes, dairy, and nuts amongst others. The common general rule for every athlete is 1 gram of protein against a pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150lb then you should strive to consume at least 150 grams of protein each day. Each gram is equivalent to about 4 calories.
Carbohydrates: Carbs are the body’s main source of energy and forma majority of the calories that one gets to consume daily. Carbohydrates come in the form of sugars and starch although digestion of sugars is generally easy which causes them to be absorbed much faster into the blood stream. Starches normally take much longer to digest and once the digestion process is up, it gets stored as glycogen into the muscles. Each gram of carbohydrate is equivalent to 4 calories and the sources of calories are grain, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and sugar amongst others.
Fats: Fats are also very important for optimal body health and there are normally three types of fats. There are the saturated fats, unsaturated fats and Tran’s fats. Tran’s fats are considered as bad fats since they are refined and consuming them can pose a risk to various conditions such as heart disease. Saturated are also not all that bad however they should be used in a very limited way. Some of the foods with saturated fat include butter, lard, meat, and cream, etc. Unsaturated fats are the most preferred types of fat since they help in preventing the risk of getting heart disease alongside other health benefits. Unsaturated fats can be obtained from foods such as avocadoes, nuts, olive oil, etc.
Caloric maintenance: Caloric maintenance is just the number of calories that the body requires each day in order to be in a state where there isn’t weight loss or weight gain. Caloric gain tends to vary with each individual with the amount being higher amongst those who are younger and more active and also those with more muscle mass. The caloric maintenance can be achieved through a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. If you are to lose weight then the caloric intake should be lower than what you lose in a given day. You can determine the number of calories that you can take or lose per day by using calorie calculators that are available online
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Observation of periods of voluntary abstinence from food and drinks is quite broad and can be applied in diverse ways. One of the things that make intermittentfasting to be remarkable is the fact that many people eat not due to hunger but mostly as a result of routine. Intermittent fasting makes people to be more conscious about eating so that they can easily cut back on habit driven eating and snacking which often lead to poor health. So taking time to fast for some hours makes it possible to automatically cut down munching some foods which leads to subsequent loss of calories. Many people find intermittent to be quite convenient and easy to implement.
The fact that there is no specific foods to be eaten apart from monitoring calories makes this way of eating to be quite ideal for a number of people. Various research studies have proven that counting calories and limiting the options of food that one gets to take makes dieting to look so much like a chore which can be stressing and is more likely to lead to abandonment of the diet. It may also lead to enhanced feelings of deprivation, uncontrolled cravings and even weight regain. You can adapt to intermittent fasting through a method of scheduled fasting and eating that relies strictly on time.
Here are some of the benefits that are associated with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a great way for burning body fat and engaging in fasting tends to prolog the body’s natural fasted state. When one is asleep, the body naturally gets into a fasted state where it automatically switches to a fat burning mode. When you wake up and begins eating, the body then starts to produce insulin and a fat storage hormone gets released which then reverses the fasting state that you were in. When you practice intermittent fasting; you can then extend the fasting period for some time and your body then continues in the fat burning mode.
Being on intermittent fasting also helps in controlling appetite. The human body is quite adaptive and if you continually skip taking breakfast in the morning then with time you get a superior appetite control with fewer hunger pangs. The body will in its own way come up with a mechanism to utilize body fat in a way that’s more efficient and as a source of energy. When the body is burning fat as a source of energy instead of glucose; the body energy levels then gets to stabilize and you are more likely to have sufficient energy levels all through the day without having feelings of cravings for energy boost.
Since intermittent fasting leads to the burning of fat as a source of energy; it also supercharges the body’s ability to detox and repair itself. The digestion process normally takes a lot f energy and attention of the body. When you engage in fasting; you also gives your body to focus on other important things apart from digestion and that normally leads to increase of human growth hormones.
The presence of growth hormones in the body helps in improving a healthier composition of the body in the following ways:
- Keeps the body lean
- Increases synthesis of protein tissues that helps in promoting muscle repair and recovery.
- Decreases accumulation of fat
- Strengthens the bones
- Improves circulation of blood
- Decreases symptoms associated with aging
- Decreases accumulation of fat amongst others.
Changes the function of cells, hormone and genes
Whenever you stay without eating for some period of time, various things then happens in the body. For example, the body initiates cellular repair processes that are quite important and also stirs changes in hormone levels in order to make the stored body fat to be more accessible. Some of the changes that take place during fasting period include:
Insulin levels: The level of insulin within the blood gets to drop significantly which then facilitates the burning of fats for energy.
Human growth hormone: The level of growth hormone in the blood also increases to higher levels and these hormones tend to facilitate the burning of fats and muscle gain alongside other benefits.
Cellular repair: The body also induces important cellular repair processes which then aids the removal of waste materials from the body cells.
Gene expression: Beneficial changes also take place in the molecules and genes which are related to longevity and protection of the body against disease. Most of the benefits that one gets to experience during intermittent fasting are normally associated with the changes in gene expression, hormones and functioning of the cells. When one is in a fasting state, the level of insulin drops in the blood and it also triggers the increase of human grow hormones. The body cells also initiate important processes that enable cellular repairs and a change in the genes they express.
Loss of weight and belly fat
Many of those who resort to intermittent fasting are normally motivated by the benefit of weight loss and body fat. Intermittent fasting makes one to eat fewer meals which translate to fewer calories. Intermittent fasting also helps in enhancing the functioning of hormones which then facilitates weight loss. The lower levels of insulin and increased growth of hormones alongside increased levels of norepinephrine leads to the breakdown of the body fat and also facilitates utilization of fat for energy. When it comes to following a diet that leads to weight loss; most of the people prefer a dieting regimen that provides them with more flexibility. Most people don’t like having to think about diet every now and then as that leads to loss of motivation after some time of engaging in restricting intake of calories.
Intermittent fasting is therefore preferred by many as a way of losing weight since it’s quite flexible. Short term fasting therefore increases the metabolic rate and enables on to burn more calories. Intermittent fasting therefore works in two ways for enhanced weight loss; it boosts the metabolic rate through increased breaking of calories and also reduces the amount of calorie intake through reduced intake of foods. According to a research, intermittent fasting is capable of causing weight loss by between 3 – 8% over a period of 3 – 24 weeks which is quite a huge amount. There is the possibility of realizing reduced waist circumference by 4 – 7% which expresses loss of belly fat. This is harmful fat that’s found in the abdominal cavity which causes disease.
Another report expressed that intermittent fasting also causes less muscle loss than being on continuous calorie restriction. Intermittent fasting is therefore a powerful weight loss tool that enables people to keep the weight lost off for a longer period of time.
Reduces resistance to insulin and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has become a common condition and a challenge that many people struggle with. The main feature in diabetes type 2 is generally the high levels of blood sugar in relation to insulin resistance. Any eating pattern that helps in reducing resistance to insulin can greatly help with reducing the levels of blood sugar which then protects against diabetes type 2. Intermittent fasting has been expressed to effectively help with insulin resistance which then leads to an impressive reduction of blood sugar levels.
According to various studies of those on intermittent fasting; the level of blood sugar on those fasting have been proven to reduce by 3 – 6% with fasting insulin reduced by 20 – 31%. Intermittent fasting also protects against kidney diseases which is a common complication in diabetes type 2 cases. Engaging in healthy eating, losing weight and exercising can greatly help in fighting off diabetes type 2. When you lose weight, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin which then helps in driving the blood sugar levels down. Intermittent fasting also helps those who are pre-diabetic or even those with history of diabetes in the family to stay safe.
Reduces oxidative stress and body inflammation
Oxidative stress is a condition that’s associated with aging and other chronic diseases. It’s a condition where unstable molecules which are known as free radicals get to react with other important molecules such as protein and DNA and then damages them. Intermittent fasting has been proven to enhance the body’s ability to resist oxidative stress. Reduction in meal frequency and caloric restriction can greatly help in extending lifespan by increasing resistance to some of the age related conditions. Intermittent fasting helps in improving cardiovascular and brain functioning which in turn leads to enhanced life span.
Intermittent fasting also helps in fighting inflammation which is also another key driver of all manner of diseases.
Beneficial to heart health
Heart disease has been termed as one of the biggest killer and majority of the risk factors are associated with cases of heart disease. Intermittent fasting helps in improving conditions that are associated with risk factors such as blood pressure, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Intermittent fasting helps the body to stick to a given circadian rhythm which then helps with metabolism. Following a healthy lifestyle is vital if one is to stay away from cardiovascular disease.
If you restrict intake of calories everyday then it improves cardiovascular risk, insulin resistance and glycemic control. You however need to put in mind that fasting doesn’t actually mean total abstinence from food; you can still take calorie free foods, beverages and water.
Induces cellular repair processes
When one is in a fasting state, the body initiates a cellular waste removal process that’s referred to as autophagy. The process involves the breaking of cells down and metabolizing the dysfunctional and broken proteins that normally builds up within the cells over some time. Increased levels of autophagy provide the body with protection against various diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Fasting triggers a metabolic pathway that causes removal of waste materials from the body cells.
Cancer is a chronic disease that’s normally characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. Since intermittent fasting has been proven to have beneficial effects on metabolism; it therefore leads to prevention of cancer. Fasting also reduces the numerous side effects that are associated with chemotherapy.
Improves functionality of the brain
Whatever is good for the body is normally equally good for the brain. Intermittent fasting helps in improving metabolic features that are suitable for brain health. The features include reduced levels of oxidative stress; reduced inflammation reduced levels of blood sugar and reduced resistance to insulin. It also increases the levels of brain hormone which is known as neurotrophic factor. Deficiency of the hormone often leads to depression and other brain problems.
Intermittent fasting improves the health of the brain and increases the growth of new neurons that normally protect the brain from any form of damage.
Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the world’s common neurodegenerative diseases. Prevention of the disease is quite vital since there isn’t any cure that has been discovered for the disease. Intermittent fasting has been said to help in delaying its onset and also reduces the severity of the condition.
One of the significant benefits of intermittent fasting is its ability to extend one’s lifespan. Practicing intermittent feeling has known metabolism benefits and all that contributes into living a longer life span and a much healthier life. Intermittent fasting triggers the release of adaptive cellular stress responses which then enhances the ability to counteract disease and cope with stress. The low calorie diets normally increase mitochondrial stress which is beneficial for anti aging. The better the mitochondria works, the better your body also gets to work.
The science behind intermittent fasting
We are living in the modern era that’s filled with factory laden and agricultural foods or even food like substances that has completely altered how people view consumption of food on a daily basis. The way of eating has led to numerous problems that the society is faced with today and as much as intermittent fasting is considered as an ancient practice, the science behind the practice has great health benefits that people are just getting to be aware of. Engaging in intermittent fasting enables the body to repair itself, cleanse and even regenerate for optimal functioning of the body.
As far back as the year 1930s, scientists had begun exploring the benefits that were associated with reducing intake of calories by skipping meals. One scientist at the time found out that reducing calories significantly enables mice to live healthier and longer lives. According to some of the most recent scientific research, it was found out the same results for a number of animals. The studies also proved that reducing consumption of calories by 30 or 40% regardless of the method used helped in extending lifespan by a third. Limiting intake of food was also proven to help with reducing the risk of common diseases.
Fasting was also proven to increase responsiveness of the body to insulin and also helped in regulation of blood sugar and hunger control. The different types of intermittent fasting tend to produce the same benefits however different methods yields diverse results for different people. Instead of forcing yourself to follow a given method just because another person has realized success with it; you should instead go for a method that you are comfortable with. Forcing yourself may make the method not to be sustainable for you and that might only lead to failing to realize the desired benefits.
Majority of the dieting trends originate from science although some of the facts get distorted overtime once they achieve mainstream popularity. Once a given dieting plan has gained popularity, you realize that the benefits get exaggerated as the risks also get downplayed. When popularity pushes a given dieting regimen to being considered as a fad which means becoming intensely popular then majority of the doctors and nutritionists are more likely to dismiss it which may cause their patients to lose on the legitimate benefits that come with the dieting pattern.
There is a wide body of research that support the numerous health benefits that are associated with intermittent fasting even though most of the research has been carried out in animals and not human beings. Fasting has been proven to help in improving the disease biomarkers, preserve learning and memory functioning of the brain, and reduce oxidative stress and more. When focusing on intermittent fasting some of the common questions that scientists are confronted with are no longer things like; what should one eat or how much should one eat? The focus shifts to when should one eat and whether they should eat at all for certain periods of time.
Various research studies have proven that intake of reduced calorie on a daily basis is basically an effective way of losing weight and also helps in improving metabolic and cardiovascular health. People are always on the lookout for more manageable ways that they can use to improve their health and many people are switching to intermittent fasting since they find it to be flexible. Engaging in short periods of consuming little to no foods that contain energy is much easier to do. Calorie restriction is one of the most scientifically established dieting regimens that help in improving health.
Some of the benefits of calorie restricted diet regimen include improvements in risk indicators for conditions such as diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and reductions in level of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood triglycerides amongst others. Many people find intermittent diet to be appealing since they can still lose weight on the diet and still enjoy eating the foods that they want regularly. Increasing number of studies suggest that intermittent fasting is a viable way of weight loss.
Things to be aware of in intermittent fasting
Human beings have greatly evolved through the years and have in the process developed a circadian clock which enables physiological processes in the body to perform at optimal levels all through the day. The circadian rhythms takes place across the 24 hours with light dark cycles that influence changes in body behavior and biology. Feeding signals tends to be the main timing cue that signals circadian rhythm function which then triggers control of metabolic, behavioral and physiological pathways that in turn contribute to overall human health and longevity.
Involving yourself in behavioral intervention such as intermittent fasting helps in synchronizing circadian rhythms. It also leads to improved fluctuations in the reprogramming of energy metabolism, gene expression, and improved body weight regulation and hormonal improvement. All these factors play such an integral role in ensuring optimized health outcomes.
The Gut Microbiome
Most of the functions within the body are influenced by the circadian rhythm. The gastrointestinal tract which is also known as the gut plays such a significant role in regulating the processes within the body. Many of the functions of the gut and other biochemical and physiological functions are influenced by circadian rhythm. Intermittent fasting has a direct impact on the gut as it contributes to reduced gut permeability, diminished systemic inflammation and improvement of energy balance which enhances gut integrity. Intermittent fasting has also been proven to reduce cases such as poor sleep, nighttime eating, and increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer
Fasting puts adaptive cellular stress to the body which then causes the body to cope with severe stressors that might occur and eventually increases potential of protection from disease aggressions. Exposure of the body to any mild stress causes the body cells to become more resilient against any other severe stressors.
Getting Started with Intermittent Fasting
Before you get started with intermittent fasting, ensure that you consult your doctor especially if you have medical conditions or if you are on any form of medication. If you end up falling sick after getting started then you should immediately stop. Even as you get started with intermittent fasting, ensure that you keep it simple. When fasting, consider taking plain water, black coffee or unsweetened tea. You should also keep the process of fasting easy. Eat the usual meals that you normally eat during the eating window.
Many people find intermittent fasting to be quite effective when combined with low carb, high fat diet of real and healthy foods. The goal should however not be on focusing on the type of foods to eat but on having the best combination of foods that provides you with the best results. You can adjust your cooking time in accordance to the type of fasting method that you have decided on. When deciding on the days to fast, you can choose to fast during weekdays instead of weekends as it can be more convenient with less variables. Don’t beat yourself up if you realize that you have slip ups as that are fine.
Before you get started with intermittent fasting; you should also have a clear reason or purpose for engaging in the dieting pattern. Here are some f the reasons that motivate people to engage in intermittent fasting;
Weight loss and weight maintenance: It’s possible to lose weight when on intermittent fasting however you have to take the necessary measures by restricting your calorie intake and choosing an ideal method of fasting. Intermittent fasting will put your body into a state where it gets to burn fat as a source of energy and that leads to loss of weight and belly fat. Zero in on your purpose and let it be your motivation even as you engage in fasting.
Relieve symptoms and avoid medication: Intermittent fasting can help with prevention of some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, cancer and diabetes amongst others. If your purpose for getting into intermittent fasting is to get relief from symptoms or to avoid medication then ensure that you commit to the process.
Prevention of disease and longevity: Some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, diabetes type 2 and cancer can be life threatening however various research have proved that adopting intermittent fasting can help in prevention of the diseases and their impact on the body. Intermittent fasting has also been proven to enhance life span.
If in case you feel deprived while fasting then you need to focus more on the reason why you are doing the fasting and the results that you intend to realize. You should also take time and analyze some factors that are more likely to make you nervous about intermittent fasting especially if you find yourself considering to stop. Many people find it challenging to be skipping breakfast daily while on intermittent fasting however you should be aware of the fact that breakfast is not the most important meal and doing away with it is still okay.
Breakfast is more like a neutral meal and eating it won’t in any way fire up your metabolism. Snacking is another thing that many people are concerned about when on intermittent fasting however jus be aware of the fact that engaging in snacking won’t let you realize your purpose for being on intermittent fasting. You can realize weight loss when you consistently engage in taking snacks so you just have to decide to let it go. Snacking has been said to contribute to fatty liver disease and obesity so avoiding it will go a long way in improving your overall health.
Adopting intermittent fasting doesn’t slow your metabolism it instead increases it and helps one to lose weight and retain muscle. Remember not to fast if you are underweight, if you are pregnant, you should also not fast if you are breastfeeding and if you are underage like below 18 years as you need sufficient nutrients to grow. There are those who can also fast but with the permission of a doctor especially those with diabetes type 1 or 2, those on prescription medication and hose with gout or high uric acid.
- Tips for intermittent fasting
- Drink water to stay hydrated
- Drink unsweetened tea or coffee
- Stay busy
- Avoid sharing your regimen with those who are not supportive
- Test yourself for a month
- Follow up with a low carb high fat diet in between the fasting periods. It reduces hunger and makes fasting to be a lot easier. It may also heighten weight loss and reversal of diabetes type 2
- Avoid snacking or binge after fasting.
Before you get started with intermittent fasting; you should consider the following:
- Choose the fasting method to follow
- Calculate your calories
- Calculate the micronutrients
- Create a meal plan that works for you
How to do Intermittent Fasting / Different methods:
There are several intermittent fasting methods that one can choose from. Before you start off with fasting; just take time and ensure that the method you have settled for suits your schedule well and you are able to follow through accordingly.
The 16/8 Method
This method of intermittent fasting entails eating within a given window of time daily and then fasting for the entire time out of the window. The 16/8 method of intermittent fasting is the most common one and its normally referred to as breaking 24 hours into when you are fasting and when you are consuming food. It should be the number of hours fasted followed by eating window hours. 16/8 fasting method therefore means that 8 hours of every day for example you can have the eating window from 12pm to 8pm. You can therefore eat within that window at different times then fast for the remaining 16 hours.
The window period can however vary based one’s need as there are some who can eat within a six our window then fast for the remaining hours which makes it 18/6. Others can eat within the 4 hour window which then makes it 20/4. One of the greatest benefits of intermittent fasting is the fact that it enables one to get into a metabolic state that makes burning of fat to be much easier. When the body gets to ketosis state; it then gets to burn fat as a source of fuel instead of glucose. Such a process then helps in reducing body fat, and increases weight loss.
For the body to get into that state of ketosis, one should engage in fasting in a certain way either by avoiding eating any food or keeping intake of carbohydrates at a very low level. Intermittent fasting therefore helps the body to deplete glucose at quite a faster rate and also speeds up the process of getting the body to run on fat. Those who are on ketogenic diet may find intermittent fasting to be a great way of starting off with the diet so as to get into ketosis much faster. The fact that you are adopting the 16/8 method of fasting is not a guarantee that you will automatically get into ketosis.
When you follow the fasting window with a high carb diet then the body will automatically switch back to burning glucose for energy and you will be instantly thrown off ketosis. Remember it’s the level of carbohydrates that you take after the window period that determines whether you stay on ketosis or the body switches to glucose burning mode. If you shift from the normal way of eating to a low carb way of eating then it may take the body about 2 days to completely switch to ketosis. If you commit to eating your food during the 8 hour window then you may not be allowing your body sufficient time to get into ketosis. To ensure that you get into fat burning mode, you can commit to taking high fat foods, moderate protein and low carb foods. Remember that the foods that you eat during the 8 hour window are what help in getting you into fat burning mode. You can still work out when practicing this method of fasting however ensure that you eat a good meal after working out.
This method of fasting is quite easy to do and also very effective. You also don’t have to count calorie intake when on 16/8 fasting method. You can carry out this fasting on a week days only or even twice a week. You can even do t every single day more like a lifestyle. The more you engage in this method of fasting the more effective it can become. Remember to eat during the window period only when you feel hungry.
The 5:2 Diet Method
The 5:2 intermittent fasting is another popular method of fasting that’s followed by many people and involves intake of 25% of your calorie needs. It’s referred to as 5:2 since one is required to eat normally during the five days of the week and then restrict calories to between 500 – 600 per day for the two days. The 5:2 diet method is normally considered as an eating pattern and not really a diet and there are no specifics on the foods that can be eaten. Focus is instead on when the foods should be eaten. Since the intake of calories is reduced, you are therefore more likely to lose weight.
To get started with this method of fasting, you can choose the two days within the week that you can reduce intake of calories to 500. Ensure that there is one day of fasting in between the days you have chosen. You can fast on Monday and on Thursdays as you take 2 to 3 small meals then resume your normal eating on the remaining days. Eating normally doesn’t necessarily mean that you just eat anything; if you decide to binge on junk food then you should be aware of the fact that you might not attain your goal.
The 5:2 diet is much easier to follow than the traditional diets that restrict calorie intake. This method ca effectively lead to weight loss if undertaken well however the hunger that one gets to experience can be limiting for some. The limitation in calorie intake with 500 calories for women and 600 hundred for men for the two fasting days may help with improving brain functioning amongst other benefits. This method of fasting also helps in repairing body cells which are likely to contribute to various health conditions.
When following this method of fasting; you really don’t have to go for a day without taking food; all you have to do is to ensure that at least the intake of calories for two days within the week is restricted to 500 for women and 600 for men. The limit in calories on the fasting days enables you to eat small quantities of food n the specific days. You can choose whichever food you want to eat under this method as long as the intake of calories is limited to the required amount. To keep away hunger pangs; you can go for foods that are filling and those that don’t have a lot of calories so that you can stay full for longer periods of time. Foods like leafy green vegetables and smaller portions of lean meat can be great if taken in right quantities. Soups are also great and filling as well and remember to avoid consumption of processed carbohydrates such as bread or pasta.
The Eat – Stop – Eat Method
This method of fasting is also known as the 24 hour fast and it’s based on the understanding that our bodies are meant to be in a constant cycle of fasting and feeding. So when you consume a large amount of food then the body gets to store fat that can be burned later whenever there is inadequate supply of food. By engaging in regular yet short periods of fasting, it then provides one with the simplest way of losing weight in a way that doesn’t affect the metabolic rate. Fasting for 24 hours once in a week or even twice in a week is capable of producing results that are similar to one on very strict dieting. You however don’t have to go for an entire day without eating if you follow the required guidelines.
The eat-stop-eat method can be practiced by eating normally until 6pm in one day then fasting until 6pm the following day. This method of fasting makes it possible for one to enjoy the benefits of fasting without having to stop eating for a whole day. To engage in the fasting easily, you can think of fasting as if you are breaking from the normal eating routine. Remember to avoid ay temptation to overeat once you complete the fast as engaging in excess eating may neutralize the benefits that come with practicing the fast. While on this method of fasting, you can also engage in resistance exercises as that helps in maintaining the muscle tissue.
You can adjust your training and exercises in regards to intensity, frequency and volume of training. You can also consider adding additional exercises such as engaging in yoga, aerobics or cycling. Eat-stop-eat fasting method is quite basic and easy to follow. You can decide to do the fasting once or twice a week but the fast should be for 24 hours. You can start at anytime that you are comfortable with provided you maintain the fast to 24 hours. Break the fast with a normal meal and never try to compensate for the lost calories. Remember to also engage in exercises as you engage is fasting.
Many people prefer eat-stop-eat method of fasting because of its therapeutic benefits. This method of fasting is quite beneficial for several reasons;
- It’s supported by scientific research
- The short term way of fasting comes with many health benefits including longevity.
- It doesn’t require elimination of foods or even adjustment o a normal diet
- It can help increase level of awareness in regards to eating habits and food choice.
- It can also be followed as a way of life and for weight management
It’s possible for those who are getting started with this method of fasting to experience uncomfortable symptoms such as headache during the first 24 hours. One may be tempted to overeat while getting started after the fats and that can negate the benefits that come with this method of fasting. This method of fasting is also not suitable for those with eating disorders. It can also encourage use of sweeteners which can be unhealthy for the body.
Eat-stop-eat is a method of fasting that offer many people the easy way to reduce intake of calories without having to adjust their usual eating habits which then leads to numerous health benefits. To realize success with this method of fasting; it’s important that you avoid overeating once you are through with the 24 hour fasting.
The Alternate Days Fasting
This is one of the extensively studied forms of short term fasting and just as the name implies, it entails fasting for some days each week and eating normally as you would. You can decide to fast on Monday, eat normally on Tuesday then fast again on Wednesday and continue in the same manner. Alternate days fasting is a very flexible way of fasting and you can plan your week effectively. The biggest challenge with this method is that it’s not as effective when it comes to burning fat as a source of energy, getting the body into ketosis then highly depends on the quality of foods that one gets to eat when on the diet.
To practice this method with successful results, you can dedicate the first 24 hours to taking water and less than 500 calories. You can either take the calories in one meal or spread all through the day. You can then eat whatever you want in the following 24 hours however you should put emphasis in taking low carb high fat diet so that you are not thrown ketosis in the process. High fat diet is also satisfying so you are likely to be filled for longer periods of time. If you are fasting for a day then eating the following day then you should restrict whatever you are eating to half of the time.
On the days you are fasting; you can take beverages that are free of calories. The alternated days fasting is demanding and you should be ready to follow through with the diet daily as required if you are to realize the benefits. Various studies show that most people find the alternate day fasting much easier to follow through with than the traditional every day way of restricting calories. The intake of 500 calories on the fasting days makes the method to be sustainable than having full fasts on the fasting days. Alternate day fasting is quite effective for weight loss and the fact that it’s much easier to follow through with makes it to be quite ideal. The effects of alternate day fasting on hunger is inconsistent with some studies showing that hunger teds to go down on the fasting days and others states that feelings of hunger remains. Modified alternate days fasting where you take 500 calories on fasting days is quite tolerable. It also causes changes that are favorable
The Warrior Diet
This method of fasting is quite suitable for those who are comfortable with following rules, the devoted as they are known. The warrior diet entails fasting for about 20 hours then eating a large meal in the night. Whatever you it and when you get to eat he large amount of food is also vital if you are to experience success with the method. The philosophy in this diet is to feed the body with the required nutrients that are in alignment with circadian rhythms given that humans are nocturnal eaters and are inherently programmed to eat in the night.
The period of fasting is more about under eating. During the 20 hour fasting period, you can eat few servings of foods like fruits, fresh juice and few amounts of protein as desired. The food intake is intended to help in maximizing the sympathetic nervous system which promotes alertness, stimulates burning of fats and also boosts energy. The four hour eating window is normally referred to as the overeating phase and normally takes place at night so that the ability of the parasympathetic nervous systems can be maximized to help the body in promoting calm, relaxation and digestion. It also allows the body to make use of the nutrients that have been consumed for growth and repair of cells.
Eating huge chunks of food at night may also help the body in produce hormones and burn fats in the day. The order in which one gets to consume food during the four hour eating period also matters. You can start with eating veggies, then protein and fat and only add carbohydrates when you are still not full after eating in that order. Many people preferred this method of fasting because it permitted them to eat small amounts of snacks during the fasting period and that makes it easier to get through with the diet. One of the disadvantages of this fasting method is the strict nature of the guidelines which is more likely to interfere with social life of most people.
The warrior diet also recommends that one follows their instinct in regards to the dieting patterns. Intake of processed foods should be avoided under this method. Since the diet is very different from the normal three way meals and two snacks that most people are used to, it takes quite some time to adjust to warrior diet. When you under eat or overeat while on warrior diet, you are still allowed to consume small servings of fruits, vegetables and even proteins that you desire. The focus should be on eating whole foods or the freshly pressed juices from whole foods as they are full of enzymes that can help you reload faster. Apart from consumption of protein which should be very minimal, there aren’t any recommendations on the quantity of foods to be eaten during fasting and that’s where instinct takes charge.
Fast Lost Forever
If you are still not completely satisfied with the different methods of intermittent fasting then you can consider the fast lost forever methods as it incorporates all of the types of fasting into a singular plan. This method entails a 36 hour fast followed by a seven day cycle which can be split up into different fasting protocols. The plan also includes training programs that use body weights and free weights which help participants to realize maximum fat loss in ways that are simple. Fat loss forever offers a 7 day fasting period that enables the body to get used to the structured timetable and be able to reap most of the benefits associated with fasting during the period. One also gets a full one day cheat day to indulge in the foods they like.
Spontaneous Meal Skipping
This method of intermittent fasting entails listening to your body then eating only when you are feeling hungry. You don’t have to eat if you are very busy or not very hungry. If you have to eat junk foods just because you are busy then you have to stop. Meal skipping generally means omission or lack of food consumption of either one or more of the traditional man classes of means like breakfast, lunch and supper. Those who experience problems with sticking to a fasting plan that is structured can consider going for the spontaneous meal skipping method. All you have to do is to skip meals whenever it’s convenient and it’s much easier to perform short and spontaneous fasts. If you don’t feel hungry in the morning then all you can do is to let go of breakfast
Fasting for general health
Practicing fasting is quite simple just as it sounds; all you have to do is to say no to food. You don’t have to cook, count calories but fasting has quick weight loss and health benefits. The reason that makes many people not to consider fasting is because they are skeptical about the practice and whether they are capable of getting the desired health benefits through fasting. As much as fasting is a universal practice with almost every religion observing some form of fasting as a spiritual practice, a lot of debate still surrounds the subject of fasting.
If you weed through all the controversy and the debates that surround fasting then you realize that most of the medical experts agree on this one thing about fasting that it actually has health benefits. Fasting has been proven to help in boosting the immune system and improve the overall body health. Intermittent fasting is also safe as is quite as effective as the low carb diet in terms of weight loss. Although some people exercise while they also fast for a whole day, it’s advisable that one seeks advice from a nutritionist on the type of exercises they can engage in. Fasting is also good for health markers which include the risk of cancer, heart disease and even diabetes. Various studies have suggested that restricted intake of calories leads to reduced risk of disease and improved lifespan.
Intermittent fasting is quite beneficial for the overall metabolism. Since insulin ends to manage stimulation and formation of fat through a process known as lipogenesis; engaging in fasting ignites helps in reducing insulin levels which is great for overall body health and blood pressure levels. Insulin resistance has been a major health concern with many doctors linking it to excessive consumption of food. It’s also connected to medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Fasting therefore helps with healthy maintenance of insulin in the body.
If insulin levels is not maintained then it becomes difficult for the body to regulate sugar levels in the blood stream. The level of insulin normally increases after taking meals and as the blood sugar levels increases, the levels of insulin also increases. Insulin is important as it helps in converting excess glucose that’s found in to the muscles, fat cells and the liver. That’s why the levels of insulin are normally lower in the morning since you have been in a state of fasting while a sleep. So if there is over consumption of food then there will definitely be a steady increase in levels of insulin in the body and increased storage of fat in the body.
Fasting therefore causes improves the rate of metabolism as the body gets t utilizes the stored fats as a source of energy. When intake of foods that are low in carbs is sustained then it means that the body will then shift to burning fats for energy which means the release of insulin in the body will be lower. Being in such a state leads to improved health condition as the fat stored in the muscles and in the cells gets utilized which then leads to leaner muscles and improved functioning of the cells.
Fasting for weight loss
Intermittent fasting entails intake of reduced levels of calories during fasting days and that eventually leads to weight loss. When the body is in a state where it doesn’t digest food; it then improves the levels of human growth hormone and this eventually enhances loss of weight and muscle gain alongside other benefits. Sensitivity to insulin also improves when one is on fasting and the levels of insulin in the blood as well drops. It then becomes easy to access the stored body fats which then get utilized as a source of fuel for the body. The burning of fat leads to weight loss.
Since the body is not focused on consumption and digestion of food when in a state of fasting; the focus then goes to repair of the damaged body cells. Attention then goes o digesting and removing the old cells, addressing the non-functioning protein build up which then gets removed as waste from the body. Scientists and nutrition experts have confirmed the fact that intermittent fasting is one of the ways to not only lose weight but to also keep weight off.
To realize weight loss with intermittent fasting, you should be able to choose a method that you find to be suitable for you. You should also commit to following the guidelines such as consuming the required amounts of calories and fasting on water or beverages as required. The quantity of food that you take once you are through with the fasting is also vital as it can either throw you off fat burning mode. Burning calories through intermittent fasting enables you to not only lose weight but to also get rid of the excess fat such as belly fat and leaner muscles. Being on intermittent fasting optimizes the release of vital fat burning hormones in the body.
The increased release of human growth hormones, and reduced level of insulin that takes place during fasting help in weight loss and improved overall health of the body. Fasting turns the body into a fat burning mode and combining fasting with low carb foods or high fat foods can in a great way improve not only weight loss but other health benefits. Even as you engage in fasting, remember that you still need a balanced intake of foods if your body is to function well. Ensure that you get sufficient nutrients over the short eating windows but the quantity should not be in excess that it ends up throwing you off the fat burning mode.
You can start with the method of fasting that you find easy to adapt with as you progress. Starting intermittent fasting plan with a method such as warrior method where you are to fast for 20 hours as you only take one meal in the night can be overwhelming if you are just starting out. You can form a habit of eating at almost the same time everyday so that your body gets used to the process. Hunger will definitely come since you are interrupting your normal way of feeding however you need to be aware of the fact that it’s just a sensation that will go once your body adjusts to the dieting regimen.
Fasting for muscle gain
Many people have this common concern about loss of muscle during fasting. The main reason being that when the body is starved and lacks fat deposits in the body, it then resorts to deriving energy from the muscles which then leads to muscles loss. Loss of muscle is only possible for people who engage in fasting while they are already underweight. It’s recommended that those people shouldn’t fast as it may lead to other health issues. Weight loss is normally an issue of dieting and exercising alone cannot ensure perfect health and weight loss if dieting is not well managed.
If you find yourself worrying about losing muscles due to fasting then you also need to worry about insulin levels which get to increase the more you continue to consume lots of food. The more you consume foods, the more insulin levels in the blood increases and since the body is only interested in utilizing glucose as a source of fuel, fats that gets consumed doesn’t serve any function. All the fats then get directed by insulin to the cells, muscles and the liver. Excess fats in the body as we shared earlier exposes one to health conditions such as heart conditions, cancer as the cells finds it difficult o function effectively since focus is always on consuming and digesting food.
There are also higher chances of having diabetes type 2 given the high levels of insulin in the body. Engaging in exercising as a way of gaining muscles without addressing the diet issue only leaves one in a very unhealthy state. Various research studies confirm that there is a cap to the muscle protein synthesis that happens ate every feeding and if you intend o build muscles with intermittent fasting than the most appropriate method that you can consider going for is alternate day fasting. You can limit the period of fasting to be between 10 – 12 hours in this way you will still get to enjoy the benefits that come with fasting while you also get the capacity to build muscles.
To build muscle during your fasting period, you can engage in the following:
Set the feeding and fasting window: The fasting window in one of the fating methods is 16 hours; you can decide and make the fasting window shorter with a few hours or even longer depending on the goal that you have at hand. If your intention is to build muscle as you also enjoy the benefits of fasting then you can consider not extending the fasting window to 10 hours. You will then have sufficient time to get all the nutrients that you might require for a healthy body and well built muscles.
Distribute the macros over the course of the meals: Once you have determined the amount of calories that you intend to take, you need to have an estimate of what you want to eat in each of the meals. Remember that there are no rules that should guide your choice of food, the goal that you intend to realize should be the guiding factor. It is however advisable that you commit intake of carbohydrates immediately after working out and when you are taking the first meal of the day. If you are planning to do exercises during your fasting window then the first meal that you get to eat should have high carbs.
As much as many people consider intermittent fasting as not an ideal way of building muscles, the fasting method can be quite great for building muscles if the guidelines are followed properly. Ensure that you give your body enough food during the eating window so as to get sufficient amount of nutrients that can help in stimulating muscle growth. You should also alter your intake of calories appropriately so that you also get to lose weight by burning more calories than you consume.
Intermittent fasting for women
As much as intermittent fasting is great, it can have some effects on women if not well undertaken. Fasting has the potential of impacting hormonal imbalance and may impact on fertility levels if not done as per the guidelines. There are however ways that one can get to enjoy the benefits of intermittent fasting without putting their health at risk. Various medical studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help in improving the health of women in diverse ways such as;
- Increased levels of energy
- Enhanced cognition levels, clear memory and thinking.
- Reduces resistance to insulin, staves off fat and insulin related diseases by reducing the levels of insulin that circulates within the body. It also increases insulin sensitivity without lowering metabolism.
- Improves immunity, heart health and lowers the risk of diabetes.
- Increased production of brain neurotropic growth factor. This s a protein that helps in promoting neuron growth as well as protection and enables one to be resilient to any form of neurological stress. It then staves off neurodegenerative diseases.
Fasting and hormone connection
Women are normally very sensitive to signals that are associated with starvation and once the body realizes that’s being starved, it then produces hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin. So whenever women experience under eating or hunger, they at the same time experience production of the hunger hormones in the body. It’s more like the female’s way of protecting a potential fetus even if the woman isn’t pregnant. The experience can then throw the hormones out of balance and has the potential of halting ovulation if fasting is not properly done.
The release of hunger hormones can also heighten snacking and binge eating which also has the potential of limiting one from realizing the desired fasting benefits. It’s therefore vital that one goes for a method of fasting that doesn’t expose them to severe feelings of hunger that could lead to the production of hunger hormones. There are methods that can be quite suitable such as the 16/8 fasting method, the 5:2 diet fasting method and even eat-stop-eat method. Spontaneous meal skipping is also suitable especially for those who find the other methods to be challenging.
Intermittent fasting is quite flexible and regardless of the challenge that one can find themselves in; one can still practice any of the methods with a lot of flexibility. Before any woman decides to get into intermittent fasting; they should ensure that the method they choose works well for them. Methods with shorter durations of fasting can be quiet appropriate. Going for 20 hours without taking any food then eating within 4 hours may not be ideal for women. Remember once the hormones gets disconnected, it’s capable for others to be thrown off balance and that can lead to conditions such as
- Metabolic stress
- Feelings of depression and anxiety
- Fertility issues
- Irregular periods
- Shrinking of the ovaries
Hormones help in regulating almost every function within the body right from production of energy, digestion and metabolism, and even blood pressure. Any hormonal imbalance is capable of disrupting the natural rhythm and coordination in the body. It however doesn’t mean that you can’t go for intermittent fasting as a woman you can still fast but just ensure that your preferred fasting method is flexible enough. Remember its sill possible to realize your goals with fasting without messing up with your hormones in any way.
The following guidelines can be used by women to decide on the best intermittent fasting method that’s suitable for them:
- Avoid fasting for more than 24 hours at any given time.
- You can ideally fast for between 14 – 16 hours
- Avoid fasting for consecutive days especially during the first two or three weeks. For example if you are fasting for 16 hours then you can do the fast for three days instead of doing it for the entire 7 days.
- Drink plenty of water and fluids such as herbal tea, bone broth, coffee and others especially during the fasting hours.
- Avoid engaging in intensive exercises, you can instead do light exercises such as walking, jogging, yoga and some gentle stretching.
It’s possible to engage in intermittent fasting without having to shock your body which may in the end aggravate the production of hormones. You don’t have t choose a method that requires you to fast on a daily basis instead consider fasting for a few days within a week and even during the fasting periods, you can take fluids and water to help you stay hydrated and be able to wade off hunger. You can alternate the days of fasting like fasting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday then eating normally on the remaining days.
When to avoid intermittent fasting
Women can avoid intermittent fasting when they are in the following conditions:
- Breastfeeding or nursing nannies
- Having history of disordered eating
- Struggles with sleeping disorders
Remember that intermittent fasting should equally complement healthy lifestyle and diet. It should not in any way be seen as a remedy of eating nutritionally for five days then engaging in foods that are not healthy such as the processed foods, fast foods and refined sugary food. Intermittent fasting is capable of working perfectly well if practiced according to the guidelines. To realize success; you can by with shorter fasting windows as that can help you address the initial hunger issues that may arise in the proces.
The concept of fasting is quite a simple one; it involves taking some periods of time when you don’t eat. There are however some periods of fasting where one doesn’t even drink. A person is assumed to be fasting if they go without food for 8 – 12 hours and intermittent fasting involves abstinence from food that is alternated with periods of eating. It may involve fasting for a number of hours daily, once in a week of every twice in a week. One main thing that’s important with fasting is that as the gets to use up the consumed nutrients from the previous meal, it then enters a fasted state. Once the body exhausts the fuel stores, it then turns to the stored fuel for use as a source of energy.
The body generally has very limited ability to store carbohydrates although it normally finds carbohydrates to be easier to process than fats. Once the stored carbs gets depleted, the body then resorts to drawing energy from protein which then takes place through the breakdown of amino acids. It then results into excretion of higher levels of ammonia. As the fasting period continues to lengthen, the body fat and protein then becomes the main source of fuel for the body. A high breakdown of fat then results into higher levels of ketones in the body.
Since there isn’t carbohydrates coming in as one continues with fasting, insulin production then gets depressed resulting into lower levels of insulin in the blood and that’s one of the major beneficial processes of fasting. The initial composition of the body tends to play such a significant role in determining the length of time that one can take with fasting. Various scientific evidences have shown that fasting is one of the ways that can be considered for lowering the risk of chronic diseases, slow the aging process and also be able to realize an ideal body weight.
From the nutrition point of view, fasting if not well practiced tends to compromise the overall intake of nutritional foods with limited intake on foods rich in nutrients such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats. These foods carry nutrients which help in keeping the metabolism rate active and also help in reducing inflammation, boost satiety and are also quite critical for weight loss. This tends to be the cases especially when the focus is more on calorie count and not on how nutritious a given food is.
As you go for intermittent fasting you should also ensure that you also stick to the nutritionally rich whole foods that are fresh instead of the processed or tined ones. Intermittent fasting is great especially when combined with high fat or low carb diet especially for those who intend to realize outstanding benefits. Being on a low carb diet for a longer period of time may cause the body to adapt to the restricted calorie intake which is more likely to put the body in a state where it fails to lose weight further. Being on intermittent fasting can be quite helpful as one gets to cycle between being on restricted calorie level for a short time then follows with normal way of eating. It therefore becomes difficult for the body to adapt to restricted calories which further increases weight loss.
If one is considering intermittent fasting for weight loss purposes then they are more likely to realize sustained weight loss over a longer period of time which makes the dieting pattern to be more superior to the low calorie diets. As much as there are extreme dietary practices intermittent fasting is more of a voluntary food restriction which is quite flexible to follow. There are varied protocols that also come with restricted feeding time such as extreme calorie restrictions or eating all the required calories within a given period of time then following with a normal or high intake of calories. As much as one can be skeptical with a diet that claims a lot of health benefits, the unrestrictive nature of intermittent fasting makes it worth trying out.
An annual review of nutrition also concluded that intermittent fasting could be a viable dieting pattern with overall human health benefits which includes improvements in biomarkers that are associated with chronic diseases. Although majority of the human studies have been limited to small sample groups with factors such as lack of control of the groups, and insufficient follow ups impacting on the findings, practicing intermittent fasting can however yield great results if practiced as per guidelines. According to nutrition experts, the best type of dieting plan is one that can be easily maintained although long-term adherence to intermittent fasting is something that’s still under research.
The quality and quantity of a given dieting pattern should be focused on for promotion of optimal human health
Common mistakes when on intermittent fasting
There are several benefits that have been associated with being on Intermittent fasting however most people fail to realize the benefits simply because of a few mistakes. Having knowledge on some of these mistakes can help one take the necessary precautions that ensure they get the best of the diet. The main difference between succeeding or failing with intermittent could be based on understanding the common mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Here are some of the common mistakes.
Excuse to eating junk foods
There are people who assume intermittent fasting will act more like a magic pill that gets to sort all of their problems and they don’t really care whether about the foods they eat as long as they observe the fasting hours as required. Intermittent fasting is such an incredible dieting pattern that gives one the opportunity to take control of their health but it doesn’t dictate the type of foods that you should eat. Since some of the protocols recommend restricted intake of calories, a lot of emphasis should therefore be given to whole and healthy foods and not junk foods.
If you keep eating junk food and you also claim to be fasting then you will find yourself with no valuable results at the end of the set period. As shared earlier, the main benefit of adopting intermittent fasting is so that the body can get to that state of burning fat as a source of fuel as that’s where one begins to realize the benefits that are associated with the diet. When you succeed in getting your body to a fasted state then it begins to process fat and proteins as a source of energy.
Your body will then become quite sensitive to the food that you eat for example if you are already in a fat burning mode then you begin overeating some processed and sugary foods then it automatically throws your body off the state as the processing of glucose for energy begins. Eating junk doesn’t nourish your body and provides no nutritional value. The sugar that you consume only spikes the level of energy for a short while and then affects the level of insulin in the blood stream. If you are serious about achieving weight loss or any other benefit that comes with intermittent fasting then you have to let go of eating junk. Eating junk will only act to derail the process of realizing your desired goal and perfect health.
Under eating during the eating window
Once you have successfully completed your fasting whether it was a 16/8 fasting period or a 20/4 fasting period, ensure that you eat enough food as you could normally eat. There are those who tend to still under eat during the fasting window and that has the potential of negatively affecting the body and overall health. Take your time and eat until you are full and ensure that the foods that you are eating are whole, fresh and healthy. Since the body is already in a fasted state, eating low carb foods are great and can help with furthering the process of burning fat for fuel which leads to improved benefits.
Unless you are involved in workouts which require intake of carbohydrates after breaking the fasting period, you can focus more on low carbs for a healthy lifestyle. If you restrict eating enough food during the eating window then you can cause a lot of unwanted body changes which might make progressing with fasting to be quite difficult.
Failure to drink enough water
When the body is in a fasted state, it begins to breakdown the damaged components while it also detoxify the body and this happens since there is no much focus to digestion of food. Intake of water helps in flushing out the detoxified waste from the body and that’s why intake of a lot of fluids and water is vital during fasting times. There are however some people who get into fasting and decide to go through the entire hours without considering taking water or any other fluids that can help with hydrating the body. Failure to drink water can create a lot of unnecessary tension and anxiety in the body and that should be avoided by not only drinking water but also other fluids such as bone broth, unsweetened tea and coffee.
Obsessing over eating windows
One of the benefits of following intermittent fasting is enabling one to be in tune with their body to the extent where they can distinguish between real hunger or just a slight body reaction. Being in tune with your body during fasting also enable one to monitor how their bodies are reacting to the routine change as they focus on attaining the goal. Most of the people however are so much focused on eating and every moment is spent on thinking about the foods they will be eating and how hungry they feel.
If you want to realize benefits with intermittent fasting then you should be aware of the fact that it’s not time that should dictate when you need to eat but the body. Many people are used to habitual eating where breakfast is eaten at a given time followed by lunch, snacks dinner and other meals. You should be willing to let go of habitual way of eating and take time to study the way your body works and whether food is necessary at a given time or not. Let the goal of being on the dieting pattern be the driving force as you also watch out for the behavior of your body.
Many people are afraid of being hungry and have the habit of eating something as soon as they begin to sense some feeling of hunger. There are also those who are so conscious of their muscle mass that whatever gets to their mind whenever they begin to feel hungry is the fact that they are losing some muscle mass; if you are feeling hungry then just get to understand that your body is in a fasted mode and is burning fat for fuel. Instead of hesitating and looking for something to bite; be patient and follow the process until the assigned time for breaking the fast.
Fasting for many days per week
Sometimes if your goal for adopting intermittent fasting then it’s possible to go out of your way in ensuring that you lose weight fast. Such an ambition can drive one into engaging in practices that are likely to cause more problems. Fasting can be done at least for 2 – 4 days and anything more than that can be quite exhausting. Fasting for many days within a week can also impact on your metabolism, body performance, and appetite. Your body can also start defending itself against the perceived starvation and that might lead to release of some hunger hormones which has the potential of causing hormonal imbalance especially in women.
It’s vital that one makes use of the fasting window when participating in intermittent fasting. When the window period is too large then that can also trigger high hunger levels which then results into uncontrolled eating and even bingeing. The fasting protocol that one gets to choose therefore plays such an integral part in helping one to stay focused with the fasting process in a way that enables them to realize their goals.
Intense training while fasting
Another common mistake that most people make during intermittent fasting is engaging in intense training as they also fast. As much as some people may not have any problems with intense training and work out during fasting, there are those who are likely to suffer very negative consequences. Fasting is generally intense for the body and taking time to rest or even engage in some light exercises such as yoga, can be appropriate however if its intense such as lifting of weights then one should choose shorter fasting periods so that the body gets replenished with carbohydrates after engaging in such intense training.
Instead of engaging in intense work out during fasting period, one can consider engaging in restorative workouts like taking a walk or even yoga as we have shared. Such mild exercises are also great at preventing feelings of dizziness, weakness and fatigue. Another important thing that one should look into during fasting period is to ensure they get enough sleep. Sufficient sleep is vital as it enables the body t repair itself while you also maintain a healthy digestion, hormonal balance, and detoxification amongst other things. You should at least aim to sleep for about 7 – 9 hours in order to prevent low energy, moodiness and cravings.
Sufficient sleep is quite important since growth hormones normally get released during the first hours of sleep. If you spend your time on gadgets and other distracting things then you are more likely to feel fatigued the following day and may lack the required strength and focus to go through the fasting time effectively.
Avoid other stressors
Intermittent fasting can be intense at times especially if you are starting out, being in the right positive mood can help with focusing your attention to the process and how your body is responding. Adding other stressors can only make the situation to be quite intense as it gets to pull more energy that you need from you. Avoid things that over stimulate the adrenaline and even cause adrenaline fatigue.
Potential health risks associated with intermittent fasting
As much as intermittent fasting is great and with enviable benefits, it may not be appropriate for everyone. There are a group of people who should avoid adopting intermittent fasting as that may make the conditions they are already in to be worse. You should not engage in intermittent fasting if you have the following conditions:
- Eating disorders
- Diabetes type 1
- Diabetes type 2 that’s controlled with medication
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Illness or fever
Some of the drawbacks that can be experienced with intermittent fasting include:
- Changes in mood
- Extreme hunger
- Obsessive thoughts about food
- Snacking or binge eating behavior
Planning for intermittent fasting
If you are a beginner who is getting started with intermittent fasting, you can follow the following steps as you get started.
- Begin by fasting for about 12 hours per day depending on the method you have chosen for fasting. You can begin by skipping breakfast then work your way up to about 14 – 20 hours as you get to adapt to the process of fasting. You can increase that by adding at least 15 to 30 minutes in your daily fasting time.
- Once you are able to fast for about16 – 20 hours then you will be in that nice range where you can burn fat much faster.
- To schedule your daily fast in a better way, you can plan at least 14 – 20 hours for fasting and 4 -10 hours for eating. For best results ensure that you eat the last meal about 2 -3 hours early before going to bed as that will enable you to spend less hours awake as you continue with fasting.
- Here is an example where one fasts for 16 hours with an 8 hour window.
- Finish eating the last meal at 8pm on Sunday night
- Go to bed by 11pm Sunday night which means you have fasted for 3 hours.
- When you wake up at 7am on Monday you shall have fasted for 11 hours.
- From 7am to 12pm you shall have spent 5 hours fasting while awake.
- From 12pm to 8pm eat one or more meals during the period and ensure you restrict the required calorie intake.
- By Monday night 8pm you again begin your 16 hour fast.
- If you are focusing on weight loss then you should eat less than 1000 calories with 4 hour eating period.
- If you are on muscle gain then you may eat 1600 calories per day so you can have about 10 hour fasting period with more than two meals so that you can consume all the required carbs, protein and fats that you need to build the muscles.
- If you find yourself struggling with hunger and cravings then you can consider doing the following.
- You should be aware of the fact that it may take some time before the body gets used to the changes that come with intermittent fasting. That’s why it’s advisable that you begin by skipping only breakfast as you slowly adapt to the process. The feelings of hunger may last for about 2 – 7 days or even more.
- If in case the cravings and hunger become intense or if you experience headaches and dizziness then you can break your fast for some time and eat something. You don’t have to feel bad, instead just try to fast longer until you reach the set time of 16 hours.
- Remember to also take water in the process of fasting and zero calories coffee or herbal tea. It might help in doing away with the hunger and cravings as you continue with fasting.
- You can drink as much water as you want during the 16 hour fasting period it can also help in quenching the feelings of hunger. Intake of tea and coffee is allowed during the fasting period as long as it’s free of calories. Remember not to take any calorie during the 16 hour fasting period.
- The caffeine that’s found in coffee and green tea helps in increasing fat burning metabolism and also forces the body to burn more fat while also curbing appetite. It then helps in offsetting any more calories that you can derive from consuming coffee and tea.
- If in case you are working out during the fasting period then you should be aware of the fact that when the level of blood sugar, glycogen and the levels of insulin are lower as a result of fasting then you will naturally be burning more fat for energy. It therefore means that you will burn increased amount of fat when you are working out especially during the fasting period.
- If you are to be strong for the work out, you can take some low calorie coffee or tea 30 minutes earlier before you start off with the work outs so that you can gain some extra energy and some fat burning boost.
- If you find working out while fasting to be scary then you can schedule the work outs after taking your meals during the 4- 10 eating period.
Foods you should eat
Eating while you involved in intermittent fasting may be quite unrealistic however what you eat during the eating window is quite important. When engaging in intermittent fasting there isn’t any restriction in regards the type of food or that quantity that one can eat. However if anyone is committed to realizing the desired benefits that come with engaging in intermittent fasting then they should consider eating healthy and whole foods. As you plan on the foods to eat, you should consider the following;
- You should ensure that you consume enough calories for the day. It’s very possible for one to consume low amounts of calories during the eating window and that’s likely to lead to more weakness for the body.
- You should avoid consumption of foods with high levels of carbohydrates. Intake of such foods only makes the fasting process to be unbearable and there are higher chances of not gaining any benefit. Foods with high levels of carbs will often lead to spikes in blood sugar and that will definitely get you off the fasted state. You are also more likely to experience low mood, brain fog and lethargy.
- Apart from eating low carb foods, drinks and fatty foods, you should as well consider eating nutritious green vegetables, sweet potatoes, and natural complex carbs such as sweet potatoes alongside other healthy foods. Intake of potatoes can help with giving you endurance when exercising.
Below is a summary of some of the foods that you can consider consuming:
Water: Intake of water is very important as you need to stay hydrated even if you are not eating. Failure to take enough water may lead to dehydration, fatigue, headache and feelings of being lightheaded. If you don’t enjoy taking plain water then you can squeeze some lemon inside to give it some taste.
Avocado: As much as avocado has higher level of calories, the monosaturated fat in avocado can also be quite satiating. Adding a piece of avocado to your lunch can leave you feeling quite full for a longer period of time.
Fish: Eating of fish is recommended and ne should consider having at least eight ounces of fish per week. Fish is rich in healthy fats and proteins and also has a substantial amount of Vitamin D. If you are eating only a limited amount of food for each day then you should consider going for food that’s rich in nutrients like fish. Fish is also considered as a brain food.
Vegetables: Foods such as broccoli, sprouts, brussels and cauliflower are all full of fiber and when you are eating erratically, having some fiber rich food can be quite ideal. Foods that are rich in fiber are also filling and that can help you go through 16 hours of fasting without feeling extremely hungry.
Potatoes: Potatoes are some of the satiating foods that you can consider consuming especially for those who need a boost in calories before engaging in a work out. There’s another study which found that consumption of potatoes as part of having a healthy diet also helped with weight loss.
Beans and legumes: as much as you are not suppose to load a lot of carbohydrates, having some low calorie carbs like legumes and beans such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans have been proven to help in decreasing body weight even if you don’t restrict intake of calories.
Eggs: On large egg is said to have at least six grams of protein and eggs also cooks quite fast. It’s important that you also get sufficient amount of protein so that you can be full as you also build muscles. Those who ate eggs for breakfast were said to be less hungry when compared to those who ate bagel. Hard boiled eggs can therefore make a great meal during fasting period.
Nuts: Nuts may have higher levels of calories when compared to other snacks but they carry fats which are missing in some of the junk foods. Nuts have polyunsaturated fat that has the potential of altering physiological markers for satiety and hunger.
Berries: You can consume these in the form of smoothie as its rich in some vital nutrients. Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C which is immune boosting and are also rich in flavanoids.
Probiotics: This food helps in cleaning the gut and removing the unpleasantness that can be irritating around the gut area. You can consider including foods such as kraut, or kefir to address the gut issue.
Let’s talk about maintenance
If you have successfully practiced intermittent fasting and attained the desired goal then best thing you can do is to ensure that you maintain the results attained. The only way through which you can maintain the results realized out of engaging in intermittent fasting is by adopting it as a lifestyle. Remember if you stop after realizing the benefits and get back to normal way of eating then it will be just a matter of time before you get back to the state that you were in before you started intermittent fasting.
It takes time to lose weight however gaining weight may not take much time if you are not eating healthy and exercising. To maintain the results achieved and continue to be in good health; you can go for a fasting protocol that’s not quite demanding such as spontaneous meal skipping or a protocol that you find to be flexible. The key issue should be in ensuring that you maintain the results while you also don’t strain with intense fasting method.
Troubleshooting: what if I’m not seeing results
If you find yourself struggling with making it through the fasting period without having to feel fatigue, shakiness, mood swings and all manner of reactions then you could be having an underlying health issue that might be requiring attention. Intermittent fasting is not only beneficial but also has life changing health practices however at times following through with fasting can prove to be challenging and more complicated than its suppose to be.
If all these symptoms are showing in the first week then you can ignore them as you assume that the body is reacting to the change in your dieting regimen. If in case the symptoms continue to drag on then the symptoms could be a red flags about an underlying health issue that you should not ignore. You can consult with a doctor and get advice and guidance on how you can advance with your fasting or if you are to stop and seek medical attention. Normally there are some reasons that might contribute to people not realizing results with intermittent fasting or even being able carry on with intermittent fasting as required.
Here are some of the reasons:
There are some foods that ignite allergies and intolerance and the challenge is most people are not aware that the challenges they could be facing are as a result of being allergic to certain foods. There are people who are allergic to dairy products, legumes, eggs, gluten, soy amongst other types of foods. If you want to identify the types of foods that you are sensitive towards then you can try eliminating some of the foods that you could be sensitive to from your diet. You can give yourself a few days of staying without the food you suspect before introducing it again just to ascertain if it’s the right food.
If you are dealing with unidentified sensitivity; it’s more likely to cause your body to be inflamed and even stressed at a cellular level. When the cells are inflamed and stressed, then adapting to fat as a source of fuel in the body becomes quite difficult. Such a person will be stuck with utilizing glucose as the source of energy and anytime a shift is made that could cause the body to utilize fuel then all manner of reactions arise. If in case you are not seeing any tangible results with intermittent fasting or even feeling more symptoms than any usual case then you can look out for the potential triggers in your food and have them eliminated before you can proceed with intermittent fasting.
Most of the toxins in the environment are fat soluble which also means that they get to accumulate in the body fat. The body cell is normally surrounded with a two layer fat membrane which means toxins tend to accumulate in the cellular membranes which normally results to cellular inflammation, inflamed and stressed cells which are not likely to adapt to use of fat as the source of energy. If you are fasting and also noticing that you get extremely tired even if just for a few hours then that could be a sign that you are dealing with cellular toxicity especially if you also notice that you are feeling mentally sluggish and feeling brain fog.
The environment that we live in is full of toxins and that’s a fact that we can’t escape from, with things like mercury being found even in foods that we consume such as fish. Aluminum is also found in the cookware including the deodorants and vaccinations that are used on people. People literally inhale herbicides, drink pesticides and mold has become a huge problem in majority of the homes. The good thing is that the body is strong enough to purge the toxins and by engaging in intermittent fasting the toxins that are stored deep in the fat cells also gets removed from the body through a process which is known as autophagy.
The process can be quite liberating and healing especially for people without toxic overload but for those with significant levels of cellular toxicity; it can be quite rough since the detox organs are also compromised which makes removal of the toxins to be difficult. If you have to detoxify the cells then it’s vital that you work with a practitioner. You need someone who can reach the gut for elimination of the toxins. Once the issue of toxicity has been properly addressed, fasting should then become much easier and one should be able to realize results.
Another factor that requires trouble shooting is the issue of hidden infections that can also contribute to one not being able to realize results with intermittent fasting. One of the main reasons why most people struggle with intermittent fasting is due to hidden infections. The infections can come in the form of yeast overgrowths, viruses, parasites and bacterial infections. This is also one of the most overlooked scenarios that hinder people from not only engaging in intermittent fasting but also living healthy and productive lives.
Hidden infections can be quite difficult to identify and most of the people are hardly aware if they are suffering from any infection since they don’t experience any flu-like symptoms, acute fever and other symptoms that might show that they are not fine. Deep down, the hidden infections suppress the immune system in quite a subtle way and also add to the toxic burden that the body is experiencing. Hidden infections therefore make success with intermittent fasting to be quite difficult. Most chronic diseases are also caused by the hidden infections that people hardly get to identify in time and only emerge when it’s late and the condition has advanced.
Dealing with the hidden infections can lead to tremendous success. To deal with the hidden infections you can go for herbal deworming or even antimicrobial protocol at least twice a year. Testing for viruses can also be considered especially if you are struggling with intermittent fasting. You will be able to realize great results once the hidden infections are dealt with.
When one gets to fasting mode, it’s like asking the body to resort to the nutrient reserves that have been acquired through the years by engaging in good eating so that the body can successfully get through to the fasting windows. A person who has had people nutrition may find intermittent fasting to be quite a problem and a real challenge as there are no nutritional reserves that the body can utilize during fasting period. Whenever you are engaging in intermittent fasting, ensure that you also maintain a healthy and well rounded diet especially during the eating windows so that the potential nutritional deficiencies can be addressed.
If the nutritional deficiencies are not addressed then the fasting period can create a lot of harm than the expected good. If the body cells are deficient of vital nutrients then they will not be able to effectively adapt and you will definitely feel unable to fast. One of the reasons why many people struggle with nutrient deficiencies is as a result of a compromised digestive tract. If there are lurking toxicity and infections at the cellular level then you will be bombarded by a food trigger on a regular basis. You can therefore realize results with intermittent fasting once the issue of nutritional deficiency is well addressed.
Intermittent Fasting Menu Plan
When you are designing your intermittent fasting meal plan; you should begin by finding your macros and seeing the number of calories, fats, protein and carbs that you should be eating per day. There is a macronutrient calculator that provides the total daily energy expenditure that you can use to calculate the number of calories and macronutrient that you intend to consume. If you are to lose weight then you are suppose to burn more calories than what you consume.
Once you have identified the calories that you should be consuming per day and the amount you should be burning based on the weight you intend to lose; you can then use the macronutrient calculators that are available online to work out the number of macronutrients that you should consume or burn per day to realize your goal. Remember that regardless of the intermittent fasting proto
2 weeks meal plan with left over
This meal plan consists of foods that you can consume for two weeks and there will still be leftovers. You can however alternate the foods with whatever you prefer that isn’t in the list. Ensure that you measure the calories and the macronutrients based on what you intend to take per day. When you are starting out with intermittent fasting; you can get started by skipping one meal per day then progress to skipping two meals as you also increase the fasting hours.
As shared earlier: choose a fasting protocol that you find to be convenient and ensure that you follow the guidelines.
- Ground beef – 3 lb
- Chrizo sausages – 5
- Italian sausages – 2
- Chicken breasts precooked – 2 cans
- Boneless and skinless chicken breasts – 4 full
- Ham – 7 slices
- Bacon – 16 slices
- Large eggs – 22
- Heavy cream – 15 tablespoons
- Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
- Grass fed unsalted butter – 14 tablespoon
- Coconut oil – 15 tablespoons
- Sesame oil – 2 tablespoons
- Mozzarella – 4 ½ cup cups
- Cheddar cheese – 4 cups
- Cream cheese – 4 tablespoons
- Creamed spinach dip – 18 tablespoon
- Bleu cheese – 2 oz
- Parmesan cheese – 10 tablespoon
- Green pepper medium – 1
- Onion medium – 1
- Cauliflower – a head
- Tomato sauce – 2 cups
- Scallions – 2 small
- Spinach – 7 cups
- Almond flour – 2 cups
- Rice vinegar – ½ cup
- Pork rinds – 1 bag
- Soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
- Fish sauce – 1 tablespoons
- Coffee – 14 cups
- Erythritol – ½ cup
- Sugar free ketchup – 4 tablespoon
- Italian seasoning – 2 tablespoons
- Kosher salt – 3 tablespoons
- Garlic powder – 5 teaspoon
- Cumin – 2 teaspoon
- Ginger – 1 teaspoon
- Chilli powder – 2 teaspoon
Intermittent Fasting Frequently asked Questions
Having understanding to some of the most frequently asked questions can help with addressing some of the queries that you could also be having that have not been shared in the book. Here are some of the commonly asked questions about intermittent fasting.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating and fasting pattern where you cycle between eating periods and fasting periods. It doesn’t specify on the type of foods to be eaten and when they should be eaten. There are also different types of intermittent fasting that splits a day or week into hours for eating and fasting.
Why should one do intermittent fasting?
Various research studies have shown that one gets to experience hormonal and metabolic changes as they attain a given fasting threshold. Gaining the state leads to numerous health benefits if sustained for some time such as increased production of growth hormone, increased levels of insulin sensitivity which also contributes to numerous health benefits, lower levels of blood sugar and longevity amongst other benefits. Intermittent fasting then results into weight loss as well.
Does it work?
Various studies have proven the diet works if followed as required with the guidelines adhered to.
Is it hard to follow?
Intermittent fasting is one of the most flexible ways to lose weight and live an optimal life full of health. The minimum intermittent fast should take at least 12 hours for fat loss if one is starting out however the number of fasting hours can be increased as one gets to adapt to the process.
Is it a low carb diet?
Intermittent fasting is a dieting pattern that’s intended to influence the metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity and hormones for enhanced loses of weight and body fat. It involves going through periods of short term fasting where you are instructed on when to eat but not what to eat. However participants are encouraged to eat low carb diet to help with sustaining the fat burning state that gets initiated during the fasting process. One can decide on combining the fasting process with intake of low carb foods but it’s not a requirement as what you decide to eat is entirely your decision.
How long should I fast?
It’s recommended that one gets to fast for 12 consecutive hours without breaking if the metabolic changes and production of growth hormone is to be realized. Fasting for shorter hours like 8 hours may help with managing the calories and having some diet discipline but lacks the potential of influencing any meaningful metabolic changes that has the potential of yielding the desired health results.
The recommended fasting periods are as follows’
- 12 consecutive hours for a beginner
- 16 consecutive hours for an intermediate person
- 20 consecutive hours for an advanced person
Do I have to fast every day?
No you don’t have to fast every day. There are different types of fasting protocols that you can choose. You can choose to fast once or twice per week for 20 – 24 hour periods; you can also choose to fast for 12 hours each day or three times in a week. You can choose your preferred schedule depending on your capability and desired goal. One of the methods of intermittent fasting is alternate day fasting and here is how the schedule can turn out;
Eating period: 8am – 8pm (12 hour period)
Fasting: 8pm – 8pm (24 hour period)
Eating: 8pm – 12am (4 hour period)
Fasting: 12am – 8am (8 hour period)
Can I drink beverages during fasting periods?
Drinking water, coffee and other beverages or fluids is quite vital during fasting as you have to stay hydrated during the process. Ensure that the drinks are calorie free and also unsweetened.
How does weight loss occur?
Weight loss normally occurs when you get to use up more calories than what you consume. When you engage in a 12 hour fast and restrict your calorie intake to a minimum of 500 per day, you will realize overtime that you get to use up more calories than what you consume. Weight loss also happens when you are not consuming enough amounts of calories that the body requires. Weight gain on the other hand takes place when you consume more calories than what the body requires.
Tips for success with intermittent diet
Here are some of the tips that you should take into consideration:
Start out slow: Take your time and look at all the intermittent fasting methods before you settle on any. Ensure that you have a proper understanding of what each entails. Don’t make your program to be so rigid like fasting daily or fasting 4 times in a week. Choose a schedule that’s flexible enough and don’t be too rigid with scheduling your plan.
Experiment: The fact that a friend is doing well with a method of intermittent fasting might not guarantee that you will equally do well. Take your time and experiment until you find what works well for you. You can start with one then adjust it until you find something that you are comfortable with. The same should also apply to the foods that you eat. As you experiment you will then be able to discover a lot of information about how your body works. You will know the best time that’s good for eating, the foods that you find to be easily digestible, and the best time to exercise and your caloric maintenance.
Expect failure as you experiment with fasting: Very few people will just get started and immediately find their body responding so well as they realize the desired results. You will experience some challenges as you get started but that’s part of the progress with intermittent fasting. Let the setbacks not discourage you from pursuing your desired goals with the fasting methods.
Listen to your body: As you go through the fasting process; take time and listen to your body as well. Some of the positive cues that you can get from your body include; more energy, better sleep, positive and relaxed mood, increased focus, and healthier appearance. Negative cues may include; lack of energy, lack of sleep, negative mood, feelings of anger and frustration, headaches, and lack of attention. When you experience such negative cues then you should know that your body is communicating and you need to listen and act accordingly to address the root cause of discomfort.
Food choices are important: The choice of foods that you consume are important and helps in contributing to success or failure with the process. Even as you engage in fasting; ensure that your choice of food also helps with achieving the desired goal.
Be focused and productive: The time that you spend in fasting should be focused on understanding your body and getting to know how your body works. Don’t spend your fasting time thinking of when the eating window will reach so that you can eat your choice food. Commit to the fasting process and be productive.