What is intermittent fasting?

Let's be honest: dieting is hard work.

The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are always worth it, but following a diet, an exercise routine or a general weight loss plan can be a challenge even for more experienced health advocates. It's about creating a new lifestyle and choosing the right tools to help you achieve your goals.

"Ok, following a diet is already quite difficult, so why Should I try intermittent fasting? Couldn't it be harder? "You ask. Maybe you should try it and maybe you shouldn't. And yes, it could be more difficult. That's why I wanted to write this article.

The purpose of this article is to give you a "101"Summary of intermittent fasting so you can start your own research on the subject and decide if it will work for you. Every situation is different. I will not suggest that IF is the solution to lose weight for everyone, but it is worth investigating.

Recently I have received more than a few stories of transformation of women who have succeeded with intermittent fasting. Here are some examples;

What is intermittent fasting?

There are different forms of fasting. You've probably heard about juice cleaning fasts (Seriously, juice bars seem to be popping up everywhere) There are those who practice religious fasting or use liquid protein fasts. (using smoothies or milkshakes)

One of the latest trends in weight loss to capture headlines is intermittent fasting. It is reported that celebrities such as Beyonce and Hugh Jackman and Terry Cruz have used intermittent fasting.

To be honest, it is a bit difficult to classify or define "intermittent fasting" because there are So many Variations of this type of fasting. The general idea is that it alternates between periods of food and fasting … intermittently.

For example, you may start your fast by waking up. No breakfast, no lunch, and certainly no afternoon snacks. But after 12 pm, you allow yourself to consume calories, normally eating up to bed. Your food window can be within 8 hours, for example. Or maybe you eat normally five days a week, but dramatically reduce your caloric intake two days a week (non-consecutive days).

You have the idea Later in this article, we will explore the different ways intermittent fasting can take.

So … Does fasting have any benefits?

One of the main reasons why it is worth taking a look at intermittent fasting is that there is increasing evidence that Quick It can have long-term health benefits for your body and your brain.

If you think about it, it makes sense that intermittent fasting can be beneficial for our bodies. Why? Because we have evolved that way. Consider this: eating when we want is a modern luxury. Refrigerators, for example, were recently invented in 1834.

Compare this to our ancient ancestors: they had to hunt and collect food. Our ancestors could not drive to the nearest fast food place whenever they wanted. Even looking a few decades ago, three meals a day were no guarantee. (Usually, people did not eat daily calories or the size of the portions we consumed.) Food preservation was not as advanced as it is today. Their bodies adapted and became efficient to deal with periods of party and famine. In a way, that was the first form of intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting and fat loss

You see, every action you take requires energy. Go to the gym? That requires energy. Go for a run? You guessed it: calories are burned to fuel that fuel. The very act of being, simply existing, requires energy.

From one scientific perspective, our bodies work with glucose (simple sugar). Glucose comes from the food we eat. That is why so many marathon runners and endurance athletes eat gels during races. The gels are full of simple sugars that the body can quickly digest and use as fuel.

Harvard Medical School says… ”Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think of white flours and rice), quickly break down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells don't use everything, we store it in our fat cells like, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin takes sugar to fat cells and keeps it there.

Between meals, as long as we do not eat snacks, our insulin levels will decrease and our fat cells can release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The whole idea of ​​IF is to allow insulin levels to go down enough and long enough to burn our fat. "

So what happens when you fast? Well, when you don't eat for longer periods of time, your body needs to find another source of energy until glucose is available again. Because your body is frantically looking for fuel, it starts burning fat! The body "changes the switch" of burning food for energy to burn fat. (SIDE NOTE: when the body burns fat as the main source of fuel, ketones are produced, that is, Keto diets) This is a super simple explanation about what happens to the body. There is a lot of information that can help you understand how and why the body metabolizes fat.

So, the idea of ​​intermittent fasting is that during the period of time you don't eat, your body has to use something other than food as fuel, so it will use stored fat. That may or may not happen depending on your body's glycogen stores.

“Your body also uses fat for energy during periods of starvation, but not immediately. At first, if you stop eating fasting or hunger, your metabolism breaks down muscles and other proteins, turning them into glucose. However, after several days without food, your body begins to burn your fat for energy. " [Source]

So the question is … Can intermittent fasting really help you lose weight? And the answer is yes … maybe.

Intermittent fasting can be very easy to handle for some people and very difficult for others. That's why I say Maybe. Refraining from eating when you are used to eating is not the easiest. It also may not be practical or healthy depending on your work schedule, medical problems, etc.

You too still having to eat healthy foods when using IF to lose weight in the long term. You cannot eat too much junk food or eat out of healthy calorie limits and assume that you will lose weight just for IF. Of course, I have read about people who say they still eat all the foods they love with IF and lose weight, and that may be true at first. However, it may not be the case in the long term because your body will adjust and face a plateau. In most cases, you need a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight, but you also want to feed the body so that it does not become a muscle for food. This means that, along with fasting, you really must have some understanding of the amount of food you are eating and what foods you are eating along with the practice of IF.

Bottom line: Can you have a cheat day once in a while or eat things in moderation? Insurance. Is it a good idea to eat a lot of junk and processed food while practicing IF? Do not.

Understand the different forms of intermittent fasting

There is no one size for intermittent fasting. These are some of the most popular ways:

  • Eat, stop eating. The idea of ​​Eat Stop Eat was a pioneer of the weight loss guru. Brad Pilon. It's quite simple: commit to one or two fasts 24 hours a week. For example, of the 7 p. M. From Monday at 7 p.m. M. On Tuesday, do not eat anything. For every two days of that week, women can eat 2,000 calories per day and men can eat 2,500 calories per day. If he decides to do two fasts per week, Pilon says to avoid fasting on consecutive days. Also, do not exceed two fasts per week. If 24 hours is too long without food, then fasting for 20 hours will still produce benefits.
  • The warrior's diet. This particular method of intermittent fasting includes 20 hours of fasting every day. The good news? You can enjoy one big Food every night. Don't worry: 20 hours of fasting is not a total food withdrawal. You can still enjoy some servings of raw fruit, uncooked vegetables, fresh unprocessed juice and protein. During the "party" period of 4 hours, you should eat vegetables, protein and fat … and in that order! Only eat carbohydrates if you are still hungry.
  • Lean Gains (also known as the 16/8 protocol). the Lean Earnings The method is not so much about restricting calorie intake as when eating. Basically, eat the same amount you would normally eat each day, BUT just eat within an 8 hour window. The other 16 hours of the day are spent fasting. For example, if you normally consume 2,000 calories per day, you would eat those 2,000 calories between 12 noon and 8 at night. The rest of the day would be fasting.

Is intermittent fasting safe?

As with any diet, talk to your primary care provider before making lifestyle changes or starting ANY weight loss plan. There are a number of medical conditions for which not eating regularly could be serious. dangerous. Fasting is NOT for everyone. (It is not for pregnant women, nursing mothers, etc.) Do not start intermittent fasting if you do not know your current medical condition.

In addition, prolonged periods of fasting can cause binge eating or eating more than you normally would … which could lead to weight gain. Prolonged fasting can also affect your metabolism in a negative way and lead to muscle loss. Again, if you decide to try intermittent fasting, it is important to remain committed to tracking your calories, eating nutrient-rich and high quality foods and keeping track of what you eat. If you are doing strenuous training, you should create a meal schedule that supports your fitness efforts with the right fuel.

Intermittent fasting could be potentially dangerous for people suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, so AGAIN, it is important that you investigate and talk to your doctor before starting a fasting routine.

Tips for the success of intermittent fasting

Finding a support system can help you follow the diet when things get tough, especially during low-calorie days or hours. There are many groups and pages focused on intermittent fasting on social networks.

It is also important to choose a plan that suits your personality and lifestyle. Not all intermittent fasting plans are the same. Refraining from eating is already quite challenging. Find a version that works for you and feels effortless. For example, some people may find it easier to skip breakfast, while others prefer to go without dinner.

Perhaps most importantly, start slowly and increase your path. Just like training for a marathon, you won't want to dive right away. Someone who has never run before would not run a long 18-mile race and expect success. Similarly, it is okay to move towards intermittent fasting. Gradually increasing your fasting windows could facilitate the entire process.

Take photos and follow your progress! Weight loss does not occur overnight; it's a trip!

Don't just trust my word. Do your research. Here are two great books on intermittent fasting:

Before finishing this articleI must repeat myself. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH! Don't think you can read this article or read someone's weight loss success story and then jump to something like intermittent fasting.

Have I heard from people who find it effective? Yes.
Do I think there are benefits in limiting how much we eat and when we eat? Yes.
I think it would be hard maintain as a lifestyle versus a temporary lifestyle change with the purpose of losing weight? Yes.

However, this is my opinion. If it works for you, your health and your lifestyle, all the power for you.

This article was updated on February 13, 2020