Intermittent fasting is the practice of scheduling your meals in order for your body to get the most out of them. Rather than cutting your calorie intake in half, depriving yourself of all the foods you enjoy, or diving into a trendy diet fad, intermittent fasting is a simple, logical, and healthful way of eating that promotes fat loss.
There are many ways to approach intermittent fasting, but it’s basically defined as a specific eating pattern. This method focuses on changing when you eat, rather than what you eat.
When you begin intermittent fasting, you will most likely keep your calorie intake the same, but rather than spreading your meals throughout the day, you will eat bigger meals during a shorter time frame.
For example, rather than eating 3 to 4 meals a day, you might eat one large meal at 11 am, then another large meal at 6 pm, with no meals in between 11 am and 6 pm, and after 6 pm, no meals until 11 am the next day. This is only one method of intermittent fasting, and others will be detailed in this book in later chapters. However, you first must understand why this method works.
Intermittent fasting is a method utilized by many bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness gurus to keep their muscle mass high and their body fat percentage low. It is a simple strategy that allows you to eat the foods you enjoy, while still promoting fat loss and muscle gain or maintenance. Intermittent fasting can be practiced short term or long term, but the best results come from adopting this method into your daily lifestyle.
Though the word “fasting” may make alarm the average person, intermittent fasting does not equate to starving yourself. To understand the principals behind successful intermittent fasting, we’ll first go over the body’s two states digestion: the fed state and the fasting state.
For three to five hours after eating a meal, your body is in what is known as the “fed state.” During the fed state, your insulin levels increase to absorb and digest your food. When your insulin levels are high, it is very difficult for your body to burn fat. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream. Though its purpose is to regulate, insulin is technically a storage hormone. When insulin levels are high, your body is burning your food for energy, rather than your stored fat which is why increased levels of it prevent weight loss.
After the three to five hours are up, your body has finished processing the meal, and you enter the post-absorptive state. The post-absorptive state lasts anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. After this time gap is when your body enters the fasted state. Since your body has completely processed your food by this point, your insulin levels are low, making your stored fat extremely accessible for burning.
In the fasted state, your body has no food left to utilized for energy, so your stored fat is burned instead. Intermittent fasting allows your body to reach an advanced fat burning state that you would normally reach with the average, ‘three meals per day’ eating pattern. This factor alone is the reason why many people notice rapid results with intermittent fasting without even making changes to their exercise routines, how much they eat, or what they eat. They are simply changing the timing and pattern of their food intake.
When you begin an intermittent fasting program, it may take some time to get into the swing of things. Don’t get discouraged! If you slip up, just get back into your intermittent fasting pattern when you can. Avoid beating yourself up, or feeling guilty. Negative self-talk will only prolong you getting back to your pattern. Making a lifestyle change takes a conscious effort,
and no one expects you to do it perfectly right away. If you are not used to going long periods without eating, intermittent fasting will take some getting used to. As long as you choose the right method for you, stay focused and remain positive, you will get the hang of it in no time.
Unlike some of the other diet plans that you may go on, the intermittent fast is one that will work. It uses your body and how it works to its advantage to help you to really lose weight. It is easy to get a bit scared when you hear about fasting. You may assume that you need to spend days and weeks without eating (and who really has the willpower to give up their food for that long even when they do want to lose weight) and that it will be too hard for you.
Intermittent fasting is a bit different than you may imagine. Not only is it really hard to go on a fast for weeks at a time, but it is also not good for the body.
Your body will often go into starvation mode if you end up being on the fast for too long. It assumes that you are in a time without much food and so the body will work on saving the calories and helping you to hold on to the fat and calories for as long as possible. This means that not only are you hungry, but you are also missing out on losing weight.
You don’t have to get too worried about how this intermittent fast will work in the starvation mode. The intermittent fast is effective because you are not going to fast for so long that the body goes into this starvation mode and stops losing weight. Instead, it will make the fast last just long enough that you will be able to speed up the metabolism.
With the intermittent fast, you will find that when you go for a few hours without eating (usually no more than 24ish hours), the body is not going to go right into starvation mode. Rather, it is going to consume the calories that
are available. If you ate the right number of calories for the day, the body is going to revert to eating up the stored reserves of fat and use it as fuel. As such, when following an intermittent fasting plan, you force your body to burn more fat without putting in any extra work.
Here are few quick tips for success:
First and foremost, it is important to not expect to see results from your new lifestyle immediately. Instead, you need to plan on committing to the process for at least 30 days before you can start to accurately judge the results.
Second, it is important to keep in mind that the quality of the food you put into your body still matters as it will only take a few fast food meals to undo all of your hard work.
Finally, for the best results, you will want to add in a light exercise routine during fast days and a more traditional routine for full-calorie days.