Intermittent Fasting, Should You Try It?
For anyone who’s currently looking to try intermittent fasting, this article is going to hopefully provide you with enough information that will lead you to either give it a try or to open your eyes to why it’s not something for you when it comes to wanting to lose fat. Intermittent fasting is something that’s been floating around for a while now, and over the years has been made popular by many fitness athletes.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a style of diet where you fast for a specific number of hours during the day (usually 14-16 hours), and then you have an eating window (7-8 hours) where you consume your total daily calories in two or three meals. I know what you’re thinking already. That this sounds like a horrible idea, and there is no way in hell that you can go even 4 hours, let alone 14 hours with no food, without turning into a total raging monster. That’s understandable. But hear me out. It’s not as bad it sounds, and a lot easier than you may think.
The most common protocol for intermittent fasting is to stop eating at 8 pm, and resume eating at around noon to 1 pm the following day. If you really think about it, if you sleep around 10-11pm and wake up at 7 a.m for work, you only have to hold off 4-5 hours until your first meal. To be completely frank with you, a majority of people already do that! Though, there are different ways that you can tweak and implement this diet into your lifestyle. Some people fast up to 20 hours and allow 4 hours to consume their calories, and some have one day of eating, one day of fasting, etc.
The idea behind intermittent fasting is that being in the fasted state for long periods of time enables the body to start burning it’s fat storage for energy rather than utilizing the energy from carbohydrates that you may consume for breakfast. Along with being in a calorie deficit, you can see how this can benefit you if you want to maximize fat loss.
Why should you do intermittent fasting?
For starters, intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight when you have decided that you want to make fat loss your primary goal. The reason I say this, is just like what I’ve previously stated already: many people who want to lose fat live busy lifestyles and a majority of them have no time for breakfast in the morning.
Also, from what I’ve learned over the years of helping people lose fat is that many people do not like to track their daily calories. This makes intermittent fasting almost foolproof for that lifestyle because it’s a lot harder to over shoot your daily calorie goals if you skip breakfast and any snacking that you may do in between lunch. It makes it even easier if you want to continue to eat the foods you love (in moderation of course) but only have a 4 hour window of opportunity to do it in. Try eating a huge steak and potatoes for dinner, and eating something to that extent again within the next 3 hours. You’ll find it to be quite hard.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
There are many benefits to this diet besides fat loss. Intermittent fasting is proven to help in reduction of blood pressure levels, improvements with insulin sensitivity, accelerated fat loss in the fasted state, and even reducing the speed at which the body breaks down and ages.
Read about the studies here:
Controlling hunger while fasting
There is one simple thing that I like to do when fasting upon wakening. Drink black coffee. Coffee helps to dull and suppress hunger along with improving mental focus and cognitive ability in place of carbohydrates and it works amazingly. I recommend sipping a cup or two of coffee steadily throughout the morning until you can reach your first meal of the day. If you’re not a coffee drinker, tea will also help suppress appetite, and as always water will do the trick as well.
What about starvation mode?
If you go that long without food, doesn’t that trigger the body to switch into starvation mode which results in slower metabolism? You may think that fasting can be counterproductive in that it triggers a slow down in metabolism but research has shown that metabolic rate isn’t affected until 60 hours of being in a fasted state. Even then it was shown to be a mere 8% reduction only.
As with many diets out there, intermittent fasting will not be the end all, be all of the diets. It definitely isn’t for everyone out there. If this sounds like something that you’d like to try, by all means give it a shot. It’s important to note that when it comes to fat loss, it’s very important be in a caloric deficit at the end of the day in order to see the numbers on the scale start to go down. Don’t use intermittent fasting as a way to eat what you want, and binge on 3000 calories in a single meal or two. I promise you that will not work. But for anyone who is willing to implement self control, and are willing to give this diet a try followed by watching their diet carefully, you might find that this approach to dieting will work wonders for you. Give it a try, and leave a comment below to let me know if this ever worked for you, if you’re planning on doing it, or just have general questions. See you all in the next article.