Now that we know what Intermittent is and its health benefits, we can move on to the more important question. HOW?!
(Please don’t forget the disclaimer from my previous post! I am not a doctor. IF is not recommended if you have a history of eating disorders, if you are pregnant, nursing or have a chronic illness. Please consult your doctor before starting any new diet or big lifestyle change!)
There are 5 main methods to intermittent fasting. Remember, this is a lifestyle change, not a fad diet. Like any successful change, it is something you have to commit to and stick with if you are going to obtain real results. I chose the method that was the most ideally sustainable option for me and my family life. These are the most popular IF methods.
#1 LeanGains, also known as the 16:8
This protocol was popularized by Martin Berkhan. This is what I have been doing and what works best for me. He suggests you should fast for 16 hours and then have an eating window of 8 hours. This doesn’t mean you should eat for a straight 8 hours. I will explain HOW to eat while fasting in my next post.
This method cuts out the option to snack at night which is helpful with weight loss. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to snack at night. At the same time, It isn’t worth the morning stomach ache and sluggish next day. Fasting leaves me feeling sharper and more awake. I have also noticed my overall disposition has improved and my kids will tell you that my patience is improving as well. I don’t know if this is due to the fasting or the fact that I am fueling my body with better food or both but I am going to take this as a BIG win.
#2 20 Hour Fast or Warrior Fasting
This is one for a more seasoned faster since you fast for 20 hours and eat for 4. This is beneficial for people who want to make a lot of changes in their body in a short amount of time. The longer your body is in a fasted state, the more benefits you reap. I plan on working up to this one. With this protocol, you have so much more time every day. No meal planning, you only cook 1 meal a day and you get to feast!
#3 Crescendo Fasting
This is much easier as it gives you more freedom. You can fast anywhere from 12-20 hours 3-5 times a week. This is more utilized by women since IF can bring on hormonal issues if you dive in too quickly.(seeing as I already have hormonal issues and I am finished having children, this is a risk my doctor and I are willing to take.) Crescendo fasting helps you ease into the world of intermittent fasting. It is the perfect way to get your feet wet and see if IF is truly for you and your lifestyle.
#4 Eat, Stop, Eat
Brad Pilon wrote a book called Eat, Stop, Eat and brought this protocol to light. He suggests fasting for 24 hours straight, 1-2 times a week. This is definitely for someone who has been a faster for quite a while. I have yet to attempt this as I still like eating every day. Some of the biggest draws is the calorie deficit. As long as you are eating your maintenance calories, this should put you at a deficit for the week.
3,500 calories= 1 pound of fat. In order to lose 1 pound per week, you need to be down that many calories. This is not for the timid. This is for people who are SERIOUS about weight loss. One thing you have to be sure of is that you are hitting your caloric needs the rest of the week.
Last but certainly not least,
#5 The 5:2 Diet
Michael Mosley, a British journalist and doctor developed this one. Basically you eat normally 5 days of the week and the other 2 days, limit your caloric input to 500 calories for females and 600 for males. You could split that between 2 meals or have 1 big meal. This will create a large calorie deficit for your week.
Scientifically, fasting comes down to this. When you finish eating for the night, your body uses the food you have eaten all day as fuel. This is where fasting comes in. After your body uses all the fuel and your insulin levels come down, your body has no other option but to use body fat as fuel. The longer you go without fuel, the longer your body burns fat as energy.
In my next post, I will discuss How and What to eat during your eating window as well as when to exercise for optimum fat burn.
For me, today is day 14 and I am down 6 pounds. The 16:8 IF protocol and I love it. I don’t have to cook or plan as many meals. I feel like my mind is clearer and it helps me make better food choices when I break my fast. I’m looking forward to the next week to see how I feel!
As always, thank you so much for reading! And think healthy thoughts!