Intermittent fasting has become very popular in the last few years and a lot of diet programs incorporate it. It is very close to the natural way people ate during the first ~90% of evolution and it is one of the easiest ways to ‘force’ your body to resort to using your fat stores for energy.
What exactly is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting tells you when to eat and when not to eat. If you have never tried it before and you are used to constant snacking, stick to a 16 hour fast and an 8 hour eating window. If you already eat larger portions 3 or 2 times per day, you already do something very close to this, so you can try an 18 hour fast and a 6 hour eating window. That’s it! Now let’s dig deeper and see what results can we expect from this, and how to improve this fast to achieve even faster results.
A few years ago, the advice of eating smaller portions thorough the day (i.e constantly snacking) became popular and most people regarded it as healthy. In recent years this has been largely dis-proven and most nutrition and fitness experts now agree that it’s better to eat a few larger meals. Constant snacking leads to increased insulin resistance, weight gain and most importantly – being constantly hungry. This is a bit counter-intuitive, but when you think about it it makes perfect sense – constantly “teasing” yourself with minute portions makes you think about food constantly. Not only that, but your body never resorts to burning body fat, as it has a continuous stream of food coming in constantly.
Have you seen a skinny girl eating a huge portion of pizza and thought to yourself “Well, she has good genetics, that’s why she has a slim body”. Although this is definitely a big part of it, I know a lot of women who eat huge meals and on first sight can seem like they are overeating. However, little do you know that after this huge meal of up to 1000kcal, she will usually not eat anything for a long time – sometimes 24 hours or even more. This is actually a common habit and a lot of skinny girls I see at my gym have it, without even realizing they do ‘intermittent fasting’.
How to do IF properly
Rule 1 – Be in a caloric deficit
Yes, you still have to ‘limit’ your calories. However, if you think this will be hard and you will be hungry, you’ll probably be surprised. In my experience, constant small meals create huge hunger pangs and big meals, followed by a good period of fasting don’t cause any hunger at all. In fact, you will be surprised at the increased energy levels you experience. However, don’t be surprised if you feel a little sluggish for an hour or two after a big meal.
Although I’m not a huge fan of drinking copious amounts of water – something that a lot of people recommend, during your fasting stage your body does burn a lot of fat, which creates a lot of by-products it needs to get rid of. Keeping it hydrated will help a lot and completely prevent any hunger you may experience.
Really do calculate your calories
Don’t just eat food without any regard for your calories. A major reason for failure with IF is eating too little calories with your meals. Depending on your weight and physical activity level you may need anywhere from 1500 to 2000 kcal.
Watch the results
The weight loss you achieve depends on many factors, but you will definitely notice good results. The only way to not lose weight while on intermittent fasting is to consume a lot of calories in surplus. Even being at a slight caloric surplus will make you lose weight, especially if you keep your protein intake high.
Get 10-fold the Results By Boosting Leptin Levels
A secret for extremely fast results is to boost your leptin levels in addition to doing a short (16-hour) fast. You can read about boosting leptin levels here.
Written by Angelina on 14th March