Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting:
- Intermittent fasting (IF) involves alternating periods of fasting and eating, instead of consuming food in a typical three-meals-a-day pattern.
- This can lead to weight loss, better glucose levels, and more energy. A lot of people who are new to intermittent fasting are intimidated by the process or feel like it’s too complicated to follow.
- This Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting will take you step-by-step through everything you need to know about intermittent fasting so that you can start your journey with confidence and excitement!
What is intermittent fasting?
Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting, also known as IF, is an umbrella term used to describe a set of methods that aim to improve health and fitness by cycling between brief periods of fasting and eating.
Many different variations exist — but they all require you refrain from eating (and sometimes drinking) anything except water for a designated period.
So what’s it all about? Basically, intermittent fasting helps encourage your body to go into resting mode while also improving fat burning processes.
Although there are plenty of different methods out there, most people follow either an alternate-day or weekly fast routine — where you eat (pretty much) whatever you want on certain days but then consume very few calories on others.
Intermittent fasting vs. Caloric restriction
Though it’s often compared with caloric restriction, intermittent fasting is not a diet. Instead, it’s an eating pattern that mimics certain benefits of fasting while allowing you to eat whatever foods you want.
Some research has even shown that intermittent fasting might slow down aging in animal models.One study found that periodic fasting could lead to fewer free radicals (reactive molecules thought to be involved in aging), which could translate into greater longevity and reduced risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
It also helps your body regulate insulin levels and reduces inflammation, which can help prevent or delay chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Studies have also suggested that intermittent fasting may reduce symptoms of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
However, more studies are needed before doctors can recommend fasting as a treatment option for those conditions.As with any new health practice, talk to your doctor before trying intermittent fasting so he or she can make sure it’s safe for you.
Why intermittent fasting?
Many people are worried about eating less because they fear losing muscle. But don’t worry, as long as you’re not fasting for too long, it actually encourages muscle growth!
One study showed that intermittent fasting helps build muscles by increasing protein synthesis (28). That’s because when you fast, your body burns up more of its amino acids (the building blocks of protein) than it would if you were just eating regularly.
When you eat again after a fast, your body has a higher need for amino acids and uses them in greater quantities than usual.
This is why many bodybuilders use an intermittent fasting schedule with at least one large meal per day.The bottom line:
If you want to keep your muscle mass high while cutting fat, make sure you’re only doing short-term fasts of around 16 hours or so. Anything longer can cause problems with muscle loss and prevent ketosis from kicking in properly.
Is it safe?
Sure, intermittent fasting is safe. The most common form involves restricting your food intake during certain hours of day and then eating whatever you’d like in a window of time.
For example, only eating between noon and 8pm or 2-9pm (most people choose an 8-hour window) would mean you’re not consuming calories or nutrients during 11 hours.And according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine (JAMA Intern Med.
2017;177(4):616-621), there are no significant adverse effects from doing that on a regular basis either—no matter what kind of diet someone chooses to follow.. So if intermittent fasting works for you, it’s totally safe!
How do I start intermittent fasting?
The first step is deciding when you’re going to fast. Nailing down a routine can help keep you focused on your goals and improve your chances of success.
It doesn’t matter if you work out in the morning, at lunch, or before dinner—as long as you do it at roughly the same time every day.
It helps to set an alarm on your phone so that you don’t forget. This will also prevent you from overindulging later in the evening.
You may be tempted to skip breakfast or dinner (or both) but try not to go too long without eating food while intermittent fasting.
It isn’t necessary to feel completely full all of the time, but it is important not to allow yourself to get too hungry either. Just make sure that you eat enough food that you won’t be starving by bedtime.
How do I calculate my Macros while intermittent fasting?
Before we talk about how to calculate your macros, it’s important that you know what macros are. A macro (short for macronutrient) is basically a class of nutrients required by our bodies.
Protein, carbohydrates and fat are all macro-nutrients, but they differ in their functions within our bodies. While your body requires them all in varying amounts, your caloric intake will be mostly made up of one or two macro-nutrients.
When you intermittent fast (meaning eating only during a set time window each day), it’s incredibly important that you are aware of how many calories you burn as compared to how many calories your body needs throughout the day.
Common mistakes people make when starting IF
One common mistake people make when starting intermittent fasting is not eating enough in their feeding window. While it’s okay to be a little hungry, you shouldn’t feel like you absolutely have to have breakfast.
Once you get going, your body will let you know when it’s time to eat more. Make sure you aren’t skipping meals too many days per week and try not to go more than 3-4 hours without eating (preferably within your eating window).
If that sounds hard, imagine if someone forced feed you every two hours – it wouldn’t be easy! Most of us aren’t used to eating on a schedule like that.You might find yourself overeating during your feeding window because you’re so hungry from fasting.
This can slow down weight loss progress or even cause weight gain if you’re not careful (and are also consuming lots of extra calories outside of your feeding window).
Another mistake people make is thinking they need to eat a huge meal at night during their feeding window. The goal should be to still feel satisfied after dinner without overdoing it with portions.
There are plenty of healthy ways to fill up on dinner without going overboard with calories before bedtime. And remember, don’t skip breakfast!