Intermittent fasting seems to be the latest diet fad. But like crazy weight loss crazes of the past, is it likely to stick around for the long term? Moreover, is it easy to stick to and will it lead to quick weight loss?
Hop on the bandwagon. It’s the talk of the town…..
Virtually every health, fitness, nutrition and natural wellness magazine, TV show and blog are talking about intermittent fasting.
But is it en vogue simply because it’s trendy? Or, does it legitimately work … or maybe it’s both.
Here’s what we know about it….
Fasting is proven to extend life spans.
But here’s the thing….
Obviously, you’re not a rat.
And, although it’s called “intermittent fasting”, it’s not really a calorie-restricted diet.
So what is it then?
Intro to the intermittent fasting diet
The diet restricts not so much what you eat. But rather, when you eat.
That’s it? It’s that simple?
All you have to do is fast for 16 hours a day. That might sound like torture but it’s really not.
And, to get started, you can try it out during a shorter fasting window.
You are limited to what you can have during the fasting window (besides the obvious, water).
But during your eating window, you can pretty much eat what you want and as often as you want.
Isn’t it great when the simple things in life win out?
Well, it turns out that intermittent fasting is the simplest way to lose weight.
Of course, if you eat 3,000 calories of junk food a day, even if you fast for long enough, you’re not going to be healthy.
But one of the main reasons why intermittent fasting is so popular right now is because it’s incredibly easy to follow.
Here’s basically how it works…
Intermittent fasting schedule
There are a few different methods of time-restricted feeding (TRF). Here’s the most popular way to do it….
During the first week, eat only during a 12-hour window. Thankfully, there’s only 24 hours during a day.
Doing some 2nd grade-level math, that means for the first week, you eat during a 12-hour window. And you fast for 12 hours.
Does it matter exactly when you fast?
It doesn’t matter if you’re working the graveyard shift at the graveyard. If it’s easier for you to eat from midnight until noon, go for it.
Likewise, if you want to eat from noon until midnight, it doesn’t matter.
You’ll get the benefits of intermittent fasting no matter what schedule you choose. (More on the benefits below.)
Within one week, it should be very easy for you to adapt to this eating schedule.
During the second week, increase your fasting window by two hours. So that means you’ll fast for 14 hours and eat only during a 10 hour window.
And don’t worry about finishing your meal exactly at the hour mark. Intermittent fasting isn’t meant to be very strict.
Just follow the same rule as eating healthy in general: do it 90% of the time.
For the third week, increase your fast time by another two hours. You’ll be fasting for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window.
Intermittent fasting weight loss
The easiest way to describe TRF (remember what it stands for? Time-restricted feeding) is the diet that lets you eat what you want during a limited window.
And here’s an even simpler way of describing it: “the skip breakfast weight loss plan.”
Wait a minute. Isn’t breakfast supposedly the most important meal of the day?
You still get to eat breakfast. You’re just doing it much later in the day if you’re doing the most common 16-hour fast window, which is eating between noon and 8 pm.
But eating a traditional early morning breakfast isn’t necessarily good for your health. And there’s no definitive research that it leads to weight loss.
In fact, there’s some preliminary research that suggests not eating an early morning breakfast has benefits.
This study concludes that a 16-hour fasting window leads to a decrease in body fat.
The reason why intermittent fasting works for weight loss is pretty simple.
When you haven’t eaten for several hours, your body has an easier time burning fat.
If you want to explore the science behind it more deeply, click here.
Intermittent Fasting Plan
Think about the dozens of popular diets over the years. From Atkins to South Beach to Zone, to The Master Cleanse and all the others.
What’s the main reason why people stop following diets?
Diets are far too restrictive. Life’s too short not to enjoy the foods you like, within reason of course.
But with 16-hour intermittent fasting, you don’t have to worry about what you eat, within reason.
What you’ll likely experience is that after fasting for 16 hours, you won’t want to binge on a bacon cheeseburger.
Your stomach will likely shrink. To gently activate your digestive juices and your belly, you may want to just have a Green Drink.
But half an hour later, you can have pancakes, waffles, bacon, whatever your belly desires.
The plan works because of the 16-hour fasting window. Your body isn’t expending energy on digesting.
On the contrary, during the long fasting window, your body will finally have the chance to work on burning up its stored fat.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Let’s review some of the important benefits of a 16-hour fast.
First, it’s really easy to follow. Simply eat during an 8-hour window. Fast for the other 16 hours.
Second, because it’s easy, it’s a sustainable way of eating.
The third benefit hasn’t been mentioned yet….
And that’s that you’ll save money.
Think about it … it’s one less meal big meal per day that you’ll likely have to cook or pay for.
The fourth benefit is you’ll lose weight. It’s not a gimmick; it’s science. When you fast for 16 hours, you’re allowing your body to burn its own fat for fuel rather than sugar.
Other benefits include increased energy, muscle mass, and increased attention span.
Granted, many of these benefits are anecdotal. But another benefit is that recent research on intermittent fasting is very promising.
Intermittent fasting results
In case you didn’t click the above study on 16-hour fasting, here’s the astounding results….
There were several outcomes that seemed as if the weight lifters in the study were on a calorie-restricted diet.
But remember, fasting for 16 hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to eat way less. In fact, in the study, the weight lifters only consumed 10% fewer calories.
So why did it seem that the weight lifters were in starvation mode?
That’s the beauty of intermittent fasting. It tricks your body into thinking you’re about to go in starvation mode.
But you get to eat all you want … as long as it’s in that 8-hour window.
Try it for a month and see if you notice any positive outcomes. If you stick with it, you’ll be in for a surprise.