One of our warriors asked about this diet, so we put together this guide that has everything you need to know about intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a dieting pattern that cycles between periods of eating and not eating.
This diet does not focus on what to eat, but rather when to eat.
If you're wondering where intermittent fasting came from, it dates back to when humans were hunter-gatherers. Before there were supermarkets and refrigerators, our ancestors would sometimes go days on end without eating. As a result, humans are naturally evolved to be able to go for long periods of time without food.
Anyone. While this is diet is most popular among people who are trying to lose weight, anyone can try it. For some people this way of eating feels more natural than eating 3-5 meals throughout the day.
There are several different ways to follow an intermittent fasting diet. They all involve separating the day or week into periods of eating and not eating. Here are three examples:
These diets help with weight loss efforts because they reduce the number of calories you consume. However, it's important to note that over-compensating by over-eating during the eating periods may hinder weight loss.
Not eating for extended periods causes changes at both the cellular and molecular level.
Here are some ways your body will react to this kind of diet:
Weight loss is the most common reason why people experiment with intermittent fasting. Here's a brief review of why:
A study done in 2014 found that following this diet can result in 3-8% weight loss over a period of three to 24 weeks. This is a significant percentage of weight loss compared to most diets.
According to that same study, people who fasted lost 4-7% of their waist circumference. This indicates that fasting helps burn belly fat that accumulates around your organs.
Another study found that intermittent fasting does not result in as much muscle loss as other diets. This is because constant calorie restriction can cause your body to burn muscle rather than fat (like this diet naturally encourages the body to do).
Intermittent fasting comes with the following added benefits:
Research on intermittent fasting is still growing so there are still many questions left unanswered. But for now, these are the main health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Just like with everything in life, intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
If you are currently underweight or have a history of eating disorders, it is best to consult a doctor or health professional first.
If you are pregnant or wanting to get pregnant, now may not be the best time for you to try fasting (we will touch on this more in a moment).
While fasting has positive effects for some, it can have negative impacts on others. If you do try this diet out, be sure to listen to your body.
Some studies have shown that fasting can negatively impact women.
Though these studies were done with rats and not humans, they found that some female rats that fasted showed signs of emaciation and masculinization or had complications with infertility and missing cycles.
Your menstrual cycle may change if you follow a fasting diet. For this reason, it's a good idea to pay close attention to how your body reacts to fasting.
If infertility runs in your family or if you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, intermittent fasting may not be the best diet for you to follow.
It's best to slowly ease into this diet so that you can see how your body adapts. If you stop getting your period you may want to stop fasting or consult a health professional.
Intermittent fasting is a very safe diet to follow. There are no negatives to pausing your calorie intake for periods of time if you are well-nourished and healthy overall.
With that said, the two main side effects of fasting are:
If you have any medical conditions it's important to consult your doctor before trying this diet. This includes people who:
Here are some of the most asked questions around intermittent fasting, answered.
Yes! You can drink water, coffee, tea, and other non-caloric beverages. Not adding sugar to your coffee is recommended, but a dash of milk or cream is likely okay.
If you're a coffee-lover, having a cup when you feel hungry can help curb your hunger.
No. If you make sure to fuel your body with healthy foods during your eating cycle, skipping breakfast is totally okay.
Yes, you can. But keep in mind that most supplements are most effective when taken with food.
Yes. Working out while fasting is safe. Some studies have shown that working out on an empty stomach can help accelerate fat loss.
Any weight-loss method can cause a loss of muscle - that's why it's important to life weights and workout routinely. One study showed that intermittent fasting results in less muscle loss than other calorie restricting diets.
No, it will likely do the opposite. This study showed that short-term IF boosts your metabolism. With that said, you should not fast longer than three days as that amount of time can cause your metabolic rate to slow down.
Chances are you've already done intermittent fasting at some point in your life. For instance, perhaps you skipped dinner one day and had a late lunch the next day. If you'd like to try out fasting you can start just like this - by skipping one meal in the morning or night.
Many people find the 16/8 method the easiest way to fast. We recommend trying that out first and seeing how you feel. If that feels doable for you, then you can move onto more advanced fasts like 24-hour fasts one or two days a week (eat-stop-eat) or eating 500-600 calories for one to two days a week (5:2 diet).
There is no one size fits all diet. In the end, dieting is about finding what feels good for your body.
Some people naturally don't feel hungry in the morning or at night so these diets feel natural to them. If you try the intermittent fasting and find it's not for you, that's okay! There are plenty of other eating routines to try.
One important concept to remember: for intermittent fasting to work, the food you consume during the eating cycles should be balanced and healthy. If you end up binging on unhealthy foods, you may end up gaining weight. The key is listening to your body and bringing awareness to your eating habits.
If you have any further questions about intermittent fasting, feel free to ask them in our group chat. We're all here to support each other in finding what diet works best for our bodies. It's a journey.
If you're not a warrior yet, we'd love to have you join the community. You can become a warrior anytime.