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Before You Try Intermittent Fasting Make Sure You Read This First!

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 07 April 2020
Hits: 4318

Intermittent Fasting is currently one of the world's most popular trends in the health and fitness industry, and it can provide some astounding results. This is proof that there is just as much importance with “when you eat” as “what you eat”. If you are using this with the intention of improving your overall health and vitality by simplifying your nutrition and lifestyle you will see great results. However, if you see this eating method as a quick way lose weight you will be bitterly disappointed and over the long term create more problems. I myself have been using Intermittent Fasting since April 2019 and I like to think of this not as a diet, or a way to reduce calories, but as a more structured eating pattern that gives me more control over my nutritional requirements for optimal energy and health. In this article I am going to share with the critical things you MUST know if you want to make this eating method a success and the secrets to being able to sustain this for good. This article is written by Melissa Jack.

The Biggest Mistake People Make When They Start Fasting

There are many weight loss plans out there, but many of these achieve weight loss using restrictive methods and do not place health as a priority. Losing weight and being healthy can be two different things and people know that nutrition can be the answer, but they don't know how to use it properly. If you use it properly, it can help make you well. But, make no mistake if you use it improperly, it can backfire on your causing weight gain and make you sick. When it comes to intermittent fasting this is exactly what happens to people if they fail to address the most critical factor, which is;

Eating the correct foods within the eating window to provide sustained energy.

People will have no trouble being able to fast for the correct amount of hours, normally 16 hours of fasting, but in the eating window they will eat whatever they want, which completely destroys the entire philosophy behind using this method in the first place.  You must eat the correct foods during the eating window to force the body to use fats as its preferred fuel source instead of carbohydrates and sugars.  To get this right for your body you need to be very precise in the beginning with your protein, carbohydrate and fat ratios, not just eat whatever you want. This is where the Ketogenic diet is the perfect complement to intermittent fasting for it works along the same principles of making the body use fat as the preferred fuel source.

In this article I mainly talk about the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Eating Pattern, as this is the most popular method and also the one that I use myself as it works for me. There are however many different other methods to fast, for example the:

  • 5:2 diet: The 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days of the week while restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 for 2 days of the week.
  • Eat, Stop, Eat: Eat Stop Eat involves a 24-hour fasting period once or twice per week.
  • Alternate Day fasting: you fast every other day.

While some people claim to achieve great results with these methods, I prefer to adopt something that is easy to sustain every day and does not involve turning the tap on and off all the time.

How Does the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Eating Work?

The 16/8 Intermittent fasting involves fasting every day for 14–16 hours and restricting your daily eating window to 8–10 hours. Once I’ve had my nightly dinner at around 7pm, I would not eat again for 16 hours which is around lunchtime the following day.

Within the eating window I would have 2 main meals, lunch and dinner along 1 or 2 snacks. This will vary depending on how active I’ve been as I’m normally hungrier the day after doing strength training and find that I need 2 snacks on those days.

In basic terms the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting is as simple as not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast.

For those of you who get hungry in the morning and like to eat breakfast, (I was definitely one of these people), this method may be hard to get used to at first. However, many breakfast skippers instinctively eat this way anyway. Their downfall is that they normally consume high amounts of carbohydrates, sugars and junk foods during the eating period and their body uses this as the primary fuel source instead of fats. Even though they are fasting their body will not respond positively to this and instead become fatter and unhealthy for it is not using fat stores for energy. These people often have intense cravings for sugary or salty foods when they get towards the end of the fasting as the body wants to stabilise the blood sugar crash.

It is critical to avoid eating sugary foods and anything with high carbohydrates to make the fuel source switch also known as Ketosis. This whole method depends on the quality of foods with HIGH FAT content (good fats) for it to have any chance of working for you. This is why the Ketogenic diet works so well in combination with fasting.

To combat hunger pains during my fasting period I drink water & black coffee, you could also have bone broth or black tea.

Also I must mention that this is not for everyone. Those who are hypoglycemic, diabetic, or pregnant (and/or breastfeeding) should avoid any type of calorie restriction until your blood sugar or insulin levels are regulated.

Foods To Eat More Of And Foods To Avoid

As discussed earlier, the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan does not specify which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, you must focus on healthy eating and avoid junk foods. The consumption of too much unhealthy food will cause weight gain and contribute to disease, even when you are fasting.

Foods to Eat MORE During Fasting

  • Green vegetables and cauliflower
  • Raw nuts
  • Cheese
  • Flesh protein eg meat, chicken, seafood
  • Avocado
  • Pate
  • Coconut or Avocado oil
  • Eggs
  • Butter

Foods to AVOID When Fasting

  • Fast food
  • Bread
  • Below ground vegetables
  • Pasta
  • Rice

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  1. Your body becomes a Fat Burner, especially if you are also following the Keto eating plan as well.
  2. Reduces the risk of chronic disease, for example, diabetes, heart disease.
  3. Long term weight loss, providing you continue with the fasting and eat well during the eating window.
  4. A lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  5. Improved brain health.

Adding Exercise to Intermittent Fasting Can Provide Even More Benefits

We all know that eating well is only one part of the puzzle and that exercise is just as important. Science has proven time and again that strength training along with high-intensity training is far superior to hour-long aerobic exercises. Both strength training and HIIT create much more damage to the body that increases the production rate of human growth hormone (HGH).

Building muscle should be the MOST important activity you do if your goal is to lose weight because increasing muscle is the best way to increase your Metabolic Rate (the rate at which your body burns energy at rest).

Adding muscle does so much more than just speed up your metabolism and is essential to completing many other essential tasks required for a healthy body.

  • Muscle helps to regulate hormones and prevents disease like diabetes and cancer often caused from insulin resistance
  • Muscle improves bone density and prevents bone fractures, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, and can even reverse arthritis.
  • Muscle prevents injury and improves stability across all joints
  • Muscle improves sporting performance by increasing speed and power.

The long slow cardio workouts will not be able to complete these functions. They will improve slightly but not to the level they need to be for dramatic improvement and overall health.

If you want to get sweaty and improve your fitness levels the use of interval training is the best.

This is where you break your exercise session into short segments that alternate high intensity with a rest period in-between. For example 10 sets of 200m sprints with a 1 minute rest between each set.

Scientific researchers found this type of exercise works because it produces a unique metabolic response. Intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin and within your muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation is thought to drive the increased weight loss. The best part of this training is you don't need very much time to do it as a great session might last only 20 minutes!

Great articles to read with more detail on this are shown in the links below

Summary

There is no doubting that intermittent fasting is a great eating method for people to adopt but it is not something you should jump into without fully understanding what it requires. Just remember this is not about restricting calories or simply eating less in a day to lose weight. If you eat junk or high sugary foods it does not matter if it is in an 8 hour window it is still junk food and your body will not use this correctly. To succeed with this diet the trick is to teach the body how to become a fat burner by only eating quality foods with decent levels of good fats during the 8 hour eating window. If you get this right you will start to feel a shift in your energy and also see the weight begin to drop off you. And the best part is you won’t even feel like you have to try to keep it going.

About The Author

Nick Jack is owner of No Regrets Personal Training and has over 14 years’ experience as a qualified Personal Trainer, Level 2 Rehabilitation trainer, CHEK practitioner, and Level 2 Sports conditioning Coach. Based in Melbourne Australia he specialises in providing solutions to injury and health problems for people of all ages using the latest methods of assessing movement and corrective exercise.

References:

  • Precision Nutrition 
  • Nutrition & Physical Degeneration - By Weston A Price
  • Big Fat Lies - By David Gillespie
  • How To Eat, Move & Be Healthy by Paul Chek
  • Mercola