How To Make Intermittent Fasting Work For YOU.
16:8 is the most popular form of intermittent fasting. It is a very effective way of losing weight in a natural and healthy way. Intermittent fasting is a great method of weight management.
The 16:8 intermittent fasting is a fasting protocol where you have a period of no eating for 16 hours. This is followed by a period of not eating for 8 hours. The usual way is to use 8 hours of non-eating when you’re sleeping and then skip breakfast and have your first meal in the afternoon.
You can extend this period to 18:6 for example. Where the eating window is reduced. What we are looking at here is a framework as opposed to a strict plan. We are looking to build healthy eating habits.
When to do intermittent fasting
You can do 16:8 intermittent fasting on certain days. You do not have to do it every day. You can for example, do it for one week every month. You can do it for a two week stretch. You can do it every day. Intermittent fasting is flexible and adaptable.
This is different to the 5:2 diet where you restrict your calories for 2 days a week. In 5:2 editing, you eat normally for 5 days and then restrict your calories for two days.
Many people who have a goal of losing weight can struggle with the 5:2 plan. People who do the 5:2 diet find themselves struggling with restricted calorie intake. They also over eat during other periods
Many people find the simplicity of eating or not eating easier to adhere too
People have been Intermittent fasting for thousands of years
In reality, the 16:8 diet is not a drastic change from your everyday routine. Intermittent fasting has been around for thousands of years. In fact, our ancestors used to fast because they didn’t have constant access to food like we do.
The human body is designed to hold onto fat as stored energy. This is especially dangerous when the food companies put so much sugar in the food chain. Our calorie intake has never been higher. Our biological bodies have not evolved to take constant calories into account.
Intermittent fasting is now very popular. The popularity of intermittent fasting was helped by Martin Berkhan. He marketed a website called Lean Gains, which was really an intermittent fasting protocol for bodybuilders. We’re not all looking to become bodybuilders. We are looking for a long term sustainable weight management program. A weight management program which allows us to manage a calorie intake without the problems that other types of diet may have.
Lean Gains helped people understand that not eating for periods of time is perfectly normal and in fact, can be very healthy.
Intermittent fasting works best when you eat clean as well. You are basically reducing the number of calories being consumed which helps with the calories in and calories out principle.
16:8 fasting is not a diet. It is an eating framework. It has less to do with following certain foods to eat and more to do with restricting your eating windows.
An example of a fasting daily routine
20:00 – Activating fast mode
Let’s say that your last meal is at 20:00 and you go to bed at 22:30. It’s important to get some good quality sleep when you’re fasting. You wake up in the morning at 7:00 and you’ll have a cup of tea or coffee but no breakfast. Try and keep any drinks below 50 calories so no orange juice or sugary lattes. You then continue to drink throughout the day until the afternoon when you can finally break your fast. This fasting routine works really well for a lot of people. It’s easy to follow and once you get into a habit, it’s easy to implement.
This is as simple as it gets. You do not eat for 16 hours. Then you can eat for that 8-hour window.
7:00 – The morning of the fast
One of the main things you need to succeed at intermittent fasting is willpower. If you’re like me and lots of other people, you’ve tried all sorts of diets. You’ve tried eating high carb, low carb, high protein, high fat, moderate fat, low fat, all sorts of different things. You’re probably here because you found that they haven’t worked for you. And interestingly, that’s not because you’re a failure.
You need to work with your body
Our physiology is always working and our biology is always working to maintain the status quo. Our body doesn’t want us to lose body fat. Your body uses body fat as stored energy. Even though losing fat would make us more healthy.
We are looking to force our body into using some of the stored fat for energy. Your body will always try to take energy from food first. If we remove that energy source, your body is forced to use stored energy. This is why intermittent fasting works.
You are not starving your body. When you starve your body your body starts to break down organs. You are simply using stored energy sources.
You may already be fasting by accident
many of you may be fasting by accident. You may have skipped breakfast for years. This is common in our busy lives. But, as the day goes on, you tend to lose focus. That’s normal and it happens to almost everybody. Everybody’s will power is stronger in the morning and reduces later in the day.
With 16:8 fasting we are using the willpower that you’ve got in the morning to skip your breakfast. Then we just drink coffee, drink tea, and drink water. When your will power drops, we are hitting the afternoon when you can break your fast.
That first meal after breaking a fast is the best ever! It’s a great feeling knowing you achieved your fast
12:00 – Break your fast (or push it a bit further)
At about 12:00 you can have a moderate sized meal. I try to push my window a little further. If I can, I’ll push it till 14:00.
What type of meal should you break your fast with?
I would look at having two decent, nutritional meals during your eating window. I try to have one larger than the other. I tend to prefer my smaller one first because I get sugar cravings after I fast. You will find out what works for you.
What can you consume during a fast?
A question I’m often asked about intermittent fasting is
Is it okay to have milk in my tea or coffee?
From a Puritan point of view. Yes. But, we’re looking at it from a body composition and fat loss viewpoint. If you like to have a splash of milk in your coffee, do it. Try to avoid cream or anything too high calorie. We want to keep any food or drink below the 50 calorie mark. Coffee can help when you first start fasting to help with food cravings
Green tea is ideal but sure, coffee with a splash of milk is fine.
Fitting in Intermittent fasting into your daily routine
Intermittent fasting aids a calorie/energy balance. It basically prevents over eating. We are reducing the probability of over consuming calroies.
You can eat a good sized meal in the evening with your family. Intermittent fasting does not need to get in the way of family meals. If you want to go out on a Friday night for a meal you can. You can still have a good meal out. You can eat a large meal and even have a dessert. You can do that stuff with a 16:8 lifestyle. You don’t have to be super strict. You use intermittent fasting as a framework for healthier living
Be sensible about your food choices
You still need to be sensible about the foods you eat when fasting. It’s no good putting your body in a fasting state and then eating a full pack of cookies.
As a general rule, I would say just focus on eating whole food and steer clear from processed foods. You can still have a treat every now and again but just eat sensibly. You should be using intermittent fasting as a framework to support a healthier way of life. Sometimes you will see results, and sometimes you will get set-backs. It’s all part and parcel of life.
The important thing with intermittent fasting is to create a habit and a lifestyle. We are looking for a sustainable eating plan. You’ve got to find a weight management system that you’re comfortable with. One which allows you to indulge in some of the traits that you may enjoy every now and again. Life is for living. It is to be enjoyed and not endured.
If you can get that philosophy, you are ahead of the game. You’re ahead of most other people in the world. Your weight will fluctuate naturally. All these people who yo-yo diet jump between this diet and that diet never succeed. They bounce from diet plan to diet plan. They lose faith when they put on an extra pound.They don’t notice that they had a large carb heavy meal last night, which has allowed them to hold onto some some water, some fluid retention and people will live and die by that and the scale is their only metric of are they succeeding or are they failing not just in their diet, but in virtually every aspect of their life.
The importance of maintaining your habit
95% of people who go on diets regain all that body weight and more within two years. Most people will lose weight and then fall back into bad habits. It is critical that you create a habit which becomes part of your life.
Intermittent fasting can really help you get mentally conditioned to not eating. Most people start to panic when they get hungry. When you become used to Intermittent fasting, you do not get a sense of panic when you get hungry. You find it easy to refuse the pizza for lunch if that’s the only option. Eating more healthy becomes much easier.
Most of the battle of losing weight is in will power. It is in becoming disciplined in what and when you eat. Once, you conquer this, maintaining a healthy weight becomes much easier.
Can you eat junk food and lose weight?
The simple answer if yes. The real answer, is no.
You can lose weight eating pizza. You can lose weight eating ice cream. As long as you are consuming negative calories, that is burning more than you consume, then you will lose weight.
But one thing to take into consideration about these type of foods is that they are designed to be very rewarding. They are designed to be hyper-palatable, and they’re designed to make you want to eat more of them.
So, although I will say you can include these foods and potentially for a lot of people should include these foods because we don’t want to live a miserable life where we can’t have any of the things we enjoy, but please be aware that these foods, for some people, particularly people who have a history of yo-yo dieting and bingeing these foods are triggers for bingeing episodes and overeating.
If you think that’s you, then I would strongly advise, rather than eating them and trying to fight against the binge feelings that you get, is to just try and cut them out for a period of time and see how you go
When is the best time to start fasting?
There is an ancient chinese proverb. The best time to plant a tree was 20 year ago. The next best time is today.
The sooner you get started fasting, the sooner you will see the benefits.