Ever since I started intermittent fasting I’ve been eating more, exercising less but now I’m in better shape than every before.
By the end of this post you’ll know exactly what you need to do to become a fat burning machine and get in the best shape of your life by using intermittent fasting.
Let’s get started!
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
If I were to describe I.F in one sentence it would be.
Taking a 24 hour break from eating once or twice a week in order to eat less and create a calorie deficit.
Most of the time I fast from dinner to dinner. For example I may eat dinner on a Saturday at 8pm and then not eat again until Sunday at 8pm therefore going 24 hours without eating.
I do this twice per week.
By doing this I get to eat dinner every day but twice per week I am missing breakfast, lunch and snacks which creates a calories deficit. The other 5 days of the week I eat normally.
By normally I mean to maintenance which I’ll explain further down.
No matter how intense you workout and no matter how healthy you eat, you cannot lose weight without a calorie deficit and I.F is in my opinion the best way to do this.
Why Should You Do Intermittent Fasting?
Have you ever tried one of these intense workout programs where you do a grueling workout for 60-90 minutes per day while on a calorie deficit.
Unless you’re superhuman or have the will power of a monk these programs are damn near impossible to complete for the average person. Especially if you have a job.
First of all they’re too destructive on the body and you spend the entire 90 days feeling like a zombie with no energy and secondly they’re so restrictive and regimented that you feel like a failure when you inevitably can’t finish them.
This feeling of failure causes you to gain weight because you stop working out and started eating too much again.
I love intermittent fasting because it’s so simple and easy to do.
There’s no restrictions on what you can eat so you wont feel like a failure if you eat some ice cream or miss a workout.
You can be flexible with it and fit it into your schedule. It isn’t a burden on your life like other diet and workout programs.
Intermittent fasting isn’t just for 90 days, it’s a way of life.
Not only can you use it to burn fat but also to maintain your weight when you have reached your weight loss goals. If you want to lose weight then fast for 2 days a week. If you want to maintain weight then fast once a week to stay slim.
The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Fat burning. Your body has 2 states. The fed state and the fasted state. In the fed state your body burns food for energy. In the fasted state your body burns fat for energy.
It usually takes around 10-14 hours for your body to burn through the food you’ve eaten before it goes into the fasted state and starts burning fat for energy. The problem is in today’s world most people never get into the fasted state because we’re always eating.
It’s only in modern society that humans have begun to eat so much because food is so readily available.
Thousands of years ago humans didn’t eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in between.
Because food was harder to get hold of, especially in winter time we would have most likely eaten dinner and grazed on fruit when it was available.
This means humans have evolved over millions of years to regularly be in the fasted state.
But these days most of us are almost never in the fasted state because marketing companies who are spending $17,000,000,000 (that’s 17 billion by the way) per year on junk food advertising are always paying research companies to prop up their agenda of selling cereals and snacks.
They tell us that we must eat or we will go into starvation mode, this is simply not true.
Your body isn’t going to suddenly shut down and malfunction because you haven’t eaten in a few hours.
Studies show that the body can go up to 72 hours with out eating before any major physiological changes start to occur such as reduced testosterone and a phenomenon where the period vanishes in women.
With intermittent fasting we wont do anything close to 72 hours of fasting.
Studies also show that the body is amazing resilient because as soon as you start to eat again the body returns to normal function.
But the marketing companies would have you believe that all hell will break loose if you skip breakfast or go 3 hours without a snack.
So what we are doing with our 24 hour fasts is very safe. In fact it’s good to give our digestive system a break now and again.
Intermittent Fasting Teaches self control. Do you ever feel like your eating is out of control? Constantly snacking and thinking about what to eat next?
You snack when you watch a movie, on your way to work, at your desk. Some people even snack before a snack.
I used to be like this because I thought I was hungry but the truth is that what I thought was hunger wasn’t really hunger. It’s just that my body expected food every 2-3 hours because that’s what it’s always had.
After you’ve fasted a few times you’ll find that you have more self control over the foods that you eat, especially on non fasting days.
How To Do Intermittent Fasting
The first thing that I recommend you do is make an account on MyFitnessPal.com and go to the ‘goals’ section.
Then enter your height and weight and then under ‘what is your goal?’ set it to ‘maintain current weight’.
My Fitness Pal will then tell you how many calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight. On non fasting days we are eating normally and losing weight from the calorie deficit on our fasting days.
Now that you know how much to eat on your non fasting days you need to decide what days you want to fast on. I do not recommend fasting for more than 2 days per week.
You don’t want to burn yourself out. Fasting is something you should look at as long term.
Fast for 2 days per week to lose weight and 1 day a week to stay slim after you have reached your weight loss goal.
Personally I always make Sunday a fasting day because I don’t have much to do on a Sunday so it’s not like I need much energy.
Then I will fast on a Wednesday or Thursday. So I pretty much fast once every 3-5 days.
I’d recommend fasting once every 3-5 days.
The next thing you need to decide is whether you want to fast from breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch or dinner to dinner.
Most of the time I will fast from dinner to dinner as I just like to have dinner. 🙂
I’ve heard from a lot of people that find breakfast to breakfast fasts easiest.
This is because they get to eat breakfast and then they’re a bit hungry at bed time but they get to sleep through most of their hunger and then eat breakfast when they wake up the next day.
So they get to sleep through the hardest part. Which makes sense.
I would recommend you try all 3 different fasts to see which one you prefer.
Although I mostly do dinner to dinner fasts every couple of weeks I will do a breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch fast to mix it up.
I recommend fasting for between 23-25 hours and no longer. This isn’t exactly set in stone, I have fasted for almost 30 hours before but I feel like that’s too long, not necessary and becomes too much of a burden.
If you decide to start a dinner to dinner fast on a Wednesday then you will eat dinner on Wednesday at 8pm (or whenever you usually eat dinner) and then not eat anything until dinner time on Thursday.
Basically going around 24 hours without eating.
Don’t make your dinner extra large with a bunch of sides and desserts and treats just because you haven’t eaten in 24 hours because that will defeat the purpose of the calorie deficit.
After you have fasted just ignore the fact you have fasted and go back to normal. On Friday you will then eat the maintenance amount of calories you got from My Fitness Pal.
A typical week for me might loo like this.
- Monday. Eat to maintenance. (1,600 cal)
- Tuesday. Eat to maintenance. (1,600 cal)
- Wednesday – Eat to maintenance. Dinner last meal of the day at 8pm (1,600 cal)
- Thursday – No eating until dinner at 8pm. Normal dinner for me is around 500 calories. Only eat dinner. Therefore needed 1,600 calories today but only ate 500 so had a 1,100 calorie deficit today! Fat burning machine. 🙂
- Friday – Eat to maintenance. (1,600 cal)
- Saturday – Eat to maintenance. Dinner last meal of the day at 8pm (1,600 cal)
- Sunday – No eating until dinner at 8pm. Normal dinner for me is around 850 calories. Only eat dinner. Therefore needed 1,600 calories today but only ate 500 so had a 1,100 calorie deficit today!
And that’s a typical week. You can see that I had a 1,100 calorie deficit on my fasting days so for the week my calorie deficit was 2,200.
As you can see it’s all pretty simple.
Intermittent Fasting Tips
- On your fasting days, drink more water than normal to stay hydrated. Aim for about 4 liters.
- A cup of black coffee half way through a fast is fine if you feel a bit slumped.
- Stay busy. I always struggle the most when I’m not doing anything. My mind will just start thinking about food. To counter this I will do anything to keep my mind off food. Such as write, read, go for a walk, listen to my i-pod, clean, watch a movie. You get the idea!
- When you’ve fasted a few times you’ll figure out when the hardest part of a fast is for you. Try completely getting away from food during these hard parts. Grab a bottle of water and your i-pod and go for a walk. For some reason my hunger fades after I go for a walk.
Intermittent Fasting Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Will I lose muscle if I do intermittent fasting? As long as you continue to lift weights and hit all your muscle groups at least 3 times per week you will not lose muscle.
A study in 1999 by the journal of the American college of nutrition found that people who ate only 800 calories and 80 grams of protein per day suffered no muscle loss.
From personal experience I have noticed zero muscle loss fasting once or twice per week.
I have low blood sugar. I get grouchy when I don’t eat. Will I go hyperglycemic from I.F? Studies show that fasts less than 36 hours will not cause blood glucose levels to fall below the normal range so short term fasting will not cause you to go hypoglycemic unless you have diabetes or another medical condition that effects the regulation of sugar in the blood.
Studies show that only around 5% of people are effected by hypoglycemia.
Most of the people who say they feel weak or grouchy when they haven’t eaten in a few hours are actually just in the habit of eating as they have done for many years and the weakness is just in their mind.
If you do feel weak after not eating for a few hours then you should consult a doctor before fasting to play it safe.
Will fasting reduce my testosterone levels. Will I go beta? A study by Beitins IZ, Klibanski A, Badger T, McArthur JW, Little R on The reproductive functions of men during fasting found that it takes about 9 days of fasting before a significant decrease in test can be registered. Even then, testosterone levels returned to normal when normal eating was resumed.
So in short, no, you will not go beta from short 24 hour fasts. 🙂
How much weight will I lose from fasting? Most people usually lose between 0.5-3 lbs each time they fast. If you lose 3 lbs you should know that most of that is water weight and you’ll put that back on soon.
If you also workout at the end of one of your fasts every week then you should lose about 1lb of fat.
I would say that most people will lose around 1.5lbs per week from intermittent fasting.
Will I go into starvation mode and gain fat after a fast? You’ve probably heard somewhere that if you don’t eat for a few hours your *metabolism drops and you go into starvation mode.
*The metabolism is the rate at which your body burns fat for fuel.
Then you get fat when you eat again because your body is in starvation mode so it stops burning fat and starts storing it.
This is completely false and was probably a lie started by some junk food company to make sure you eat their snacks every few hours. It’s just a lie to keep you eating!
A study held in Nottingham, England made 29 men and women fast for 3 days. At the end of these 3 days their metabolism had not changed.
If any thing intermittent fasting will increase your metabolism over time because as you burn fat from fasting you lose weight and get in better shape.
Can I drink juice while fasting? No, don’t consume anything with calories. Even gum has a few calories in it.
Here’s a few things you can have though..
- Green tea. (I love green tea!)
- Black coffee, no milk or sugar.
- Water. 🙂
What should I eat after a fast? Whatever your first meal is after a fast just eat what you normally would.
When you finish your fast you need to pretend that your fast never happened. This means no rewards or treats.