What is Intermittent Fasting?
Updated: Aug 21, 2021
What is I.F (Intermittent Fasting), what are the benefits, and how to do it right?
Definition of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting involves limiting our food and beverage intake to a certain period of time every day. There are a few intermittent fasting hours or intermittent fasting schedules, including:
1) Fasting for 12 hours a day
2) Fasting for 16 hours a day
3) Fasting for 2 days a week (approx. 500 calorie intake only for fasting days)
4) Alternate day fasting (approx. 500 calorie intake only for fasting days)
5) A weekly 24 hour fast (once a week)
6) Meal skipping (daily)
7) Fasting for 20 hours a day
Here at BFF, we usually recommend the second method – eating for an average window of 8 hours per day and abstain from calorie intake for the remaining 16 hours.
You may choose your own window. 8am-4pm or anything that suits your lifestyle is fine. Just make sure it doesn't exceed 8 hours.
For clients that are used to fasting, we would then also recommend themselves to challenge themselves to a weekly 24-hour fast.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Intermittent Fasting 16 8 (aka fasting for 16 hours a day) is gaining popularity over the years. More and more people are doing it!
The most popular intermittent fasting for weight loss schedule is 12pm-8pm. Which also means from 8pm-12pm you should not be eating or drinking anything (that contains calories), for the best results.
The intermittent fasting rules are simple. But, if you really require some perk me ups, especially some coffee or tea in the morning, keep them below 50 calories, so your body will still remain in a fasted state. (Hint: this means without sugar!)
Any particular intermittent fasting days a week?
Nope, you can do I.F twice/thrice a week or even every day. It's totally up to you! We will recommend everyday if you're determined to see results faster. And if you can, even lengthening it to intermittent fasting 20 4 (aka longer fasting hours) – or whatever that you can do, without feeling too faint or light-headed!
How does intermittent fasting work?
The idea is simple. As supported by Harvard Health, intermittent fasting for weight loss requires our body’s insulin levels to fall. Insulin is the ingredient needed for our fat cells to get the sugar from our bloodstream, which they need to grow and multiply. When our insulin levels fall, not only will these fat cells not be ‘fed’, but they will shrink as well, when they are forced to expel the sugar within them and shrink.
Apart from losing weight and losing fats, intermittent fasting also helps to improve our blood sugar control (lessen the risk of diabetes) and improves our digestion. In fact, as posted by Healthline, fasting in general can also improve heart health, brain health, reduce risk of cancer and is anti-aging.
Sounds good and achievable right? Now how to do intermittent fasting right?
Getting Started on Intermittent Fasting
Do Not Overeat.
It is important for you to do it right or you might not benefit and get the desired results from it.
The 8 hours food intake window is the key. The type of food intake during these 8 hours determines "success/failure". So just be sure to eat what your body needs. Be wise in your choice!
What can u eat during intermittent fasting?
Some intermittent fasting meal plans include adhering to the principle of getting a calorie deficit as mentioned in our earlier article. This means not consuming more than what your body requires – we know you are likely to be ravenous – and following the rule of four fist-sized portions of protein, 4 fist-sized portions of vegetables (for fibre) and two fist-sized portions of carbohydrates.
Never Ever Starve Yourself (Excessively).
If you're still confused, Just Eat Normally (your usual food) in this 8 hours window and only drink plain water outside this 8 hours window. That's about it. Do not starve yourself for an excessive length of time, out of your fasting window.
The main challenge of intermittent fasting how to deal with hunger ? A hot green tea or coffee is your best bet (with no sugar).
Possible Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Does intermittent fasting work for everyone?
According to dietdoctor.com, people who should NOT fast include those who are underweight or have eating disorders like anorexia, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people under the age of 18.
Some intermittent fasting side effects include experiencing brief episodes of light-headedness and weakness in your body. But all these effects of intermittent fasting are necessary, as your body is adapting to a new normal.
However, if you are aware that you have existing medical conditions including diabetes, low blood pressure, a history of amenorrhea, or are under any long-term medication, do consult a doctor just to be sure.
Other common concerns
When to exercise during intermittent fasting?
Ideally, in between your meals as you will feel the strongest then. However, if you are doing something intensive, try to eat something before your workout! Otherwise, the common practice is to eat after your workout to ensure that your body absorbs the most nutrition (hence eat healthily).
Can you drink green tea during intermittent fasting? Can you drink milk during intermittent fasting?
Well, check the calorie content and serving size – as long as it is below 50 calories, your body will still remain in the fasting state. For the best results, it is really just to rely on plain water (0 calories!)
Can you take medicine during intermittent fasting?
Yes, but do keep a lookout for the ‘before food’ or ‘after food’ advisory, if any!
How long before intermittent fasting results are shown?
This varies for individuals but commonly, results can be seen after one month, including vigorous exercise of four to five times a week.
Top three things for you (tldr):
1) Intermittent fasting has many schedules, find the one you are most comfortable to start with, to slowly increase the fasting period
2) During the non-fasting (aka eating) period, remember not to overeat (calorie deficit still) and the right types of food (more protein and vegetables that should make up 80% of your diet)
3) Working out while doing intermittent fasting gives faster and better results
When in doubt, feel free to reach out to us!
Our freelance and certified personal trainers offer affordable personal training programs to help you achieve your health goals!
Together, Let us Witness your Fitness!