Intermittent Fasting- The Complete Guide

By | January 5, 2020

Fasting is defined as “the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time”.  Intermittent fasting (IF) can be described as an umbrella term encompassing various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting.

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

When most people think of fasting for weight loss, they envision a period where no food and only water is consumed until the fast has concluded. This definition is incorrect in that when intermittent fasting is discussed, the definition should entail “the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink”.

This distinction is important because it reflects the fact that food isn’t all you abstain from when practicing intermittent fasting. Although some methods of fasting do allow for the consumption of small amounts of juice or herbal tea, calories are not consumed during the “fasting” phase of the diet.

Why You Should Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful methods available to shed fat and increase your energy levels. It’s free, requires no supplements or medications, and it’s scientifically verified to work with both men and women.

Losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, if you can spare a few hours each week then you may already see a difference in your waistline and energy levels.

Intermittent fasting is not a diet fad. It is an eating pattern that has been practiced for thousands of years across many different cultures and societies.

In fact, the most popular intermittent fasting method known as The 16/8 Method has been used by our ancestors since early man.  This intermittent fasting guide will provide you all the information necessary to start benefiting from intermittent fasting.

If you’re looking for a healthier way to lose weight, increase your energy levels, and reduce the risk of certain diseases; then you’ve come to the right place.

Through this guide, I’ll take you through the basics of intermittent fasting as well as give you an exact plan that can help you start intermittent fasting right away.

8 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  1. Decreased insulin levels (which may aid in fat loss).
  2. Increased HGH (human growth hormone).
  3. More efficient digestion and absorption of food.
  4. Reduced symptoms of allergies and asthma (inflammation reduction).
  5. Decreased blood pressure (which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke)
  6. Increased growth hormone production (promoting weight loss, muscle gain, energy levels, and anti-aging properties)
  7. Reduced oxidative stress (which can cause chronic diseases)
  8. Reduced inflammation (an underlying factor in many diseases)
  9. Although these are not the only benefits one will experience, they tend to be the most common.

Fasting Diet Methods

Although there are several different intermittent fasting methods, the 5 most popular are:

  • The 16/8 Method.
  • The Eat Stop Eat Method.
  • The 14/10 Method.
  • The Warrior Diet (20 hours of fasting, 4 hour eating window).
  • Alternate Day Fasting (24 hour fasts at least once per week).

What Kind of Results Can I Achieve With Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting can have a dramatic effect on the amount of weight you lose, particularly when combined with resistance training.

Additionally, it can also reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This is partial because intermittent fasting helps improve insulin levels which play a key role in fat metabolism. One study found that Alternate Day Fasting positively impacted blood pressure, increasing it in subjects by an average of 3.4%.

This is a positive benefit as the increase was mild and is likely to be less harmful than current blood pressure medications. In addition, intermittent fasting may also reduce your risk of cancer and treat symptoms related to diseases such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Intermittent fasting is also thought to help improve brain function and treat mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Trying Intermittent Fasting?

Thinking about trying it? There are a few guidelines you should follow before beginning an intermittent fasting diet.

The first thing to remember is that there are no dietary supplements that can be taken during the fast. You will need to get all your nutrients from the food you eat during non-fasting periods. So, what can you expect when trying it?

What You Should Expect When Beginning Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is the process of going without food for anywhere from 16-24 hours. The length of the fast depends on which intermittent fasting method you choose to follow.

During this time, your body enters “starvation mode” and does all it can to conserve energy. This is when a majority of fat burning occurs as your body will start utilizing fatty acids as its main source of energy.

The first 3-4 hours are the most difficult as it can be difficult to endure hunger pangs during this time. Once your body adjusts, however, the feelings of hunger subside and you may feel more energetic.

What Can I Eat During My Eating Window?

Once you’ve decided on an intermittent fasting schedule, the next step is to determine how you’ll be eating during your feeding window.

Some programs may allow for a small snack between meals while others require that you only eat one large meal every day. Additionally, some people find it helpful to have a small pre-workout meal before exercising. Others choose to eat a bigger pre-workout meal and a small post-workout meal.

Beginners are advised to start with a single large meal and then slowly begin adding in more calories as they become accustomed to the routine.

Intermittent fasting is not an excuse to eat whatever you want during your eating window. You still need to follow a healthy diet to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs.

You can choose from a variety of nutritious foods such as proteins, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. It’s also important to stay hydrated with plenty of water or tea throughout the day.

Intermittent fasting can be very beneficial for your health, especially when combined with resistance training. It can be an easy way to reduce your caloric intake without feeling hungry all the time.

As long as you follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly while intermittent fasting, it can have a dramatic effect on weight loss.

Can You Drink Water While Fasting?

Yes, you can drink water while fasting. Water is available to your body 24 hours a day and doesn’t count as food.

However, you should avoid drinking large amounts of water during the last few hours of your fast and if you do drink a lot of it, make sure to add in extra salt.

How To Start Intermittent Fasting?

The way to get started with intermittent fasting is to pick a particular method from the list below and follow it for 3-4 weeks. After that point, you can start experimenting with other fasting programs to see which one works best for you…

Intermittent Fasting Methods To Try

The 16/8 Method

Restrict your eating window to 8 hours a day, such as 1 PM to 9 PM. For this method, you can have a 16-hour fasting window followed by an 8- hour eating window.

The Eat Stop Eat Method

Fast for 24 hours, 1 or 2 times a week. This means going without food for 24 hours and then eating normally the next day. This is typically done once or twice a week and can be repeated as many times as you like.

The 5:2 Diet

Restrict your eating window to 5 days a week and fast for the other 2 days. For example, eat normally Monday through Friday and then eat 500-600 calories on Saturday and Sunday. This works out to about ¾ of your normal daily caloric intake each day.

The Warrior Diet

Follow the eating pattern of a warrior. Eat one large meal a day and fast for 20 hours. For example, eat dinner at 7 PM and then your next meal would be at 11 AM the next day. This method is also known as 20-hour fasting .

Alternate Day Fasting

Fast every other day, typically by only eating 500-600 calories. This method involves fasting every other day and then normal eating the rest of the week.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

Restrict your carbohydrate intake for 6 days. For two days each week, eat a high-carbohydrate diet (usually around 50g) to help restore glycogen levels in muscles cells.

Water Fasting

Drink water and other calorie-free beverages only. This option is probably not good for beginners because it can be very difficult to stay hydrated when you’re not consuming any calories.

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