The intermittent fasting diet is another food fad that has taken the dieting world by storm. It happens to be the top rated eating overhaul to try for 2018. Intermittent fasting is often seen as the new kids on the block, after Keto and Paleo. However, believe it or not, fasting is based on ancient ideas. Those who practice the fasts of Yom Kippur, Lent, Ramadan or Navratri would be familiar with the concept of fasting.
We have tried this diet previously and was happy with it. We like the fact that we can work the diet around our busy schedule instead of letting our diet rule our life. So, if you are thinking about trying the intermittent fasting diet, here is everything you need to know to get you started.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Unlike most diets which focuses on What you eat. Intermittent fasting just doesn’t focus on What. Most importantly, intermittent fasting focuses on When you eat. Intermittent fasting is primarily planned scheduled eating guideline. This guideline allows you to eat a normal healthy diet most of the time and then requires you to spend some time consuming far less food. There are a few styles of intermittent fasting out there which we will discuss further. But before that, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of intermittent fasting
Who Should Try Intermittent Fasting
1. People Who Consume Too Much Sugar
People who are addicted to sugary foods, sweet drinks, and highly processed snacks would benefit from intermittent fasting. Giving your body a break from all the junk food will reduce cravings and make you feel better
2. People Who Follow an Unhealthy Diet
Intermittent fasting is perfect for those who live on a great deal of fast food, processed food, and food with low nutrition count and empty calories. By following the intermittent fasting diet, you will be required to ditch unhealthy food in favor of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. You will better able to appreciate and understand what makes a well-rounded diet.
3. People Who are Looking for a Change in Lifestyle and would Like to Simplify it
Intermittent Fasting is simple and straightforward with little variation. The diet is not only well rounded, it also does not contain an absurd amount of restrictions you sometimes see in diets.
Who Should Not Try Intermittent Fasting
1. Pregnant Women
Calorie guidelines for intermittent fasting for pregnant women are simply too low
2. Nursing Women
Calorie guidelines for intermittent fasting for nursing women are simply too low. However, intermittent fasting serves as a great eating plan to get your pre-baby body back
3. People with Type 2 Diabetes
If you are suffering from Type 2 diabetes and are taking blood sugar lowering medication, intermittent fasting could lead to health risks. Seek advice from your doctor.
4. People with Eating Disorder
Intermittent fasting is not suitable for people with an eating disorder or with the risk of developing an eating disorder, especially when they are already severely underweight or malnourished
Growing children should not be subjected to a nutritional stress of any kind.
Popular Intermittent Fasting Methods
16: 8 Method
This daily fasting involves breaking up your 24 hour – day into fasting and non-fasting time frame. Daily fasting is between 14 – 16 hours, so it restricts your consumption time between 8 – 10 hours. For instance, you consume 2 to 3 meals between 8 am to 4 pm and no-calorie intake until 8 am the next day.
Most people who partake in this method, find it to be the best and most effortless and natural way to incorporate intermittent fasting. This is especially easy for people who are used to ‘skipping breakfast’ and only start eating in the afternoon. Hugh Jackman reportedly uses this intermittent fasting method to get in shape for his role in the movie Wolverine.
5: 2 Method
The 5: 2 fasting method is basically, eat whatever you want for 5 days and then eat next to nothing for the next 2. Also known as the ‘part time’ fasting method. Here you will have 5 fasting days and 2 non-consecutive fasting days in the 7-day period. Non-consecutive days of fasting will ensure greater success as one day fast is easier to achieve rather than two consecutive days of fasting.
The 2 days of fasting does not mean you don’t eat anything at all, it just means that you consume a very restricted calories intake for the day. For instance, you consume recommended intake of calories for your height, gender, age and BMI on Mondays & Tuesdays, restrict calories to 500-600 on Wednesday, back to the normal recommendation on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and again on 500-600 calories on Sunday
Eat- Stop- Eat Method
The eat-stop-eat diet works by fasting one or twice a week for a full 24 hours. During fasting time, it is recommended that water and other non-caloric beverages be consumed and no solid food. Fasting should now exceed more than 2 days a week and should not be 2 consecutive days
One Meal a Day Method (OMAD)
One meal a day method or OMAD is another form of intermittent fasting method. OMAD, is pretty self-explanatory, you eat one meal a day, with no restriction on calories or food of choice during consumption. The main premise of this diet is to eat whatever your heart desire, within a small eating window – and not have anything else but water or non-caloric beverages before and after. The eating window is usually one hour – where you eat your meal within that time before you fast for the rest of the time. For that reason, OMAD is also sometimes known as the 23:1 (hour) fasting method. This is a great method for those who do not want to deprive themselves of their favorite food and can instead deal with the idea of consuming them only once a day.
What Can You Eat?
Like every other diet, intermittent diets works more efficiently when consuming healthy foods and low carbohydrate options. This by no means you cannot eat naughty food, you are able to for as long as you stay within your calorie limit. That said, using up your calorie on fresh healthy food will keep you full for longer and keep your energy level up. So to avoid feeling demotivated and hungry, going for healthy option the majority of the time is a far more sustainable plan.
What Should You Avoid?
While there is not hard and fast rule on the food you need to completely avoid in this diet, some just set you up for dieting failure. You might eat 1 chocolate cake which constitutes your daily calorie intake and feels satisfied at that time, but later on, you might suffer from sugar crash and experience the mother of all hunger which leads you to want something fried and greasy which leads to overeating. The plan work on calorie deficits on fasting days and calorie break-even or deficit on normal eating day. Excess surplus on normal eating day will make it harder for you to achieve calorie deficit on fasting days. Hence, to achieve great results, some type of foods should be avoided or reduced.
Typical Intermittent Fasting Meal
Below photos are what we ate when trying the Intermittent Fasting Diet. Of course, this is per meal and photos of the steak and Veg are actually for more than 1 person. Actual serving per person is more accurate for the Vegetarian Brekkie and the Grilled Cod. Just bear in mind that the photo below is what we practiced based on the information we have on this diet. On top of it all, they are the food within the guidelines that we actually like. So they might not necessarily work for you
What to Expect From This Diet
This depends on what you eat and how strict you are with your diet. Some will loose more than others. The first couple of weeks will see big numbers dropped, due to water weight and your body getting used to the changes. While in some weeks, expect to plateau. But in general, expect to lose around 10 pounds (5 kg) of fat in over 10 weeks period. Pretty good considering you are not starving or depriving yourself daily.
6 Tips to Succeed in Your Intermittent Fasting Journey
Drink plenty of water and non-caloric beverages. This is important as calories in drinks are often overlooked. Keep your hydration up to avoid dry skin and to ensure regular bowel movement. Fasting will also make your mouth dry, drinking plenty of water will fix that.
2. Organisation is Key
Prepare your meals for the day in advance you so won’t be tempted to buy anything naughty. If you are time poor, make sure you have healthy option foods close to you. On top of that, make sure you organise your fasting days according to your schedules. Nothing’s worse than being on restrictive calories at a birthday party or on the weekends! There are just too many temptations out there and being organised eliminate the need to think, wonder, crave and lets you focus on more important things.
3. Choose Your Food Wisely
Be calorie picky. Treat them like an expensive currency where you have to be careful about how to use them throughout the day. Strategise, choose meals that would fill you up and satisfy you. Work with the calories you have to nourish you yet not feel like you are missing out on all the good stuff. If you know you will have a big yum yum dinner that night, realise that the opportunity cost will be something simpler and very little in calories for lunch.
Do what you can on top of fasting to aid calorie deficits. An exercise is a great option for that. Have a nice long walk daily or some weight training. High-intensity interval training is often suggested as an effective way to achieve maximum calorie deficit for this diet
5. Be Consistent
As flexible as the intermittent fasting diet can be, consistency is still key to achieving optimum results. Don’t allow temptation or unwanted triggers to dictate your relationships with food.
6. Be Patient
Like any other diets, expect good days and bad days. What makes it worthwhile is by not giving up when times are tough. Be patient, a plateau is highly common in weight loss and you just have to ride it. Eventually, the deficit will have to come off somewhere and when it does, you will thank your sheer determination and willpower for how good you look in that dress!
Intermittent Fasting Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will Bulletproof Coffee Break My Fast?
Yes, anything you consume with calories, WILL break your fast and contribute to total consumption – If you are doing strictly IF.
2. What should I do when I get hungry?
Lots of water, maybe some sugarless tea and lots of things to do to distract you from your hunger
3. Why can’t I consume artificial sweetener?
You can, but it will make your IF harder. Studies have shown that artificial sweetener not only make you more hungry after consumption, it also contributes to making poor food choices. So, might as well not make it a habit to consume them.
4. I feel lightheaded and tired, is this normal?
If you are a beginner to this, yes. Over time you will get used to not eating and you will find that you feel more upbeat and energetic from fasting. If you do feel lightheaded and tired, reduce the number of fasting hours initially. The problem with some people is, they decided to do super long fast at the start, do hardcore exercises and eat very very little during meals. Start slow and see how you go, play it by ear and use your common sense. Increase your fasting time as you get used to it. The aim is also a sustainable lifestyle and weight loss. Yes, it is ideal to lose all that weight tomorrow, but it may not be sustainable.
5. Can I do Keto and Intermittent Fasting together?
Intermittent Fasting In a Nutshell
The intermittent fasting is not so much of a diet than it is an eating plan. That said, this is a great eating plan as it is versatile. Anyone can follow this plan, no matter what your food style and budgets are. Also, this is finally an option where your whole life doesn’t get steered and dictated towards one category of food. In fact, is it one that can be planned based on your life. It is a diet that focuses on balance and listening to your body’s needs. It is also a diet that makes your mind, soul, and body work together to achieve wholeness.