Intermittent Fasting Explained | What is it and will It Help you Lose Weight?
When your goal is weight loss most of us decide to exercise more and change our diets. When changing our diet we try to eat the right “clean” food and avoid the wrong “dirty” foods. Most diets revolve around the macronutrients whether it’s eating fewer carbohydrates or fats and eating more protein or just less food in general.
But what if we focus less about what you eat and more about when you are eating it… Can it be possible to lose fat whilst building muscle and at the same time improve your lifestyle?
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a popular food scheduling plan that has recently become mainstream due to many fitness gurus owing their success to it.
The idea behind it is that you condense all your meals e.g breakfast, lunch and dinner all into a single time frame. The time frame you are allowed to eat within varied depending on what type of fasting you follow. Typically, however, you would eat in a 4 – 8-hour window and then not consume any other food the remaining portion of the day e.g 16 – 20 hours fasted.
The only things you can consume during this fasting period is 0 calories substances such as water, tea or black coffee.
How does Intermittent Fasting work
The key aspect of intermittent fasting is reducing insulin levels in the body. Insulin is a hormone which is naturally produced but is responsible for the conversion of food into fat. When you are fasting your insulin levels drop meaning no glucose is stored as fat.
However, now that you are not eating your body’s energy stores will naturally deplete. To combat this another hormone called Glucagon is produced. Glucagon is responsible for turning fat into glucose, which provides you with the necessary energy whilst fasted.
Whilst fasted your body also produces other fat burning hormones such as epinephrine. Epinephrine accelerates fat loss through the activation of hormone-sensitive lipase. Epinephrine also helps to protect muscle mass during this fasted state.
Other Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are a host of other benefits to intermittent fasting apart from the fat burning ones. Due to the decreased levels of insulin present, your body will become more responsive to it helping to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Problems With Intermittent Fasting
So it all sounds a bit too good to be true doesn’t it, what’s the catch? Well, the reason that most people don’t perform intermittent fasting is that you get incredibly hungry! Most people are able to go 16 hours without food.
In my personal experience, it does get better over time and your body does adapt to burning fat for energy. However, I’m not going to lie to you… the 1st few weeks are a real struggle.
Is Intermittent Fasting for me?
The simple answer is yes. Intermittent fasting can be done by anyone who is willing. Obviously, if you have certain medical conditions then it is probably worth checking with a doctor prior.
However, one thing to note that if you are someone who struggles to say no to food then this probably isn’t for you as you will easily ruin your fast. another problem can be if you suffer easily from hunger pains then again IF probably isn’t for you.
One key point to remember though is that IF isn’t some magical diet or lifestyle. You still need to remember that weight loss or weight gain is dependent on “calories in vs Calories out”. If you want to lose weight consume fewer calories than you are burning.
My fasting schedule looks like this:
- 1st meal = 1pm (around 1000 calories)
- Pre-workout snack = 3 – 4 pm (400 calories)
- Post-workout meal = 6 pm (1200 calories)
- Final meal = 8 – 8:30pm (700 calories)
- Fast begins
I normally consume green tea, water and coffee during the fast.
Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes – Hugh Prather
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