In this post, we’re going to explore intermittent fasting. This is yet another form of dieting that has had a significant surge of popularity lately, but there are several things that people need to know about this way of eating before just blindly jumping in. With that in mind, here’s some real talk about intermittent fasting:
In the most basic sense, intermittent fasting is a form of dieting that consists of two periods - eating periods (also called feasting or feeding periods) and fasting (non-eating) periods. During the fasting period, you are not supposed to consume anything but water, or unflavored coffee or teas. Once you have consumed something other than these substances (usually 25 to 50 calories or more), you have broken the fast.
That is actually where the word breakfast comes from - it means to break the fast from the six to 12-hour window since your last meal the night before. Intermittent fasting increases the fasting window between your last meal and your first meal of your next feeding period from the amount of time you’re asleep to a significantly longer period of time.
How much time do you spend feasting or fasting? This can vary widely. For some people they see the best results when they feed 8 to 12 hours a day, and fast 12 to 16 hours a day. For others, they will do entire days up to an entire week of fasting. Longer fasting period can last between 24 and 168 hours. A fast that is longer than that isn’t recommended without the guidance of a physician or nutritionist.
During a fasting period, some people enjoy a metabolic shift that can help them to lose weight. For some people, intermittent fasting helps their hormones and chemicals to balance out, and their sugar levels become regulated as well. This can help people to reset their systems for better health and wellness overall.
While you are fasting, especially during longer fasts, it’s important to note that the body sometimes shifts into a parasympathetic state or a recovery state. During this state, you shouldn’t be working out as hard as you normally would. At most you should stick to taking walks, or even just taking warm showers. In fact, you should avoid cold showers while fasting because your body will feel colder. This feeling of being cold is why long periods of fasting aren’t recommended in winter. They should be confined to spring and summer, and the warmer weeks of fall.
Working out too much while fasting can not only hurt your weight loss goals, but it can actually negatively impact your organs as well. That’s why you don’t want to just jump in with both feet without considering what your diet can do to you on the inside and out.
Not always, no. Like every diet, results vary. Some people actually see the opposite effects when intermittent fasting. Instead of regulating hormones, chemicals, and sugar levels, they are met with extreme hunger and cravings. The worst part, is some people also don’t see any weight loss while intermittent fasting. Instead, their body hangs on to every last fat cell it can as if it is in a survival mode if you will.
These negative results happen when someone has an inefficient metabolic system. What this means is your body is not burning fat the way it should be. If your metabolism is currently inefficient, that is not to say intermittent fasting will never work for you. It may just mean you have to change your diet first and get your body used to a healthier approach before you can try intermittent fasting with positive results.
The bottom line though is intermittent fasting for weight loss is not for everyone. There are several factors that impact whether or not it will work for you. For as many people as there are on the planet, there are just as many different ways of eating and dieting. Because of this, it pays to have a professional working with you to find the best diets and exercises that will give you the best results. Just because something like a keto, vegan, paleo or intermittent fasting diet is popular, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.