In this post, we will expand a bit on intermittent fasting, telling you more about this unique type of controlling your caloric intake. In our series on intermittent fasting we started with this article. Some people have asked us for a more streamlined article on IF, so here you go. You will see how fasting is nothing new and is already a part of your daily regimen, whether you realize it or not. Also, we will give you some different ways you can use fasting, seamlessly blending it into your daily routines and habits. Le’ts go!
Intermittent Fasting—The Oldest Diet In The Books
As we said in the intro, fasting is nothing new. First, people have been involuntarily fasting ever since the beginning of time. In the pre-civilization times, food was scarce, and you could eat only what you find/hunt. Our organisms adapted to that, as we had to look for food or hunt animals while hungry. Consuming food when it was available.
But, even in modern conditions, when hunting for food is long gone, most of us fast 7-8 hours every day – during sleep. In essence, a fast is any prolonged period between two meals. So, if you are not eating, nor digesting the food you’ve eaten 1-2 hours before, you are entering a fasted state. In fact, sleep is the central part of every intermittent fasting regimen, as it all adds up to the total fasting hours.
Besides sleep, large populations practice religious fasting. Muslims, for example, fast during Ramadan and are not intaking any food or liquid from sunrise to sunset. Considering the fact that there are 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, you can see how fasting is nothing new, and that many people already do it without any hype (although, the hype is worth it….this type of lifestyle can have some real meaningful results).
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where an individual spends X amount of hours/days in a fasted state, and then consumes food for an X amount of hours/days. That’s it, cycles of eating/fasting that happen periodically, very straightforward.
This is a voluntary type of fasting, which makes it different from the absence of food our ancestors had to face. And, the main point of this type of dieting is health and fitness-based, not religious, which makes it different from religious fasting. People most often do it to lose fat or to keep their calories under control, but it also has many general health benefits.
While the goal of losing fat is a common one for most diets, intermittent fasting is not actually a diet. Most diets are about watching what you eat, or what not to eat. Intermittent fasting is different, as you are watching when you are eating.
The “Watch When You Eat” Genius
By limiting your “eating window” to only X amount of hours every day (we will get to intermittent fasting schemes later), you are more likely to consume less food than you would normally eat when spread across the whole day.
When trying to lose weight, all you need is a caloric deficit, day after day. Intermittent fasting makes it easy to adhere to it, as it lets you eat your regular foods. You achieve a caloric restriction without cutting your favorite food from your diet. This is what is the best part of intermittent fasting, as it is unlike most other “diets” that are taking away all your favorite foods.
Intermittent fasting theory is simple: if you have a limited time to eat, you will eat less food in total. And in practice, it works very well, at least if you eat your regular foods. Just try not to replace your regular meals with higher calorie alternatives, and you will be fine, the weight loss will start.
Different Types Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is very simple, in theory, and in practice, as you only need to manipulate your fasting and eating windows, and that’s it. Below, you will find some popular forms of this way of nutrition.
16:8 is by far the most famous and the most common form of intermittent fasting. Here, you are fasting for 16 hours and eating in an 8-hour window.
For example, you can eat food only from 12-8 PM every day, the rest is fasting. Of course, if you are a night owl, and you wake up late, you can move the window anywhere you like it. 12-8 works for most people who work the first shift. But, if you really like to eat breakfast, and love working out in the evening, something like 8-4 PM schedule might work better for you (yes, you can work out easily during a fasted state, more on this in a later post).
Unlike 16:8, the 5/2 method of intermittent fasting focuses on days, not hours. Here, you eat normally for five days a week, and you restrict your calories to 1/4 on the remaining two days of your choice.
By regularly doing this, you will reduce the total number of calories you eat throughout the week, which will lead to fat loss. And because you will be able to eat normally on the other five days, you will not feel deprived continuously.
We mentioned religious fasting before, well, the 5/2 method is similar to some religious practices. Orthodox Christians are fasting on Wednesday and Friday, where they are not allowed to intake any animal products (besides fish on some occasions). Because they don’t eat their regular foods on those two days, they are likely to lose weight, mainly because this happens every week.
24 – Hour Intermittent Fasting
This one is as simple as it gets—you don’t eat any food for a full day. The goal of this type of fasting is to cleanse your body and remove toxins.
However, the issue with this type of fast is that it can be “harsh” to adjust to for new fasters. If you are new to fasting you can expect a complete lack of energy, but also headaches and irritability. This makes it highly unlikely for you to continue doing this every week (you will need to do it once a week if you want to lose weight). It is important to build up to this kind of fasting. However, once you get accustomed to fasting, you will find that staying busy and distracted can allow you to master the 24 hour fast (and beyond).
Since adherence is key to weight loss and fitness results in general, we can’t say this is the best form of fasting for the broad population that are just starting to try fasting.
As you can see, fasting is nothing new, and is one of the simplest ways to control your caloric intake and start losing weight. It costs nothing to try, it is everything but complicated, but is very effective. That’s right – almost every other weight loss routine will cost you money. Fasting will save you money because you are eating less. This is why you don’t see celebrities and large corporations pushing fasting. It works against their best interest by telling you to eat less.
Because so many people love this form of eating, we don’t see why it wouldn’t work for you. Try 16:8, and see how it feels. We bet that you will be pleasantly surprised.
Let us know in the comments below which type of intermittent fasting you think is the best, and if you feel that we should add something to the article.