Fasting has been a long-standing practice not just in weight loss but also in religious and cultural traditions. It includes long hours of not eating which makes it look like another passing diet fad. However, the best books on intermittent fasting will tell you that if done right, it can actually become a tool in maximizing weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is the most popular form of fasting in the weight loss world. Far from being a diet scam, this practice is based on science. Again, it’s just a matter of doing it right and having the necessary discipline.
What is intermittent fasting?
This form of fasting follows a pattern, known as windows. Basically, there would be two windows: a non-eating window and an eating window. Some practitioners of IF don’t restrict calories and just rely on the fasting hours. However, you can devise a better diet plan to maximize the benefits of intermittent fasting.
The idea here is to restrict all the eating in specific window hours. There are many variations for this practice including the Eat-Stop-Eat, 5:2 Diet, The Warrior Diet, and the most popular 16:8 protocol.
Here, we’re going to focus on the 16:8 setup since it’s easier to follow and the least taxing of all the types. Just take note that intermittent fasting results 1 month will vary wildly.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
If you’re thinking why you should do IF, here are some of the key benefits to help you decide:
Better weight loss. Science has proven that intermittent fasting can speed up weight loss. Even those who didn’t change their daily caloric intake observed weight loss over time. The concept here is that the body utilizes stored energy during the non-eating window. So when stored fats are metabolized, your body experiences direct fat loss.
➕Improved digestion. Our digestive system is always on 24/7. By practicing IF, you get to let your tummy do the work without food to process. This way, solid wastes and other stuff that settled in your gut will be flushed out of your body.
➕Autophagy. This is the process of the cells when they break down and repurpose damaged cells. It’s a crucial cleansing procedure of the body that becomes more evident when you practice intermittent fasting.
➕Growth. During intermittent fasting, growth hormones are produced at high levels. This helps burn fats while increasing muscle growth along the way. Other hormones including adrenaline and norepinephrine are at high levels which all contribute to faster weight loss.
➕Lower insulin. Since the insulin levels in your blood are low during IF, your body metabolizes fat and energy instead of storing it. Also, hunger hormones don’t kick in that much as satiety hormones balance the act. It’s one of the most important points in the best books on intermittent fasting.
➕Easy to stick to. In all fairness with intermittent fasting, it’s not a demanding process. A lot of people are able to stick to it without experiencing too much stress. This can be done continually for the purpose of losing weight.
These are just some of the benefits you’ll reap from IF. But if you’re wondering how this works in your body, it’s important to read the following points.
How intermittent fasting enhance fat loss
Most academic studies about intermittent fasting focused on a certain gene that increases calorie use in relation to weight loss. During fasting, this gene becomes active which results in higher fat oxidation. This is what causes the weight loss, to put it simply.
What happens is that certain proteins in your body bore holes in the muscle cells’ mitochondria. As the ‘powerhouse of the cell,’ the mitochondria will then produce less energy due to the holes. To offset this, the cell would have to utilize more calories to sustain the energy needs of the body.
It’s also easy to grasp that since you’re not eating, your body will have to use its surplus energy to keep the system working. With that, calories are used without ingesting more. It’s a basic concept of energy gap for the sake of losing excess pounds.
So while you skip the usual mealtimes, your body also does its part of being a fat burning machine. However, the question is here is that how can you handle the hunger? What are the intermittent fasting results 1 month? This will be clearer in a few moments.
How to do intermittent fasting properly
Like what I said earlier, we’re going to focus on the 16:8 protocol here. But generally, the metabolic changes happen the most once your body reaches the 12th-hour mark. The longer you go into fasting, the better the results will be.
For men, fasting for 16 hours has been proven to yield positive results. So far, the 16-hour fasting time is very doable even if you are working full time. But if this proves to be challenging, you can always look for the variation that suits you.
If you are fasting for 16 hours, it’s best to eat your last meal two hours before you go to bed. That way, you can sleep the majority of the fasting period. That will be equal to 10 hours already if you’re going to get a night of full 8-hour sleep. The next six hours should be effortless and it would be more like skipping breakfast.
In case you are familiar with the 12-hour fast, the 16:8 protocol is pretty much the same but with an extended period. Here are more steps to take according to the best books on intermittent fasting:
➕Pick your preferred window
The good thing about IF is that you can select the non-eating window that works for you. For example, if you choose to eat your last meal at 8 pm, you can start eating again by lunchtime the next day. This is very easy to stick to, especially if you’re not a fan of breakfast like me. Essentially, you’re just going to skip the first meal of the day.
Anyway, you can skip dinner instead if that’s what you like. Just take note that you simply can’t skip lunch.
➕Balance your meals
During the 8-hour eating window, it’s important to balance your meals. Just because you’re fasting doesn’t mean you can get away with all your guilty pleasures. Of course, you can still have a serving of your “cheat” food, but if you want to make the most out of this weight loss routine, you might as well eat healthily.
Basically, these are the recommended component of your meals during the “feasting” window:
Protein source. As the building block of muscles, protein will increase calorie burns. You can get this from meat, legumes, eggs, dairy, and so on.
Fruits and veggies. Pack your meals with greens and organic fruits. These have fewer calories but very satiating. It will help improve intermittent fasting results 1 month.
Whole grains. The likes of buckwheat, quinoa, barley, and oats are excellent weight loss foods. These are rich in minerals your body needs.
Healthy fats. Fatty foods aren’t always a bane. The likes of avocado and olive oil have monounsaturated fats that nourish the body.
Sugar-free drinks. If you may, stick to water or tea for your refreshing sips. Avoid alcohol and soda at all cost.
Follow this general rule and you should do well on your intermittent fasting. As much as you can eat anything during the 8-hour window, it’s never wise to binge on junk and processed food. It will just defeat the purpose of fasting. Remember, artificial substances slow down your metabolism – the biggest weight loss killer.
Can I practice intermittent fasting?
As much as IF is safe and efficient, it’s not made for everyone. If you’re thinking of doing it, here are some of the points you should think about based on the best books on intermittent fasting:
You shouldn’t have hypoglycemic symptoms. If you experience light-headedness and dizziness when eating three meals without snacks, IF may not be for you. Also, those who get pretty hangry should reconsider about trying intermittent fasting. For diabetics, close supervision of a medical professional is necessary.
No hormone imbalances. This one is important. If you’re a woman who experiences intense hormone imbalances, especially during menstruation, practicing IF may not be safe. Also, pregnant and those who are trying to get pregnant should stir clear of this regimen.
Enough sleep. When practicing IF, you should sleep for at least 7 hours. That way, you can endure the fasting hours with more grace.
Eating disorders. If you are currently experiencing eating disorders or are simply underweight, never try intermittent fasting without clearance from a doctor.
Doing regular exercise. It’s best that you’re doing minimum exercise from time to time if planning to practice intermittent fasting.
What can I have when doing IF
Although you won’t be eating solid food during the fasting phase, water is very much allowed. The rule here is never eating anything caloric during the non-eating window. If you want something with taste, you can have unsweetened coffee, green tea, and sparkling water. Just don’t overdo the caffeine or you’ll be jittery during bedtime.
There’s a bit of uncertainty when it comes to lemon water or using citrus fruits to flavor your drinks. I think as long as it’s unsweetened, you should be fine. What about no-calorie stevia? It’s still a no. Even though it has no calories, the sweet taste will prompt your insulin levels to spike, thus defeating the purpose of fasting.
Also, never sip any broth since it will shut down the autophagy phase. Besides, this is highly caloric.
Do I still have to exercise?
It might seem like a double kill, but exercising in a fasted state is actually a good thing. Exercising before breakfast will kick-start your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). You should know that the SNS controls the fat burns within your body. So when you exercise while practicing IF, your intermittent fasting results 1 month will be better. Besides, it’s what exercise is for.
But as much as a simple workout can help, it’s important to consider the condition of the person. The age, medical history, type of exercise, and medications are just some of the things to think about here. It’s best to seek the opinion of a doctor and to listen to what your body says.
If you feel weak and light-headed when working out with an empty stomach, you should revamp your routine. In the end, it’s a matter of experimenting and finding what works for you best.
Tips when doing intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a challenge. If you’re just easing your way to it, here are some tips that will make your fasting more worthwhile.
Slow your roll. You don’t have to dive straight to the 16-hour fasting window. If you want, you can start with the 12-hour fasting and take it from there.
Increase the hours. After two weeks of doing 12-hour fasting, it’s now time to increase it by 13. Once you feel comfortable, you can slide your way through 16 hours.
Fight your hunger. Getting hangry is the last thing you want to happen while on IF. If hunger is starting to get into your nerves, add a teaspoon of MCT oil into your water and go for a stroll. But if you start feeling dizzy and light-headed, it’s best to end the day’s fasting and grab some food.
Stick to a steady schedule. Once your body has adjusted to the concept of intermittent fasting, make sure that you’ll stick in a specific schedule. This way, you’re more likely to sustain the weight loss compared to those who have erratic fasting choices.
Eat smart. During the eating hours, make sure that you spread your meals evenly so you will enjoy better satiety curve. Also, this would prevent you from being snacky during the fasting period. Just don’t do a one-time-big-time feast. It will piss your stomach and it will make you hungry in the middle of the 16-hour window.
By reading the best books on intermittent fasting and these pieces of advice, you can fast safely and healthily.