Surely you’ve heard the term “intermittent fasting.” If you’ve heard the term, a key step would be to go over some intermittent fasting tips, benefits, personal accounts, and whether it’s right for you.
Are you struggling to lose weight? Have you lost weight but are now in a plateau? Do you want to lose weight?
This is for you.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a health and fitness technique, which focuses on a person eating only at certain intervals while fasting (or simply, not eating) at alternating intervals.
Those intervals can vary. An intermittent fast can come in certain hours of the day. For example, a 16/8 intermittent fast means 16 hours of fasting with an eating window of only 8 hours per day.
An intermittent fast can also be certain days of the week. A 5/2 fast is one where a person eats a normal diet five of the seven days of a week and fasts the other two days.
It can even be OMAD, an acronym for One Meal A Day. This is a popular strategy that I’ve been reading more and more about, and one that I may try myself in the not-too-distant future.
Many other variables also exist, but those are less intermittent (occurring at irregular intervals) and more just a fast in the more traditional sense.
With intermittent fasting, there’s always this question: Can I drink coffee?
In my experience with a 16/8 fast, I didn’t notice a difference in results when I drank black coffee over coffee with some heavy whipping cream. I wasn’t getting out what I put in with black coffee, and I never got used to the taste, so I went back to coffee with cream. Your results may vary, though.
What are some tips for maintaining intermittent fasting?
• Tell yourself, “no,” or “we no longer eat this.” Cravings come and go. And, yes, sweet cravings can continue to persist for a very long time. Just know once you get past the first few days of a keto or very low-carb way of eating, the cravings should de-intensify. They go from cravings involving full withdrawal symptoms to just a wanting–the latter will go away after just a few minutes.
• Drink lots of water. Don’t drink just to drink, but when you get a craving for any kind of food while fasting, just take a sip of water.
• Don’t avoid the salt. I even will take a packet of salt and down it once in a while, as salt is an electrolyte that contains sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Sea salt is better than regular table salt as it’s less processed.
• Continue to avoid carbohydrates. Carbs activate the reward system in your brain, which will encourage you to just eat more carbs. This will not only derail a fast, but more long-term progress.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
• Intermittent fasting can help reduce cholesterol, insulin in the blood, and inflammation. While cholesterol as a health hazard is up for considerable debate, it seems to be agreed upon by everyone that chronic inflammation is a key to disease within our bodies.
• It may help to eliminate or reduce the effects of diabetes or heart disease. At worst, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try intermittent fasting if you’re a type-2 diabetic or have heart disease. I’m not a doctor, though, and I don’t know your individual circumstances–always check with your doctor.
• Your cells can be repaired more quickly and effectively in a fasted state, especially if you maintain a fasting state on a daily basis.
• Weight loss and belly fat. Even if you don’t lose weight or are stuck in a plateau, you can slowly notice a reduction in belly fat. A good experiment on this is to take a profile view picture of yourself with your belly exposed every two weeks. Combine those pictures and view them in order over a period of a couple of months, and then you should notice a difference.
• Possibly prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. No one knows for sure what causes Alzheimer’s Disease, and it’s probably due to a number or combination of things depending on the particular patient. I have a personal interest in this due to a family history. My mother currently has it and my great-grandmother on my mother’s side also had it. A big focus of mine in this way of life is to ward off this awful disease to the best of my ability.
• Intermittent fasting is believed to help reduce the chances of cancer. According to the Warburg Effect, cancer cells thrive on high glucose levels. Intermittent fasting reduces those spikes in the blood glucose levels.
A personal account
I am personally doing intermittent fasting most days of the week. Yeah, I eat the occasional breakfast earlier in the day. Most days, I do not eat before 11:00 AM.
As far as intervals go, I do the 16/8 fast myself. This puts my first meal between 11:00 AM and noon, and my last meal no later than 8:00 PM. As a guy who tries to go to bed by 9:30 or 10:00 every night, I try to get my last meal in by no later than 7:00 PM. No breakfast, a good-sized lunch, and dinner no larger than a single plate of food. Don’t go back for seconds, especially at dinner.
Did I notice a substantial difference in weight loss? No. But I have noticed other health benefits and more muscle growth from the introduction of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting really isn’t that difficult to maintain. Maintaining a low-carb, high-fat, animal-based diet greatly reduces the cravings that come between waking up and the time of your first meal, which would be lunch in my case. As I stated before, replace a bite of food with a sip of water and tell yourself, “you don’t eat right now.”
While I’m finding not eating in the mornings to be fairly easy, it would have been nearly impossible in my previous life of carb reliance. The constant hunger, the headaches, the energy crashes, and the brain fog were all extremely difficult to handle in those situations when I “accidentally” fasted; in other words when I couldn’t have my breakfast for one reason or another. I just had to have that oatmeal (which didn’t really fill me up, but I told myself it did).
Is intermittent fasting right for you?
Are you stuck in a rut as far as your weight loss goes? Go for it.
Are you OK with your weight? Go for it anyway just for the health benefits.
Still carb dependent? If I had to do it over again, I’d approach things the same way: Focus on lowering carbs first, get adapted to a daily lack of carbs (no hangover symptoms), and only then try out the intermittent fasting on a 16/8, 15/9, or maybe even a 14/10 interval.
Log your results–what works and what doesn’t. Remember, it’s a life choice, not simply a diet. Treat it as such, and you’ll be far more likely to succeed.