Your Guide to Intermittent Fasting

In this post, I’ll be cutting through the hype and the often way-too-detailed science to show you, in everyday terms, what Intermittent Fasting is all about and how to get started if you think you’d like to give it a try.

This post is meant as a guide on Intermittent Fasting for Beginners – it’s for those who just want to find out a bit more about this lifestyle practice.

If you’d like to know more about the pros, cons and risks of intermittent fasting, head over to this post which goes into more detail on the subject of who should and shouldn’t try Intermittent Fasting and what are some of the benefits and risks.

So what’s the meaning of Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting, or intermittent calorie restriction, is an umbrella term for any eating plan that cycles between a period of fasting and non-fasting during a defined time-frame. In simple terms, it means going for extended periods of time without eating and usually just means skipping one or two meals.

Also known as ‘The Intermittent Fasting Diet’, the term ‘diet’ in this case is, I think, pretty misleading.  Intermittent Fasting is really an eating and lifestyle plan, not a band-aid, not a quick fix and definitely, in my opinion at least, not a diet at all.

Fat Burning

One of the reasons Intermittent Fasting has become so popular is, not only because you typically eat fewer calories, but more importantly because the period when you’re fasting allows your body to use stored fat as fuel.

Think of it this way – If you’re eating small meals frequently throughout the day, then your body has a readily available source of food to process and there’s no need for it to tap into the fat you have stored. This is particularly true if you consume carbohydrates & sugars, as your body prefer to burn sugar as energy over other energy sources, such as fat.

During the fasting period, your body doesn’t have a recently consumed meal to use as energy, so it is much more likely to utilize stored fat as energy.

And that, my friend, is good news for you if you’re wanting to lose weight and burn off some unwanted body fat.

Intermittent Fasting Benefits

It simplifies your day.  Fewer meals = less planning, preparation and time spent on meals.

It can help you achieve your health goals – because your window of eating opportunity is smaller when Intermittent Fasting, as long as you don’t binge eat, you’ll naturally be consuming fewer calories over the course of the week

It can boost cognitive function. Check out this TEDx talk from Mark Mattson, Professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, who speaks about how fasting can bolster your brain power.

Increased energy.  Despite what you may think, my experience is that you don’t have any dip in energy when in a fasting state, in fact, it’s the complete opposite. Personally, I have much better physical and mental energy during the fasting period than during non-fasting phases.  My ability to concentrate goes through the roof and my productivity is massively boosted when I’m in a fasting state.

It can help reverse type 2 diabetes, lower your blood insulin levels and blood cholesterol.

It can improve your fat burning ability and create sustainable weight loss.

What are the different types of Intermittent Fasting?

The most popular Intermittent Fasting programs include:

16/8 Intermittent Fasting

Basically you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours (usually including the time you’re asleep). This method of intermittent Fasting has been popularized by The Leangains Method.

You might eat daily from midday till 8pm, then fast until the following day at midday.

Of course, you can modify these times to fit your lifestyle. In essence, you’ll just be skipping one meal a day, usually either breakfast or dinner.

Alternate-day Fasting

This involves alternating between fasting and non-fasting days. On a typical fasting day, there is one meal at lunch that consists of approximately 25% of your total calorie needs, then the following day (the non-fasting day) you eat your full quota of calories.

So basically, you eat a limited amount of food one day and the next is a ‘normal’ eating day.

Whole-day Fasting

This involves not eating for a 24 hour period, for example, having the last meal at 7pm then not eating again until 7pm the following day.

You might do this once or twice a week, depending on your lifestyle and situation. This method of Intermittent Fasting was made popular by the 5:2 diet.

What to Eat when Intermittent Fasting

As this is a beginner’s guide to Intermittent Fasting, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you what you can and can’t eat when practicing this style of eating.

Basically, what to eat, and how much of it to eat, depends on what your goals are and what body type you have.

If your goal is to lose weight and burn body fat, then you’re still going to have to be mindful of what you eat when not fasting.

The best way I’ve found to manage that is to eat a nutritionally packed meal when you break the fast (for most people that will be lunch). Include a balance of proteins, healthy carbohydrates, fibre and fats that are suited to your body type. That way, you’ll feel satisfied and less likely to have unwanted cravings and bingeing.

I usually break my fast with a huge bowl of fresh vegetables and/or salad that includes a good chunk of protein and some healthy fats like avocado or olives…so delicious and amazingly filling.

You might then have a snack (maybe fruit or nuts) a few hours later and then your final meal of the day will again be nutritionally packed so you’re feeling satisfied and craving free as you head into the fasting state once again.

How much carbohydrate, protein and fats you should include in your meals is in large part determined by your body type. For example, if you’re a mesomorph body type you can have moderate levels of carbohydrate, proteins and fats. The balance of these macro nutrients will differ depending on which body type you are. If you’re not sure what body type you are, click here to find out with my free body type quiz.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT INTERMITTENT FASTING?

And find out whether it’s right for you?

Join me for a FREE webinar, “How to use Intermittent Fasting for Easier Fat and Weight Loss”, during which I’ll be giving you the full lowdown on some of the amazing results you can expect from Intermittent Fasting, plus a step by step guide to getting started.

For more information on wellness coaching to lose weight and to find out if it’s right for you, book in for a free 15 minute chat with me – I’d love to help you achieve the health and body shape you dream about.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Melbourne Wellness Coaching and Downsize Me do not claim responsibility for this information.