Intermittent fasting - a breakdown of the various approaches



A brief explanation on Intermittent Fasting

Have you ever heard these statements?
  • • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
  • • I need 5 to 6 smaller meals throughout the day if I want to lose weight
  • • I need to increase the protein every 3 to 4 hours to avoid muscle breakdown
These statements may be conventional wisdom, but do they work? If I tell you there is a simpler way that will save you time and it can also make you stronger leaner and healthier.




It is not starvation

Starvation is restricting calories severely to fewer than 1000 per day in order to lose weight quickly. intermittent fasting is about decreasing the frequency meals while keeping the requirement number of daily calories. Essentially, what this means is that instead of eating 2000 calories over 5 to 6 meals throughout the day you can eat 2 or 3 meals a day and sometimes even just one.


I have not done a 24 hour fast, but I know that there are benefits in prolonged fasting, your health increases significantly and there is enough evidence to support that does better than harm to your body.

Looking at the various types


The Warrior Diet

Also known as one meal a day, the warrior diet is probably best to eat at night one meal without any restrictions on Calories and micronutrient content. During the day however, you may eat fresh vegetables fruit and a little protein doesn't include any carbs like bread or grains.


The Warrior Diet guarantees you a few hours of fat burning percolating through your body. Ori states that during these hours your body is at the peak capacity to remove toxins and generate energy while staying alert and resisting fatigue and stress. Long periods of only eating at night, increases protein efficiency, so when you do protein it will be utilized optimally. Not eating for long periods also improves insulin sensitivity so when you do eat your blood sugar doesn't fluctuate and your body won't store carbs as fat.


This type of fasting requires that you eat all your calories in one meal which can be heavy on the body therefore, ease into it slowly at first. Eating that many calories can be intimidating for the body to digest.


During the only eating periods during the day you are allowed to eat light foods which are not heavy on the digestive system such as whey protein with boiled eggs or tea and coffee without milk or sugar and yes there are calories but it's not high.

Best time for an active person to do this type of fast when they don't go to gym/a rest day and overtime you will see and feel a difference in your body. On the days I do go to gym I make sure that I have 3 full meals according to macronutrient intake of protein, fats and carbs.


You see the best part of intermittent fasting is that you are not fixed on doing IF way, you have the right to choose whatever suits your mood or your lifestyle

Lean Gains

If you are looking for a more structured approach Martin Berkhan from Lean Gains does a good job recommending this. He suggests a 14 hour fast for woman and 16 hours fast for men, feeding for the remaining 8-10 hours. You are fasting the entire night and eating only 5 to 6 hours of being awake. During this “feeding window” you can have a few meals as per your required calorie intake.


The only thing you need to ensure is that you eat the same number of calories in each 24-hour period, so your body doesn't slow its metabolism down and not burning down lean muscles.


5:2

In the book the fast diet doctor Michael Mosley suggests the best way to lose weight is to eat normally for 5 days a week at fast for 2 days. On fasting days, he recommends cutting down to 25% on your normal daily calories, which is about 600 calories for men and 500 for woman along with plenty of water and tea he claims he's lost 19 pounds in 2 months by following was eating.

Eat.Stop.Eat

Brad Pilon the author of Eat Stop Eat is fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. After the fast he says you need to go back to eating normally “act as if you didn't fast at all”


The reason this may work is because there is a reduction in total average calories that you may eat during the week which will give your body a break and allow it to heal itself and lose fat.


To practice intermittent fasting can save you a lot of time and effort in planning, cooking and eating meals because your meals need to be healthy nutrient dense according to your preference. Following any kind of diet can be restrictive on your lifestyle, it is ultimately up to you to understand what works best for your body.


5 awesome benefits of intermittent fasting

  1. As mentioned previously IF saves a lot of time and effort so that is with regards to planning your meals preparing it and cooking it
  2. IF improves insulin sensitivity, there have been trials done on humans, early results have shown that if can significantly improve insulin sensitivity.
  3. IF helps reduce calorie intake overall and therefore can be beneficial for heart health as well as chronic disease prevention. Periodic fasting is also associated with reduction in coronary heart disease.
  4. IF helps you to be consistent with your diet plan, when you have fewer meals to plan you will tend to stick to your eating schedule, over the long term it will lead to a stronger Leaner physique.
  5. Overtime you will become more successful. It may be hard to quantify with periods of undereating, but you will feel more alert more awake, relaxed and creative. This feeling comes from the sympathetic nervous system which is dominant. This system is usually called the fight or flight which promotes alertness and energy expenditure and is mainly catabolic. Therefore, productivity is improved with a lighter body and a clear mind you become more self-aware and grateful for things around you. The periods of fasting is when your insulin levels are at its lowest, and we know what happens… the body burns fat like crazy, but on the other hand when someone eats, the Parasympathetic nervous system becomes dominant. This system is responsible for digestion and sleep, it promotes relaxation and replenishment of energy reserves and is mainly anabolic that is why people feel sleepy after eating a big lunch. Intermittent patterns of eating work in synergy with both sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems without compromising one or the other.


Daily I usually eat 4 to 5 meals a day and the thought of going on intermittent fasting should be done slowly. So, if I eat 5 meals a day then I should cut it down to 4 meals and then 3 meals and so forth and in that way, I can condition my body by giving it a break long enough for it to heal itself.