Intermittent fasting is the number one positive change I have made to my lifestyle. It has helped me achieve goals faster and maximized my results. Since incorporating intermittent fasting I am more focused, more energized and have seen much faster fat loss. I have more time in the morning because I am not worried about making breakfast and I love how easy this lifestyle is to incorporate.
Obviously results and goals vary by each person. Intermittent fasting has been used by people looking to achieve fat loss, muscle gain, overall health & wellness, improved atheltic performance and more. Individual benefits will vary as a person’s current body composition (body-fat%), daily lifestyle, eating habits, macronutrients (carbs/protein/fat), degree of insulin resistance, type/frequency/volume of exercise, recovery demands, etc are all unique.
My point is, there will never be a one size fits all approach. It is unlikely that everyone will benefit from the exact same protocol. This is because we are all unique and respond differently to the same set of parameters. What does this mean to you? WELL, my recommendation would be just get started.
Start with a basic plan that is easiest for you to actually do. A plan will only work if you actually do it. Try it out for a couple weeks, objectively measure you results and make changes as needed. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do intermittent fasting and you absolutely will change your strategies as your health and fitness journey evolves.
What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Fasting is not new. In fact we fast everyday – its called sleeping. Breakfast literally means “to break the fast.” Intermittent fasting just means going for a longer period of time, usually 16-36 hours, with little to no calories. This can either be done daily or a few times a week. There are various ways to do this which I will outline below!
One thing I want you to rememberer is, caloric restriction is undernutrition but it is not malnutrition. With any weight loss program the aim should be an overall weekly caloric deficit that is safe and does not compromise nutrient density.
How does it work?
The short answer is, an Intermittent fasting practice shifts the body from burning glucose/glycogen to burning fat for fuel. To answer how fasting contributes to fat loss, lets break it down.
Fasting promotes detoxification: Most toxins are stored in our fat cells. Fat provides a storage bin and a halfway house for toxins to be held before the body can eliminate them. Having a high toxic burden may be the reason you are hitting a plateau. The goal of intermittent fasting is to cause a mass exodus of toxins from the body and with this body fat as well. Eliminating toxins is one of the best things about eliminating body fat.
Fasting increases the secretion of growth hormone: Growth hormone is the primer hormone that will help you burn fat and gain lean muscle mass. A recent study showed that growth hormone was significantly elevated after a 24 hour fast. Another study showed that fasting increased both the frequency and intensity of growth hormone secretion.
Fasting decreases insulin. When we consume a meal, insulin levels are elevated in order to bring glucose into our cells. Fasting on the other hand, reduces insulin to allow for fats to break down for fuel in-between meals. If you are constantly eating and elevating your insulin levels, weight loss will be very difficult. When you fast, your body uses stored fat for energy (lipolysis). In addition fastening has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity (how your cells respond to insulin) .
Fasting increases the catecholamines: This is a fabulous! By increasing catecholamines, epinephrine and norepinephrine, your resting energy expenditure, aka the amount of calories your body burns doing nothing, increases! The key is to implement fasting in a strategic way so the boost in your metabolism can be sustained. To make things even better catecholamines activate hormone sensitive lipase which directly results in lysis (BURSTING) of fat cells.
Benefits of intermittent fasting (IF)?
- Simplifies eating- less planning and thought required
- Adds consistency to your daily routine
- Takes the mental stress off of thinking about having to “eat all the time”
- Changes daily caloric intake to prevent a weight loss plateau
- You get to fine tune and focus on importance of nutrients
- Reduces snacking which may be the root cause of weight gain
- Ability to enjoy “splurges” with discretion
How do you get started?
There is no one set way to use intermittent fasting. This lifestyle can easily be adapted to suit your individual needs, lifestyle, schedule, exercise goals, macronutrient ratios and so on. Here I am going to present an overview of the two most frequently used intermittent fasting protocols.
- Short Fast: This intermittent fasting is typically done daily or on most days in the week. The “feeding window” is shortened to be within a 4-8 hour window. This leaves 16-20 hours for the body to focus on detoxifying, elimination, recovery and repair.
- Long Fast: This longer fast is completed 1-2x a week. Fasting is commonly done for 24-36 hours.
What does the research say?
From my research on intermittent fasting and caloric restriction the consistent conclusions have been that using short-term calorie restriction/fasting may be effective at:
- Reducing markers of inflammation (CRP, and ESR)
- Promoting Fat loss (increased fatty oxidation and free fatty acids through increasing lipolysis)
- Preserving Lean muscle mass (through increasing growth hormone)
- Reducing insulin & blood glucose (improves overall glucose regulation and reduces insulin resistance)
- Protecting against Chronic Disease (reduces oxidative stress, lowers inflammation)
- Prolonging life!
My Final Thoughts
Of course, fasting — regardless of how you do it — is not for everyone. Please consult a doctor before giving intermittent fasting a try. Individuals with any medical conditions, specific dietary requirements or chronic disease are highly advised to address their concerns prior to starting any diet or exercise plan.
I also want to encourage you while you try intermittent fasting to start to note how you feel when before and after you consume food. Having a high degree of self-awareness will help find balance and stick to the plan long term. If what you are doing is not agreeing with you or you need a snack to tie you over then listen to your body.
The goal is not to walk around feeling like a starving zombie. Be mindful, proceed with caution and start slow. If after a trial period you are not feeling better then it is time to try something different. You are unique and Intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
My goal is for you find a stress free approach to nutrition and fitness. If fasting causes you stress, or you are noticing negative side effects such as reduced performance, or mood changes then take note. These symptoms should not continue after the initial trial period. If intermittent fasting is interfering with you ability to love your life, then you shouldn’t continue. Intermittent fasting is not a requirement for health, it is merely a tool.
If you have found this information useful please share. Download my free guide for additional information on carb-cycling and intermittent fasting.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried intermittent fasting? What was your experience? What method do you use, or you go with the flow?
If you have any questions leave them in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer them for you. Thanks for reading!
*Important Disclaimer: Intermittent fasting is intended only for healthy adults. Everything provided on breannekallonen.com is for edcuational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a health care professional nor is it medical advice. The content on this site is intended to share the knowledge, research and experience of Breanne Kallonen. I encourage you to Use any information at your own risk and make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified heath care professional.
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