When we put out the initial Intermittent Fasting (IF) info, I knew a lot of people were interested…I just didn’t know how many!
We have dozens of people who have tried it. Another 10-15 people who are currently doing it. Another 25+ who haven’t tried it, but have heard success stories and are interested in possibly implementing it themselves. And, we have 1 person who has lost 128lbs with the help of IF. I repeat 128lbs!!!! 😀
All of these numbers directed me to gathering this info so we can all draw from the success of the people who implemented it and learn a little bit more about this lifestyle.
FYI, I end the post with the science (if you want to see that, scroll all the way down). But, I will start with a piece of advice that Mark (the DUDE who lost 128lbs) gave me.
Remember, it’s just a way, not the way.
If it works for your lifestyle and you can be compliant with IF, then go for it. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. Flat out. There are other ways. You have to find what success looks like for you.
Common success themes:
- It works with their lifestyle. They were able to implement it without completely overthrowing their daily life.
- It gave them rules. Start eating at (x) time and stop eating at (y) time. This helped them stay compliant. There was no gray area.
- The eating window seems to help them eat fewer calories. Eating fewer times throughout the day allows them control calories and puts them in a better position to get in a calorie deficit.
- It’s adaptable. There are many options. 16:8 (16 hour fast with 8 hour eating window) seems to be the most prominent. But, several people do a 24 hour fast 1-2 times per week. After getting a handle on 16:8, some moved to a longer fast with 18:6, 20:4, or even a 22-23 hour fast with 1 large meal per day. Again, there are lot of roads to be successful.
- They kept busy during the fasting window. They worked, worked out, ran the kids around, ran errands, etc. Staying busy helped keep the fast in the back of their mind. A lot of times, in the fasted state, people felt a sense of clarity, increased energy, & not as sluggish/tired.
- Most people have increased water consumption. To help keep hunger at bay, hydration is key. *A little pro-tip, add Pink Himalayan Salt (you can get at Costco) to your water. It adds a little flavor and the sodium helps with satiety (feeling of fullness). It may help you avoid the salty snacks!!
How should you get started?
- 16:8 is a great starting point. What does that look like? It could simply be skipping breakfast. Start your eating window at 12pm with lunch. End your eating window at 8pm.
- How many meals should you have in that 8 hour window? More than likely, it will be 2 meals plus 1 snack or 3 smaller meals. There is not a single, correct way.
- How often should you do the 16:8? With the 16:8 protocol, you can do it everyday. With things like a 24 hour fast or longer, those should be done 1-2 times per week combined with a shorter protocol, such as 16:8.
- Calories still matter. Portion control still matters. When you’re eating window starts, it’s not off to the races to get as much food in as possible before the window closes. If you can track your calories, you should continue to do so…at least in the beginning until you find your groove/system that works for you.
- What you’re eating still matters. IF is not meant to starve yourself so you can binge on junk food. You may have a little more lee-way, but practical nutrition principles still apply.
- There is no magic about a 12-8pm window. Your window can be any time. It can be early in the day or it can be late in the day. There are no hard guidelines to what is correct. The science is in the compliance- meaning you have to find out what works best for you. If you ABSOLUTELY need breakfast, then have your fasting window be from 5pm to 7am. If you are night owl, then keep your fast going until 2pm and have your window be from 2p to 10pm.
- When fasting, in its truest sense, it means no food and as close to zero calories as can be. Water, black coffee, and black tea are acceptable. Black coffee and tea have <5 calories and won’t break your fast. The #1 goal and benefit of fasting is to control insulin response. If insulin levels are raised, you can forget about being in a fasted state. What does this mean? Well for one thing, with the popularity of keto & IF, it is very common to combine the principles. With keto, it is a high fat diet. It is commonplace to start your day with coffee topped off with MCT oil, kerrygold butter, or heavy cream. All FANTASTIC for keto. But, if you are attempting IF, and you have coffee with one of the above ingredients, you just broke your fast. YOU ARE NO LONGER IN A FASTED STATE!!!
IF has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin resistance, decrease inflammation, lower blood pressure, and have a positive effect on other health markers.
How is it so powerful?
- Helps get you into a calorie deficit (consuming less calories than you’re burning).
- Controlling your insulin levels. Every time you eat, your insulin levels are raised. Insulin is really the only hormone that we are in control of for the most part. If insulin levels are raised, you can forget about losing body fat. Insulin is the main ‘storage’ hormone, storing nutrients either in our muscles or as more predominantly happens, in our fat cells.
- Increases Growth Hormone levels dramatically, in some cases by up to 1300% in women and 2000% in men (for a 24-hour fasted period). Growth hormone is profound at mobilizing body fat for energy and keeping us young.
- IF will get the ‘gut’ environment a break, essentially allowing it to rest and reduce inflammation. This will help with the production of digestion enzymes and a better immune system. (Stress once again depletes digestive enzymes).
- Fasting increases blood flow to your stubborn fat areas (abdomen for men, thighs and glutes for women). You have to get blood flow to an area in order to get the fat out of the cells. In order to do this, blood sugar has to be low and catecholamine levels are high (being in a fasted state accomplishes both).
*Source: Kyle Newell: The Human Strength Experiment