The Ins And Outs Of Intermittent Fasting
By Nolan P. Schmidt
To some, fasting diets are just a fad, but others think they are all the rage. Here are some tips to help achieve long-term results with the plan.
One of the toughest things about modern-day health and wellness is the “one-stop-shop” marketing technique. We browse social media throughout the day and what do we come across?
NARRATOR: Get A Six Pack In Just TEN Minutes.
NARRATOR: The Bikini Body You’ve Been Dreaming Of Is Just A Week Away…
In short, it’s all a crock of nonsense. A lame attempt to make a quick buck on the unassuming person. You cannot get a six-pack in ten minutes. If anyone has ever achieved this, I need to meet them and harvest their genetics. You cannot get the bikini body of your dreams in a week. It’s a process.
Fad diets seem to fall into this “crock of nonsense” boat I’m talking about. However, some of these “fad” diets have some real legitimacy behind them. A Keto diet helps you burn fat, that’s not a fad. People have been wanting to burn fat since the dawn of time.
Another one of these diets is intermittent fasting. It’s one that I have been practicing for nearly two years and has proven to be anything but a “fad”. I hear and read a lot of negative commentary on this diet, so I thought I’d break it down from my own experience.
OUT – “You’re Starving Yourself”
Let me be clear here. If you do not properly plan your meals, portions and foods, you could end up eating too little or too much. You must do your research and make an educated decision before starting any diet. However, if you are properly monitoring your fasting and eating windows, you will not be starving. For example, in my eight-hour eating window, I take in at least 2,300 calories a day.
Simply because you are not eating for a predetermined amount of time does not mean you are starving yourself. Think about it this way, if I fast for 16 hours and my eating window is from noon to 8 p.m., I am most likely sleeping for at least half of my fasting window. Whether people realize it or not, they may be intermittently fasting because we do fast while we sleep.
IN – It’s Proven To Work
The basic idea behind intermittent fasting (for weight loss/health purposes) is relatively simple. The body usually uses fat from the food that you eat to energize your whole system. In a fasted state, your body has no food to use, so it begins using your body’s fat reserves. Thus, your body is burning the excess fat on your body.
Our body is usually in a fasted state for eight or so hours (usually when we sleep). With intermittent fasting, we would double (and sometimes more) that fasted time. Therefore, the body burns the excess fat at twice the pace, in theory.
OUT – It’s Only A Fad
Intermittent fasting is actually quite sustainable. As I have previously stated, I have been doing this exclusively for almost two years. Once you find yourself in the routine of doing it and prepping your meals, it actually makes life a lot easier. No more will you be scrambling every which way for something to eat.
IN – Testing Your Discipline
Testing out a diet as intensive as intermittent fasting is also a great way to motivate and discipline yourself in life. I know that as I stayed diligent in my eating/fasting, the more inclined I was to exercise or do that pesky chore around the house. This sort of thing bleeds into your everyday life more than just eating.
Intermittent Fasting Diet Schedule Example
Note: This example is using my height and weight as the base. Everyone’s body is different, but how much/what you eat is largely dependent on your goals and body composition. The timing of each meal or fast will depend on your schedule and exercise routine.
8 p.m. to 12 p.m. the following day – FAST
This is your fasting window in a traditional 16:8 fasting diet. Times can be adjusted to fit your work/exercise schedule. Do not take in anything that has a caloric value, but make sure to stay hydrated with water. Black coffee is also a great way to curb hunger in the early going should you choose to try.
12 p.m. – Lunch
Since this will technically be your first meal of the day, make sure it is one filled with nutrient-enriched foods. Fruits and vegetables should be a staple of every meal, but they should be the star of the show here. Remember, you have not eaten in 16 hours so all-natural foods are a great way to get your body kicking again.
2:30 or 3 p.m. – Snack
We all want to try and avoid fatty foods if we can. However, healthy fats are needed for our bodies to operate at 100 percent. This post-lunch (or preworkout) snack is a great opportunity to get some healthy fats in. That could be avocado, trail mix or almonds, but it will also provide a nice burst of energy heading into your workout.
4:45 (or so) p.m. – Post-Workout Snack
This is always a protein-based snack, but it is also good to get something else out of a post-exercise snack (carbs and fats).
6:30 p.m. – Dinner
This is my most protein-dense meal of the day. Given that it comes after a workout, it is important to eat foods that are high in protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in the body.
7:30 p.m. – Final Snack
Considering this is your last bite before a 16-hour fast, it should be something filling. Not only will that fill you up for the evening, but it also keeps the desire to snack at bay. Stay disciplined. Late-night snacking is always a temptation, but be diligent. Once you begin fast, do not give in!
Note: This piece is primarily based on personal experiences with intermittent fasting. Before committing to a specific diet, consult a dietician or your primary care physician.
Learn some more commitment tips on the next page!