Intermittent fasting is actually really easy to get started with, it’s getting to the end that’s hard.
You have probably already done some research on what the benefits are and why you want to fast. So we will touch a bit on why and how you should fast.
I have fasted ever since I have been on the keto diet for about 2 and a half years now.
I can honestly say, I could not fast without being on keto. I get a nasty case of carb withdrawal. Nausea, headaches, bad mood are some side effects that would kick in after not eating for more than 6 to 8 hours.
Fasting has been super easy on keto, but that does not mean it’s the only way it can be done.
Basic benefits and knowledge of intermittent fasting.
There are many benefits of intermittent fasting.
- Fat loss
- Muscle Gain
- Autophagy ( cellular regeneration)
- Improved mental clarity
There are of course many more benefits while fasting, especially on a prolonged fast (24-72 hours).
I will get into that in another post.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet. Intermittent fasting is just a period that you do not eat, and a period that you do eat. The most common one is 16 hours without eating and 8 hours for eating.
This does not mean that you have to literally eat for 8 hours straight! You get to consume your daily calories in that period. Many people get confused and think that they can eat whatever and how much they want after a fast. Do not do this, you will gain weight.
How to start a fast?
This is super easy of course, stop eating!
Time your meals so that you eat for 8 hours in a day and not eat 16 hours.
I work shifts, how can I do this you may ask. I work shifts too and it was not easy at the beginning. Regardless your work hours being different, you should keep the same fasting and eating windows. You will get used to doing it after a while.
If you are like me and have trouble with fasting on a standard diet, you should try the keto diet. Why? Those big drops in blood sugars will go away, taking all the awful side effects with it. I do have a guide on how to start a keto diet here.
By eating more fiber and fats as your last meal before starting a fast, you will feel more satiated for a longer period. Carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar levels and can cause you to get hungry after a short period, making your fast more difficult than it has to be.
If you are just starting out with IF (intermittent fasting) I would also suggest starting out with 10 to 12 hours without eating and gradually raise the fasting period. This way you can easy into it.
Struggles of IF.
Here comes the pain!! HUNGER pains!!
Fasting is just a pain in the beginning, you just can not stop thinking about food. Your mind is going to be your biggest enemy when starting out. Our minds are designed to take the easy road. You will start thinking to yourself:” Why am I doing this? I could just eat today and start back tomorrow”. Yes, we all have been through that.
Do not think that you are going to be the only one dealing with withdrawals. Food, especially high carb processed foods are addictive. It;s going to be just like trying to get of alcohol or drugs (even though I have never been addicted to either one of them, and never ever touched drugs).
Research shows that the brain lights up on carbs the same way it does on cocaine F.Y.I. Look it up!
As I stated before, Keto will help you handle fasting by I would say at least 90%.
Tips on intermittent fasting:
- A good mindset is the key to success, believe and you will succeed
- While fasting keep your mind busy, read a book, play a (video)game or something that will keep your mind busy
- Do NOT watch T.V. with commercials, especially at night, Wendy’s Burger King, Red Robin and other yummy commercials will start to show up and make you even hungrier
- I would not exercise at the beginning or in the middle of a fast, working out tend to make you hungrier.
What can you drink without breaking your fast?
These liquids are safe on a fast:
- Black coffee (no artificial sweetener)
- Tea (green with ginseng, black, herbal)
- Water (cold or hot)
- Diet sodas (not recommended)
- Ginger lemon water
Black coffee will boost your fat burning and autophagy because of the caffeine.
Tea is a great liquid to have on a fast. It gives you something to take your mind of food and also have many benefits like improved mood, energy, antioxidant, reduce inflammation and many more.
Diet sodas according to studies does not break a fast, but it can give you cravings. It is still not clear but some research suggest that by drinking diet soda your mind will think it has something sweet and therefore raise insulin. I would pass just to be sure.
Ginger lemon water can help prevent you from getting kidney stones while fasting on keto. 1 ounce ginger, 1 lemon in a 12 oz. cup of water.
How to break a fast?
I have already posted an article related on how you should break your fast. I will leave the link here.
Should you workout before, during or after a fast?
My appetite spikes drastically after a workout. If I put my mind to it, I probably could workout before and during a fast. It would be horrible, but doable.
If you are like me, working out after a fast is the best thing, not only can you eat after the workout, but it has been medically shown that your Human Growth Hormone is at its highest point after a 16 to 20 hours fast. This way you can build more muscle.
I have seen people fast for 3 days and go to the beach and surf. I do not know how they do it. Swimming alone makes me hungry, imagine surfing. I would eat my surfboard.
Men vs women on fasting.
Women should fast differently than men.
Women are just more sensitive to starvation hormones. It can hamper their reproductive system. The women’s body will sense that no food is coming in, causing it to not ovulate. This is a defense mechanism.
Many more studies suggest that women should not fast as much as men.
Thyroids concerns are not a problem in women as previously thought.
The trick for women too fast effectively, is to not let their hunger get too much. They should just break the fast to prevent the hormones to get out of wack.
Women should not fast every day, 2 to 3 times a week is plenty.
Fasting concerns and misconceptions.
One of the most common one is muscle loss. Many people believe that fasting will cause muscle loss. This is the opposite of what is happening. The body will produce more HGH to help preserve muscle loss, and if you are working out when the HGH levels are high, even gain muscle faster.
Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. Starting the day without food is actually very healthy, you will give your organs time to clean itself instead of constant having to process foods. This where autophagy comes in.
So do not be afraid to fast, just listen to your body and see how it preforms after having done the fasting for a period. Just remember that the body has to get used to it first, so don’t go giving up at the first sign of hunger. This will be normal in the beginning.
Fasting on keto vs a standard diet.
As I stated above I can fast for long periods of time while on keto.
The science behind this is that because your body is burning fat as fuel, it does not need nutrition from outside the body to keep going. Your body breakdown body fat into ketones to be used as fuel.
When we eat a standard high carb and fat diet, the body is always going to burn the carbs first, storing the fat and the excess carbs as fat. After a while we start to feel hungry, this is not real hunger but your blood sugars dropping and the brain telling you to eat even though your stomach still has food inside of it.
This is why keto is the best diet to combine with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight and get added benefits while losing weight.
If you are having problem starting or maintaining a fasting program, please reach out to me in the comment section. I will try to help you however I can.
Thank you for reading.