Should You Intermittent Fast??
Intermittent fasting is being used more and more often these days. It sounds fancy, doesn’t it. Intermittent fasting. It sounds like some kind of scientific description of a magical diet that burns body fat.
Well, it can be. But it also may not be too.
“Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them. In this respect, it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern.”
Ok, so as described above, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern. NOT a diet. It is cycling a period of eating, and not eating.
The way I like to break it down is its essentially skipping a meal. We usually have 3 main meals during the day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (with a few snacks in between I’m sure). These meals are spaced out over the course of the day. So, breakfast in the morning, lunch around mid-day, and dinner in the early to late evening, depending on your own personal schedule.
Now what if I said to you to take one meal out of that day. That would leave you with an extended period of time without eating, therefore creating a mini ‘fast’. You wouldn’t eat from breakfast until dinner. Which will be difficult but can be done.
You could also skip dinner, and not eat from the end of lunch until breakfast the next day, but this would be very difficult, but again, achievable.
These two options are viable options for intermittent fasting but fighting off hunger pains during the day is not an easy thing to do., It can cause stress and anxiety, something we’re trying to avoid!
The most popular option for intermittent fasting is skipping breakfast. Why? Because you are asleep for most of it. That’s why. When you are asleep you are not eating (well, unless you sleepwalk to the fridge). Not being awake for half of your fast makes it so much easier to stick to and adhere to this eating pattern.
So, if you finish eating dinner at 8pm, and don’t eat until 12pm the next day, that’s a 16 hour fast. That’s a long time. Something that would be very difficult to do during the day. By sleeping for half of it, you’re making the situation a whole lot more comfortable.
Not only that, but myself personally, I feel so much more alert and awake without eating breakfast. But this is my personal preference. When I eat, shortly afterwards I begin to feel a bit lethargic and sluggish, so by skipping breakfast, I feel I can concentrate on my work more, and be more productive. This is due to Fasting having a positive effect on insulin sensitivity,allowing you to tolerate carbohydrates (sugar) better than if you didn’t fast. A study showed that after periods of fasting, insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from blood.
But how can intermittent fasting help with fat loss? Well there are studies that claim it helps the body to utilise body fat for the primary energy source for energy expenditure within your body, but my belief is that it is effectively shortening your eating window, essentially restricting the time you have during the day to consume your calorie target, resulting in the likely event that you will consume less calories, therefore creating a calorie deficit!!
Yes, there it is guys, calorie deficit. But it works. Creating a deficit will help you to burn body fat. And by shortening your eating window, you stand a great chance to stick to your calorie deficit, instead of grazing all day. Instead of an eating window of 12-14 hours, making it 7-8 hours will drastically improve your chances of sticking to a deficit.
BUT this isn’t for everybody. It’s all about personal preference. Some people are very good at controlling their calories and losing body fat without fasting. And that’s amazing. There really is no right or wrong answer in regard to this, just what works for you. So, don’t feel you have to intermittent fast. If you don’t like it, then try something else. Experiment with different ways of eating, and different styles of eating. It’s fun to try and work out what’s the best way for you to sustain a healthy diet and lose body fat (or is it just me that thinks that?)
But the most important thing, to lose body fat at least, is to be within the calorie deficit, with a sustainable, enjoyable method and way of eating.
That’s the key!!