Table of Contents
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a time restricted eating pattern.
Feasting window- The time allocated to eat.
Fasting window – Period of time you don’t eat any calories.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet, you can still eat anything you please during your feasting window however to get the best results, breaking your fast is just as important to the fast itself.
Why Intermittent Fasting is a great tool for burning fat?
In order to burn fat, your body first needs to depletes it’s glycogen stores.
Glycogen is excess carbohydrates stored as energy. It’s converted into glucose when glucose levels within the bloodstream are starting to decline.
Glycogen is stored in 2 places, roughly 1600 calories in your muscles and 400 calories in the liver.
In order to deplete the glycogen, you to follow a low carb diet or fast for a period of time. The length of the fast varies from individual to individual however it’s safe to say fasting around 14 hours will deplete most of the glycogen stored within the body.
Once glycogen is depleted, then the liver starts converting stored fat into ketones for fuel through a process called lipolysis.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting other than getting fit & lean
- Cleansing the body
- Great way to eliminate bloating. More on how to fix stomach bloat here.
- Increase in human growth hormone which comes with a whole host of benefits
- Develop mental toughness
- Great on the wallet
- Less dishes
- Less time spent eating & cooking
- Ultimately more time to yourself
- Intermittent fasting is known to be addicting because of all the good feelings achieved from the list above.
Challenges you might face
- Our bodies are quick to adapt to the environment so if intermittent fasting is done frequently, your body will make the proper adjustments to the reduction in calories which will cause your metabolism to slow down.
The main drawbacks of a slow metabolism are less energy throughout the day and your body will not burn as much stored fat because it’s now made the adjustment to conserve. Basically starvation mode.
- Feast binge. After a long fast, it’s really easy to overeat.
The way your break your fast is extremely important. This is mainly because of insulin which is known as the storage hormone. After a fast, insulin is hypersensitive meaning that hormone is going to be secreted into the bloodstream in large amounts from the pancreases and start storing fat for fuel and carbs as glycogen.
Not only will you feel the feeling or regret & agony, you’ll also tarnish most the benefits you gained from the fast.
Pro tip: Shorter fasts help with preventing a feasting binge.
The most ideal way to break your fast
- Easy to digest food. After a fast, your body doesn’t have as many digestive enzymes which are living organisms in the body that help during the digestive process.
- Space out your meals and have smaller portions every hour. For the same reasons above. Spacing out your meals will allow your organs to warm up to the fact that you’re starting to consume food again which in return will help with the digestion & absorption of the nutrients.
- Low Carbs. As explained earlier, insulin known as the storage hormone is extremely sensitive and eating a lot of carbs after a fast will cause your glycogen levels to increase and simultaneously dietary fats to be stored.
- High fats. Fats are satiating, so having a fatty meal will help you feel satiated which will make it easier to not binge.
- Avoid too many vegetables. Vegetables are healthy and nutritious however they are hard to break down specially after a fast. For the time being limit vegetables until your back to eating on a normal routine.
List of foods to break your fast with
Many of the items on the list below can be found here.
- Beef Pho with bone broth
- Wild caught atlantic Salmon
- Grass fed & grass finished Steak
- Pea Protein shake
4 ways to get the most out of fast
- Pick your feasting and fasting windows. The most common form of fasting is a 16 hour fasting window and an 8 hour fasting window.
- Fast anywhere from 2-5 times a week.
- Combine intermittent fasting with a keto lifestyle. This will keep your glycogen stores always at low levels so you can tap into burning stored fat as fuel quicker. A guide on the keto diet can be found here.
- Do not binge. I can’t emphasize this enough. A binge can crush most of the benefits you gained from the fast. Having a shorter fast & having meals planned out will help to prevent a feasting binge.