This is a complete guide to the Ultimate Intermittent Fasting Diet in 2020.
If you’ve been wondering about the meaning of Intermittent Fasting Diet and how to execute the diet plan successfully, you are in the right hands.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know before starting this diet plan. You will also learn about some of the most famous people who love Intermittent Fasting.
Let’s dive straight into the article!
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Do I have to starve myself to the point where I won’t have any energy? Can I eat whatever I want during these 8 hours? Is this the right plan for me?
You have many questions in your mind right now. Don’t worry! We are going to give you all the information you need in this Ultimate Guide.
Let’s start with the definition of this diet.
Intermittent Fasting approach has been around for ages. It represents the cycle of fasting and eating. It states that fasting causes weight loss, metabolic health improvement, and life expenditure.
Do not mislead fasting with starvation!
Starvation is the constant absence of food for a long time. This can lead to severe suffering or even death. Starvation and Fasting have one crucial difference – control.
Intermittent Fasting is the withholding of food for health, spiritual, or other reasons. It’s done by someone who is not underweight and also has enough stored body fat to live off. Intermittent fasting done right should not cause suffering, and certainly never death.
Food is easily available wherever you look. The trick here is to choose not to eat it. You can start or stop a fast for any reason or no reason at all. This can be for any period, from a few hours up to a few days or – with medical supervision – even a week or more. You may begin a fast at any time of your choosing, and you may end a fast at will, too.
There are several ways to do intermittent fasting.
Each method can be effective but as you know there aren’t two people on earth who are identical, so everything is individual.
16/8 Method is probably the most popular one.
This fasting method restricts your eating to only 8-10 hours a day. In other words, you starve for 14-16 hours and then you can have as many meals as you wish. However, you can’t eat for 8 hours straight, can you?
You will probably eat around 2 or 3 times and then starve again for another 14-16 hours. The most popular eating hours are from 2 pm to 8 pm. That means skipping breakfast and dinner for most people.
So, if your last meal is 8 pm, you don’t have to eat until noon the next day, which is technically around 16 hours.
If you are this kind of person that loves to eat breakfast, you may find this approach quite difficult to maintain. On the other hand, breakfast skippers would find this an easy task to accomplish as they are used to it.
Drinking coffee, water, and zero-calories beverages might help you with hunger. However, be careful with zero-calories products because they contain a lot of added sugar, which leads to several diseases.
The most common ones are as follows: obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as well as cognitive decline and even some cancers
It is generally recommended for women to stick to shorter periods of fasting (up to 14-15) because that works better for them.
This fasting plan has been around for ages and it is indeed one of the most popular ways to lose weight and benefit your overall health. Keep in mind that to lose weight there is a condition. Being in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume) is what makes you decrease your body fat percentage.
However, just eating less and increasing your daily activity is not what sells books, people have created thousands of different diets. Yet, these diets have one purpose. They make you lose weight by sticking to the condition mentioned above – a calorie deficit.
The second approach to fasting is Alternate-Day fasting.
Now, this method could sound quite extreme for beginners, so we don’t recommend you try it if you are just starting intermittent fasting.
In alternate-day fasting, you starve every other day. That means eating normally for one day, then fasting the next day. However, I have to stretch that you shouldn’t overeat the day after your fast.
So, you will have fasted for 3 or 4 days a week, which may sound quite scary for you (there is a version of this method, which allows eating up to 500 calories a day in the fasting days).
With that being said, eating 500 calories a day and then eating 3500 calories on the next day is the same as eating 2000 calories every day. At the end of the week, all that matters are calories in versus calories out.
Going to bed very hungry several times a week may sound like not the most pleasant thing in the world and probably not the most sustainable in the long-term.
Keep in mind that this is not for beginners!
The third option for intermittent fasting is the 5:2 diet.
The British journalist Michael Mosley popularized this diet and called it “Fast Diet” or 5:2 Diet. The idea behind the diet is simple. Eating normally for 5 days a week and fasting for 2 days (it doesn’t matter what days you fast, just make sure you have 2 days through a week).
On fasting days, you can eat 600 calories if you are a man and 500 calories for the women.
For example, you can eat normally from Monday to Friday to cover all the required energy that you use during work, meetings, or university. On the weekend you can eat less.
However, many people prefer to keep their calorie intake lower during the workweek and enjoy their weekends. If you are this type of person, you can do the fast on Mondays (for a challenging start of the week) and Thursday for example.
Pro Tip: On the fast days eat two 250-300 calories meals on lunch and dinner. It is better to skip breakfast because people tend to be more hungry at night, instead of when they get up. The brain feels satisfied when you don’t go to bed feeling super hungry.
Our fourth option for your intermittent fast is the method – Eat, stop eat
As the name of this diet method suggests, you stop eating for a day or two and make a whole 24-hour fast.
Brad Pilon, a fitness expert has made this approach quite popular over the years.
Technically, you have to hold on 24 hours without putting anything that contains calories in your mouth (you can still drink coffee and zero-calories beverages). If your last meal is around 8 pm, you can eat at 8 pm the next day.
The same principle applies to breakfast. Eating at 8 am, and then eating again at 8 am on the next day. This method can be tough for someone at the beginning, so don’t feel demotivated when you can’t hold on anymore and decide to end the fast.
You can start from doing 15-16 hours fasts and slowly getting to the 24 hours goal.
The fifth approach to intermittent fasting can appeal to some of you. It’s called Spontaneous meal skipping.
Like the previous one, the name suggests that the main purpose of this method is to skip some of your meals during the day. For example, if you are too busy to cook or don’t feel hungry at all, you don’t eat. Simple as it sounds.
Skipping breakfast or lunch some days might even benefit you in the long term.
Pro Tip: When I have a lot of work and want to finish everything until 1-2 pm I like to skip breakfast. Being hungry makes me more focused and determined to finish a project of mine or catching a deadline.
You will not lose your gains and enter starvation mode if you miss a single meal. Keep in mind, that if you spontaneously skip a meal still try to eat healthily. A lot of people I know skip lunch and after 2 hours they binge on whatever they see.
Keep your cravings under control by eating healthy meals regularly. I promise you that when you build habits of sticking to whole, not processed foods like:
you won’t feel the need to binge on fast foods or sweets anymore.
Our last approach is the Warrior Diet
Another fitness expert named Ori Hofmekler popularized this eating method.
This diet method means eating small amounts of vegetables and fruits during the day and having one big meal at night.
Technically, you fast throughout the whole day and have a big feast at night for one final meal. This approach is quite similar to the paleo diet because it is mostly eating whole, unprocessed foods.
Listen To Your Body
Limiting your eating window doesn’t mean you have to overeat. If you follow 16:8 for example, just because you only have eight hours to eat doesn’t mean you should cram in all the food you can for eight hours straight
Make Your Last Meal Balanced and Filling
Before your eating window closes, you want to fill up on a nutrient-dense, healthy, satisfying meal. Make sure to add high-quality protein, complex carbs, and good fats in your last meal
Intermittent fasting defines when to eat, not what or how much. You should still aim to eat your daily calories during your eating window. Eating too little is as bad as eating too much. So, eat nutrition-dense foods and you will feel okay.
When we are extremely hungry, we tend to eat very fast. However, this can lead to stomach pain and bloating. Be smart and enjoy every bite of your meal. Eat slowly, and chew more!
Consume Your Veggies First
Start off your eating window with a large portion of veggies. Fibre will keep you full, so try starting off with a salad for some fullness before moving onto your savory pasta dish, for example.
Have Your First Meal Prepped
Since you’ll likely be pretty hungry when you’re eating window opens, having a plan helps you avoid grabbing the quickest (and maybe not the healthiest) thing you can get your hands on.
Drinking a glass of water immediately after you get up can reduce feelings of hunger and make your day better!
Bottom Line: So, you learned what the intermittent fasting diet plan means and also the 6 different approaches to the diet. Whatever approach you choose, be consistent to see the results. See you in chapter 2 where you will learn why to choose intermittent fasting over other diet plans!
In this Chapter, we will break down all of the reasons why you should follow this diet.
Intermittent Fasting Diet is one of the most popular methods for losing weight and maintaining health.
However, intermittent fasting is also one of the oldest secrets of health. Its ancient history lies in heath benefits if it is done right, including loss of excess weight, treatment of type 2 diabetes and many other things
There have been thousands of studies about the benefits of intermittent fasting. These studies have been contradictory and uncertain. However, researchers indicate that fasting can provide many health benefits.
Losing these extra pounds is something so many people want. It is often the reason for many to change their lifestyle by starting a diet.
Intermittent Fasting Diet is one of the easiest methods to do that by simply decreasing your overall calorie consumption. It may also help boost your metabolism.
This study from 2017 suggests that intermittent fasting leads to greater weight loss and fat loss in men with obesity than regular calorie restriction.
Another survey from 2017 found very little difference in weight loss between participants who practiced intermittent fasting – in the form of alternate-day fasting rather than 16:8 fasting — and those who reduced their overall calorie intake. The dropout rate was also high among those in the intermittent fasting group.
In contrast, this research from 2016 reports that men who followed a 16:8 approach for 8 weeks while resistance training showed a decrease in fat mass. The participants maintained their muscle mass throughout the whole period.
Many supporters of intermittent fasting recommend sticking to this diet plan to prevent diseases like:
type 2 diabetes
feeling very thirsty
feeling very tired
passing urine more often than usual, particularly at night
weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
slow to heal cuts or ulcers
frequent vaginal or penile thrush
It’s very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as soon as possible as it will get progressively worse if left untreated. Having some of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have diabetes, however, always consult with your doctor if you have any suspicions.
Neurodegenerative diseases are a heterogeneous group of disorders that are characterized by the progressive degeneration of the structure and function of the central nervous system or peripheral nervous system. Common neurodegenerative diseases include Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
heart conditions such as:
Unstable angina. Unstable angina can be undiagnosed chest pain or a sudden worsening of existing angina.
Inherited heart conditions.
Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms)
High blood pressure.
Congenital heart conditions.
Some research suggests that fasting helps fight cancer by lowering insulin resistance and levels of inflammation. Some researchers also believe that fasting improves people’s response to chemotherapy because it does the following:
promotes cellular regeneration
protects the blood against the harmful effects of chemotherapy
reduces the impact of side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, headaches, and cramps
While evidence indicates that the 16:8 method may be helpful for diabetes prevention, it may not be suitable for those who already have the condition.
The 16:8 intermittent fasting diet is not suitable for people with type 1 diabetes. However, some people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes may be able to try the diet under a doctor’s supervision.
People with diabetes who wish to try the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan should always check with their doctor before making changes to their eating habits.
Extended Life Span
The National Institute on Aging points out that, even after decades of research, scientists still cannot explain why fasting may lengthen life span. As a result, they cannot confirm the long-term safety of this practice.
However, Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting may help animals live longer. For example, one study found that short-term repeated fasting increased the lifespan of female mice.
First, there is no such thing as the “best diet” or “better diet”. It is all individual. However, when you do stick to intermittent fasting, there aren’t many restrictions for you.
Don’t get me wrong now. You can still enjoy your favorite meals when you follow the warrior diet, for example. Yet, fasting doesn’t give you a free license to eat whatever you want. If you are not exceeding your daily calories everything should be okay and you are still going to lose weight but stick to the healthy, nutritious foods most of the time.
Keep in mind that the dose makes the poison, as I love to say.
Bottom Line: You know the basics of intermittent fasting and you know all the benefits of the meal plan. In chapter 3, you will learn how to safely make the transition into fasting. Keep reading to find out more!
You have decided that you want to follow this plan. You don’t know how to make the switch.
In this Chapter, we are going to give you the basics of starting the change and adapting to it.
Be aware that every beginning is tough. However, with the essential knowledge in this chapter, you will be more ready than ever for making the change.
Making a major change in your life can be a tough task. On the other hand, everything that is outside our comfort zone makes us grow. So, tighten your belt and make your dreams come true!
How do I start intermittent fasting? How do I go from a person with bad eating habits to a dedicated person who wants to change? The answer is simple. Don’t overthink, just do it!
Our advice here is to start small. Each habit takes approximately 66 days to form, so don’t rush the process. Enjoy it! Start with the 16/8 approach, as it is the easiest in the beginning. For example, you eat at 8 pm dinner time and the next day just skip breakfast.
You will have around 6 hours (without the hours you sleep) until your next meal, which will be around 2 pm. As you see it is not so difficult now. The 16 hours fast is down to only 6.
As you made the first step and started fasting, you can progress the hours you are not eating food. Slowly go from 16 to 18-19-20 and then 24 hours fasts. You will see how it becomes easier for you with every new day.
Consistency is key when you start something new. If you stay dedicated and trust the process you will see the fruits of your effort. The motivation to change is what makes you start but consistency is what makes you stay.
It can be challenging to stick to an intermittent fasting program. For this reason, we will give you a couple of tips for maximizing your benefits and staying on track.
Do not hesitate and postpone your start! If you wait for the perfect moment, it won’t come. The perfect time to start is now, so go and turn the wonderful life you deserve into reality!
Bottom Line: You learned that you need to take baby steps to your road to change. However, you don’t know whether intermittent fasting diet is the right plan for you. No worries! We got you covered in chapter 4 where you will learn all pros and cons of the diet.
You are ready to make the switch but you are not sure whether this plan is the right for you.
In Chapter 4 you will learn all pros and cons of the diet and decide for yourself whether to start it or not.
Keep in mind that we want to make things crystal clear for you, so you won’t be having troubles making the choice.
Grab an apple and keep reading!
When starting something I usually make a list with all the positives and negatives. Whether it will be a new business, a holiday, or a diet, having a clear picture of what you do is important. For this reason, we have prepared a list for you with all pros and cons of intermittent fasting to make your choice easier!
We covered some of the benefits of intermittent fasting in chapter 2 like weight loss, disease prevention, and extended life span. But don’t you worry! There are more benefits than you imagine.
Imagine a cougar or wolf that hasn’t been able to hunt and kill prey for a couple of weeks. Obviously, it’s important that their brain and body are able to function well in that fasted state.
The brain and body actually perform better during fasting. In the case of the brain, cognitive function, learning, memory, and alertness are all increased by fasting.
This is one of the common benefits of intermittent fasting. Studies have explored the powerful effects of this time-restricted diet on cognitive performance (such as memory). Intermittent fasting has been found to be beneficial especially for athletes whether they are exercising or at rest. A 2017 systematic review found that weight loss, in general, is associated with improvements in cognitive function.
It’s Easy To Stick To
This eating pattern is easily implemented and for those who like routine, it can be adhered to fairly easily. For some people, it may be easy to incorporate into your current routine. For example, did you know that the common “Time-restricted feeding” type of Intermittent Fasting is often unintentionally practiced by those who skip breakfast and do not eat after an early dinner each day?
Decreased Fat-Free Mass
Diets that continually restrict calories, reduce body fat, but ALSO Fat-Free Mass (FFM). Fat-Free Mass is basically everything other than fat. This is no good because that means you are losing lean muscle mass.
However, studies have shown that with sufficient protein intake and resistance training, Intermittent Fasting may help to retain fat mass while RETAINING MORE of their lean mass (aka. our fat-burning lean muscle!) compared to daily calorie restriction-type of diets.
These results are not proven in long term studies. You may also be thinking: wouldn’t it be difficult to exercise on fasting days. You may be right!
Also, Intermittent Fasting may help improve the symptoms of individuals with asthma. It may help by lowering airway resistance, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
Not to mention, researchers found improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis. In a 2017 systematic review, a few studies were able to report a reduction in percentage of body fat and HbA1C compared to a continuous energy restriction diet.
On top of that, an Intermittent Fasting diet can lead to significant DECREASES in total cholesterol and LDL. Also a reduction in blood pressure and triglyceride levels. These are all important for preventing and reducing the risk of various diseases – notably, cardiovascular disease (in normal weight, overweight and obese individuals).
These are the health benefits of intermittent fasting. Now, let’s take a look into the cons you have to know!
Without having a clear picture of the cons of a diet, you cannot make a rational choice. Let’s delve deeper into some of the cons of intermittent fasting.
You may experience digestion problems when you eat large amounts of food in a short amount of time. Larger volumes of food translate to more time needed to digest. This can cause additional stress on your GI tract, leading to indigestion and bloating.
This can have huge implications for those with IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). They already have a more sensitive gut, inflammation of the GI (digestive tract), and disturbed bowel movements. Therefore they are more susceptible to cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating.
Especially with IBS, you may already have difficulty obtaining all your nutritional requirements due to the uncomfortable symptoms that come along with it. That’s why people with digestive issues are recommended to eat at regular times, take time when eating, and not skip meals in order to have regular bowel functions.
So, if you are a person who has IBS, you may find it hard to stick to intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Isn’t For Everyone
If you have a medical condition, it is best to avoid this type of fasting. For instance, individuals with diabetes or hypoglycemia need glucose throughout the day, and going without can have dangerous effects.
If you are one of those people who feel nauseous or just don’t feel great going too long without eating, Intermittent Fasting may not be suitable for you. It’s also important to note that if you have ever had a history of an eating disorder – Intermittent Fasting is definitely not for you.
Since Intermittent Fasting causes you to eat more food in a short amount of time, it may exacerbate potential disordered eating patterns such as a “binge-eating” mentality.
This could cause you to eat more food than your body can handle, or a “restrictive” mindset to become skinnier. This will definitely have adverse effects on your relationship with food and your body’s physical health.
A 2016 review found that some Intermittent Fasting participants experienced a preoccupation with food. This could be a serious trigger for individuals with a history of disordered eating.
Long-Term Health Consequences (Especially For Women)
There’s a real risk of nutrient deficiencies, electrolyte abnormalities, and fertility and reproductive issues in women since fasting restricts energy and protein.
Additionally, women typically eat less protein compared to men, and fasting women, even less. Low protein consumption means fewer amino acids that are needed to activate estrogen receptors and produce IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor).
IGF-1 is responsible for triggering the lining of the uterine wall to thicken and begin the reproductive cycle process. Since estrogen receptors are found throughout our bodies (such as our GI tract, bones, and even brain), changed estrogen balance will change metabolic activity everywhere in your body. This includes digestion, protein turnover, bone formation, recovery, growth, cognition, and mood.
Intermittent Fasting may be linked to menstruation, fertility, metabolism disruptions, and early menopause in women. According to animal studies, fasting led to decreases in body weight, blood glucose levels, and more shockingly, reduced ovary size – significantly impacting fertility.
In fact, this is because fasting interferes with hormone levels of LH (luteinizing hormone), estradiol, and ghrelin, which impacts appetite-regulation.
In a 2017 review, a study involving normal weight, normal cycling women found that three consecutive days of a total fast during the mid-follicular phases affected the luteinizing hormone. However, it did not interfere with follicle development or menstrual cycle length.
Another study in this review found that obese and overweight women reported longer average menstrual cycle length following Intermittent Fasting for six months compared to the continuous energy restriction group. Researchers from this study discussed the need for further study, especially which include longer periods of energy restriction.
Every Meal Becomes A Binge Fiesta
Some people may take the “Feasting” periods as an opportunity to eat more calories than they really need. When you’re hungry, or you anticipate a period of fasting coming up, it can be very tempting to go hog wild at the first sight of food.
If the fasting element in Intermittent Fasting were to create some sort of caloric deficit, it’s very possible that the feasting period easily undoes it.
Let’s also remember that the foods we choose to eat can have a significant impact on our health. This binging strategy of the diet reminds me of the It Fits Your Macros diet (IIFYM). This diet focuses mainly on how much calories and not the type of calories you consume.
Low Energy & Severe Hunger
When starting fasting you may find yourself in the spot where you don’t have any energy and are super hungry. In chapter 3 we learned that you have to get out your comfort zone, remember?
Instead of focusing on the foods you cannot consume until “X” am/pm, extract the positives of the situation.
These were the cons of the diet. Now, we will give you an extra 7 useful tips for intermittent fasting.
Stay off Social Media!
Social media these days is something so cool, or is it?. Instead of sending a raven, like in the past, you can chat with a person on the other side of the earth with just one click. But everything has a price.
By looking at the “perfect life” of others, you may find yourself depressed and anxious about the “not so good life” that you have. You can also scroll through the feeds of many friends that post delicious meals and recipes and experience severe hunger.
Pro Tip: When I set up a timer for all social media (20 minutes) my productivity went up to the sky! When you remove a distraction like all social media, you may find yourself with more free time to put into something productive.
Eat Higher Fat, Carb-Rich Meals At Night
It sounds counterproductive, but if you can’t give up carbs completely, having them at night, as opposed to earlier. This is for two reasons:
Firstly, it’ll increase your blood sugar levels at night, which will take some time to fall provided you’re adding in protein and fat. So, when your blood sugar levels finally fall, you’ll be asleep.
Second, having carbs actually increases the production of serotonin (the satisfaction hormone) in your body, so you’ll feel great after your meal, and not want any more food.
Brush Your Teeth Immediately After Dinner
By giving yourself those kinds of bedtime cues after you eat, you’re telling your body there’s no more food coming. Make sure you stay as far away from the kitchen as possible, so that you don’t get reminded of food once you’ve named your time to stop eating.
Keep Yourself Distracted
To get yourself to stop thinking about food, I recommend you a good distraction. A favorite book or a movie can make you stop dreaming about delicious meals. Keeping yourself satisfied by reading at night is the way to go!
Make Your Mornings Busy
If you are just starting with intermittent fasting and you are used to having breakfast immediately after you get up, it is a good idea to keep yourself busy. By scheduling meetings and getting out of the house, you will distract yourself and push the breakfast for later or fully remove it.
Stick To One Fasting Method
Intermittent fasting is really hard for a lot of people. So, why keep confusing your body? Instead, give yourself hard and fast times regarding when you’ll start and stop eating every day, no matter what.
Reprogram your brain and body to one approach and stick to it too see the results!
Do Not Give Up
Give yourself a word of encouragement every time when you are willing to give up. Everything comes to willpower at some point. Helping yourself and pushing through those tough fasting periods, either early in the morning or late at night is a thing to keep in mind.
So, we covered all pros and cons of intermittent fasting. See you in the next chapter where we will learn the best way to lose weight when fasting.
Bottom Line: We covered all pros and cons of intermittent fasting. See you in the next chapter where we will learn the best way to lose weight when fasting.
You already know that losing weight is only possible if you meet one criteria. Being in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you eat) should be your primary concern. So, keep in mind that if you don’t compensate your fasting window with large portions of food, your weight loss is guaranteed.
Losing weight can be an easy task for you if you learn what you put in your mouth. For this reason, you have to track your calories. By doing this “annoying” task you create valuable habits.
Keeping track of the macronutrients (protein, carb, fat) that you consume will make your goal easier. Trust me, when I started doing that I created healthy habits that will last for life.
The average person consumes around 2000 calories a day. These calories are the energy the average person needs to function. Guess what happens when you start counting your food. By getting knowledgeable of this topic your life becomes easier.
The next time you go eat out with friends, you won’t feel bad about the food choices you’ve made that night. You will know how many calories you have consumed. Tracking your calories and combining it with intermittent fasting is a strong merge.
But you are wondering right now.
You don’t! Everything can be learned. How long will it take you to learn? I’d say around 2-3 months.
In fact, many believe it is a colossal waste of time and that focusing on healthy whole foods is a much better way to stay slim. However, we’re clearly missing the mark on our ideal caloric intake. Still, people are eating way more calories than they need. For this reason, trying something new, wouldn’t harm, would it?
There are special applications for that purpose. The one I personally use is “MyFitnessPal”. With this simple app, you can scan the barcodes of your favorite dishes and it automatically gives you the value of the food. Calories, micro, and macronutrients. Everything is included.
Pro Tip: Use our calorie calculator to figure out exactly how many calories you should consume to reach your goal.
If you still don’t want to track your calories and think it’s a waste of time, don’t worry! There is nothing like the compulsory thing for weight loss. In addition, Intermittent fasting diet makes eating healthy simpler.
For sure, it is. The thing I love about fasting is its simplicity. The best diet for you is that you can stick to the longest. By sticking to the 16/8 method you are having 2 meals a day that is nutritious, which is beneficial for you.
Although this eating plan may be simple, there are a couple of things you have to keep in mind.
Patience: It can take your body some time to adapt to an intermittent fasting protocol. Try to be consistent with your meal schedule and it will get easier.
Calories: Calories still count. Try to eat “normally” during the non-fasting periods, not so much that you compensate for the calories you missed by fasting.
Food quality: The foods you eat are still important. Try to eat mostly whole, single-ingredient foods.
Consistency: Same as with any other weight-loss method, you need to stick with it for an extended period of time if you want it to work.
Keep in mind that strength training is important if you want to maintain your muscle mass during weight loss. We are going to cover this topic later in the guide.
Bottom Line: With intermittent fasting diet, you can lose weight if you maintain a healthy life and stay in a calorie deficit. Being consistent is absolutely crucial and strength training is important. Counting calories is not required but you can’t get wrong if you try it.
See you in the next chapter where you will get a fundamental shopping list for your needs when doing intermittent fasting.
You are wondering what foods should you feel your cart with on your next trip to the grocery shop. From now on, you won’t have to wonder. Keep this detailed list in your pocket and you won’t be facing any trouble making the right choice.
They may be higher in calories than many other snacks, but nuts contain something that most junk food doesn’t – good fat (good fats are all polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). A survey suggests that polyunsaturated fat in walnuts can actually alter the physiological markers for hunger and satiety.
And if you’re worried about calories, don’t be! A 2012 study found that a one-ounce serving of almonds (about 23 nuts) has 20 percent fewer calories than listed on the label. Basically, the chewing process does not completely break down the almond cell walls, leaving a portion of the nut intact and unabsorbed during digestion.
Even though you aren’t eating, it’s important to stay hydrated for so many reasons, like the health of basically every major organ in your body. The amount of water that any one person should drink varies. However, 8 glasses of water should be enough if you are not the typical workout junkie.
Another sight to look for is your urine. You want your urine to be a pale yellow color at all times. Dark yellow urine indicates dehydration, which can cause headaches, fatigue, and lightheadedness.
Couple that with limited food, and it could be a recipe for disaster. If the thought of plain water doesn’t excite you, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a few mint leaves, or cucumber slices to your water. It’ll be our little secret.
Being on a diet and eating carbs seem like they belong in two different buckets, but not always! Whole grains are rich in fiber and protein, so eating a little goes a long way in keeping you full. Plus, a study suggests that eating whole grains instead of refined grains may actually rev up your metabolism. So go ahead and eat your whole grains and venture out of your comfort zone to try ancient grains like:
My personal favorite. It may seem counterintuitive to eat the highest calorie fruit while trying to lose weight, but the monounsaturated fat in avocado is extremely satiating. This study even found that adding a half of an avocado to your lunch may keep you full for hours longer than if you didn’t eat the green gem. It won’t take long until avocado also becomes your personal favorite.
One large egg has six grams of protein and cooks up in minutes. Getting as much protein as possible is important for keeping full and building muscle. One study found that men who ate an egg breakfast instead of a bagel were less hungry and ate less throughout the day. In other words, when you’re looking for something to do during your fasting period, why not hard-boil some eggs?
There’s a reason the Dietary Guidelines suggest eating at least eight ounces of fish per week. Not only is it rich in healthy fats and protein, but it also contains ample amounts of vitamin D. And if you’re only eating a limited amount of food throughout the day, don’t you want one that delivers more nutrient-bang for your buck? Not to mention that limiting your calorie intake may mess with your cognition, and fish is often considered a “brain food.”
Your favorite smoothie addition is ripe with vital nutrients. Strawberries are a great source of immune-boosting vitamin C, with more than 100 percent of the daily value in one cup. And that’s not even the best part – a recent study found that people who consumed a diet rich in flavonoids, like those in blueberries and strawberries, had smaller increases in BMI over a 14-year period than those who did not eat berries.
Foods like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are all full of the f-word fiber (you haven’t thought of something else, have you?).
When you’re eating erratically, it’s crucial to eat fiber-rich foods that will keep you regular and prevent constipation. Fiber also has the ability to make you feel full, which is something you may want if you can’t eat again for 16 hours. Woof.
Your favorite addition to chili maybe your best friend on the Intermittent fasting lifestyle. Food, specifically carbs, supplies energy for activity. While we’re not telling you to carbo-load, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to throw some low-calorie carbs, like beans and legumes, into your eating plan.
Plus, foods like chickpeas, black beans, peas, and lentils have been shown to decrease body weight, even without calorie restriction.
Potatoes are indeed one of the most satiating foods that exist. The fullness we feel after eating sweet or normal potatoes comes from their high-fiber content. This research found that eating potatoes as part of a healthy diet could help with weight loss. However, potato chips don’t count. Sorry, french fries lovers!
You have a bunch of foods to feel your cart with now. You won’t feel hungry anymore with these awesome foods. However, if you are still facing problems with satiety, take a look at these bonus tips for suppressing hunger.
Watch Less TV:
When you are watching TV, thousands of ads with delicious food bump in front of your face. Your eyes see the wonderful meals on TV and you are instantly getting hungry.
Drink More Water
Do not mislead being hungry with being thirsty. If you feel like you are getting hungry, just drink 2 glasses of water and you will feel fuller.
Eat High-Fiber Foods
As you already know high-fiber foods make you more satiated and keep your hunger levels under control. Foods with high-fiber content are:
Drink Herbal Teas Or Black Coffee
These beverages may have appetite-suppressing effects.
Bottom Line: We covered most of the foods you should consume when following the fasting diet. You are probably wondering whether you will be able to work out when being on this diet plan. Don’t worry! We got you covered in the next chapter where we will discuss in detail everything about intermittent fasting and training.
We are going to cover almost everything for strength training and cardio in this chapter. Fitness has become a popular trend these days. Having a good-looking body and maintaining health in general, in my opinion, is something people should care about. If you are the typical workout junkie like me, you will find this chapter useful.
Think for a moment. To build muscle mass you have to be in a calorie surplus. This is just the opposite of calorie deficit, meaning you have to eat more than you burn. So, if you are a fan of the 16/8 eating window you assume that you’ll have to eat a big amount of food during these 8 hours.
If you don’t have problems consuming large portions of food during small periods of time, intermittent fasting can work for you. However, if you are not a fan of eating tons of food on one sitting (low appetite, or hard-gainer) I recommend you fast as short as you can.
We all know a person who has trouble gaining weight. For these people IF might not be the best option when building muscle.
Yet, if you are a person who wants to lose weight IF can be your biggest friend. I personally use intermittent fasting when cutting weight. Fasting in the morning keeps me more focused and aware when I do almost all of my work.
Until my first meal, which will be around 1-2 I train my brain with reading, meditating, and working. Then, I would have 2 normal meals and then I would go to train. After my workout is finished I would have my biggest meal of the day. High-carb, high-protein, and medium fat is what I strive for.
Having a high-carb last meal of the day makes you more satiated on the next day. So, you won’t be having problems not eating anything until noon.
You have probably wondered whether you should do your cardio on an empty stomach or after your workout?
Social media is full of people who will tell you that the best cardio session you can get is 5 am in the morning. However, this can be only half true.
Keep in mind that an upside while fasting is that your stored carbohydrates – known as glycogen – are most likely depleted, so you’ll be burning more fat to fuel your workout. Though, studies on this are small and countered by studies saying that you don’t burn more fat when you work out on an empty stomach.
In addition, doing fasted cardio at 5 am or 9 am doesn’t have a difference at all. In the first scenario, you will most probably feel tired because of the small amount of sleep you got, and your motivation will drop down.
Of course, if getting up early is your thing, there is nothing bad at training right after you wake up. Some people find fasted cardio the ultimate boost of their day, some people find it the most terrible decision they have ever made. Our advice here is to experiment and see what works for you.
That’s something that never worked for me. I’ve tried it a couple of times and I failed hard for several reasons:
Long Time Until Your First Meal
If you work out early in the morning you will have 4-5 hours until your first meal. Not eating for four hours after your workout will compromise your recovery, not to mention drain you completely of any remaining energy. This will invariably lead to a miserable few hours until you get your first meal in.
The point here is to be thoughtful of how you implement any fasting protocol and to make sure it can positively integrate with other aspects of your life.
Low Energy During Workout
You haven’t eaten anything for around 12 hours. Even if you have eaten a high-carb meal the day before, you still won’t have stored enough glycogen to get through a whole strength workout.
Working out on an empty stomach could also lead your body to use protein as fuel. This leaves your body with less protein, which is needed to build and repair muscles after exercise.
Plus, using fat as energy doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to lower your overall body fat percentage or burn more calories.
Feeling Nauseous Or Shaky
While there’s some research to support working out on an empty stomach, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ideal. When you exercise on an empty stomach, you may burn valuable energy sources and have less stamina.
Low blood sugar levels may also leave you feeling lightheaded, nauseous, or shaky. Another possibility is that your body will adjust to continually using fat reserves for energy, and start to store more fat than usual.
The most important advice to heed when exercising during IF is to listen to your body. If you start to feel weak or dizzy, chances are you’re experiencing low blood sugar or are dehydrated.
So, we advise you to train in the late afternoon or at night. If this is not possible, you can change your fasting protocol to a 9 am – 5 pm, instead of 2 pm – 8 pm. Listen to what your body tells you and see how you feel.
Bottom Line: We covered most of the information about workouts and intermittent fasting diet. You learned that if you train on an empty stomach you may experience low energy and nauseousness. In the next chapter, we will see what celebrities say about this diet plan.
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The world-famous American television host lost 25 pounds by following the intermittent fasting diet plan. He discovered the 5:2 method of IF. He eats whatever he pleases five days a week and then eats less than 500 calories on two other days.
On Monday and Tuesday — the days that Kimmel restricts his diet — he drinks coffee and eats pickles, egg whites, apples, peanut butter, and oatmeal. One thing’s for sure: Kimmel’s food obsession has continued despite his crazy diet.
In the last year, however, he turned the focus away from his own health and toward his son Billy’s. Billy was born with a serious heart condition, inspiring Kimmel to pay more attention to children’s healthcare. It’s evident that his children – Billy, Jane, Kevin, and Katie – are what motivate him to stay in shape (along with the thought of BBQ wings on the horizon).
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Hugh Jackman is among the most well-known of intermittent fasting’s early adopters. When shooting his first X-Men film in 2000, Jackman says he had no idea how to eat or train.
He jokingly recounts the story of filming X-Men’s shirtless scenes, reserved for the very end of the shoot, at the request of a director who deemed he needed more time to diet.
Over 10 years later Hugh Jackman credits intermittent fasting for the muscular physique he presented in 2013’s hit, The Wolverine. Older, yet stronger and slimmer, Jackman showed up on set ready to rumble.
The Wolverine used the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting to achieve his physique.
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Not only did the Black Widow perform fundamental compound lifts like deadlift, military presses, and pull-ups to get in shape for “Avengers: Infinity War”. She also had her nutrition on point. Her coach Eric Johnson shares how she managed to eat through the preparation for her role.
To fuel her fitness, Johnson employed a concept called carb-cycling, which, in its simplest form, essentially means altering the number of carbs you’re consuming on any given day depending on how much and what type of exercise you’re doing, and thus how much energy your body requires.
“She cycled through days of high carbohydrates and low-fat consumption, versus low carbohydrates, and higher fat while maintaining protein intake,” Johnson said.
Johansson also ate in a time-restricted window, keeping her overnight fasting window at 12 hours minimum, sometimes increasing it to 14 or 15 hours.
None of this was a quick fix program for Johansson, though – it took time to build her strength and fitness, and Johnson said she followed this training regime and lifestyle for “a year or so.”
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The 39-year-old “Guardians of the Galaxy” actor is pretty new to the fasting process but claims he has already extracted benefits in the form of weight loss.
“So I’m doing this intermittent fasting thing; don’t eat till noon, try to get my cardio in in the morning. It’s super exciting actor stuff,” Pratt jokingly revealed during an Instagram story.
He then encouraged his followers to do some research about intermittent fasting, as he is happy with his progress. “Look it up! Check it out! It’s actually kinda cool,” he continued. “Works pretty good and I’ve lost a little weight so far.”
He explained that his first featured “snack” this time around was the aforementioned black coffee, which he topped off with oat milk. “I can have black coffee on the intermittent fasting,” he clarified.
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Jennifer Aniston knows a thing or two about food.
Aniston said she’s a night owl and usually wakes up at around 8:30 or 9 a.m.
“Today, I woke up and had a celery juice,” Aniston said. “Then I started to brew some coffee, but I don’t drink coffee that early.”
The actor said she fed her dogs, meditated, and worked out before drinking her coffee.
Aniston’s preferred way of intermittent fasting limits her eating time window to eight hours per day while fasting for the other 16 hours.
Bottom Line: As you can see, there are many famous people who tried and loved the fasting diet. Why not be one of them by starting today? However, before you start, take a look into the next chapter where you will learn 5 quick & easy recipes for intermittent fasting.
Have you ever experienced water coming out from your mouth just by looking at some meals?
Well, after this chapter you will definitely feel the need to jump to the closest grocery store and buy products to start cooking.
Sit back comfortably and enjoy this delicious part of the article.
Breaking your fast should start with something small. Even on fasting days (if you follow the 5:2 method) you can enjoy delicious and filling recipes that are low in calories. (Every dish is below 250 calories)
We will start with a favorite recipe of mine.
Spiced Chicken & Pineapple Salad – recipe by Lucy Netherton
This delicious meal is something we recommend you eat on a lunch break or for an afternoon snack.
Ingredients for two servings:
227g can pineapple in juice
about 140g pack cooked, sliced chicken breast (sweet chili, hot and spice or BBQ work well)
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
90g bag mixed leaf
small bunch coriander leaves picked
handful cherry tomatoes halved
1 red chili, deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
Preparation: (10 min)
Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice. If in rings, chop into chunks. Mix with the chicken, onion, leaves, coriander, and tomatoes, and divide between 2 containers if taking as lunch.
For the dressing, whisk 2 tbsp of the pineapple juice, the red chili, vinegar, and sweet chili sauce with some seasoning in a small jam jar or lidded container, and toss this through the salad before serving.
Kcal – 176
Protein – 22g
Carbs – 17g
Fat – 2g
Salt – 1g
Fiber – 5g
Sugars – 16g
Saturated Fat – 1g
Baked Eggs with Spinach & Tomato – recipe by Good Food Magazine
You can eat it either for lunch or dinner.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
100g bag spinach
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp chili flakes
Preparation: (5 minutes prep + 15 min cooking)
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the spinach into a colander, then pour over a kettle of boiling water to wilt the leaves. Squeeze out excess water and divide between 4 small ovenproof dishes.
Mix the tomatoes with the chili flakes and some seasoning, then add to the dishes with the spinach.
Kcal – 114
Protein – 9g
Carbs – 3g
Fat – 7g
Salt – 0.43g