What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Let’s get real. When you hear the word “intermittent fasting,” all sorts of nightmare images come to mind. You start imagining yourself not eating at all. You start thinking about the hunger pangs. All sorts of thoughts enter your mind. You feel at the very least that you are robbing yourself of the pleasure of food.
If you’re reading this website, you love food a little too much. Own up to it. There’s nothing wrong with falling in love with eating.
The problem is when we hear the word “fasting,” we think that it’s the end of the world when it comes to our love for food. We’ve got some good news for you. Despite its name, intermittent fasting doesn’t mean you stop eating. This is what shocks a lot of people because when they hear about intermittent fasting and all the good things that it’s able to do for their friends and family, they’re very suspicious. In fact, a lot of people are downright skeptical. They think that automatically it doesn’t work. Why? The word “fasting” is part of “Intermittent fasting.”
The truth is you don’t fast at all. Seriously. If you define “fasting” as going a whole day without eating, you don’t fast at all with intermittent fasting. Let’s get that out of the way.
Scheduled Inter-Day Fast
Intermittent fasting is really all about paying close attention to the periods during the day when you eat and when you don’t eat. Believe it or not there is a large part of your daily schedule when you’re not eating. This may sounds crazy or even surprising to a lot of people because they’re having a tough time with their diet. They might even be shocked.
Well, don’t be. When you look at your typical 24-hour period, what do you see? There is time that you spend eating. There is time that you spend going to the bathroom. There is time that you spend working, hanging out with your family, or having a good time.
What else is there? That’s right. Sleep. If you’re like most people, when you’re sleeping, you probably are not eating. What do you call a time period when you do not ingest any calories? That’s right. That’s called a fast.
Believe it or not you are already fasting. This is already baked into your normal 24-hour life schedule. That’s the good news. All intermittent fasting is breaks down to scheduling this period of fasting and managing it for optimal effect.
The Bottom Line with Intermittent Fasting
The bottom line with intermittent fasting is actually pretty straightforward. You still get to eat. You heard that right. You still get to eat whatever you want, how much ever you want. Sounds awesome?
If you like burgers, go ahead. Eat burgers. If you like sushi, knock yourself out. You have a particular weakness for pasta, go on ahead. You get to eat what you currently eat.
You’re not telling yourself that certain foods or off-limits. You’re not putting yourself in a ridiculous position where you’re hypnotizing yourself or trying to convince yourself that you no longer have a taste for certain foods. If you like certain foods, go for it. You can eat well.
However, here is the distinction. You have to do so within a time window that complements or enhances your existing fasting schedule. Since people are already sleeping, they only need to add a few more hours to that no-calorie period to trigger intermittent fasting. If you stick to the schedule, you will lose weight.
It sounds simple. In fact, it seems almost too simple, but please understand that just like with any other changes to your lifestyle, it takes a little getting used to.
However, once you make that switch, you will see awesome benefits of intermittent fasting. Given that you don’t have to stop eating certain types of foods or change your personal tastes in what to eat, this is probably the best thing that has happened to many people looking to lose weight. They don’t have to sacrifice burgers, hotdogs, or pizza. They don’t have to do that. They just have to watch when they eat.
Excited yet? Good. Let’s understand why Intermittent Fasting is such a powerful weight loss system.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits : A Powerful Weight Loss System
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of why intermittent fasting is so popular. People won’t talk about it if it weren’t producing any kind of positive results. Just given the amount of talk surrounding and involving intermittent fasting, one can clearly see that it produces results.
We’re not talking about losing 20 pounds on week 1 and, by the time week 6 rolls around, you’ve gained 25 pounds. We’re not talking about that kind of weight loss. Those diets are all over the place. There’s no shortage of that kind of weight loss system.
The best part to all of this is that you did not change your eating habits. You get to eat what you like to eat. If you like steak and lobsters, you’ll still get to eat those. If you’re a chicken person, you still get to enjoy chicken dinners at KFC or at home.
Why is intermittent fasting such a powerful weight loss system?
There are four key reasons. Keep these in mind.
When you start with intermittent fasting, always keep these benefits in mind. Wrap your mind around why intermittent fasting works so you can get the focus and willpower you need when it seems a bit difficult. Regardless of what kind of weight loss system you adopt, there will be rough spots.
You have to keep coming back to why you’re doing something instead of just focusing on what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. While those details are important, if you lose sight of why what you’re doing works, then it’s very easy to lose your resolve. Before you know it, you go back to where you started.
Reason #1: You reduce your overall calorie intake without feeling like you’re “punishing yourself”
As mentioned repeatedly in this website, intermittent fasting enables you to lose weight even if you continue eating what you like to eat. If you’re able to stick to your normal diet, you don’t feel like you’re punishing yourself. You don’t feel like you’re doing something really out of the ordinary.
If you adopt a vegan weight loss lifestyle, and you used to eat a lot of meat, you can tell the difference. It’s a drastic switch. Even if you were to try to gradually move into a totally vegan lifestyle, you can still see the difference. It’s like black and white.
You may be able to keep this up for quite some time but, for most people, they end up going back to where they started. It seems that their old eating patterns just seem to have a way of getting the better of them. We are, after all, human beings. We are creatures of habit.
As awesome as a new lifestyle may be for you and with its amazing health benefits, parts of you will put up a fight. Your mind and your body are used to doing things a certain way. Eventually, your habits will win out. That’s why it feels like you’re punishing yourself when you go on a typical diet. Either you reduce the amount of food that you eat consciously or you switch to a different category of food. Whatever it is, it seems like an ordeal.
Your conscious mind thinks that this is great because you’re on your way to weight loss, but your subconscious mind is having a tough time. This is nothing short of punishment. Which part of your mind do you think will win out in the end? Here’s a hint. It’s not your conscious mind.
Let’s get one thing clear. Weight loss is actually pretty simple on a mathematical level. It’s all about calories in, calories out. Your body requires a certain number of calories for you to maintain your weight. That’s right. All that flab and fat requires calories to maintain.
What if you ate fewer calories than you need to maintain your weight? What does your body do? It starts burning fat for energy. That’s how it works.
When you reduce your overall calorie intake because of intermittent fasting, you start operating at a calorie deficit. Your body needs to find that energy somewhere in your system so it starts burning fat. The best part to all of this is that it doesn’t feel like a hassle. You’re not triggering this calorie deficit because you consciously ate fewer calories because you switched to eating only vegetables or eating only high-protein meat.
Reason #2: It is easier to adjust to a feeding schedule than changing food preferences
As the old saying goes, “You can’t make a leopard change its spots.” If you like certain foods, it’s going to be very difficult for you to change your food preferences. How come? Those food preferences have been with you since you were a little kid.
Remember when you were 6 years old and you put up a fight when your parents tried to give you more veggies instead of a hotdog? A lot of that remains with you all the way to adulthood. The details may change, but the same dynamic remains.
When you just make it a point to adjust to a different feeding schedule instead of trying to reprogram yourself as far as your food preferences go, you would get better results. Best of all, these changes will last longer.
People make the switch from one type of food to another all the time. That’s the main reason why there’s a multibillion-dollar diet book industry in the world. What we’re pointing at is the reality behind those billions of dollars.
The reason why those diet books make so much money is because people fail in their diets. When they try to change their food preferences, they soon find out that they can’t do it. So, what do they do? They buy another diet book talking about other food preferences. Once that fails, they then switch to another book and on and on it goes.
With intermittent fasting, you break free of that cycle. You focus instead on your feeding schedule. That is the way out.
Reason #3: Intermittent fasting pushes people to eat more efficiently
Let’s put it this way. When you were a kid, you probably were in a situation where you realize that you’re running out of time to do your homework. What did you do you when you realized that you only had an hour to do your homework? Chances are if you’re like most kids, you do your best to complete your homework within that allotted time. You’d be surprised as to how quick, efficient, and effective you could be if you’re operating with a high sense of urgency.
Intermittent fasting applies this same principle. Since you know that you only have a certain time frame in which you can eat whatever you want, you are training yourself to eat more efficiently. For example, if you know that certain foods are going to make you feel fuller for a longer period, you’re probably going to eat those instead of foods that you “graze” on. These are the kinds of foods that you have to pretty much eat throughout the day for you to feel full.
A lot of this is not conscious. A lot of this just falls into place as you work with your feeding schedule. Eventually, you start eating more calories per meal but, eventually, this leads to weight loss. Why? You may be eating more calories per meal but since you’re eating fewer meals because of your time frame, the net effect is positive. You take in fewer calories than you need, and you burn fat.
Reason #4: Ketosis
Intermittent fasting enables people to eventually trigger ketosis. This is a point where your body burns fat for energy instead of blood sugar. For this to happen, blood sugar has to flush out from your system long enough so your body can switch to burning fat for fuel.
Ketosis doesn’t take place when you start intermittent fasting. In the beginning period of a typical intermittent fasting protocol, there simply is not enough time for ketosis to kick in. However, once you get used to eating only within fixed feeding schedules, you start building the discipline needed to go on full-day fasts.
In other words, you would be able to eat two days straight and then go on for one day without food and then go back to eating. Once you get used to that, you can then go to two days eating and then two days fasting. When that happens, ketosis enters the picture. This is when your body stops getting its energy from your blood sugar and starts tapping your fat stores instead. You then cut off ketosis when you start eating again.
When you switch to low-carb, high-fat food sources, you can then turbocharge ketosis’ effect, but I’ll get to that later in this book. The point that I want you to take away from this section is that ketosis can be part of the picture. This is crucial because if you are struggling with belly fat, you need ketosis to happen.
Keep the reasons above in mind once you start intermittent fasting. These are the reasons why intermittent fasting works. By focusing on them, you will make your transition to a fixed eating window easier. Focus on the why instead of other questions. That is the way forward.