Intermittent fasting

There is a sea of different diets and lifestyle choices out there. And probably the same amount of advice. Some people recommending you to eat several times a day, others swear to eat fewer times. Some recommend high carb diets, other low carb diets. Other swears to vegan or vegetarian diet, while others are determined to eat meat. How do you know what is right, and how should you choose what is best for you

Through several years of different diets and lifestyle choices, we have tried a lot of different things. Among them is intermittent fasting. 

We have a lot of experience with this, both positive and negative. We have previously read and learned a lot about intermittent fasting. But we’ve always been curious and wanting to dig deeper into the science of intermittent fasting, its benefits, and downsides. So, in this post, we have tried to compile all that we have read to get a nice overview of the plus and minuses of this lifestyle. Hopefully, this can help you on the way in figuring out if intermittent fasting is for you. 

Intermittent fasting simply put is restricting what you eat to certain times each day or during a week or period. The belief is that this will benefit your body in several ways, which we address in this post. This is because the body can focus solely on repairing and recovering, not digesting food. Intermittent fasting can be combined with several other dieting regimes such as paleo, low carb, Mediterranean diet and so forth. 

Intermittent fasting has slowly become one of the more popular and healthy ways of losing weight and getting rid of (stubborn) fat. 

Research has shown the benefits of intermittent fasting has on the body. Maybe you are mildly curious or looking to learn more about the practice because you’d like to shed some fat? In this post, we aim to give you all the information you need. 

We have not been through all research conducted on intermittent fasting, and we are not trained professionals i.e. doctors. We have compiled this overview to the best of our knowledge. If you are looking to use intermittent fasting as a tool to fight diseases or sickness. Be it mental or physical we recommend you seek the advice of a specialist. 

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an age-old tradition practiced across many cultures, traditions, and religions. It is a pattern of eating where you’re allowed to eat at a specified period during the day & night. So that the body uses your stored fats to produce energy for your needs.

During intermittent fasting you refusing the body food for a couple of hours, most commonly 16hrs. This way the body makes proper use of stored nutrients. Although, many people mix up intermittent fasting with a diet. Intermittent fasting itself is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. However, many people use it as a diet regime in order to lose weight. 

clocks
During intermittent fasting, you limit your feeding window to certain times.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

In intermittent fasting, you may eat whatever you want or you throw in your diet-paleo, Mediterranean, keto or vegan. However, you only get to eat within the time boundary you set for yourself. 

Fasting is a practice that has been in existence for ages throughout human evolution. It can be found in many religions, Christianity, Islam (Ramadan), Buddism, Judaism, as it is commonly believed that fasting offers a plethora of benefits to the body; both physical and spiritual. 

If you have failed at losing weight even after experimenting with different diets and other weight loss programs. There is still hope as research shows that intermittent fasting may just be the thing for you.

Several reports highlight the effectiveness of intermittent fasting as a weight-loss approach. We’ll breakdown this approach below. 

Intermittent fasting methods

There are many popular ways to do intermittent fasting. Each method is designed to help you reap the benefits of intermittent fasting like improving metabolic health and for some, weight loss.

We will touch on the most popular ones to help you decide the method that suits you. 

5:2

Commonly called the twice-a-method or the fast diet.

Although there are different variations of this regime, The 5:2 method Popularized by British journalist Michael Mosley.

Michael Mosley trained as a doctor at the Royal British hospital. As a presenter, he has produced numerous television programs for BBC on health and science. He has won numerous awards including journalists of the year award. 

Michael Mosley writes about his journey through intermittent fasting. This journey led him to develop a regime that worked for him, 5:2. He offers his advice and guidance in his book, The fast diet.

Many well-known people practice this regime, including British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, he is known to strictly practice the 5:2 regime.

We broke down some of the ideas from this book to give you a picture of intermittent fasting using his method.

How To 

This intermittent fasting method involves maintaining a normal diet 5 days of the week. During 2 days of the week, you reduce your caloric intake between 500-600 calories. Benedict Cumberbatch sticks to this, eating about 500 calories. 

This method is favored as the best fasting method by many people because of how simple it is to implement. Especially, when compared to a more restrictive dieting approach. Your caloric intake for 5 days of the week remains unchanged. While for 2 days, women are restricted to 500 calories and men 600 calories. 

You may choose any 2 days of the week to fast, but they cannot be consecutive. For example, designing your fasting days on Monday and Thursday with 2 small meals of 250/300 calories.

Weight loss

Intermittent fasting can be a great option for losing weight, however, it must be done correctly. 

If you are looking to try out intermittent fasting in a bid to shed some weight, you still have to select a healthy menu for your daily portion to lose weight and burn fat. Even though you are not required to follow any special diet.

Studies show that intermittent fasting is effective at burning fat and retaining muscle mass. Notably when combined with physical exercises and fitness training. 

scale
Photo by Ronit Shaked on Unsplash

The main requirement of this method is to have lower than 500-600 calories on fast days. There are no set rules on how and what to eat. However, foods high in fiber, fat, and protein are particularly advised on fast days. This is to help fill you up while keeping the calories on a low level. 

You may also drink water and coffee with a little milk to help you cope with the periodic hunger. 

16:8

Of all the intermittent fasting methods, this is the most popular. 

This method was popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan, and it is also known as the Leangains daily intermittent fasting. 

It is a method that involves restrictive daily eating to a specific time frame. A 16-hour fasting period followed by an 8-hour eating period. 

Many celebrities have credited this method with boundless energy, mental clarity, and weight loss. Author of the self-development book Atomic habit  James Clear wrote an article about the 16:8; how he incorporates it into his life and the benefits and downsides of intermittent fasting.

Other celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Justin Theroux, Beyonce, Hugh Jackman, have all mentioned daily intermittent fasting as being part of their diet and fitness regime. 

How To

The 16:8 model in practice would be: 

  • skipping breakfast
  • schedule your feeding period from 1 pm to 8 pm (lunch and dinner)
  • fasting for the rest of the 24hrs
empty plate
Photo by Alla Hetman on Unsplash

It doesn’t matter the time you choose as your eating period, it could be 10 am to 5 pm. The important thing is to maintain 8 hours of eating period and 16 hours of fasting

When done right, this method can be very beneficial in losing weight because it helps you reduce your daily total caloric intake. 

Research has shown that alternative daily fasting has proved remarkable to induce weight loss in patients who reduced their daily caloric intake. Many of the patients tend to maintain their weight after being put on daily intermittent fasting. 

Other studies show that not only is this method of restricting your daily caloric intake good for shedding fat. But it is also beneficial in managing diabetes type 2, metabolic disease, and generally, increases your lifespan. 

Weight loss

To easily understand why this method works in weight loss, you must have at least a basic understanding of body nutrition. The difference between fasted state and fed state. 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

How intermittent fasting works 

The body in the feeding state starts when we begin eating and last for about 3-5 hours after eating as the body carries out digestion and absorption of the food. In this state, due to high insulin secretion, it is difficult for your body to burn fat. Instead, it stores the energy as fat in the adipose tissues (fatty tissue) throughout the body. 

In the fasting period (which usually lasts for 10-12 hours), insulin levels drop and the body goes into what is known as the post-absorption phase. This is when fat is broken down for energy. 

Normally, insulin levels drop 12 hours after our last meal and the fat-burning state occurs. 

Extending your body’s post-absorption phase and prolonging your fasting interval by 4 hours, you increase your body’s fat-burning phase. This is the simple reason people who do intermittent fasting tend to lose weight effortlessly, regardless of what or how much they eat (within certain limitations of course). 

The 16:8 method is easy to implement and is sustainable over a long time. There are no rigorous meal preps, there is no set diet. All you do is choose an 8-hour window when you eat. 

However, if you are going to give the 16:8 method a try in order to lose some weight. Adopting a healthy caloric intake and a healthy diet is important. Whether it be a paleo or Meditteranean diet or something else. Along with active exercises and strength training will do a whole world of good.

Not only will you reap the weight loss benefits, but you will also improve your mental concentration and focus.

A typical diet for weight loss while doing the 16:8 can comprise of the following:

  • whole-grains
  • high fiber foods
  • high protein foods
  • fruits and vegetables
  • high fat foods such as olive oils, avocado etc

Deciding on what to eat during your eating window depends on your preferences and nutritional needs. However, it doesn’t matter as much as maintaining a strict feeding window. It doesn’t matter what you eat but when you eat. But it is, of course, important not to overeat! If you eat more calories than your body burn you will not lose weight, you’ll gain weight.

Many practitioners usually have their last meal at 8 pm and fast till the next day at 1 pm. Which means you fast overnight. This is an easy but sustainable way to go about intermittent fasting. 

Regardless of when you go to bed, you’d only need to skip breakfast (which many already do). Then you can join your friends and family for lunch and dinner. 

You can give this regime a try or create your regime that fits your nutritional needs and your schedule. 

TRF – time-restricted feeding

TRF is simply a system of feeding based on a specified feeding window. Unlike other nutrition regimens that are based on nutritional restrictions, this system is based on time restriction as we see in the 16:8 intermittent fasting method. 

The premise of time-restricted feeding is that the body has a biological clock known as the circadian rhythm. This clock controls the different bodily functions down to the cellular level. 

Studies show that the biological clock is affected by different factors such as age, light (the sun), body temperature, oxygen delivery to the body, etc. Disease and food intake also play a major role in altering this biological clock. 

You might be wondering, what does this have to do with anything? 

Well, to fully appreciate and understand the benefits time-restricted fasting offers, you need to understand how and why it works in the body, especially for weight loss. 

For example, a study on glycemic levels* in the body measured at different periods of the day after a meal. The results show that glucose increase was highest in the evening lowest in the mornings.

*this is the ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates that have a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized. This will cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore usually, insulin levels.

The biological clock not only regulates our bodily functions but also helps us figure out how to prevent and reverse bodily functions in adverse conditions: aging, disease, and live healthier. 

Clock
You should pay attention to your biological clock Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

As we have figured out, the biological clock plays a major role in regulating our metabolic functions and processes such as appetite, insulin sensitivity, and determines the number of calories the body needs to function. 

In turn, several factors also affect and disrupt the body’s metabolic rhythm such as overeating, fasting, aging etc.

Many studies have been carried out to determine the effects of the circadian rhythm in feeding and metabolism. The results show that people who implemented TRF showed remarkable signs of decreased appetite, fat and increased metabolism.

In one particular study, people who showed prediabetic syndromes were placed on a 9 hour time-restricted feeding window and showed a reduction in glycemic response. 

It also showed that implementing any sort of time-restricted feeding window 6 hours, 9 hours or  12 hours delivers immense metabolic benefits to the body. 

It is also seen that intermittent fasting helps you lose weight by decreasing appetite. In a study, doctors noticed a reduction in Ghrelin (an appetite-inducing hormone) secretion, thus leading to loss of appetite. 

Intermittent fasting and exercise 

If you are concerned that doing intermittent fasting is going to derail your workout and fitness training, especially working out in a prolonged fasting state. Here’s a breakdown of why you should and some of the things to be concerned about. 

The first thing you need to know is that; workouts during fasting are great for weight loss. When fasting, glucose stores in the body are depleted, so the body turns to fat for fueling your workout. This is great as you burn fats and build muscle rapidly. 

Although you get to burn fat to fuel your workouts, if you are on a long-term fast, it isn’t advisable to carry out long duration or intense workouts are your performance may be hindered due to low energy. 

Fitness expert Martin Berkhan, who coined the 16:8 method of intermittent fasting known as the Leangains advises using BCAA supplements to help with your workout. However, there is conflicting research on this. Some research shows that BCAA supplements have very little to no impact or effect on your body or results. Personally, we do not take BCAA supplements, we rather spend our money on high-quality proteins. 

It is important to eat the right meals after your workout especially if you are engaged in intense, heavy lifting and strength training. 

If you are implementing intermittent fasting, experts advise scheduling your working during your feeding window or close to it. This way you can refuel and replenish glucose and protein for building muscles.

Keep your workouts at moderate intensity and stay hydrated, remember that your body needs more water during fasting. 

Most importantly, while training, pay attention to your body and don’t ignore important signs like dizziness, headaches, feeling of weakness. These are signs that the body is depleted of glucose and in such cases, drink carbohydrate-electrolyte and follow-up with a robust meal. 

Time-restricted feeding combined with resistance training 

Time-restricted feeding has not only been researched in obese and overweight individuals. It has also commonly been implemented by fitness experts during resistance training and the results are hugely positive. 

Working out
Combining weight training with any diet you’re doing is important in order to gain muscle and burn calories

During an 8-hour time-restricted feeding window, fitness experts experienced decreased blood glucose, blood insulin, and fat mass, while maintaining muscle mass. 

Health benefits of intermittent fasting 

We have discussed sparingly the health benefits of intermittent fasting above. However, below we are going to give you a comprehensive list of the health benefits of intermittent fasting. 

Weight Loss and Fat loss

One of the biggest benefits of intermittent fasting is weight loss. It is no secret that even without implementing a strict dietary regime, intermittent fasting helps you shed more weight than many other weight loss approaches. 

Intermittent fasting when habitual leads to a reduction in your caloric intake. This habit alone is a massive boost in burning fat and improving your metabolism. 

In a recent study (march 2019) to track the effects of time-restricted feeding for people with abdominal obesity. Participants who were suffering from lifestyle diseases such as metabolic syndromes and diabetes type 2 were instructed to limit their daily feeding period to 8-9 hours and extend their fasting period 15-16 hours for 3 months. It is important to note that the participants did not change their diet in any way during the study. 

Of the few patients who managed to reach their target of at least 75% of the days studied. The results showed that there was a significant reduction in abdominal obesity. 

measuring tape
We really recommend using a measuring tape in addition or instead of a bathroom scale to measure progression
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

Time-restricted fasting not only helped the participants lose weight but also helped prevent cardio-metabolic diseases. 

In terms of sustainability, during your intermittent fasting, you experience hormonal and cellular changes. For example, reduction of ghrelin secretion (hunger hormone), insulin resistance, the release of fat-burning norepinephrine (organic chemical that mobilizes the brain and body for action) and many more. These hormonal changes help your body to adapt your eating pattern and thus help you maintain your weight. 

Disease prevention 

Much scientific evidence shows how intermittent fasting manages and reverses many diseases, especially diseases linked to obesity. 

Intermittent fasting has been shown to prevent many diseases such as:

  • Prediabetes syndrome
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Heart disease
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Cancer

As we have already discussed, intermittent is a massive tool in weight loss. For most of the patients suffering from lifestyle-disease, losing weight and burning fat is half the battle. 

In a 2017 study, the result showed that though participants did not lose weight. Time-restricted feeding (a 6-hour period) helped participants improve the circulation of insulin and improve blood pressure. 

Fasting can also help prevent degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease by aiding the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to support brain functions. 

Intermittent fasting is known to help in cell proliferation and thus help to increase brain cells and release of the anti-aging genes to increase your lifespan. 

Intermittent fasting may help in the treatment of cancer. Although this has been subject to debate, studies suggest that intermittent fasting diminishes the adverse effects of cancer patients going through chemotherapy. 

If you are planning or considering using intermittent fasting as a tool to battle any kind of disease or sickness be it mental or physical we advise you to discuss this with a specialist such as a doctor or subject matter expert. 

Extend life span and longevity

Scientists claim that fasting can prolong lifespan and longevity. Starving forces the body to adapt and grow new cells as it strives for survival. 

Although there are several studies to show that the body also releases several anti-aging hormones, there isn’t enough evidence to prove otherwise. 

Also, maintaining a lean weight and managing your caloric intake can help in the prevention of heart-related diseases. Such as high blood pressure and diabetes type 2 to mention a few. 

Intermittent fasting is generally good for your health and also for your finances. It costs considerably less to implement intermittent fasting, even when combining with other weight-loss diets. 

Side effects of intermittent fasting 

Intermittent fasting has proven to offer many great health benefits and it is a popular tool in weight loss. While we can be happy with knowing the benefits of intermittent fasting. We must also discuss the not-so-good side of it. 

  • Hunger:
    The feeling of hunger comes with irritation and general distress especially when you haven’t had any food for quite some time. 

    If you are new to intermittent fasting it will definitely take some time to get used to the long fasting hours. This can be of some discomfort. Many people who have never engaged in fasting before are confused about the uncontrollable hunger they feel when they start. This will subside when you get used to the practice. If you are just starting and the hunger is unbearable, you can adjust your regimen and ease into intermittent fasting.

    Personally, I had to do this, Tobias found it way easier than me to adapt to intermittent fasting. I struggled quite a bit with hunger leading to nausea and headaches. So I took it step by step and slowly settled into a 16:8 fasting regime.
  • Fatigue and dizziness:
    The mornings just before midday can be the most exhausting period of your fast (until you get used to fasting.) If you practice the 16:8 method and you skip breakfast, it usually gets challenging to stay focused and pay attention to work. 

    Many practitioners of intermittent fasting argue that breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. Simply because once you get used to your daily fasting routine, you’ll go about your mornings with more grace. However, if you are the type that believes in having breakfast, you can adjust your regimen to fit your needs.
  • Low-blood sugar:
    At a certain period in the day, without glucose intake, your body will experience low blood sugar. This is marked by fatigue, dizziness, headaches and brain fog. However, after the body adapts to your fasting regimen, these light symptoms slowly fade away.
  • Irregular menstrual cycle in women:
    Doctors advise that women engaging in intermittent fasting should take caution. This is because dramatic weight loss may lead to an irregular menstrual cycle or amenorrhea. Intermittent fasting helps you burn stubborn fats, but it may lead to hormonal imbalance. I’ve written more on that below.
    You need to check with your doctor regularly while fasting and pay attention to the signs your body gives you. 
  • Unhealthy eating:
    Since intermittent fasting helps burn fat due to limit caloric intake at a certain period. Many who try it develop a sugar-rush in the beginning during the feeding window, overeating or get into some sort of unhealthy diet to compensate for the fasting period. 

Although there are no particular dietary requirements. It will do you a world of good to stick to a healthy diet or combine intermittent fasting with other weight-loss diets such as paleo, vegetarian, Mediterranean, or something else. 

The benefits of maintaining a healthy diet during your intermittent fast will outweigh your cravings by a mile. But of course, guilty pleasures are occasionally allowed.

The side effects of intermittent fasting are few, mostly because fasting is a natural body function. For most of history, humans have survived on less than 3-meals a day. Fasting is a part of many old traditions and religions. Ramadan being the one most are familiar with. 

In many of the adverse effects listed, after a few weeks of practicing intermittent fasting, the body adapts to different conditions necessary and thrives, hence the various health benefits. 

Fasting as part of tradition or religion 

If you are a Muslim, you must be familiar with Ramadan. If you aren’t, Ramadan is an Islamic tradition that lasts a month (29-30 days). Muslims consider Ramadan the holiest month in Islam as they believe it is a time to purify yourself and celebrate with family. 

Mosque
Photo by Kel Avelino on Unsplash

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are required to pray and fast daily, from sunrise to sunset. The fasting also involves devotion and abstinence from drinking, eating, and sex. It is said to be a religious and spiritual rite that leads to self-improvement and a greater connection to God. 

Despite the spiritual benefits, the benefits of the daily intermittent fasting carried out during this month are enumerable. 

Scientists have attempted to study the effects of fasting during Ramadan. By using different metrics such as weight loss or gain, energy consumption, and compensation, muscular and physical performance they have tried to understand the effects. 

Results documented show that fasting during Ramadan, for many Muslims, leads to weight loss. Although weight loss varies from person to person during Ramadan. 

It is also shown that fat mass is reduced as well as changes in body composition. The results show that change in body composition affects muscular performance and for individuals who performed aerobic exercises, the heart-rate and ventilation were marked lower than before. 

In practice, Ramadan fasting is an example of 16:8 time-restricted feeding. 

Ramadan time-restricted fasting starts at sunrise and ends at sunset with an 8-hour feeding window. The fasting period is usually 9-18 hours, it can be more or less depending on your location. The conclusion based on the sample size is that while fasting during Ramadan leads to fairly significant weight loss. It varies from person to person and it is quickly regained after Ramadan, therefore, proving unsustainable.

Intermittent fasting is also observed in many other religions as fast Sunday in Christianity, Yom Kippur fasting in Judaism, Vrata in Hinduism. Certain other methods or forms of intermittent fasting are employed by these religious groups. Water might be permitted and fasting may only last for a short period with negligible weight loss.

Combination with other diets

Paleo diet and intermittent fasting 

Without the invention of agriculture, humans were mainly hunters and gatherers, eating mostly red meat, fish, berries, nuts and so forth.

Paleo diet aims to mimic the diet practiced by our ancestors in the paleolithic age. The idea is that by eating what early humans ate, we nourish ourselves with the natural food designed for our bodies. 

Mat brett
Photo by: Kim Daniels on Unsplash

A typical paleo diet consists of animal meat, wild vegetables, fruits, seeds & nuts. Paleo nutrition encourages you to focus on eating food high in vitamins and nutrient-rich food. 

During fasting, it is advisable to eat a combination of foods that sustain you through the fasting period. Also, get exposure to sun-rich vitamin D, reduce stress and get a good night sleep. 

Combining a Paleo diet with intermittent fasting is one way of optimizing your health and losing weight properly. 

Keto diet and intermittent fasting 

Keto diet consists of foods rich in protein, fats and discourages eating foods that are high in carbohydrates. This can be foods such as salmon, mackerel, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cheese, avocado, red meat, eggs etc.

This diet offers many benefits as it is implemented in the treatment of epilepsy, diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative diseases. 

If you are considering combining the Ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting, you should know that a keto diet involves replacing carbohydrates with fat. 

This leads to a drastic decrease in glucose as the body scampers for fats (ketones) to produce energy.

Keto diet and intermittent fasting share a similarity in that both practices cause the body to breakdown fats to produce energy. When combined, you can expect to burn more fat and lose weight than other weight loss approaches.

What’s more, combining the two practices, will also increase insulin resistance and increase the body’s path to ketosis for energy production. 

Mediterranean diet and intermittent fasting

Many studies show that this diet is the healthiest way to lose weight and even so the easiest to maintain over a long period of time. Even when combined with intermittent fasting. 

The Mediterranean diet encourages eating a variety of healthy foods, and people who carried out the diet experience improved blood sugar levels, low blood pressure, and more so remarkable weight loss.

The Mediterranean diet involves the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, chicken, eggs, seeds, cereals, olive oil, dairy, and red meat once in a while. 

Since intermittent fasting is time-restricted feeding, not diet restrictive, it can easily be paired with any diet as long as you eat within the window of feeding. 

With a Mediterranean diet, you can optimize your fitness and health since the diet also offers fat-burning benefits and improves blood pressure. 

Intermittent fasting for women

There is some research that has shown that intermittent fasting might not be as beneficial for some women as it, in general, is for men. 

In one study, on women, the blood sugar control was reduced/ worsened after 21 days of intermittent fasting (3 weeks). This has not been documented for men. 

The female body is more sensitive to calorie restriction than men. The reason for this is that when calorie intake is low, as it is when fasting or while in ketosis. The part of the brain which moves/ distributes the gonadotropin-releasing hormone is limited. This hormone helps release our reproductive hormones: follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. If these two hormones can’t communicate with your ovaries, you can get irregular periods, infertility, and reduced bone health. Studies in rats have even shown that the ovary size has decreased and irregular reproductive cycles.

There are also stories of women that have experienced changes in their menstrual cycles after starting intermittent fasting. 

Based on this women should consider if they need different and maybe a “kinder” or gentler version of intermittent fasting. Remember, you might not feel these side effects, but being aware and observant of how your body acts is important. 

It is important to highlight that in general very little scientific studies are actually done to understand the female body. Most of it is based on male bodies. So, being sure to investigate what has been conducted and being observant of your own body, how it acts and how you feel is important. 

Our experiences

We have both done intermittent fasting over a long period of time.
Below have we reflected on some of our key takeaways: 

  • Intermittent fasting will really help you to become mindful of hunger and cravings. Your awareness of hunger will become greater. It will help you become more aware if you are feeling hunger or craving something.
  • It will also help you become more aware and mindful of your body’s needs. You will learn to accept hunger. We were both pretty prone to the infamous hangry syndrome. But learning to control and accept hunger has led us to be less hangry. 
  • You can perform well at the gym/ during workouts without eating before. Actually, you don’t have to eat before you work out. Your body (in most cases) will do very well on what it already has stored. Intermittent fasting will help you understand your own capacity better. 
  • Combining intermittent fasting with a keto diet is probably the easiest. This is because then you eat food that is high in fat and protein. This ensures that your blood sugar remains steady and low, reducing cravings and hunger. However, if you’re a woman, take the above into consideration.
  • You spend less time making food and eating and have more time for other things. This might sound simple, but it is true. You free up so much time you previously would have spent on making and eating food to do other things. It is especially nice in the mornings. 
  • Breakfast really isn’t that necessary. I am a breakfast person. I really like breakfast, but through intermittent fasting, I learned that I can easily live without it.
  • People might think you are weird since you eat so much! What they don’t understand or know is that you eat fewer meals than them. So in total, you’ll eat the same or maybe even less.
  • You have to be consistent over time. It is quite hard getting into, so you’d want to maintain it over time. At least we do. Ideally, we would like to have fasting days regularly because of the health benefits. But we think it is quite hard in the beginning, so we end up not doing it. 
  • Fewer hours to eat, mean fewer opportunities to eat. This way you might be better at saying no to those breakfast croissants. Simply because your eating window hasn’t opened yet.
  • It is very easy to expand the eating window, 30 min here, and 30 min there. You convince yourself you’ll start your eating window later the next day. Suddenly your eating window has expanded and you find yourself eating more than you should. 
  • It is easy to overeat in your eating window. If you do this, you will gain weight, not lose weight. In addition, since intermittent fasting goes well with keto or low carb you might eat a lot of fat as well. So you end up eating a lot of calories.
    The golden rule of weight loss or having a sustainable weight is the same here as with everything else. You have to burn more or the same amount of calories that you feed your body, or you will gain weight. 
  • In retrospect, we also wished we had tracked the health benefits by for example taking blood tests etc. 
  • In general intermittent fasting was easier for Tobias to uphold than for me. Although I didn’t get any of the above-mentioned side effects. During different periods I felt that it wasn’t right for my body. I can’t base it on science, blood tests or anything “measurable” it just didn’t feel right. I had a harder time getting used to it. In general I am also, more carb and hunger sensitive than Tobias. So for me, the key takeaway was that I never really felt comfortable or liked it very much.

FAQ

You’re not advised on starting with intermittent fasting if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Children under 18 years old, this “age limit” of course also depend on maturity both physical and mental
  • Suffering from the following:
    • recovering from surgery
    • severe mental problems
    • low body weight, frail and low body mass
  • Also, if you, use anticoagulants medication e.g warfarin

As we stated above, if you are looking to use intermittent fasting as a tool to fight diseases or sickness be it mental or physical we recommend you seek the advice of a specialist.

We really hope this post helped shed some light on what intermittent fasting is, and if it can work for you. 

If you try it out, we would be super excited to hear how it goes! 

Good luck! 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-for-women#effects-on-women

Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea and its influence on women’s health

Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges

Effect of Ramadan Fasting on Weight and Body Composition in Healthy Non-Athlete Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting and Time-Restricted Feeding Compared to Continuous Energy Restriction for Weight Loss

Adherence to Time-Restricted Feeding and Impact on Abdominal Obesity in Primary Care Patients: Results of a Pilot Study in a Pre–Post Design

The Effects of Time Restricted Feeding on Overweight, Older Adults: A Pilot Study

Caloric restriction improves health and survival of rhesus monkeys

Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males

Time-restricted feeding plus resistance training in active females: a randomized trial

A randomized pilot study comparing zero‐calorie alternate‐day fasting to daily caloric restriction in adults with obesity

Photo cred featured image: Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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