Intermittent fasting is the concept of alternating between periods where you can eat and periods during which you fast. It does not specify which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them, meaning you can basically follow any diet, and still practice intermittent fasting.
Most people already “fast” every day without even realizing it. While you sleep you are not eating, so in essence you are fasting between your last meal at night (try not to eat later than 8 pm) and your first meal the next day. By simply extending that fast a little longer and having a late breakfast or no breakfast at all, you can reap all the health benefits of an intermittent fasting low carb diet.
By eating supper at 7 pm and skipping breakfast, only eating a light snack at 11, and normal lunch and dinner, you fasted for 16 hours. When doing intermittent fasting, you should aim to eat all you food in an 8-hour window.
Intermittent fasting is actually fairly easy to do, once you realize that you are already fasting for 12 hours, and all you need to do is to extend that time.When starting of with a new diet, it is best to wait a week or two for your body to get use to the diet, before you incorporate intermittent fasting.
When on the keto diet, it is important to first get into the habit of eating fats and proteins, with very little carbs, before you attempt to add intermittent fasting into the mix. While depleting your body of glucose and learning to use fat as a fuel, you will most probably be hungry, and practicing intermittent fasting may make it much more difficult for some people. Some people recommend a three day fast to kick off the diet, but that is a sure way to give it up before you even started. Not many people have the willpower to fast for three days while hunger is driving you up the walls. Once you are fat-adapted and the hunger al but disappear, you’ll find it much easier to fast.
Why should I Fast?
Humans have been fasting for thousands of years. We also instinctively fast when we feel sick.In other instances, it was done for religious reasons. Various religions, including Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, mandate some form of fasting.Clearly, there is nothing “unnatural” about fasting, and our bodies are very well equipped to handle extended periods of not eating.
There is also some evidence that intermittent fasting can help you live longer and protect against diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, etc. For some people it is purely convenient to only eat twice a day, saving time on meal preparation and cleaning.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has become very trendy in the past few years, and several different methods are available.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
The 5:2 Diet: Choose 2 days of the week, eat only about 500–600 calories. This is only a calorie-restricted fast, not a complete fast.
Then there are many other variations.
The 16/8 method was popularized by Martin Berkhan of LeanGains. I prefer this method, as I find it to be the simplest and the easiest to stick to. I’m already fasting for 12 hours (during the night), so extending it for another 4, is easy enough. I also noticed that I’m not hungry at all in the morning, which makes the fast much easier. If I eat dinner at 6 or 7 pm, I can easily go till 11 o’clock (which is too early for lunch). At first I tried to have a snack at 11 o’clock, and then have lunch at 1 pm. But that did not work for me, because as soon as I had that snack, I am hungry within a very short period of time. So I decided to have an early lunch at 11 o’clock instead. That worked really well for me, because once I had a proper lunch, I didn’t have any problems going through until dinner-time.
I think eating a snack, which is big enough to register as food, but too small to really make you feel full, somehow caused me to get hungry again soon. I’m not sure if it messes with my blood-sugar levels, or if it a mental thing, but as soon as I eat that snack, I am hungry within minutes. But a proper meal of about 400 calories was good enough to last me till dinner time. I just can’t snack!
It was difficult for me to learn that BREAKFAST is NOT the most important meal of the day. The first few days/weeks of intermittent fasting was difficult purely because the watch said it was time to eat. I realized that I am eating more out of habit than because of hunger, and once I started focusing on that, it was much easier.
It is important to choose the best method for you. Everybody is unique and not everything works for all of us. Try a method, and tweak it to suit you best. And if it doesn’t work for you, try a different one.