Intermittent Fasting - What Does It Mean?
Posted: 21st October 2016
Quite simply, it is a pattern of eating which splits the day into periods of eating and not eating (or fasting). Fasting allows you to maximise fat loss as the body will use stored fat for energy. Through the night, our bodies are in a fasted state which we break with ‘break-fast’. By increasing the time which we allow our bodies to fast we increase the time which the body is burning fat.
How does it work?
When we eat, more energy is consumed than can be immediately used so some of this energy is stored for later. Insulin is the key hormone involved in the storage of food energy. When we eat, insulin rises which helps to store the excess energy in two ways. Sugar is converted to glycogen and then stored in the liver. Once storage in the liver is full, it begins to turn the excess glucose into fat which is then stored in other fat deposits in the body.
When we do not eat, the process goes in reverse. Insulin levels fall so the body starts to burn stored energy. Firstly, it will burn up the stored glycogen in the liver and once there is no more of this available (after around 24-36 hours), it will switch to the fat stores within the body.
Combining low carb and intermittent fasting
As we know, following a low carb Ketogenic diet means that your body is already in fat burn mode. In the first few days of starting a low carb plan the body burns up all stored glycogen and then switches to stored fat. This means that if you combine periods of fasting with the low carb diet, you will get maximum fat burn.
Through the night, our bodies are in a fasted state which is broken when we wake with ‘break-fast’. If we increase the time we allow our bodies to fast we increase the time which the body will burn fat.
Choose your Fast:Eat time periods. A great place to start is with 16:8 meaning that you will fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8 hour time window each day (between 11am and 7pm or 12pm and 8pm for example). It is natural that you might feel hungry for the first few days as your body adapts to your new regime. This will pass. Read our FAQs at the end of this booklet for some tips on how to manage hunger and cravings.
For most people, the first meal they will have when breaking their fast will be lunch however, this is different for each person so you may wish to have a snack before lunch.
How do I break a fast?
You should aim to break your fast gently. Some people can find that they are starting to get a little bit hungry towards the end of their fast but it is important that you do not over eat. Have a small meal or snack, whichever fits in best with your lifestyle. If you still feel hungry an hour later, make use of the additional snack options on the opposite page.
What if I am hungry?
It is common that you might feel hungry in the first few days as your body adapts. Make sure that you drink plenty of water while fasting and do not binge during eating hours. Remember that hunger comes in waves; it will not continue to build and become unbearable. Allow your body time to adapt. If you are concerned about anything at all, get in touch and we can help further.
Will I lose weight?
Yes. Following a low carb diet will help you to burn fat for energy. Combining this with Intermittent Fasting will prolong and maximise fat burning and give you the very best weight loss and body shape changes.
Can I exercise?
Of course, exercise is great for your body and mind. Following an intermittent fasting plan should not stop you from exercising. You may find that it takes a few days to adapt and become familiar with your new regime but once you have adapted, your energy levels should be back to normal.
Should I break my fast before exercising?
This is personal preference. Many people will do a cardio session before breaking their fast. This means that you will cause the body to expend more energy meaning that it will need to burn more fat to fuel it. For high intensity work outs or weight lifting sessions, it may be better to wait until you have broken your fast. Again, it is personal preference so listen to what your body is telling you.
Will fasting burn my muscle?
No. The body will use stored fat for energy; it will not break down muscle to fuel itself.
Is it not important to eat breakfast every morning?
No, it’s not. This is an old misconception. Skipping your morning meal simply allows the body more time to burn fat. Hunger tends to be the lowest first thing in the morning so it is often easiest to skip breakfast and break your fast later in the day.
Are there any possible side effects?
Side effects can be similar to starting a low carb diet (see earlier in the booklet) and, thankfully, tend to be very short lived. If you are concerned, please do get in touch and we can help further.
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