When we hear the word “fasting,” many of us probably think of starvation or the old meditative trick of forgoing food in exchange for spiritual enlightenment. In reality, fasting is a science-backed diet method that is extremely effective in helping you lose weight.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition conducted a massive 2017 study that showed intermittent fasting is just as effective as caloric restriction (i.e. monitoring your calories each day) when it comes to losing weight and improving your body composition. The study actually proved intermittent fasting can be even more effective than caloric restriction. Curious yet?
Intermittent fasting is actually really simple: you eat for a period of time, then you go a period of time without eating. Then, repeat. What is the period of time? Well, that varies per person and his or her preference. You can do whole-day fasting (5 “eat days” per week and 2 non-consecutive “fast days” per week), alternate-day fasting (1 eat day, 1 fast day, repeat), and time-restricted feeding (4-8 hours eating, 16-20 non-feed hours, repeat).
During whole-day fasting and alternate-day fasting, your “fast” days do not consist of eating nothing; rather, you eat 500 calories per day to increase fat loss and to maintain muscle. If you opt for time-restricted fasting, you do not eat at all during your fast periods (water and tea are allowed, however).
During your “eat” days (or your eating period, if you are attempting time-restricted fasting), stick to the clean stuff. Fasting is not an excuse to overdo it on your favorite junk foods only to “fast it off” later. You won’t see many results that way.
The easiest way to break into intermittent fasting is to start with time-restricted fasting. Only eat meals during an 8-10 hour window and fast through your evening and as you sleep. Here is an example:
Wake up at 6am. Drink water.
Eat breakfast at 9am.
Eat lunch at 12pm.
Eat a snack at 2 or 3pm.
Eat dinner at 6pm.
Do not eat again until 9 am the next day.
It may sound simple, but it is really teaching your body to burn stored fat as energy because your insulin falls as you fast. It will also train your body to be less dependent on large meals. You will find that after just a week of intermittent fasting, your body will simply not be able to handle as much food as it did earlier, and you will often crave water over sugary, salty snacks.
Fasting patterns are different for each person and his or her goals. I’d be happy to talk you through an individual eating plan! Reach out to me at 920-499-3333 to schedule a consultation.
Best of health,
Dr. Chad M. Hoffman