Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

In short, Intermittent Fasting is going an extended period of time without eating.  Although it might sound like an eating disorder in the making, Intermittent Fasting is simply a different style of eating that is safe, effective and comes with a slew of health benefits (including fat loss) when done the right way.

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

No matter how or what you eat, weight loss boils down to a calorie deficit.  After using calorie counting to successfully lose 35 lbs in 2008, I still struggled with gaining and re-losing those last 10 lbs in the years that followed.  It took me a while, but I eventually figured out that calorie restriction (at least the way I had been doing it) was not working in the long term.  I don’t regret counting calories for weight loss, it was how I first began to truly understand how and what we eat effects our weight.  Lifestyle and habit change kept the majority of my lost pounds off for good, but I would always have to resort to cutting calories and limiting my food intake to re-lose a pesky 10 pounds, only to have it inevitably backfire – I would struggle with insatiable hunger, overeating, constantly thinking about food and my next meal, and then slowly but surely would gain those 10 lbs back.  This was not how I wanted to live and I knew something had to give.

A Little Background

In early 2011 I’d been working for a couple months to re-lose my those 10 lbs (again) when I first read the term “Intermittent Fasting” in Mark Sisson’s blog, Mark’s Daily Apple and also in his book, The Primal Blueprint.  A short while later, this study was published and based on what it said, I was very eager to give Intermittent Fasting a try.  The little reading I’d done about IF at that point gave me the confidence to try it without worrying that my “metabolism would slow down” or I would sabotage my weight loss efforts by skipping breakfast.

I made my way around the interwebs with my friend Google and found The Retired Dieter, a blog devoted to IF and is extremely informative and informative.  From there Eat, Stop, Eat and The Fast 5 (both e-books) presented themselves, followed by Martin Berkhan at Lean GainsGetting Stronger and Fitness Black Book - more great blogs all containing scads of helpful info on Intermittent Fasting.

I was intrigued by IF because it seemed like it would be an easier way to reach a calorie deficit without so much effort and discomfort.  I hoped it would help me avoid all the negative repercussions that can come with the calorie restriction needed to achieve weight loss.  Call me crazy, but I don’t particularly enjoy feeling deprived or the obsessing about food that comes with cutting calories, or the after math (binge eating) if/when you do manage to find the willpower it takes to (essentially) starve yourself thin.

As it turned out, Intermittent Fasting was exactly what I was looking for - an easier way to achieve a calorie deficit without food on my brain all the time.  I didn’t just want to lose weight, I wanted to lose FAT without driving myself crazy in the process.

How to Start Intermittent Fasting

There are many different ways you can approach IF.  Some people prefer to fast for 24 hours and then eat ad libetum for the next 24 hours.  Other fast 24 hours fast just once or twice a week.  The Fast 5 recommends a daily 19 hour fast with a 5 hour “eating window” and declares that you can eat whatever you want during that 5 hour window – without going COMPLETELY crazy – but yes, you basically can eat whatever you want during that time.

If it seems overwhelming and scary to go such a long time without eating, start slow.  Try a 12 or 14 hour fast to see how it goes, increasing your fasting length as you’re ready.  If you’re ready to jump in head first, go for 19 hours and see what it feels like.  I found that longer fasting windows (19 – 20 hours) were most effective when it came to weight loss, but too many days in a row of fasting for 19 hours would backfire on me and I would be overly hungry in the days that followed.  I eventually found that a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window was effective and felt the most “normal” to me.  (I will also say that you will likely find IF more sustainable and easier when you eat a nutrient dense diet with quality carbs – more on this below.)

While losing weight, I tried and experimented with many different fasting lengths and eating windows.  I would do a 19 hour fast (of which 6 – 8 of those are hours are spent sleeping) 2 – 3 days a week, doing a 12 – 16 hour fast the other days.  An example 19/5 day would be having an “eating window” of 12:30pm – 5:30pm.  Basically, I skipped breakfast (with exception of some coffee with cream) and would officially break my fast with lunch.  I’d often eat a snack if/when I felt hungry again and then would try to finish up with dinner before 6.  Other days I would do a 12-16 hour fast to give myself a break from the longer fasts or because I needed to accommodate something in my schedule or my family’s schedule.  (i.e., Eating dinner together is more important than an eating window of exactly 5 hours.)  If I meant I finished dinner a little later than 6 some nights, no biggie.  I was very happy that it was possible to shift or extend my eating window as needed without derailing my weight loss efforts.

Simply put, I found IF a great way to eat fewer calories because I was only dealing with hunger once a day (typically in the late morning as I was closing in on the end of the fast) as opposed to spreading a small calorie allotment over the course of a whole day, needing to use willpower or distraction between meals, ignoring hunger on and off all day, feeling like certain foods were off limits and having to eat small, less satisfying quantities of food at each meal.  One of things I love most about IF is that it allowed me to eat my favorite foods while still continuing lose weight – nut butters, real cream in my coffee, dark chocolate – all foods I would usually need to avoid when trying to lose weight.  With IF, nothing had to be off limits.

More practical tips based on my experience with IF can be found here.

Intermittent Fasting as a Lifestyle

I began using IF in March and by mid June I was down 15 pounds and comfortably back to my “happy weight”.  During that time I came to find that I really liked this way of eating, and especially the way it allowed me to effortlessly maintain my weight once the fat loss was done.  It got even easier after I began to follow a more Paleo-esque diet (not perfectly strict Paleo, but fewer grains, high quality carbs, quality fats, very little sugar) and my body continued to adapt to burning fat for fuel and relying less on carbs for energy.  I don’t even “deal with hunger” in the mornings anymore – while maintaining my weight I eat breakfast when I feel hungry.  Sometimes it’s been 16 hours since my last meal (dinner the night before), and sometimes it’s 12 hours.  Thanks to IF it’s easier to trust my hunger signals and I know that I’m eating because I’m truly hungry, not because I’m bored, stressed, lonely or sad.

In general, my eating window is usually 8 – 9 AM through 6 or 7PM most days of the week.  Basically, I eat a late breakfast and don’t snack after dinner.  An 8 – 10 hour eating window with a 14 – 16 hour fasting window works very well for me and feels very normal.   I do drink coffee with half and half or heavy cream (no sugar) first thing in the morning.  I’ll sometimes put coconut oil in my coffee as well and find that it gives me a nice energy boost and nixes my appetite for a while too.  Due to the fact that cream (or coconut oil) is just fat with no carbs, I believe this has little to no effect on my fasting metabolism.  Therefore it seems that I still achieve the benefits found from fasting, even with some calories in my coffee.

Intermittent Fasting and Exercise

If I exercise in the morning, I do so in a fasted state with no problem at all, mostly because I believe I have metabolically adapted to using stored fat for fuel.  I enjoy being active, but my fitness regime has never been as easy and laid back as it is now.  After spending years doing steady-state cardio 5 days a week to help keep my weight in check, I now go for fun, enjoyable runs once or twice a week (because I love it!), I practice yoga regularly, I play with my kids, I ride my bike when the weather is nice and squeeze in some short HIIT workouts when time and energy allows – and I walk a lot!  Some days I can get out for hour, other days I only have 15 minutes to spare.  I don’t panic if I “miss a workout”, I change it up frequently based on what’s going on in my life (and the weather.)  I now understand that your diet and the foods you choose to eat has the biggest impact on your overall physique.  Exercise and staying active are absolutely an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but what and how you eat matters more in terms of body composition.

How to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

Intermittent Fasting is easiest when you eat whole foods – you’ll likely find it easy to jump into IF if you already “eat clean”, and (at least in my experience) is easiest of all when you follow a lower carb, higher fat style of eating.  I spent a full year trying to go low carb and struggled with the low carb flu.  I read every Paleo book under the sun, I went “very low carb” for  while, but finally came to find that I needed more carbs to support my lifestyle.  I still eat pretty low carb when compared to the Standard American Diet, and any carbs I do eat are mostly high quality (sweet potatoes, fruit, some oats and sprouted grain bread) and I keep processed foods and sugar to a minimum.  I basically did it backwards – practicing IF lead me to tweaking my diet in a way that makes fasting (and subsequent weight loss and weight maintenance) extremely easy and effortless.

If you find that you’re really struggling with IF, it might make the most sense to take a step back and look at foods you choose to eat and why, then return to IF when you’ve got healthier eating habits in place.  Intermittent Fasting becomes MUCH easier when you have metabolically adapted to burning your own body fat for fuel and have gotten off the blood sugar rollercoaster that comes with eating a diet that is heavy in refined carbohydrates and high in sugar.

It’s worth noting that “low carb” doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat refined grains (and even sugar) ever again, but you’ll have better luck if these foods are the exception instead of a rule.  If you can’t imagine cutting back on grains or significantly reducing your sugar intake, don’t stress about it too much.  Simply start by eating them less frequently and focus on making progress.  You will probably find that you’ll lose your taste and interest in most processed foods when you educate yourself on why grains and sugar are not good for us and the incredible impact the right foods can have on our long term health.

If You’ve Got a Weight Loss Goal But You’re Not Losing Weight

If you’re practicing IF and you’re not seeing any results, consider counting your calories for a few days to see where you’re at.  Calories do still count!  And while IF makes the calorie restriction necessary for weight loss easier and less noticeable, it is still possible to over do it and eat an too many calories during your eating window that halt your fat loss progress.

If you are actively trying to lose weight, also consider adding a few short, high intensity workouts into your week.  HIIT can go a long way when it comes to keeping the scale moving in the right direction.  Strength and resistance training are important too (this is true even if you’re not trying to lose weight!) to help you maintain muscle mass while cutting calories and also because the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, even at rest.  The only resistance training I do is yoga, so know that you can keep it as simple as body weight training (yoga, Pilates, etc) or with weights if it’s something you have access to.

Practicing Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

I had to stop practicing IF at the end of 2011 through the first half of 2012 during my pregnancy with our third child, but I returned to IF within a few months of his birth.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had no trouble getting back my 8 hour eating window after a hiatus, even while exclusively breastfeeding.  I will say that I didn’t even try IF until I felt recovered from pregnancy and child birth and was confident that my milk supply was well established and baby was gaining well.  I found IF to be helpful with losing 15 pounds of “baby weight” (although I did count calories during that time.)

The Unexpected

The most amazing thing that happened in the months following my start with Intermittent Fasting was the way my body adapted to my changed eating schedule.  I have NO craving for food in 14 – 16 hour period I am in a fasted state.  I use to wake up ready to dive head first into breakfast.  No more.  I get up most days between 5 – 7 am and I don’t even start to think about food or feel the first inklings of hunger until 9 AM.  I have completely broken my habit of snacking after dinner, something I’ve struggled with in the past.  I do still occasionally eat later than 7 pm – at a party or when out for the evening with friends or if I had a later workout that day.  I might wait to break my fast until later in the day when I know my eating window will close later than usual – but not always.  Some days my eating window is longer than others and that’s fine.

And when I do eat?  I EAT.  Trust me.  During my eating window I eat until I’m full and satisfied, which is not something you normally get to do while you’re losing weight or putting a lot of effort into maintaining your weight.  It’s important to eat enough calories - yes, you are working to lose weight and need to reach a calorie deficit to do so, but you want to lose fat at a nice, modest pace.  Quick weight loss is usually not fat loss, it’s not sustainable and often leads to quick regain.  If you’re eating whole, nutrient dense foods, there is no reason to skimp on meals and snacks during your eating window.  During my eating window I eat whatever I want (fortunately I “want” healthy, whole foods – but I’m a girl who loves to indulge from time to time too!) and the vast majority of my meals consist of a nice serving of vegetables, a decent amount protein and plenty of healthy fats to help me feel deeply satisfied between meals.  Gone are the days of forcing myself to stop eating because I’ve “reached my calorie limit”.  I’ve got a hearty appetite and I love to eat – but IF has also helped me become more aware of my sense of fullness and I stop eating when I’m no longer hungry.

Going long stretches without eating was absolutely a challenge in the beginning – I won’t deny that.  The road was a little bumpy at first, but practicing IF lead me to making further improvements with my diet with higher quality carbs, healthy fats, adequate protein and keeping processed foods to a minimum.  These habits have lead to a lifestyle that has freed me from yo-yo dieting, junk food cravings and the frustrating, annoying weight loss/regain cycle.  If you persist with patience and make adjustments to the foods you choose to eat, your body and brain truly do adapt.  It still amazes me that some days I go 16, 18, sometimes even 20 hours between my last meal of the day and my first meal the following day without any perceived effort or discomfort.

I’ve counted calories on and off since adopting to this way of eating and know that some days I eat way under my BMR and some days I easily go over.   It all balances out over the course of a week and thus maintaining my weight has felt effortless for the first time ever.

Dig Deep

My start with Intermittent Fasting unexpectedly gave me some new perspective about my relationship with food and all the reasons I eat that aren’t related to true hunger.  IF has been one of many stepping stones on my journey to leading the healthiest life I can live – both in body and mind.  I now find it much easier to enjoy food without all the preoccupation with The Next Meal – something I struggled with during my initial weight loss years ago.  Intermittent Fasting in conjunction with a lower carb/higher fat approach to eating has made it surprisingly easy for me to break mindless and emotional eating habits, have no interest in unhealthy foods that I use to find very tempting, to stop eating when I’m full and to find other things to turn to when I’m bored, stressed or in need of comfort.

I know that IF seems to go against everything we ever thought was true;  Going too long without eating screws up your metabolism.  Your body goes into starvation mode.  You lose muscle mass.  You’ll totally binge and go nuts if you go too long without eating.  If you’re intrigued but concerned about the safety of IF, do your homework and see for yourself that when Intermittent Fasting is done properly it can be very safe, as well as super effective at helping you reach your weight loss goals.

As always, please remember that I am not a trained medical or weight loss professional!  I’m just a random woman on the Internet writing about what works for me and what I’ve learned in my journey to achieving and maintaining my happy, healthy weight.  Intermittent Fasting has changed my life, I know it works well for many people and could potentially work well for you too.

Be sure check out an article on IF from the May 2013 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, “Lose Weight Fast?” (with a quote from yours truly!)

150 Responses

  • Bill says:

    I am a lifelong Faster. I have tried every variation there is (and a few that there aren’t!). That said, there is a system for everyone. I also was shocked when I started fasting and the hunger just disappeared. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anne says:

    I am absolutely hungry all the time! I get a headache, dizzy, faint and downright cantankerous eating small portions consistently throughout the day. Which is especially difficult to achieve if you work in retail. Stress induced digestive disorders and emotional eating certainly haven’t helped but this just might work. Only just heard about intermittent fasting and was a bit suspicious too. Upon reading your post though I feel a bit more reassured. Good to hear about the long term progress and benefits of IF for everyday people.

  • Pingback: Intermittent Fasting for Women - A Complete Guide

  • Ashley Rowe says:

    Fasting is a very interesting method of weight loss. I’ve tried it and it can work. However the dizziness and lack of energy can be a real let down.

  • Nyk says:

    Been on a cal modified eating plan for the last couple of weeks, stumbled across IF and started fasting last night at 8p and found that as of 3p today I am STILL not hungry. Working out in a fasted state, with pretty much just jump roping/HIIT. DEFINITELY can’t wait to see how this plays out. Thanks for sharing such great info!

  • Julia says:

    I’ve also noticed that having black tea with a little butter mixed in in the morning in lieu of “breakfast” helps me with the stress that IF can sometimes cause females. The fat keeps my body from thinking that its starving, so I don’t have any hormonal issues. I can’t go full paleo, and I wouldn’t want to. I have no grain sensitivities other than the fact that my love of bread showed… On my bum! And I’ve given up milk mostly because of all the extra sugar, but I still eat plenty of butter and fermented dairy like keifir (did I spell that right?). I do occasionally indulge in a hunk of baguette with some soft cheese, but that’s an occasional treat. Mostly my diet is meat and vegetables and fat. I have to do this because I’m very acne prone and if I add in too many carbs, I start to break out. Doesn’t matter if its skittles or a whole wheat bagel with schmear, a couple days of cheats mean weeks of annoying and ugly breakouts. I’m in my 20s and currently nursing a breakout I can trace back to a weekend bender that involved copious amounts of pizza and beer. Oh well… It was fun! I’ve known for years that carbs caused my acne, but its funny, I’ve only recently seen the medical profession get on board with that idea. I even saw a recent article on the CNN website I think!

    This blog has been very educational! Keep up the good work!

  • Bianca says:

    Thank you, this was perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Bianca. Xx

  • Caloric restriction or calorie restriction, is a dietary regimen that is based on low calorie intake. can be defined relative to the subject’s previous intake before intentionally restricting calories, or relative to an average person of similar body type. without malnutrition has been shown to work in a variety of species, among them yeast, fish, rodents and dogs to decelerate the biological aging process, resulting in longer maintenance of youthful health and an increase in both median and maximum lifespan.

  • Nyk says:

    Doesn’t having coffee with butter pretty much break the fast?

    • Technically, yes – but because there is no sugar or carbs in coffee with just fat, it has little to no effect on your blood sugar. As I understand it, no insulin needs to be released to bring your blood sugar back down and therefore metabolically speaking, it’s as if you are still in a fasted state. Please keep in mind that this is based on my own “internet research”, but from a weight loss perspective, I had no trouble losing weight with coffee and half and half, heavy whipping cream or coconut oil while practicing IF. In my experience, coffee makes it easier to go extra hours in the morning before officially breaking the fast with your first official meal of the day. Many people who practice IF still drink coffee (with or without cream) in the morning without issue.

      • Lulu says:

        Just reading this only just now. I just started IF (24 hrs), but still drink my bullet proof coffee first thing in the morning, so I’m glad to read what you wrote about butter not technically breaking the fasted state. I actually love doing 24 hr fast and have found that I tend to get full quickly when I do eat my meals.

  • Luciana Yamada says:

    Did you experience hormonal changes, missing periods and/or other negative effects?

  • Brodie says:

    Fantastic article. I got into Intermittent Fasting a few years back and it’s amazing. I’m in Italy at the moment and here it’s common to have a light breakfast, skip lunch and then not eat until around 10pm. So I’m glad I’ve been fasting on and off so I know if it’s been a few hours (or more) since I’ve eaten I know I’m not going to collapse of starvation! Thanks for all the great links, I’d heard of some of these blogs, but now I’m excited to read more!

  • BOOM says:

    I HAVE READ IN SOME ARTICLE THAT INTERMITTENT FASTING CAUSES SERIOUS EFFECTS TO WOMEN LIKE LOW INSULIN LEVEL, IRREGULAR PERIODS AND EVEN LEADS TO INFERTILITY. IS THAT TRUE?

  • Becky says:

    How do you speculate this would affect a woman who’s JUST become fully menopausal? I’ve needed to lose a LOT of weight for the last 10 years and this sounds much more intuitive to me and easier to tackle. Other than the occasional heat flush and some depression (which could be from so many other things), hormonal issues seem to have settled at least a year or so ago. Any feedback on IF for menopausal women? Thank you!

    • Hi Becky, I’m sorry to say that I don’t really have any feedback on IF and menopausal women, I don’t really know anything about this stage of life yet. If I come across anything I will come back and update this comment, and perhaps someone who sees this will comment with their own experience!

    • Sarah says:

      I am not sure what you mean by fully menopausal but I am post-menopausal (one year with no menses) and fasting is the only thing that works for me. I eat one meal a day plus one or two small protein snacks (a boiled egg, piece of turkey lunchmeat) if needed.

      I sleep better, the acid reflux is gone, and the weight is just melting off.

    • Dale says:

      Becky….I’ve went through menopause 8 years ago (without any symptoms)…started IF a week ago and have seen no changes in how I feel or my body is acting except for hunger pangs a couple of hours before it is time for me to eat. I’m doing 16/8. I don’t know how long it is suppose to take to see the changes I’ve read about but so far so good and this morning my jeans feel just a little less snug.

      • LuAnn says:

        I had a full hysterectomy about 8 years ago and struggled with my weight ever since. In March 2014 I started IF and 16/8 with low sugar and healthy carbs and the weight has been falling off. I am down 20 lbs. and this is the first eating plan that I have had no problem with. It works and I feel fantastic!

  • fran says:

    You know, fasting just never worked for me. I came back and gorged and was right back was I was before. I recently found that eating 6 small meals a day has worked best for me. I am still dropping pounds.

  • leena says:

    In islam we have optional fasting 2 days a week i.e, monday and thursday. Also we have one month complete fasting which is compulsory on every muslim. Though nowadays muslims make a mistake of overeating after the fasting hours (fasting from dawn to dusk), but if they did it the way the Prophet did it, they would never have to worry about obesity at all.. he proposed this 1400 years ago and finally people are getting back to where it all started..fasting has a lot of other health benefits other than weight loss.. you will be amazed if you just google it.. the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The child of Adam fills no vessel worse than his stomach. Sufficient for the child of Adam are a few morsels to keep his back straight. If he must eat more, then a third should be for his food, a third for his drink, and a third left for air.” HOW TRUE!

  • Denise D. McCleese says:

    i started IF yesterday. realized i had been doing it a long time i hardly EVER eat breakfast. my problem was eating late at night. now i am gonna stop at 8pm. my window will be 12noon- 8 pm. right for me. will keep u posted but this is wonderful. i knew fasting was the answer for me but couldnt do 24, 48 hour fasts. this is just right. will slowly drop somecarbs

  • Denise D. McCleese says:

    duHH ate two cookies after fast, now my ears ringing off hook as they do when to much sugar. Will drop and replace with healthy sub.

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  • mary says:

    I started 16/8 IF 3 months ago (I also do 24IF once or twice a week). I did not lose weight but I do feel great, better than ever. I sleep better, I have more energy, I can work out harder and best of all I am never hungry,.

  • Jason says:

    Great article – I loved it. So many people consider IF to be this whole “thing” or “mecca”. It really seems to be, at its most simple form, eating lunch and dinner without breakfast. Eliminating snacking and mindless eating is such a simple way to stay on the path to enhanced wellness and fitness.

    Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!
    -Jason

  • David says:

    I’ve been doing IF for some years now. I started with 22 – 24 hours once per week, but now I mostly do daily 16 hour fasts. I’m convinced of its many health benefits beyond simply losing weight. I think people make a mistake though by thinking you can eat whatever and however much you want in your eating window. You still need to stick mostly to healthy food choices to get the best results. And as you say if you go low carb a lot of the time (depending on your activity level) you can do even better.

  • Erinn says:

    I have been practicing a 16 hour fasts since May of last year. I’ve only shed a few pounds, but I have found if I am eating more non-healthy foods (holidays, vacations, etc) I can bounce back within just a few days by practicing – where it used to take me weeks to undo the damage.

    I exercise from 5-6 am 4-5 days a week. I have embraced working out in a fasted state and it’s going well. However, by about 8 am I am completely famished – stomach loudly growling nonstop (my time to eat is not until 10-11am). I would like to incorporate a coconut oil whipped coffee (1 tsp coconut oil, few drops of stevia and 2 Tablespoons liquid whipping cream and blend up in the Vitamix). None of these ingredients have any carbs or sugars….am I technically still in a fasted state?

    Thank you!

    • Hey Erinn, no and yes – “no” because if you are fasting, consuming calories means you are breaking your fast – but “yes”, you are still in a fasted stated from a metabolic standpoint (at least as I understand it based on my own reading and experience) because if you are consuming only fat with no carbs, it shouldn’t effect your blood sugar and therefore your body won’t release insulin. (Google “fat fast” for more details on this subject.) Again, this is my lay person understanding of the physiology of it all, but I’ve had good results with coconut oil coffee (or heavy whipping cream or a combo of both) and do find it quells hunger to allow me to go a little longer before officially breaking my fast. That said, if I’m really hungry, I EAT!

      Glad working out in a fasted state is working well for you, I too have found that you do adjust with some time and patience. If you are working out that early I would do a little research on the timing of your meals after work outs, it might be worthwhile to consider bumping up you’re eating window on the days you work out (or just some of those days) or lengthening your eating window as needed. Personally, my eating window and fasting length varies day to day – some days I’m hungrier, other days I’m not. I do try to fast for at least 14 hours, some days it’s 16, some days I can easily go to 20. IF can definitely give you some metabolic flexibility – and I try to stay flexible with it!

      This post on coconut oil coffee has some more info on this topic.

    • Denise says:

      Check out bulletproof coffee on youtube or google “Dave Asprey”.

  • Amber says:

    HI, just learning and starting IF. I did a 2 day 24 hour fast ( eatting only at 6pm each day) i ve been struggling to get this last 10lbs off. its so nice to see what all the other benefits are besides weight loss. I also see from alot of comments that low carb high protein good quality food is the way to go. Any other adivise from anyone?

    Thank you!!

    • David says:

      That about covers is Amber. But if you are very active or if you work out regularly you will need some carbs post workout. And it’s a good idea to have a high carb day once per week anyway. You can have a longer fasting period the day after this if you wish (assuming you do daily IF). Also to shift those extra few pounds some cardio will probably be necessary. Try HIIT a couple days per week followed by 15 mins jogging.

  • Karen says:

    I just started this IF its been 3 days of eating window of 11:30- 7:30pm usually I eat dinner by 6:30 nothing normally after 7pm, I thought it would be difficult but Im choosing to eat healthy foods, and my son is a Nutrition major 2 ns year he did this and he’s bulked up, Im doing it to lose weight I have to say the only complaint I have is a headache from not having coffee other than that I feel fine I have energy to work out and I eat lunch and dinner and Im full for the day! I will weigh in on week 3 and see what happens. I love this Im adapting…. :)

  • Stuart says:

    I liked the article alot. Thank you.
    I have been practicing IF since March last year. Not in the mentioned ‘Window’ sense. I followed the 5:2 diet. Though I modified it to a 3:2:2 diet. To stop that ‘binging’ after a fast day. I do 2 days complete fast, the days that follow a fast I am restricted to 1500 kcals, plus another at 1500. And two days I am diet free. A usual week for me is as follows:
    Mon: 1500kcals
    Tue: Fast
    Wed: 1500kcals
    Thu: Fast
    Fri: 1500kcals
    Sat: No restruction
    Sun: No restriction

    I must add, my fast days are completely food free. I only have water and black tea. And as a guide (using the above) I will have a healthy meal 10pm Monday night, and not eat again until 10am Wednesday morning. So, a 36 hour fast twice a week.
    I work long hours, so doing a work out is a bit out of my reach. So to compensate, I gave up the car for work. I work 2 miles away, and walk (now it is more like a march!) everyday to and from work.

    I must confess, when I started with this eating lifestyle (and it took some tweaking to get it right for me), I was very very overweight. But I have lost over 7 stone, with not much left to lose to take me out of the overweight category.

    I am intrigued as to the comparable health benefits between the two IF styles. Are longer, but fewer fasting periods more beneficial to long term health, or the option as explained above? Will be good to hear anyone’s insights on this.

    I will add, my way is not for everyone. It took some willpower (and still does a little) at the beginning. The one above does seem a little easier.

  • Tatiana says:

    I have started the intermittent fast about a month ago and switched it to higher gear about 10 days ago, I have some weight to lose so I have chosen alternate day fasting (500 calories on fast days and no more than 2000 calories on eating days). I am absolutely loving it. I am down 25 pounds, my energy is through the roof and I am sleeping so much better. I am working out on my fast days, to encourage burning of fat and find no issues at all. I have an omelet around 11am on fast days and don’t eat anything for the next 24 hours. I have very few hunger pangs, and my sugar cravings and desire to overeat is gone. I am making much better choices when eating. However, if I feel like I want something sweet or bread, I have it. It is so liberating not facing months of self-control and deprivation to lose weight. So far my experience has been nothing but positive. I will keep you posted.

  • Julia says:

    I have tried the fasting method before and let me tell you, its not a healthy choice. Certainly if your a mother, working woman, with history of diabetics. To factor in all the restriction you need to take into consideration. Us woman gotta starve out buts out to look good and maintain the figure, but as responsibilities increase so does the waistline. Tried working out in gym , but never had enough time..so i started looking into the program i saw on CNN in wolf blizters show. Now it is entirely my perspective , but this thing work..you try it out for yourself if you don’t trust me.

  • I just found this website, and I really appreciate the in depth description of your journey with IF. I just finished breastfeeding my second child and have REALLY been struggling with weight loss this time around. I do try and watch what I eat, and take in much more produce than I used to. I’ve tried calorie counting, and I totally suck at it. In an effort to find a healthy and sustainable approach to weight loss I came across references to IF. I did a 14 hour fast yesterday and it didn’t bother me a bit. I think I will give this a try, and be careful about what I eat during my eating window. Thank you for the post.

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  • Linda Gullett says:

    I found IF by accident about 4 weeks ago. I experimented with several methods and finally hit on the one that works for me – fasting after 6pm to noon or 1pm the next day. I have lost 14 pounds so far and have found I am not at all tired and sleep really well. And I am not hungry. I should mention that I watch my 18 month old granddaughter and transport and watch two older granddaughters. Last week, during Spring Break, I kept those three plus two little boys. On Friday, I realized that I had not been exhausted (as I had expected) or even tired. I will be 70 in November, so I’m no spring chicken, but I certainly feel like it. I have struggled with overweight all my adult life – losing 50 and gaining it back several times. This is a great way for me. I just wish I had found it 30 years ago.

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  • Olivia says:

    What about how it is always said that you need to eat protein within an hour of strength training to rebuild your mues not eating after working out not matter if you’re doing IF?

  • An excellent piece. A very thorough read indeed.

    I’ve been practicing IF for years myself and I must say that it is without a doubt the most effective way to strive off hunger. As-well as getting rid of the mental fog and lethargy that comes from other dieting approaches that are all about numerous meals through-out the day.

    When I fast, I’m focused, clear of mind, energetic and even if there’s a smidgen of hunger every now and again, it just reminds me that I’m alive, it’s not a craving, but rather a simple genetic reminder that eventually I should eat – and that’s fine, obviously.

    I tend to practice the 16:8 method the most thanks to Martin Berkhan’s leangains site info, but recently I’ve also been trying Brad Pilon’s approach. In fact, I’m trying to mix those two up. Do 16:8 about 5 days a week and then twice a day go for 24h fasts.

    I’m a competing amateur IFBB Men’s Physique athlete, so that adds a little extra spice to the mix. I need to go real low bodyfat and keep my strength and muscle mass up.

    For anyone interested in my journey, I’ve started a online blog about it. I’m also going to be writing articles and such on Intermittent Fasting as-well, so, check it out. :)

    Hunger Fitness

  • scarletrakoczy says:

    I can eat a lot in 8 hours, even 5. i don’t know how anybody can lose weight eating in an 8-hour window, especially perim- and post-menopausal women.

  • vicki says:

    Hi,

    Great read – thank you
    I have been doing a variation which is basically as follows

    fast day = 500 calories any time of day
    eat day = eat what you want
    repeat!

    It is working for me but as it is different to what you mention here I was wondering if you have any info on this type of fasting. Interested to hear your experience and learn form you.

    Thanks

  • Lynne says:

    It is not dangerous to fast. Where does it say that it is in the medical literature. Citations, please.

    I think people just freak out when their stomach growls.

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  • It’s hard to come by educated people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

  • Syabab says:

    Do you have any problem regarding menstrual cycle and pregnancy when doing intermittent fasting? It is said that fasting may cause irregular menstrual cycle and decrease women fertility

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  • Else says:

    Hi.During the 16 hours of fasting is it possible to have like a celery/ginger freshly squeezed juice or are we talking only tea/coffee/water? Pleased to hear.

  • BabySteps says:

    3rd day for me of IF….I have been on 1200 calorie diet off and on for a year and had lost 45,put back on 20 and in the past month lost 15 lbs. My latest “plan” is staying within 1200 calories. I have also incorporated eating a tablespoon of honey an hour before bedtime as mentioned in the hibernation diet book …..To make a long story short. I went to a potluck and ate everything in sight,finished the evening by buying candy bars a little boy was selling for school and ate those. Woke up the following morning sick as could be,raging headache,no urge to eat. After not eating for about 20 hours I felt much better and decided to do the same the following day. Felt great ,felt very little hunger. So day 3, I have decided this suits me well. So I will continue fasting for 16 hours ,eating for 8 hours,including my tablespoon of honey at the end of the 16 hours.I am a 56 year old woman,after a few days of this I have tons of energy. My goal is to take off another 30 lbs and become healthier as time goes by…Baby Steps I enjoyed your posts and found them to be informative ,thank you

  • Nick says:

    Actually the Intermittent Fasting Diet Works! I lost 37lbs in 2 months with it. This article is also right to point out the whole foods.

  • Katie says:

    starvation mode is a myth. If starvation mode is real that would solve world hunger problem.

    I’m 49 perimenopausal female. I’ve been on IF for one year now. In addition to feeling great I lost 14 pounds



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