How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
When you extend your overnight fast, a few things happen.
Stage One – A few hours after eating your last meal, your body begins to digest the food and absorb the nutrients it needs.
Your body breaks down the food, your blood sugar levels increase, and insulin is secreted.
Any extra glucose (sugar) which is not used immediately is stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen.
Your body then uses these stored carbohydrates (glycogen) as a source of energy.
During this stage, your hormone levels will also change.
Grehlin, the “hunger” hormone, will decrease.
Leptin, which suppresses your appetite, increases.
Stage Two – Your body has broken down the food and extracted the nutrients it needs.
Next, it begins to transition into the post-absorptive state.
Your blood sugar levels and insulin levels begin to decline.
Your body starts converting glycogen back into glucose to use for energy.
Once your body has depleted it’s glycogen stores, it will begin to use other sources of energy like stored body fat and protein.
It breaks down fat cells, through lipolysis and ketosis.
Fat burning starts after about 12 hours.
Stage Three – You are now in the fasted state.
Your body begins to produce ketone bodies.
This is the stage of your body entering into ketosis, a unique metabolic state where the primary source of energy is fat.
Spending time in the fasted state has been shown to boost energy reduce hunger and improve metabolic flexibility.
How to Start Intermittent Fasting
I created a 30 Day Reset.
Which teaches you a step-by-step system that will ease you into the process of fasting.
With none of the negative side effects, which can put people off.
If you are serious about starting intermittent fasting, my 30-Day Reset is the way to go.
Below, I summarise my top tips to start intermittent fasting:
1. Choose Your Preferred Fasting Method
There are a wide variety of different fasting methods.
Choose the fasting method that works best for your lifestyle.
A few popular intermittent fasting methods include:
16:8 – The 16 fasting method focuses on time-restrictive fasting, where you fast for 16 hours during the day and choose a fasting window of 8 hours.
People commonly choose a fasting window that begins after dinner and ends right before lunch, where you eat between 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
I would describe the 16:8 as intermediate. Some people might do well starting with it.
However, a lot of people are likely to experience negative side effects for a few days.
5:2 – The 5:2 method is a calorie-focused intermittent fasting method where you eat your recommended or target calories 5 days out of the week.
The other 2 days, you eat between 500-600 calories to put you in a greater calorie deficit and boost your weight loss.
People seem to lose weight in the short term using the 5:2, but it’s not sustainable.
2 Meal Day – The 2 Meal Day fasting method is a less complicated way to fast.
You drop a meal.
Either you skip breakfast, or you skip dinner.
This is the most intuitive way to start intermittent fasting, and it’s ideal for beginners.
2. Start Slow
There is no need to start intermittent fasting with an intense fasting window.
In fact, you can start reaping the benefits of intermittent fasting even if you start slowly.
Making small changes over time is a more sustainable way to create healthy habits that will likely last longer.
3. Be Flexible
Starting something new isn’t easy, especially when you’re teaching your body to be okay without meals for longer periods of time.
Perfection isn’t necessary and it’s unrealistic.
You don’t have to be religious with it.
Don’t be antisocial and restrictive, or make any of these fasting mistakes.
4. Stay Hydrated
The food we eat contains electrolytes, which help with hydration.
During your fasting window, no food or electrolytes are consumed, which makes hydration more difficult.
I suggest adding a pinch of salt to a glass of water to help with hydration.
Remember, it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, and it’s important to ensure you stay hydrated.
5. Be Prepared
If you are not thinking about your meals ahead of time, intermittent fasting can end up leading to binging and overconsumption.
You need to make sure that you have quality food to break your fast with.
That might mean preparing food and taking it to work with you.
Rather than suddenly feeling starving at 12 p.m. and buying the local meal deal – sandwiches and crisps.
Without a plan, you are more likely to go rogue and eat quick meals and snacks that put you over your calorie limits.
6. Up Your Protein
Protein is the most filling macronutrient.
It also helps to retain lean muscle when you are in a calorie deficit.
Protein will help you feel fuller for longer and keep your blood sugar levels stable, which is essential.
7. It’s just one tool
Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to lose weight, boost energy and reduce hunger.
But it is just one tool.
If you want to become the best version of yourself and achieve sustainable results, you also need other tools.
They could include – getting quality sleep, staying active, addressing limiting self-beliefs, adopting an anti-dieters mindset etc.
Intermittent fasting is a powerful way to lose weight and improve overall health.
If done in the right way, for the right reasons, there is no reason why it can’t become a sustainable way of life.
I have been helping people incorporate fasting for 10 years.
If you want my specific advice, check out my 30-Day Reset.