How to fast for fat loss tricks and tips for intermittent fasting
What is intermittent fasting.
This is being promoted as a magical strategy that has life extending effects. And the diet of the future, but the fact is we just simply don’t know if fasting has the degree of these properties and effects.
“I.F” as some of the crazy kids these days refer to it as is simply having a regimented slot of time where you eat all of your meals within a given day. It is simply refraining from eating food for longer periods of time than the normal status quo.
For example a fast may be 15 hours of one day, and you would eat your meals within the remain 9 hours. This can be used in any variation, even a 23-1. But that sounds kind of excruciating to keep long term.
It is a cyclical pattern of going from fasted states in the body to fed states in the body.
Caloric restriction has consistently shown to have life preserving and extending effects. Decades of research implicitly shows that sustained under consumption of daily calorie intake (under 80% of normal) has large health benefits.
How’s simply eating less food help us live longer? Well everything we do causes damage through oxidative stress. Take a deep breath, that causes oxidative damage, the same goes with the food we ingest. If you limit the oxidative stress from food by omitting portions that otherwise you’d eat you would have less oxidative stress and cause less damage, making you live longer.
But calorie restriction isn’t practical for most people. So intermittent fasting is thought to capture and possibly mimic the same adaptive and antiaging responses the body produces during calorie restriction. If you have caloric restriction alongside intermittent fasting then it could be plausible that you will get these life extending properties, but the verdict is just simply still out on fasting for the long term.
Why would people do this? Isnt this just another fad? While we don’t know if it has life extending results it does trigger responses that DO help us.
While we don’t know the long term results. It can bring your body to a present state of health. Fasting does promote a physiological procedure called autophagy.
It also has shown to counteract degrading aspects of aging. This plays an integral part in muscle mass maintenance. Autophagy is the way your cells “clean house” and “recycle the trash”.
This is the similar effect with calorie restriction aging effects.
Fasting gives the cells of your body a chance to sort of bring themselves back to zero. It allows itself to rid itself of harmful substances.
More on autophogy here
It also has been shown to reduce oxidative damage, we don’t know for the long term but short term studies show a reduction and promotion of these:
But even if we are not definitively sure that it has total life extension benefits it has promising results for the short term.
There are contemporary studies that do show the beneficial effects of fasting for short term gains. This is in regards to weight loss and blood panels.
A study in 2015 published by Oxford University Press had shown a lot of promising results
Alternate-day fasting trials of 3 to 12 weeks in duration appear to be effective at reducing body weight (≈3%-7%), body fat (≈3-5.5 kg), total cholesterol (≈10%-21%), and triglycerides (≈14%-42%) in normal-weight, overweight, and obese humans. Whole-day fasting trials lasting 12 to 24 weeks also reduce body weight (≈3%-9%) and body fat, and favorably improve blood lipids (≈5%-20% reduction in total cholesterol and ≈17%-50% reduction in triglycerides).
These results could be the repercussions of many things. Simply altering your eating habits making you more aware of what you are ingesting. Also it could be by being limited to a time window it could be allowing individuals to make better choices, eat less, and move around more.
Now saying this doesn’t diminish the valuable results these people received. If using fasting as tool of simply allowing more awareness of an individual’s food intake, then it should be promoted as a viable option for enhancing health.
Is it unhealthy?
This is becoming more and more prominent strategy in the news and sworn by experts that this may be the new dietary future. When first hearing about it, it sounds unhealthy, it sounds like it would stint all of your progress in building muscle or losing weight, but it is actually helping us understand even more and more about the metabolism of people. With this trend becoming mainstream people may be embellishing the positive attributes of this type of eating pattern but it is also illuminating other myths.
Myths such as eating every two hours to stoke the metabolic fire. Keep eating to keep your metabolism high. More on this in an article here.
While it isn’t proven magical just yet it does have a lot of pros within its connection to weight loss.
“I just couldn’t do it, I have to have breakfast”
Technically all of us are fasting everyday it is just to which degree we are fasting. When you sleep that is a whole fast. Hence break-fast. Most who do it just enjoy their breakfast, just later around lunchtime.
While the results are still inconclusive due to other aspects of the science. One thing for certain is that intermittent fasting can help people dieting. This is because it allows them to control their calorie intake much easier. It is an effective tool to evade overeating and discourage grazing.
Can intermittent fasting cause an individual to lose muscle?
This type of diet sounds like it would wreak havoc on your metabolism, stripping your skeleton of your hard earned muscle you’ve been building. But actually this isn’t the case.
The frequency in which people eat doesn’t play a significant role.
But the overall amount within a given day, does play a significant role.
How does the body not use its muscle for energy?
To begin with your body is predominately using glucose, or blood sugar, for energy.
You can get this much needed glucose by eating carbohydrates.
Your body can also create glucose from glycogen. This glycogen is stored in our muscles as well as our livers.
Another way our bodies can create glucose is by breaking down the amino acids found in our muscles and livers. This is called Gluconeogenesis
But for muscle to be broken down for energy some studies show it actually takes around 72 hours!
Skipping breakfast doesn’t sound that bad now does it.
Other studies show that gluconeogenesis doesn’t take THAT long to occur but if you keep your fasting under 20 hours, you will not incur muscle loss
By no doubt fasting for too long with little protein will create tissue breakdown
But as long as you do not intermittent fast for over 72 hours with little protein, you will be fine. Not just to sniper shot one article to prove a point, here is an additional study shows that muscle was not in decline until 60 hours
It also has been shown to have cognitive benefits.
In this ted x video a neuroscientist, Mark Mattson explains, “Challenges to your brain – whether it’s intermittent fasting, vigorous exercise or what we’re doing now – are cognitive challenges. When this happens neural circuits are activated, levels of neurotrophic factors such as BDNF increase, that promotes the growth of the neurons, the formation and strengthening of synapses.”
This could be possible
And in one study in particular comparing calorie restriction to intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting increased the resilience of neurons, suggesting distinct neuroprotective effects of intermittent fasting.
The next few years will be very exciting for all of the new information on cognitive health and the aversion of the declining mind. For now it is just to be continued until we have definitive evidence on the matter.
Is intermittent fasting better than traditional dieting?
From a scientific standpoint, with contemporary information, it doesn’t show any more beneficial effects in weight loss than regular energy restriction dieting when both sets eat in a calorie deficit. But from a tactical standpoint it makes a lot of difference for a portion of individuals. Intermitting your meal times will discourage from overeating. It simply doesn’t let people mess up their diet or weight loss goals because they have less time to do so.
It also allows for bigger sized meals, which volume of meals plays an enormous role in hunger and cravings. Check out an article on cravings here.
But if you add training it HAS been shown to help you lose fat faster.
When training fasted, when insulin levels are at their lowest, does show that body fat is the primary source of energy.
Training while fasted increases fat oxidation     exponentially better because the body’s main source of energy, as stated above, glucose is not available.
But it also can increase muscle breakdown rates, inhibiting the repair of your muscles. So fasted training is optimal for losing fat faster, but not very optimal to lift heavy weight and have AS intense workouts for the long term. Especially if you are having many training sessions each and everyday. With this information you can find a few tactics. If you are mainly concerned with fat loss you can use this to your advantage. If you are training for strength and fat loss isn’t a main objective then training fed is more prudent.
What should you do?
“What gets measured, gets managed”
Actually see if you respond well to this type of strategy. If you don’t like it you’ve only lost a few breakfasts in the morning and gained the knowledge of intermittent fasting doesn’t suit me. Whatever works the best for your goals is optimally the best strategy. Everyone is different and it ultimately comes down to what you can actually sustain. But if you do want to lose fat faster intermittent fasting coinciding with training looks to be more optimal. What is crucial is the TOTAL you get within each 24-hour period! If you skip breakfast or have one the total amount of calories is what matters.
Realistically it isn’t a phenomenon if you skip breakfast you will become chiseled or toned. But it may help you get there a bit faster. What is required is hard work and programming.
there is no permanency to this approach, you can always just try it. If you have 4-6 weeks before you are going on vacation or know ahead of time about an outing where you want to lose extra fat, try training before you eat. You will see significant differences in your composition. It’s not what have you got to lose, its if you’ve got fat to lose.
If you want to get started on training, learning more about dieting, and nutrition check out our programs!