Fast, Feast, Repeat: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny® Intermittent Fastingby Gin Stephens
Intermittent fasting is a new eating approach to weight loss with lots of health benefits. Unlike the other approaches, this isn’t considered a diet. You won’t have to be restrictive and give up whole food groups forever, and you won’t have to skip social occasions and stop eating nice food! Intermittent fasting involves periods of not eating, which encourages biological changes in your body, so it burns existing fat for energy. Not only does this help you lose weight, but it can transform your overall health. It reduces inflammation, combats diabetes, helps you build muscle, gives you more energy, and improves mental clarity. Once you have adjusted to the lifestyle, you’ll never look back.
Keep It Clean
“When living an intermittent fasting lifestyle, the real magic happens during the clean fast.”
The clean fast is at the core of the intermittent fasting lifestyle. The purpose of fasting is to get your body to switch from using energy from food to using energy from stored fat cells. When your body does this, it breaks down fat cells and turns them into ketones, which it uses for energy. This is known as ketosis. Once this happens, you begin losing weight, and you will notice that fasting becomes much easier because you have plenty of energy.
However, you need to do two things for this process to happen; firstly, you must take away any food sources that provide energy because your body will always use these first. Secondly, you must stop your body from releasing insulin because insulin prevents your body from entering ketosis and burning stored fat cells in this way. Unfortunately, the body releases insulin whenever you taste something that suggests you may be eating.
For example, if you drink fruit-flavored water or a diet soda, you will release insulin, even if it has no calories. So, your fast will not work, and you will not get the benefits of intermittent fasting. A clean fast consists of only water, black tea, and black coffee. Insulin release does not occur with bitter flavors like coffee and tea, but it does when sweeteners, sugar, or milk are added. Learning to follow a strict fast clean is the most important thing when intermittent fasting.
Actions to take
The Easy Does It Approach
“We aren’t changing what we eat during the FAST Start, only when we eat.”
Sticking to intermittent fasting for the first 28 days is crucial, as it helps you ease into fasting and allows your body to adapt so it enters ketosis and you start using your stored fat cells. There are different ways to do this, but the most popular is the eating window approach. This involves only eating between certain hours each day, so you maintain a fast outside that window.
The window opens when you take your first bite of food or a non-clean fast beverage. It closes again when you stop eating, and then you open your window the next day. Over the course of 28 days, you gradually shrink the size of the window until you can eat within a six-hour window each day and fast for 18 hours. This approach also recommends eating some low-carb meals to help your body adjust faster.
Actions to take
The Steady Build Approach
“In this approach, you start off skipping breakfast on day 1, and BOOM! You’re doing it!”
This eating window approach is an intermediate version for people that want to get into it faster and reduce their eating window a bit more. You will start with an eight-hour window and reduce it to five hours by the end of the 28 days. There is no need to focus on low-carb meals here because you are fasting for longer.
Actions to take
The Rip off the Band-Aid Approach
“In this approach, you are maximizing your fasting time starting on day 1.”
The “rip off the band-aid” is the most drastic approach to intermittent fasting that throws you right in at the deep end. It may be harder to adjust to this schedule and stick with it because it doesn’t build up as gradually as the others. However, if you persevere with it, you will get into ketosis faster and start seeing results sooner. Here, you’ll start with a six-hour eating window right away and reduce it to four hours by the end of the month.
Actions to take
Alternate Day Fasting Protocols
“Dr. Mosley found that by restricting what he was eating on just two days of the week and eating “normally” on the other five days, he not only lost weight but also saw an improvement in various health markers.”
The eating window approach is not the only way to follow intermittent fasting. In fact, there was an alternate method that also became popular—the “alternate-day fasting protocol” or what we also know as the “up-and-down” approach. This involves eating normally on some days and then fasting on other days. You can do one day on, one day off, or even choose specific days to fast on!
One common way to do it is to normally eat for five days and then fast twice a week. Depending on your needs and preference, you can normally eat for four days and fast thrice a week or normally eat for six days and fast once a week.
At the end of the day, it’s all about what suits your lifestyle and the results you are looking for. There are two ways to manage your fasting days; you can do a full clean fast, which involves only drinking approved beverages, or you can eat a limited amount, only taking in 500 calories on those down days.
The most important rule here is to have a down day where you’re fasting schedule should always be followed by a day of normal eating. Fasting for two consecutive days will impact your energy levels and can slow your metabolism, making it difficult for you to lose weight.
Actions to take
Adjust and Adapt
“When we are fasting, our bodies are doing something different; they are learning how to tap into our stored fat. So, the results are pretty much the opposite. We do not have those spectacular and quick results. In fact, we frequently see our results begin to pick up slowly, and weight loss may increase as time goes on.”
Intermittent fasting is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle. In your first 28 days, you won’t necessarily see big results yet as your body is still adjusting, but if you do it consistently and rightfully, expect to see your desired results in no time.
Many people think intermittent fasting means simply eating whatever they like, but this isn’t strictly true. Even though it is not restrictive like most diet plans, you will still find it harder to lose weight if you eat lots of highly processed, unhealthy foods. Therefore you need to make several adjustments to your eating habits and learn to adapt to a healthier intermittent fasting plan, so you can maintain long-term health benefits.