My pocketbook guide to intermittent fasting is going to be a cheat sheet to intermittent fasting. This is going to be a short read so take notes.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that alternates between windows of eating and windows of fasting.
During your eating window you follow your diet like normal and during the fasting window you do not eat and only consume water or other low-calorie beverages such as coffee or tea.
You could look at this as skipping breakfast, but you can also be more strict and eat in a 6 or 4 hour feeding window.
How does Intermittent Fasting Work?
There are many benefits to intermittent fasting, but one benefit that I like is that since essentially you are skipping a meal, you get to have more food at the meals you do eat while also staying in a calorie deficit to lose weight!
Being in a fasted state invites your body to burn fat for fuel instead of burning readily available food sources if you eat all day. Your body prefers to burn carbs and sugars for energy so if you are in a fasted state, your body has to burn fat for energy.
This means if you work out or do cardio in a fasted state will essentially burn your bodyfat for energy. Your body burns up all of your sugar and glycogen during your fasted state so if you wake up and go train in a fasted state, your body is more inclined to burning fat for energy.
Why Intermittent Fasting?
Because it works
If you are confused about intermittent fasting, just think about skipping breakfast. How many calories do you eat during breakfast? If you were to skip this meal, you’ll be eating that many fewer calories a day. In the most simple terms, burning more calories than you consume will cause you to lose weight.
It’s a Simple Idea
Instead of having to worry about breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, you just have to worry about two meals. Since you don’t have to prepare in advance or worry about buying a 3 meals, you will be able to save time and money.
Questions and Answers
Isn’t fasting catabolic? There are studies available the show fasting is not going to burn muscle if you’re not eating 30g protein ever 2.5 hrs. The simple answer is no, it is not catabolic.
What about going into starvation mode? A popular myth that floats around is “If you don’t regularly eat, your metabolism slows down and stores all of the food you eat as if you were in a famine.” Studies show that it takes 60-96 hours of fasting to go into a slower metabolic rate.
Won’t my workouts suffer? No your workouts won’t suffer. You may have one or two workouts where you think since you don’t have food in your body you won’t be able to lift heavy. This is all in your head and your body will adapt to training in a fasted state. I’ve been training fasted for 2 years and I don’t see switching back anytime soon.
What if I feel hungry? We are creatures of habit and a lot of the hunger feeling you get is all in your head. Your body gets used to eating at certain times of the day and will start the process of digestion before you eat. After an adjustment period, your body will adapt to your intermittent fasting schedule. Stay tough.
Won’t I feel tired and groggy? There will be an adjustment period where your body won’t know what to do and you may feel tired and groggy. This is normal, and once your body has adapted to your schedule, you will notice a very strong ability to be alert and focus on what you need to.
What should I eat? You can eat whatever you want during your feeding window while intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is just consciously making a decision to skip meals. Eat whatever you like.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. In the most simple terms, intermittent fasting is just skipping a meal. You are making the choice to spend less time during the day eating, and more time not eating. Quit trying to make this a scientific equation.
Stay occupied. Staying occupied and up and moving will keep you from thinking about how hungry you are. How many times have you gotten busy and forgot to eat lunch? Same idea goes with this, if you stay busy you won’t be sitting there thinking about food or staring at the refrigerator.
If at first you don’t succeed… Try again. If you buckle and can’t handle the hunger or you slip and have to have a snack during your fasting window, it’s no big deal. Keep trying to hit your goals, you are going to get it.
If you have problems with blood sugar regulation, diabetes, or suffer from hypoglycemia, consult your doctor about intermittent fasting to see if it is something you can do.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a fad weight loss diet, it’s been studied and used by a lot of people with great success. If you have questions or comments, leave them below.
10 thoughts on “Cutty’s Pocketbook Guide to Intermittent Fasting”
My only question is how this affects insulin release and fat stores – the traditional thought is small meals minimize it so that you don’t get the extra calories of the larger meals stored as fat. Also do liver glycogen levels play any part in this equation?
From what I understand, you are more insulin sensitive when you first break your fast which will help you consume your food more efficiently, which will also help with weight loss and muscle building. I haven’t done a lot of scientific research into IF, I just know it works.
I’ve not had any cases where someone would eat many small meals a day and go to IF and 1 or two larger meals a day and automatically gain fat. I think it has a lot to do with calorie control and being able to control how much you eat.
The liver and muscle glycogen levels are depleted which will force your body to start burning fat as the main source of energy.
That’s what I’ve pulled from it, I know it works for me and the others I’ve had try it. I like IF and it’s actually nice and helps me focus more throughout the day than if I were to have the regular 5 small meals a day.
I have recently started IF and I have also signed up for my first Powerlifting meet, which is in 4 weeks time – so my question – should I add more meals or can I continue with the IF?
Don’t change anything and take the last week off or do really light work. Spend time recovering and you’ll be stronger than you realized.
Really curious to see what your thoughts are on IF and trying to bulk up. My thought has always been that by spacing out your calories throughout the day it increases the absorption rate of all those calories, so having bigger meals would lower it like in IF. On a bulk should I keep my caloric surplus and just get them all in or should I increase it further?
Many, many people around me that have no idea of nutrition tell me daily how IF is not healthy (when in reality it’s very healthy) and bulking vs cutting is still mostly calories in vs calories out and some macro adjustment. I can easily gain weight with IF and I am also losing weight on IF currently. Macros and caloric intake will determine whether it’s a weight gain or loss. The IF side is giving yourself that smaller window of eating. I currently run about a 21 hr non feed and 3 hr feeding window. I would recommend starting on a 16/8 and work from there. It takes a couple of weeks to get used to not eating frequently and there will be some lethargy but eating plenty of nutritious foods when you do eat and keeping the sugary soda/drink intake to a minimum will show marked changes in how you feel.
How many days per week do you do IF?
It’s a way of life, not something I only choose to do on certain days. You’ll get super hungry and your body never really will adjust to fasting if you aren’t somewhat consistent with your timing. (within an hour)
Thank you. I only asked because i read some people only IF a couple of days per week. I actually prefer to be consistent.
You’ll benefit from this if you stay consistent every day of the week within reason.