Intermittent fasting is just leaving a longer gap between when you stop eating and when you start again. For instance, you could have your first meal at 1 pm, another 1 during the afternoon (if you’re hungry), and then dinner at 7 or 8 pm. The typical start is a 16-hour fasting window, then an 8 hour fasting period.
In my experience, the timing doesn’t matter too much, so long as you’re leaving a minimum 16-hour window. I’ve had days where I’ve gone 18 or 20 hours between meals and experienced no severe hunger or performance drop.
Against the general consensus
It contradicts the general consensus of six small meals a day, but it may be a lot more natural and effective for humans. We are designed to function when we are hungry. The conventional thinking says that we need to eat breakfast early, to get our metabolisms revving, and then we need to keep eating regularly, to keep our energy levels consistent. The flipside to that is, digesting food takes energy.
We’re designed to function better when we are hungry
So think about how it was for our early ancestors. They probably didn’t go to the fridge to get something to eat. Most likely, they’d wait until they were hungry to go get something to eat. Which means they’d have to plan, chase, attack and kill something. That also explains why we get “hangry,” being a bit pissed off helps bring down woolly mammoths!
And then dragging the food home, and cooking and eating it. Huge amounts of calories, proteins and fats in one sitting, which is a more ketogenic strategy than the standard intermittent fasting. More info on that in a later blog post.
Nonetheless, that highlights the evolutionary (maybe) basis of hunger, performance and then a big feed.
You’re not a slave to food
One of the other big wins to this is you’re no longer a slave to food.
I spent much of my career as a professional fighter being very cognizant of what I was eating, how much and when, and I felt like if I didn’t eat properly I couldn’t perform properly. Now, I can fast for well over 16 hours, engage in exercise and perform just fine (and actually get a bigger endorphin hit).
Not having to eat regularly frees up time and mental resources. When you know you can go past lunch or all the way to dinner without having to eat, you can concentrate on whatever the job at hand is much better. You’re not worrying about where or when the next meal is coming from, about whether you’ve got the calories you need to function, etc etc.
Your body will burn fat for energy
As far as weight loss goes, because you haven’t eaten in a while, your body has no food stores to turn to for energy, and so will turn to fat to burn. This is especially true if you work out before your first meal of the day.
What that does is ramp up your body’s sensitivity to insulin. The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the less fat it’ll store.
It’ll turn back the clock
One of the other hormones that get ramped up with intermittent fasting is the human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is basically the fountain of youth. High HGH reduces body fat, increases muscle mass, builds & maintains the brain and other organs, makes skin look smoother, makes hair look healthier, and slows the ageing process. It’s good stuff.
A 24 hour fast boosts HGH by around 80%, and 16 hours looks to be around 40% (1).
Fasting boosts brainpower:
How to do it:
Very easy. Choose a 16-hour window when you won’t eat anything, and then an 8-hour window that you will eat. Bear in mind, this is a food fast, and not a water fast. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid junk, it’s not a magic fix.
The easiest advice to follow is to start with your proteins and veggies first, eat that until you’ve had enough, then eat your fats until you’re full of that, then finish with your carbs. Also, have a glass of water before you start eating.
During your fasting period, coffee and teas are fine, so long as you don’t add milk, sweetener or sugar.
Part two, how to supercharge your intermittent fasting to make your body even more effective at burning fat will follow in a week or two. Keep checking back, or subscribe to the Facebook page.