I always thought intermittent fasting was just another nutrition gimmick hitting the health and fitness industry. I was wrong.
I’ve been intermittent fasting since I picked up a book from a friend of mine, Adam Martin. The book is called Start Late Stay Light and gives a description of how and why Adam got into intermittent fasting, along with its benefits. After reading the book and listening to some of the interviews on his podcast, “How the Focaccia”, I decided to give intermittent fasting a try.
Intermittent fasting is a method of eating that can be combined with any diet.
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I never tried intermittent fasting for weight loss, but for that purpose, it’s also very beneficial. I tried intermittent fasting for the health benefits that I was continually reading and learning about. Some of those benefits were increased growth hormone, the removal of waste products, cellular repair processes and the association with extreme life longevity — living to well beyond 100, which trends predict will be possible within our lifetime.
Once I started diving into the world of intermittent fasting, I soon learned that there were several different types. I initially tasted intermittent fasting after getting sick. I rarely get sick but I caught a 24-hour bug from the rest of the family, which my body had fought for a few days until I compromised myself with lack of rest and sleep. I didn’t eat from a Wednesday night until a Friday morning. And to my surprise, I didn’t miss food at all. I realised I was eating way too much food, and so began my intermittent fasting journey.
The Different Types of Intermittent Fasting
- The 16/8 Method
After reading Adam’s book and listening to his podcast, it seemed that this was the most common method, and likely the easiest, so this is the method I naturally employed. This method involves reducing your eating window to an 8-hour period. You fast for the other 16-hours. You can do this at any time of the day but it’s certainly easiest when you back your fast onto nighttime. So it’s breakfast or dinner that you miss. I actually think it’s easiest to miss breakfast. I thought I would really struggle, but I was shocked at how easy it actually was. The hardest part comes at about 10am, but if you can keep yourself busy for another 2-hours, it’s not actually that hard.
- The 24-Hour Fast
I’ve seen these done as challenges in the fitness industry. Personal trainers create a group within their community and encourage one another through the process. When I was eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between, I found 24-hour fasts exceptionally difficult. However, once I started the 16/8 method, a 24-hour fast was really quite easy.
- Alternate Day Fasting
This is where you fast every second day. You eat one day and fast for the next. Ultimately, you’re only eating for half the week. As you can imagine, this has the potential to halve your caloric intake; but most people will gauge out on their eating days knowing they won’t get to eat the next day. It’s for this reason that most versions of the alternate day method also restrict the number of calories you consume on your eating days. This is a more extreme method and certainly not recommended for novice fasters.
- The Daylight Diet
This one reminds me of Ramadan. There are differences however. One being that Ramadan is only observed for one month of the year (the ninth month of the Muslim year). Another is that on the daylight diet, you can consume small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day. The main eating time on the daylight diet is at night when you feast within a 4-hour window. This diet is very similar to the Paleo diet in which you eat whole, unprocessed foods that resemble what is available in nature.
- The 5:2 Diet
The five and two day diet involves eating normally for five days per week and restricting your caloric intake for two. This doesn’t have to be two days in a row. You can split the days and restrict your calories on a Monday and Thursday for example. It’s important to note that you don’t completely fast on the two fasting days. You restrict your calories. This diet recommends that you restrict your calories to 500 for women and 600 for men on fasting days.
- A 3-Day Fast
A manager I once had told me about how he used to fast for 3 days straight. He didn’t do it every week but would do it regularly. He told me he used to feel awesome doing it and had heaps more energy than usual. This is a more advanced form of fasting and one that is not recommended for every week. But if fasting is something you want to do on a regular basis, this is a method you can build up to.
- The Lemon Cleanse Diet
As with the 3-day diet, this isn’t a true type of intermittent fasting because you don’t do it intermittently. But I wanted to add it because of the fasting element. The lemon cleanse diet, also known as the master cleanse diet, was popularised by Beyonce. It involves consuming nothing but a maple syrup, lemon juice and Cayenne pepper drink for ten days. My partner did this (I didn’t recommend it) and I joked that I spent the entire time walking behind her worried that she was going to collapse. She says she never felt hungry once but what she missed was the behaviour of eating.
People who do lemon cleanse diets and 3-day fasts, usually do them several times per year, which is why I’ve added them to this list.
I’ve only attempted the 16/8 method and 24-hour fast as types of intermittent fasting. I’ve seen incredible results from both, mostly with how little food I consume on a daily basis. I simply can’t eat as much food in one sitting as I used to. Although fasting is more about the health benefits than weight loss, I’m down from a regular 72-73kgs to 70.0kg, which I haven’t been since I was doing competitive sport in my early 20’s.
Intermittent fasting is a method of eating that can be combined with any diet. From the Blood Type Diet to the Keto Diet, over the next 5 articles I’ll explain the most intriguing and popular diets in the health and fitness industry today.
Question: Have you tried a method of intermittent fasting? If so, tell me about your experience. If you haven’t, what do you think about these methods of intermittent fasting from what I’ve described? Leave your questions and comments in the discussion section below.
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