Intermittent Fasting for Beginners

Intermittent fasting for beginners is a hot topic at the moment. If you have been wondering how to lose weight during the winter season, or reading up on weight loss tips for winter, you must have come across at least a dozen links suggesting intermittent fasting by now. 

So, what’s the deal? The really simple explanation is that intermittent fasting is a weight management method that focuses less on what you eat, and more on when you eat. By restricting the time window during which they consume calories in a day, many people are able to lose weight without adhering to complicated diets or buying expensive dietary supplements. 

Which brings us swiftly to the two major benefits of intermittent fasting as a weight-loss tool: 

  1. It’s Free. You don’t need to pay anyone to give you advice, coach you through it, or draw up a plan. There are no mandatory powders, pills or other products involved. You don’t even need to download a Spotify playlist 😉 
  2. It’s Flexible. You can tailor your fed and fasting hours to suit your lifestyle. Your fed hours are those during which you eat, your fasting hours are those during which you don’t. Easy as pie. 

How Long Do You Fast During Intermittent Fasting? 

So, let’s talk about the duration of a fast. There are different ways to ‘do’ intermittent fasting. Some are rather extreme – i.e. Eat-Stop-Eat, meaning you eat nothing for 24h straight twice a week; or 5:2, which calls for eating 500 calories or less on two non-consecutive days a week, and normally for the rest. 

The third, less intense, option is the 16/8 method, which means that you have an 8-hour window a day during which you consume your calories, and 16 hours during which you fast. These time frames can be chosen to suit your lifestyle and go-to meal preferences. 

For instance, if you are naturally inclined to skip breakfast, as some people are, you could schedule your ‘fed’ hours from 12:00 until 20:00. On the other hand, if you get cranky if you don’t have breakfast before you start your day, you might consider a time window like 08:00 – 16:00. 

What Can You Consume During A Fast? 

You can consume water, black coffee, unsweetened tea, and no-calorie beverages during a fast without breaking it. However, it has to be said that the artificial sweeteners in no-calorie beverages are not a good idea if you wish to lay the foundation for a healthier lifestyle in general. 

Some people also choose to add MCT oil, ghee, or cream to their coffee during a fast. This works to a certain extent, because it won’t take your body out of ketosis. On the other hand, it will interrupt autophagy, which is another beneficial bodily process that occurs during a lengthy fast. 

Which brings us to the benefits of intermittent fasting, other than potential weight loss. 

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting (Other Than Weight Loss)

Intermittent fasting has been shown to have many beneficial effects, mostly due to the fact that it provides the body with a welcome rest from constant insulin production.

Here are a few benefits that you could enjoy if you choose to try intermittent fasting: 

  • Easier fat loss and muscle gain thanks to increased levels of human growth hormone. 
  • Improvements in terms of insulin sensitivity, which makes it easier for your body to use fat as fuel. 
  • Improved cellular repair boosted by autophagy – a process whereby cells repair themselves by digesting old, ‘broken’ proteins that build up inside of it. 
  • Clearer thinking and improved cognitive function thanks to the growth of new nerve cells and an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor. 

Can I Eat Whatever I Want During My ‘Fed’ Hours & Still Lose Weight? 

Sorry, the answer here is no. If you overeat during your fed hours your weight loss efforts are unlikely to be successful. The best way to go about things is to have two healthy meals and a small snack just before you enter your fasting hours.

Keep it simple by choosing healthy whole foods and eating from all the food groups, with a big emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables. A high-protein shake can’t hurt if you’re always on the go – Try Phyto Pro One Chocolate High-Protein Meal Replacement Shake to supplement your diet, what’s more, it’s perfectly suitable for vegans as well. If you are unsure about how many calories you need, and how to calculate it, a free tool like MyFitnessPal can be a great help. 

An Important Caveat

That’s all the ins and outs of intermittent fasting in a nutshell. It’s important to note that there are certain medical conditions that might exclude you from going this route. For instance, if you are diabetic, or prone to low blood sugar, or have a history of disordered eating, intermittent fasting may not be the right choice for you.

Even though we’ve done all our research, it’s up to you to do some of your own, and also to ensure that you’re free of any existing physical or mental health concerns that can make intermittent fasting a threat to your health. Listen intuitively to the signs and signals your body is giving you, and when in doubt, get the advice of a health practitioner.Intermittent fasting for beginners is a hot topic at the moment. If you have been wondering how to lose weight during the winter season, or reading up on weight loss tips for winter, you must have come across at least a dozen links suggesting intermittent fasting by now. 

So, what’s the deal? The really simple explanation is that intermittent fasting is a weight management method that focuses less on what you eat, and more on when you eat. By restricting the time window during which they consume calories in a day, many people are able to lose weight without adhering to complicated diets or buying expensive dietary supplements. 

Which brings us swiftly to the two major benefits of intermittent fasting as a weight-loss tool: 

  1. It’s Free. You don’t need to pay anyone to give you advice, coach you through it, or draw up a plan. There are no mandatory powders, pills or other products involved. You don’t even need to download a Spotify playlist 😉 

  2. It’s Flexible. You can tailor your fed and fasting hours to suit your lifestyle. Your fed hours are those during which you eat, your fasting hours are those during which you don’t. Easy as pie. 

How Long Do You Fast During Intermittent Fasting? 

So, let’s talk about the duration of a fast. There are different ways to ‘do’ intermittent fasting. Some are rather extreme – i.e. Eat-Stop-Eat, meaning you eat nothing for 24h straight twice a week; or 5:2, which calls for eating 500 calories or less on two non-consecutive days a week, and normally for the rest. 

The third, less intense, option is the 16/8 method, which means that you have an 8-hour window a day during which you consume your calories, and 16 hours during which you fast. These time frames can be chosen to suit your lifestyle and go-to meal preferences. 

For instance, if you are naturally inclined to skip breakfast, as some people are, you could schedule your ‘fed’ hours from 12:00 until 20:00. On the other hand, if you get cranky if you don’t have breakfast before you start your day, you might consider a time window like 08:00 – 16:00. 

What Can You Consume During A Fast? 

You can consume water, black coffee, unsweetened tea, and no-calorie beverages during a fast without breaking it. However, it has to be said that the artificial sweeteners in no-calorie beverages are not a good idea if you wish to lay the foundation for a healthier lifestyle in general. 

Some people also choose to add MCT oil, ghee, or cream to their coffee during a fast. This works to a certain extent, because it won’t take your body out of ketosis. On the other hand, it will interrupt autophagy, which is another beneficial bodily process that occurs during a lengthy fast. 

Which brings us to the benefits of intermittent fasting, other than potential weight loss. 

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting (Other Than Weight Loss)

Intermittent fasting has been shown to have many beneficial effects, mostly due to the fact that it provides the body with a welcome rest from constant insulin production.

Here are a few benefits that you could enjoy if you choose to try intermittent fasting: 

  • Easier fat loss and muscle gain thanks to increased levels of human growth hormone. 

  • Improvements in terms of insulin sensitivity, which makes it easier for your body to use fat as fuel. 

  • Improved cellular repair boosted by autophagy – a process whereby cells repair themselves by digesting old, ‘broken’ proteins that build up inside of it. 

  • Clearer thinking and improved cognitive function thanks to the growth of new nerve cells and an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor. 

Can I Eat Whatever I Want During My ‘Fed’ Hours & Still Lose Weight? 

Sorry, the answer here is no. If you overeat during your fed hours your weight loss efforts are unlikely to be successful. The best way to go about things is to have two healthy meals and a small snack just before you enter your fasting hours.

Keep it simple by choosing healthy whole foods and eating from all the food groups, with a big emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables. A high-protein shake can’t hurt if you’re always on the go – Try Phyto Pro One Chocolate High-Protein Meal Replacement Shake to supplement your diet, what’s more, it’s perfectly suitable for vegans as well. If you are unsure about how many calories you need, and how to calculate it, a free tool like MyFitnessPal can be a great help. 

An Important Caveat

That’s all the ins and outs of intermittent fasting in a nutshell. It’s important to note that there are certain medical conditions that might exclude you from going this route. For instance, if you are diabetic, or prone to low blood sugar, or have a history of disordered eating, intermittent fasting may not be the right choice for you.

Even though we’ve done all our research, it’s up to you to do some of your own, and also to ensure that you’re free of any existing physical or mental health concerns that can make intermittent fasting a threat to your health. Listen intuitively to the signs and signals your body is giving you, and when in doubt, get the advice of a health practitioner.

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