I have read a lot about intermittent fasting and I have tried it a few times, but I am still a little skeptical about it. Obviously if I skip meals and don't make up the calories elsewhere I will lose weight. Is there really an additional benefit I can gain just by not eating for 14 hours? That doesn't seem like a lot of time; it's equivalent to having dinner at 6:30 and having breakfast the next day at 8:30. That's not exactly mind-blowing stuff.
Is the aforementioned 14 hour "fast" really superior to, say, skipping lunch. If I skip lunch it could be only 10 hours (from breakfast at 8:30 to dinner at 6:30), but I'm more active during those hours than I am between dinner and breakfast during the 14 hour fast.
When I'm fasting, should it feel like I'm starving? 14 hours may not be enough to get that hungry - should I wait 18, 20, or 24 hours so that my body is telling me it really wants food? What are the body queues I should listen for to know I'm doing it right?
Part of it can be thought of like exercise for your liver. In people who eat every 3 hrs, their ability to redulate blood sugar (via gluconeogenesis) can be pretty bad, and that's why they turn into lunatics if they can't get food constantly.
With IFing, your ability to burn fat and make blood sugar should be improved.
Your liver should be the regulator of blood sugar, not the pancreas which is constantly working to lower our blood sugar.
I agree with josh; I don't think weight loss is/should be the point of fasting. If you aren't succeeding with weight loss without fasting you're likely to adapt to fasting and not achieve sustained loss that way either. If you ARE ready to lose, then fasting may allow you to have at least some days when you can eat more generously and still lose fat overall.
For me, it's not just about fasting--it's about random variation. Many days I eat moderately and I happen to feel best if I eat one main meal. If you do best with 2, why not? Some days I decide not to eat at all and it's challenging but I also find it generates sharp mental focus and high energy. When I do eat finally, it is an amazing experience--my senses seem more vivid and everything tastes WONDERFUL. I've found I don't eat a larger meal than usual, I just enjoy the food more.
Along with the moderate days and the fasting days I have a few feasting days. My experience has been that eating an unusually large meal will produce positive status the next day as long as it's good food (junk will just cause physical mayhem.)
Why bother with random variation? I have never had such a friendly relationship with my body as I do now. Hunger is no longer something to be vulnerable to; it's just another sensation that can be ignored until it's convenient to respond. I've learned I have a calm mode, an alert mode and also an "unleashed" mode that only surfaces at 24-30 hours of fasting.
I think you are all coming at IF from the wrong point of view - its not a diet, which is designed to make you loose weight, although obviously this will occur if your calorie intake drops because of this approach. The point of IF is to gain the health benefits of an altered metabolism (increased insulin sensitivity and a better lipid profile), as well as increased autophagy (clearing out the dead cells in your body), which hopefully will lead to increased energy levels all the time, lowered morbidity and hopefully a longer life. Thats just my take on it anyway....
I've been doing IF for over a year. 16 hrs fasting, 8 hours eating window, 7 days a week.
I consistently lost some weight although I made no adjustments to my diet for the first 7 months (the original and main reason to go IF). LeanGains improved the pace further. Paleo did not, but I suspect it was because I was eating too much (I count calories now).
I still get hungry in the last four hours of my fast every once in a while. My tolerance to hunger has always been high (poor appetite) so it doesn't bother me at all.
My problem has been waking up at 3-4am starving hungry with my heart beating out of my chest. I used to me a slave to meals every 3 hrs. Since going VLC paleo, I can eat at 9-3-9 and stay functional though hungry for 6 hrs. I keep a schedule. My night hunger is 90% better, but still wake up with a higher heart rate once per night @3-4am, just not feeling hungry and can actually go back to sleep. BUT, if I try fasting at all, I wake up STARVING and can't sleep anymore. Miserable. I'd love to do IFing, but can't seem to escape this problem. Best I can do is eat at 8-9am, then have a HUGE meat feast at 5pm, then I'm fine till 9 the next morning.
I like what Rob said, IF can aid in weight loss or fat loss but it's main purpose should be to increase health through autophagy and to increase ketones, metabolism, etc. I have been doing it about 5 days a week for 6 weeks now, and I am losing inches and feeling great! I am also doing the bulletproof paleo diet and drinking bulletproof coffee in the morning. I wrote a blog post about my experience starting the IF and paleo diet here: http://bulletproofcoffee.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/starting-the-bulletproof-diet-and-bullet-proof-coffee-w-intermittent-fasting/
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