The best way to do intermittent fasting (IF) is whatever way works for you. Everyone is different and intermittent fasting, by definition, is not a rigid plan.
Personally, it works best for me to fast 19 - 22 hours per day and just eat one large meal per day.
My wife, however, can't go that long between meals and will eat two smaller meals per day at random times: some days she'll eat breakfast and a late lunch, other days she'll eat brunch and dinner, etc.
Other individuals I know will feast well for a day and then go without food for 24 or 48 hours and then repeat the process.
The best option may, in fact, be a melding of all three options with some randomization involved.
For me IF is just convenience. Don't feel like cooking today? Then don't. Forgot to pack lunch? No sweat. Want to sleep another half hour or so? Skip breakfast. Very convenient indeed. Never actually plan to do it.
I'm just starting IF. Right now, I always incorporate sleep time in my fast. That gives me a 7 or 8 hour "head start." If I skip breakfast, I'm already up to 16 to 18 hours of fasting. If I ever go beyond 24 hr., I'll include 2 nites of sleep time in my fast.
IF works best with a dash of chaos. Avoid repeated patterns of eating and non-eating. Fest and famine were not menu items to choose from but to live around. The best feature of IF, besides improved health, is the freedom from living to eat on the clock. Missing a meal is healthy. Learn to fill your body with nothing to eat.
My fasting approach would have to be consider more of a regimented fasting than intermittent. I do a carbohydrate re-feed every Friday followed by a 24-32 hour fast every Saturday. I understand that there are a variety of physiological benefits but for me the psychological benefits are the most valuable. I NEVER allowed myself to get hungry in the past. I would eat whenever I wasn't full anymore and the result was a bodyweight of 387.5 LBS. Fasting has helped me to identify what true hunger is vs. simply craving food. Understanding hunger has allowed me to lose 30+ LBS in less than 7 weeks so far.
Go ahead, give it a try!
I prefer to do a large breakfast of eggs and/or meat and broccoli, and then skip lunch and dinner that day. Sometimes I do this several days in a row.
I drink a lot of fluids, mostly teeccino, all day, so I stay well hydrated.
It was hard at first, but I persevered, and now I hardly get hungry at all. If I do, coconut oil kills the hunger, and stops sugar bingeing.
Now I'm much more in tune with what real hunger is, for intermittently fasting. It feels good.
I don't worry about it much, and if a nice dinner invitation turns up, I feel free to accept it, staying Paleo of course. It works out well that way.
Two simple and effective regimes are:
1) Daily fast (eat only during a 4-5 hour window every day, aka "Fast 5", related "The Warrior Diet") 2) Alternate-day fasting: alternate days of "don't eat before dinner" and "don't eat after dinner", which gets you about a 23-hour fast (dinner to dinner) every other day.
You can also do 500-800 cals every other day, but that requires calorie counting, I don't like that. I worry about daily fasting being a strain on the adrenals, so I do alternate-day. But I like daily fasting or semi-fasting (eat 0-200 cals before dinner every day) and find it pretty easy.
My IF story is this: I started a 9-5 job last year (boo!) and being away from my paleo kitchen, I decided not to eat while at work. I drink a few coffees with cream during the early part of the day, but only eat solid food between 6-11pm each weekday. Often a large meal first, then a smaller one towards bed. On the weekends, I relax this and eat breakfast anytime between after noon, and feel free to eat as much as I like until bedtime. The longer fasting time each day is nearly effortless for me, which I really enjoy. I do not weigh or measure any of my food.
I tried IF for about 6 weeks and didn't really have much success with it. I used a condensed eating window (4-8 hours, depending on the day but usually on the lower end of that). I am already relatively lean (8%-10% BF) and very active (CrossFit MetCons 5x per week with some additional strength work). I noticed that I didn't recover as well as when I was eating several smaller meals per day and that my performance improved, but not as quickly as it had before. I also noticed some undesirable changes in body comp (seem to have gotten a little chubbier) - though that's just from looking in the mirror so I can't be 100% certain that it's the case.
Has anyone had a similar experience? I'm pretty sold on the logic of IF, but I think I am going to try the "just eat foods that don't trigger an insulin response whenever you're hungry" method. Any other suggestions?
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