Chapter 17: Intermittent fasting

Back in the 2007-08 period, intermittent fasting started gaining a lot of popularity thanks to a handful of people in the fitness-bodybuilding industry.

And sure, intermittent fasting has been around for a long time, but it’s only started to become mainstream in the last decade.

Since the early exposure, intermittent fasting slowly grew in popularity, and by 2013-14, everyone and their grandma knew about it. 
This eating protocol has been touted as a superior way for the average person to build muscle, lose fat, and maintain their weight loss over the long-term. IF has also been heavily marketed as a health-improving way of eating by some, namely Brad Pilon.

The Basic Idea Behind IF
Though many people consider it a diet, intermittent fasting is not one. It’s an eating pattern. In essence, IF doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.

So, why is IF something you would consider trying?

Most people try intermittent fasting with the goal of shedding excess fat because it’s extremely effective at doing just that. 

On a typical weight loss diet, you would eat in a normal 12-13 hour window each day. So far, so good. But, when calories are restricted, each meal is smaller and less satisfying. This often leads to hunger and relapses.

Now, with IF, your window of eating is smaller, and the same number of calories translate into fewer, bigger, and more satisfying meals.

Think of it this way:
If you’re eating a 2000-calorie diet to shed some fat, eating from morning until dinner would look something like this:

Meal 1 (breakfast) – 400 calories
Meal 2 (lunch) – 500 calories
Meal 3 (afternoon) – 500 calories
Meal 4 (dinner) – 400 calories
Meal 5 (before bed) – 200 calories

Some people do well with this style of eating, but most don’t. On intermittent fasting, a typical 6-8 hour eating window would look like this:

Meal 1 (lunch) – 800 calories
Meal 2 (afternoon) – 400 calories
Meal 3 (dinner) – 800 calories

Once you’ve adjusted to a smaller eating window, it would be much easier for you to eat fewer calories because each meal is bigger and more filling.

How to Start IF as a Beginner
Intermittent fasting works amazingly well because it’s convenient, fits most peoples’ schedules and requires very little behavioral change.
For example, if you work a typical 9-5 job and are used to eating breakfast around 7:30 am, start off slow:

Week 1 – postpone breakfast until 9:00 am
Week 2 – postpone breakfast until 10:30 am
Week 3 – postpone breakfast until 12:00 pm

If you want, you can do that more aggressively or jump straight into intermittent fasting, but keep in mind that you’ll probably feel very hungry for a week or two until your body adjusts to the new eating pattern.

You can strategically use coffee and green tea to blunt your appetite until lunch time and make fasting much easier. Once you’re used to eating from 12 to 8 pm, you can start pushing lunch later in the day and see if you like that better.