Intermittent fasting is not a diet with specific foods that are eaten or avoided. Instead, it’s a different way of eating – scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.
You’ve just eaten, and your body is digesting and absorbing for 3-5 hours afterwards. It’s very hard for your body to burn fat, because your insulin levels are high.
When your body isn’t processing your last meal or snack, it’s in the post-absorptive state. This lasts for 8-12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. In this state, your insulin levels are low so it’s much easier for your body to burn fat.
When you’re in the fasted state, your body can burn fat that it can’t access after you’ve eaten.
Note down the times of day that you eat. For most, it’s rare to leave more than 12 hours between your last meal at night and first meal in the morning. Therefore, it’s rare to be in a fasting state where you’re burning fat without any exercise involved.
The point of intermittent fasting is to get to that place where your body uses fat as fuel, and also to give your body a break. As many people start this way of eating, they lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat or the duration and intensity of exercise.
Ways to fast
You can choose to fast daily, where you eat for only 8 out of 24 hours, and fast for 16. Some people who don’t eat breakfast may be fasting without knowing it. You can also choose to fast for one or two days of the week. Most decide to try it out for a day or two and see how they feel.
What to eat
During the hours that you do eat (say if you decide to eat two meals instead of three), eat more calories during those meals. If you eat around 2000 calories a day, you can continue that, just in a shorter space of time. Do know that if you do choose to eat unhealthy foods, you may initially lose some fat, but may not get you to your goal weight.
Watch Lianne discuss the pros and cons of intermittent fasting with George Lagogianes on CP24 (February 9, 2018).