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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Written by Nadine Bahlke

October 22, 2018

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In the most basic sense, intermittent fasting is skipping certain meals/not eating at certain times of the day. If you pick up a fitness magazine, it probably tells you to stop eating after a certain time.

This is intermittent fasting.

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The most common way to use intermittent fasting is to eat your meals in an 8 hour time span and leave 16 hours of the day where you do not eat. Some people choose to have fasting days through the week, but I wouldn’t recommend this.

For example: you decided that skipping breakfast is your easiest option because you’re always rushing to work anyway. Maybe a convenient eating window for you is from 11 am to 7 pm every day. You may have a small snack, a normal sized or SLIGHTLY larger lunch and dinner, and that’s it for the day. 

How does it work?

I’d like you to remember this nifty equation:

Energy Balance = Calories Eaten - Calories Burned

If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight, and if you burn more calories than you eat you lose weight.  Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you’re eating necessarily, just at what time you’re eating. If you’re trying to lose weight, eating during a smaller time window means you can eat two larger, more filling meals because you saved the calories instead of spreading them through the day.

Will it slow my metabolism?

Nope! You’ve read somewhere that you need to eat 6 small meals a day to “keep your metabolism up”. Well that’s not true. This idea was based on the fact that your body has to burn calories to process the food you eat (aka the thermic effect of food) so you should eat frequently so you’re always burning calories. Nope. You’ll burn the same amount of calories processing 80g of protein whether you eat it in one sitting or six, but you may not feel as full if you spread it out.

Should I try it?

If it fits your lifestyle/schedule, it’s a time saver and it’ll stop you from going for late night snacks. If you work odd hours, have a tendency to binge eat, or find yourself getting cranky (read: hangry) maybe this isn’t for you. Remember, everyone is different and there is no ideal diet for everyone! Curious about what foods to include if you decide to give this a shot? Check out the  Serious Guide to Nutrition

Download the Serious Guide to Nutrition