It’s funny that I’m writing this article right now, because it wasn’t that long ago that I was asking myself the same question. What is the intermittent fasting diet anyway? I remember a good friend of mine texting me that she does intermittent fasting, and me, being a health nut for years, I just thought to myself, oh that’s nice…another fad diet. And I guess, when you look online for best ways to lose weight, you’ll find tons of information about intermittent fasting.
Well, I personally do intermittent fasting now…yes, I completely jumped on the bandwagon, and that’s coming from someone who absolutely hates bandwagons and following trends just cause it’s what everyone else is doing. But, the fact that I do intermittent fasting now is actually because I did enough research on it to make an educated decision.
Yeah, I was afraid to start, because for YEARS, I’ve been eating small meals 5 to 6 times a day. It’s been so ingrained in my head that it’s the only way to eat to have a good fat burning metabolism. But you wanna know what? Since I’ve started intermittent fasting, I’ve gotten into better shape than I can ever remember...well, since college anyway, and the funny thing is, my brain is WAY clearer, because with intermittent fasting, you don’t have to think about 5 to 6 meals you’re gonna eat, and stay within your calories. You just eat later in the day.
Okay, but what is the intermittent fasting diet? Stop writing and tell me now! Okay!
Intermittent Fasting Is NOT A Diet
So, first things first. Intermittent fasting is a method of eating that you can IMPLEMENT into your diet, whatever your diet is. But it is NOT a diet within itself. If you want me to name off a few “diets”, then here are a few you may be familiar with. Keto (another trendy rockstar word at least at the time of this writing). Another diet is Atkins (which to me is the same as Keto, just the retro version that didn’t explode exactly the same way). Paleo diet is another. Weight Watchers has their own diet. Low Fat diet is another diet. The GI diet is another. You can implement Intermittent Fasting with ANY of these.
It’s About WHEN You Eat – Not WHAT You Eat
Intermittent fasting has everything to do with WHEN you eat, not WHAT you eat. You simply go for a specific amount of time without eating throughout the day. That’s it. Some people fast for 4 to 6 hours after they wake up. That’s personally what I do. I actually wait even longer and just eat from 5pm til 1am, which seems to be the most popular version of the diet. It’s called the 16:8 method, and you eat during an 8 hour window, and fast for 16 hours. I work out about an hour before I’m about to eat too.
My good friend who does intermittent fasting combined with Keto has an even shorter window of eating. I’ve heard some people who follow intermittent fasting only give themselves 4 hours during the day to eat. There are many different methods, and I’m not an expert at it, BUT I do know that since I’ve started doing my OWN way, my body has leaned up and gotten toned in ways I haven’t seen in years…now that’s following my own specific calorie requirement for my own fitness goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, you can learn about your OWN personal calorie requirements here. But let’s get to the next point.
It Helps You Burn Fat & Build Lean Muscle
Fasting tends to be to be incredibly helpful when your goal is to decrease bodyfat and increase muscle. During your fasting period each day, your body is focused on burning pure fat. When you have your eating window, your body is growing and repairing. Now, if you don’t care about getting lean and defined, then really, intermittent fasting doesn’t have any huge benefit for you. But if you ARE interested in losing fat and getting defined, then it can be a game changer. When you do this
CORRECTLY, you will experience lean muscle grown while also stripping fat off your body. This is only possible though, when you have also implemented proper calories and protein intake, which you can read about here.
You Get To Eat A Lot More Of The Foods You Love
This is probably my absolute favorite part of intermittent fasting. See, my calorie requirements each day are 2100 (that’s cause I’m currently eating at maintenance calories), but my point is this. I don’t do low carb, low fat, or low anything. I just make sure to hit my protein goals for the day. I need to eat 114 grams of protein each day, which is easy to do with a scoop of protein or scrambled eggs, or any kind of lean meats really. I’ll explain to you really quickly how I break up my day of food.
A Day In My Intermittent Fasting Routine
I eat three meals a day, starting my first around 5pm and eating my last around 1am, as I’m passing out
My first one is always after my workout (on my workout days), and it’s an amazing protein shake, that honestly, I love so much, I even make it on days when I’m not working out. It’s just so good, but I also found a whey protein that doesn’t taste like chalk and I’m obsessed with it. So, I mix that with milk and fruit, and sometimes I’ll have a separate glass of V-8 (to get my veggies in for the day in case I miss them later – I’m obsessed with making sure I’m getting my nutrients for the day). Anyway, this protein shake meal is somewhere between 400 – 600 calories. It’s not always a protein shake. It could be a burger or whatever.
So, then a few hours later, I have dinner, and this is my FAVORITE part. See, because my calories are set at 2100 per day, and I’ve just eaten 500 calories for my first meal, I make my second meal about 1000 calories. And this is where you get to be the pig you were destined to be! Come on! Don’t deny it! You want McDonalds! You want Burger King and Taco Bell! But all kidding aside, I don’t normally go that route, cause calories from those restaurants aren’t the best, and you’re always starving afterwards, cause that food is so damn processed. But I WILL make a huge plate of french fries at home, a double cheeseburger, and whatever else I can think of to hit that 1000 calories. Sometimes it’ll be a really nice steak dinner with a baked potato or fries and veggies. Sometimes I need more food to hit that 1000 calories, so I’ll eat a couple of cookies or an ice cream bar, or whatever.
Now, I’m absolutely guilty of breaking those mainstream rules that say you should never eat before bed. In fact, they say you shouldn’t eat 4 hours before bed. Screw that! I eat my last meal IN bed right before I’m falling asleep. And since I’ve already eaten 1500 calories for the day, the last meal is 600 calories. If I’ve already hit my 114 grams of protein for the day, then this final meal can really be whatever I want. I’ve really been enjoying Kinder bars lately. I also love Snickers ice cream bars…but even eating just one of those, you’d still have to eat more to hit your calorie budget for the day. So I might make a small personal pizza, or an egg roll or quesadillas. It’s really up to you.
Final Thoughts On Intermittent Fasting
After reading my three meals for the day example, I know it may sound completely insane, especially if you’re a health nut and you’ve been following specific eating plans for years. I totally get it. I was really afraid to go this route cause it just didn’t make sense and went against everything I ever believed about nutrition and getting into shape. Now, I’m ALSO following a workout program that has taught me all of this stuff. But it’s inspired me so much cause of the changes I have seen in my own body in only 3 short months, I just had to write about this. If you are looking to lose weight, check out this article.
BTW, intermittent fasting is SO much easier than it may sound. If you’re afraid that you’ll be so hungry during those first 4 to 6 hours after waking up, coffee and sparkling water take away all hunger you’d be really surprised. And honestly, when your dinner comes, it’s amazing, cause you get to feast on pretty much all the foods you used to be restricted to eat thinking very much. This way of eating for me is so much easier than the 5 – 6 small meals per day, cause you’re not thinking of what to eat all day long, and dinner is simply amazing and more enjoyable than it ever was before.
I know this all sounds nuts to some people, especially when you look at my sample day of meals, but it’s done wonders for me. I learned it all from this amazing program here. Let me know if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. If you have any comments, I’d love to read them to know what you think! Thank you for reading!