Fasting can provide significant health benefits and can be an effective way to lose weight if you do it right. Here are some tips for doing intermittent fasting correctly and safely.
Nowadays, the temptation of gourmet food is everywhere, and losing weight has almost become an impossible task.
Before you give up on weight loss, try a ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting. These two slimming methods have recently become more popular and have benefited millions of people around the world.
However, don’t just listen to all the buzz about fasting. It is best to experience it yourself by setting a schedule and goal to see if the effect is as magical as advertised.
This article focuses on intermittent fasting. After reading, you will learn how to gradually adapt your body to hunger and safely transition to fat burning. In the end, you may become completely accustomed to and fall in love with this new way of eating, which can also improve your overall health.
The first thing to know is that you can’t rush your success. Any change in life or eating habits undergoes a period of adaptation.
In addition, fasting is not suitable for everyone. If you have a chronic organic disease, please refer to your doctor for treatment. It is always a good idea to consult a medical professional when making any change to your diet.
One of the reasons I like intermittent fasting is its convenience. You get to choose the right time to eat without being restricted by time, place, and diet.
Whether you like to eat meat or you are a vegetarian, intermittent fasting can help you reach your weight loss goals while increasing your metabolism.
Let’s see how to do it.
To achieve this goal, you must learn how to control and regulate your hunger and stop being a slave to food.
How to correctly perform intermittent fasting from scratch
1. Weeks 1-2: Adaptation period.
If you are completely unfamiliar with intermittent fasting or have never tried it, it is suggested you start with “time-limited eating”.
Time-limited means that you give yourself a window period, during which you can eat. However, you cannot eat anything outside the time window.
The simplest and easiest start time period is 12 hours. For example: 7 am to 7 pm, 8 am to 8 pm, 9 am to 9 pm…
Plan your start time according to your daily routine or work schedule, building in some time to adjust to your new eating plan.
You can eat during this time frame. Outside the time window is for fasting. Remember, fasting includes all calorie-containing foods or drinks, such as coffee, sugary drinks, nuts, etc.
During the first 14 days, your body will gradually adapt to the slight hunger pains you may be experiencing with your initial fasting routine.
Interestingly however, it is not that you are really hungry, but that your brain has been so addicted to food for a long time, it is conditioned to send a message for you to eat. Foods like sweets and carbohydrate diets are more likely to cause the cravings of the body and brain.
During this period, your body is quietly undergoing changes. The most obvious is that blood sugar levels begin to stabilize and insulin sensitivity begins to gradually recover. It is important not to get discouraged during this initial phase.
2. Weeks 3-4: Control your diet before going to bed.
Once you have mastered the rhythm of restricting eating and your body has adapted to the new eating windows, you have successfully taken the first step.
The next step is to coordinate your diet so that you can stop eating within three hours before going to bed. This may mean a shift in your time window if you were eating too close to bedtime.
The reason for this is mainly to empty your stomach to ensure a healthy sleep and wake cycle, which we call “circadian rhythm.”
Good sleep and a good circadian rhythm is crucial for weight loss. Going to bed with a full stomach can disrupt your sleep, hurting your weight loss efforts.
Frequently staying up late or having a general lack of sleep can cause hormonal disorders and increase the level of ghrelin in the body which can make you eat a lot even at night.
When you eat late at night, your liver, intestines, and fat cells become stirred. Then your body becomes more active in converting glucose into fat for storage.
At the same time, your brain is experiencing another reaction: Hey, it’s dark outside, it’s time for bed!
These two different reactions can aggravate metabolic disorders.
In order to keep the circadian rhythm of the brain and body organs in line, it is best to stop eating three hours before going to bed. Allow your stomach and intestines time to digest and empty.
3. Weeks 5-6: Shorten your eating time to 8-9 hours.
Up to now, if you have been following the instructions in weeks 1-4, your body should have adapted to this new way of eating. Now, your brain won’t be thinking about eating anytime and anywhere like before.
Then continue to accept the challenge and extend the fasting time appropriately. In other words, shorten the time period for eating from 12 hours to 8-9 hours.
During these two weeks, your main task is to gradually adapt and master longer fasting.
Starting with the 16th hour of fasting, your body activates the autophagy mechanism. Blood ketone levels will rise significantly, and fat burning will now officially start.
With this process, you may now see significant weight loss. In addition, other health problems caused by your obesity may also gradually improve.
Intermittent fasting may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, among others. For example, a study showed that no matter what your eating habits, moderate fasting every day can reduce the recurrence rate of breast cancer by 40%. [*]
Even with an unchanged diet, fasting could have these positive results, showing how much of an impact it has on health.
4. Weeks 7-11: Continue to extend the fasting time as long as things feel good. Pay attention to your body.
By using intermittent fasting to lose weight for 6 weeks, you should have experienced very obvious weight loss. Now, if you want, you can try to shorten the eating time again. This time, your body may not be as sensitive as it was at the beginning.
In my own experience, the first week or two is the most difficult, because the brain and body are still conditioned to the old eating time and habits, unable to get rid of the attachment to food.
However, beginning with the fourth week, this feeling gradually subsided. Almost two months later, there were basically no strong hunger pains anymore.
Therefore, my approach is to not eat when I’m not hungry and only eat within the time windows. Another benefit is that I can spend more time on work and study, while unknowingly extending my fasting period, not only lose weight, but also improve efficiency.
In these last few weeks, your goal is OMAD (One Meal A Day), which means fasting for 24 hours.
Gradually extending the fasting time can increase the body’s tolerance until you can tolerate not eating for a day.
Eat only one meal throughout the day, which can be either breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any time of the day. The when is your choice.
This meal is the source of all your calories throughout the day, so please make sure it is a quality meal.
It is best to have a ketogenic or low-carb diet. This diet contains high-quality fat and protein with a low carbohydrate intake which will keep your blood sugar from rising. At the same time, it can increase the feeling of fullness and make your fasting better, making it easier to push on.
What needs to be understood is that during this period you will have obvious hunger. However, this feeling is like a wave and should subside in time.
When you feel hungry you can drink plenty of water or concentrate on other things so you won’t pay too much attention to the hunger pains. The hunger should pass quickly.
The biggest benefit of one meal a day is that it can significantly increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels, while reducing triglycerides and weight.
If you can’t eat only one meal a day, it’s okay. You can fast according to your work and life rules and maintain a time window that works for you.
With my routine, I fast for 24 hours every weekend, which means one meal a day. This is because many weekends we usually go out for a buffet. With this meal, I am free to choose healthier vegetables, protein and meat to fill my stomach. Then, I stop eating until I have another meal 24 hours later.
At other times of the week, I will choose 16/8 hours, or 18/6 hours to fast. In adjusting my time window according to my needs and schedule, I still get a good weight loss result.
5. Week 12: Fasting for 72 hours or longer.
The most people can usually fast for is for 24 hours. However, more experienced people, sometimes try a longer fast. However, this is pretty extreme.
The most common prolonged fast is a 36-72 hour fast. I once tried going without eating for 38 hours and I lost two pounds. In my opinion, fasting is a good weapon to break the weight loss plateau.
Having said that, once you have experienced three months of intermittent fasting to lose weight, you should see tangible results, while also improving your health.
If you try this diet, some may not be able to adapt to it, especially at first. Hang in there. I was like that in the beginning too. However, now I have fully adapted and I am used to intermittent fasting. I now enjoy all the benefits it brings to me.
My weight is still declining, my mood is more stable, my energy is more energetic and my work efficiency is higher. These are experiences I have never accomplished in the past few decades, using other diets.
Finally, light fasting has yet another advantage—saving money. Haha! Think about it. When you were eating all the time, how much was that costing you? Now you don’t have to eat so much, so of course, you save money!
If you understand and master how to do intermittent fasting correctly, you will be closer to losing weight and improving your health! Although everyone adapts to fasting differently, it is not difficult to persist.
In addition, when used in conjunction with a ketogenic/low-carbohydrate diet, the effect of intermittent fasting is even better. If you are interested, you can refer to The beginner’s guide to the ketogenic diet, how to eat?… what to eat?
Beginning today, try this new diet method, which is no longer controlled by food and relieves the burden on your body. You will find that losing weight is actually very easy!