Intermittent fasting (IF) isn’t classified as a diet. It is considered a pattern of eating. With IF, you schedule your meals so that you get the most out of them. Unlike a diet, it doesn’t restrict what you eat but instead when you are eating them. IF works by tapping into your fat stores while in a fasting state. Your body enters into a fasting state, on average, 8-12 hours after your last meal. While in this fasting state, bodies take the nutrients that are stored as fat and break them down into sugar.
Typically IF is done by eating in an 8-hour time span, then being in a fasted state for 16 hours. It doesn’t matter when you schedule this time span into your day. If you start eating at noon, you will end at 8 pm. If you eat at 8 am you finish at 4 pm. The start time isn’t important as long as you stay in the 8-hour time frame.
If you choose to workout while you are in your “fasting” state, you should listen to what your body is telling you. You can be susceptible to lightheadedness or dizziness. I have been doing IF for nine years and I have found it’s best to schedule my own workouts after I have my first meal. If that is not possible with your schedule you can eat something light 30 minutes before a workout so you have something in your system to combat side effects.
I have exercised while in the fasting state, and while normally I have no issues, there have been times I have felt dizzy or light-headed while doing very high-intensity workouts. If that happens, I make sure to stop the workout and eat something or drink something to help get my blood sugar back up.
There are three kinds of IF : Daily, Weekly, and Alternating Days.
Daily- You fast every day during the week, staying consistent.
Weekly- This is an excellent way to start off; you only fast one time during the week. It doesn’t matter what day, and on all the other days you maintain a regular eating pattern.
Alternating days- You fast every other day. On off days you eat on a regular schedule.
Experiment with timing and find a schedule that works best for you. Your body will tell you what you need, so listen to it. Then watch the results! IF can be a great way to lose weight or maintain weight.
As with any nutrition plan you should consult your doctor before beginning.