In this article, I want to give you a little intermittent fasting guide to help you get started. I wanted to create a guide like this for a good while now, as people keep asking me how to do it all the time. I will tell you exactly what my regime looks like and give you a short introduction to why you should consider fasting in the first place.
Why write an Intermittent Fasting Guide? Because intermittent fasting can change your life with only minor sacrifices like nothing else, in my opinion at least, but let me elaborate.
A little background information
If you want to jump right into the facts, just skip this part and continue with “What is intermittent fasting” below, but I feel like I have to, at least shortly, let you know why I think that I have gained enough knowledge to share it with you.
I was struggling with my weight throughout my whole youth. Until the age of 26, I was overweight. I weighed in at about 120KG with 1,78cm height. At around that age I decided it’s time to change something, so I went through countless diets with zero prior knowledge about nutrition. Fast forward a couple of years, I managed to keep my weight at a constant ~75KG.
When I initially started my weight loss journey, I started to educate myself by reading books and science about nutrition, getting more and more interested in different diet protocols.
Now, where I maybe tried some bullshit diets like low fat when I started my journey, I quickly gave up on non-science based diets. Eating 0,2% fat Yogurt that went through an industrial process to remove everything good on it just didn’t sound right to me. I wanted a wholesome and healthy approach. How can low-fat Yogurt be any better than something natural like full-fat milk directly from the farm? Right, it can’t be.
Being a Human Guineapig
So over the years, I collected a lot of knowledge, following diets like Paleo, Keto and different fasting protocols like the Warrior Diet or, for the sake of this article, Intermittent Fasting.
That being said, I had my fair share of guineapig experiences and tried many things on my self, where I now see myself at a point to where I know what works and what doesn’t – and more importantly: What is sustainable and what is not. That’s why I want to write this Intermittent Fasting Guide, to help you have the same positive experience!
But enough talk about myself, let’s get into the fun stuff.
What is intermittent fasting?
Ok, I will try to keep this as easy to understand as possible. Intermittent fasting basically means not eating for a certain period of your day. A very popular regime is the 16/8 protocol, which I personally follow and found very easy and sustainable to stick with.
Let me give you a short example:
You finish eating your last meal of the day at 20:00. The next time you eat is at 12:00 PM next Midday. This is easier than you might think, because if you went to bed at 22:00, you most likely already slept through 8 of the 16 hours of fasting, or longer if you don’t have to get up in the morning.
I don’t like to think of it as “skipping breakfast”, because that can put a mental barrier in front of you. How can I skip breakfast? I LOVE breakfast… That’s why I see it more as: I have breakfast at 12:00 PM. Gives me a mental advantage. But don’t worry, I’ll include everything you need to know in the Intermittent Fasting Guide.
So what are the benefits of following this Intermittent Fasting Guide?
There are so many benefits to it, so I try to stick with the most significant ones.
A big benefit, and probably the reason most people want to do IF in the first place, is weight loss. Of course, if you skip 1 meal each day and fast for 16 hours, you are going to lose weight. But this is by far not the best thing, I see it as a nice side effect.
The lower insulin levels and higher growth hormone levels you gained through fasting will help the body to break down body fat and help it to use stored fat as energy.
Fasting increases your metabolic rate and helps you to burn calories even better.
But beware: Just because you fast you still can’t over-eat in your eating window. If you put more calories into your body than you burn, you will still gain weight. Luckily, you most likely won’t stuff that much food into yourself within this 8-hour window.
Even if you do, you still have the other benefits that come from fasting.
Cellular repair & Growth Hormone production
When you don’t eat for several hours, your body starts an important cellular repair process and even change hormone levels, so that your stored body fat is more accessible to use as fuel. And if you think of it, it makes sense. If you keep throwing food into your body the whole day, without being really hungry even once, the cellular repair process just doesn’t happen, because you always put new fuel into your body which it can use for energy.
Think of it as a train where somebody is constantly shoveling new coals into the oven.
Lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Many people nowadays suffer from Type 2 Diabetes just because they are eating too many carbs and sugars. Fasting can help you to reduce your insulin resistance and help you to lower your blood sugar levels.
Reduction of Brain Fog and being more Focused
This is a big one for me and one of the reasons why I like it so much. I tend to lose a lot of energy as soon as I eat my first meal of the day. Especially after a big lunch, my energy levels are usually in the cellar.
So with Intermittent Fasting, I have the whole morning with razor sharp focus and can get a lot of work done before having my first meal. Digestion takes up most of your body’s energy and it can take several hours until you have your energy back.
So, being more clear and sharp is a big one for me.
Who doesn’t want to live longer? This is one of the best benefits in my opinion. Some studies in Rats have shown that IF can extend their lifespan. In some cases, where Rats where fasting every other day, it even increased their lifespan by up to 83 %! If you think of all the Cellular Repair that happens, it kind of makes sense.
How to get started?
I try to make this Intermittent Fasting Guide as easy as possible. So we stick with the basics!
Some people would probably recommend starting with something like 12/12, but in this Intermittent Fasting Guide, I won’t recommend that. I would recommend starting with the 16/8 protocols right away. The benefits of 16/8 compared to 12/12 or even 14/10 are superior. Also, you need to learn how to deal with being hungry.
Intermittent Fasting Guide Basics
- Don’t eat for 16 hours. Eat for 8. Example: Last meal at 20:00 PM next meal at 12:00 PM.
- Drink LOTS of water throughout your fast. Your body get’s dehydrated quicker, so keep hydrated.
- Add a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt to your water to keep mineral levels in check.
It is that simple. In the first couple of days you probably will be hungry and can’t wait for your first meal, that’s normal. Just push through. You will get used to it very quickly. I want to stress how important it is to stay hydrated, it will also reduce hunger. I usually drink 2 liters of water before I have my first meal.
What is allowed throughout a fast?
Very simple. Absolutely no food. You can drink the following beverages:
- Black Coffee
Now, some people argue that adding small amounts of cream to your coffee would be ok, but I would say no. Don’t do it. I am sure it will trigger an insulin response, apparently according to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, even Black Coffee could trigger a small insulin response, but I still say black Coffee is ok. It helps you to blunt your hunger. I usually drink two small cups of Coffee while in my fast.
What should I eat after my fast is over?
Ideally, healthy foods. Lots of Protein. Lots of green leafy vegetables (that’s probably not what you wanted to hear). But you can eat what you like, as long as you don’t exceed your daily calories. What I really like about IF and why it makes it sustainable for me, after a 16h fast, I actually crave GOOD foods, I don’t crave unhealthy foods at all.
A huge Salad tastes so damn good after a long fast! This is a big advantage for me, as it makes sticking to healthy foods much easier.
But isn’t skipping breakfast unhealthy?
No. Absolutely not. Breakfast is more of a modern idea, now that we have food available at all times, we don’t need to fast. Our ancestors were fasting many days in a row before they got their first meal at times. Hunters used to hunt fasted to be sharper throughout the hunt.
That skipping breakfast is unhealthy has no scientific evidence. The health benefits of fasting, however, have them.
Do I lose muscle while fasting?
If you don’t eat enough Protein in your eating window, you might. I recommend weight training and eating at least 1.8g of protein per Kilo of Bodyweight. But there are several good examples that if you keep Protein levels in check, you are more likely to gain muscle than lose muscle. Check out Thomas DeLauer’s YouTube channel to prove.
The Morning Drink
Talking about Thomas DeLauer, I highly recommend his “Morning Cocktail” to keep your Mineral Levels in check. Since I started to drink this every morning, I also feel less hungry and feel better throughout the day.
The drink consists of the following:
- 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother)
- 250ml of Water
- 1 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
- 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar (This is a natural byproduct of winemaking and very high in Potassium.)
- Juice of one Lime
I changed the recipe a little bit and I just use 1/2 Lime, as a whole seems a little much. It’s important that you take your Potassium in combination with Salt, otherwise, the body can’t properly take it in.
I actually got to enjoy that drink and it helps me to re-hydrate after sleeping.
Tips and Conclusion
Alright, I don’t want this Intermittent Fasting Guide to get too long to not discourage you from trying, because if you stick to the basics, it is really easy! I want to give you a few tips that might help you to get started.
- Drink lots of water (seriously)
- Give your body at least a week to adapt. Push through.
- If you are on Android, use an App like Vora to help you keep track of your fast. It helps me to stay motivated!
- Drink the Morning Drink
- Don’t overthink it!
I do Intermittent Fasting for more than half a year in a row now and I really love it. I still lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, without counting calories or anything. It’s amazing. I also like to do my Hot Yoga once a week in a fasted state for that extra fat burning boost. I recommend you to give it a shot. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself! Every week or so, once, reward yourself with a breakfast and a non-fasting day. There can even be benefits, not fasting once a week might even boost your metabolism even more, as you give your body a little reset.
Once you are adapted to the 16/8 protocol, you can look into something like prolonged fasts every 2-3 months. I fast for 24 Hours usually every 2 months. There are great benefits to fasting for longer times, which I will cover in another article soon.
If this Intermittent Fasting Guide actually helped you to get started, let me know of your experience in the comments below! I would love to hear of your success!