As I get closer to my weight loss goal, my weight loss has slowed. This is not uncommon. You’ve probably heard people talk about how difficult it is to lose the last 10 pounds. In fact, you might have had the same problem. Since my weight loss has stalled, I’ve decided to try intermittent fasting. People in my diet groups have had great success with it and I’ve read the accounts of other people online who’ve also seen results, so I figure I’ve got nothing to lose but weight.
Intermittent fasting, as the name implies, means that you go without eating for bursts of time. It’s not like what you might think of when you hear the term “fasting,” meaning you don’t fast for days on end. It can be really only a few hours, because in the most common form, you spend a significant amount of your fasting time asleep.
The thinking behind it is that in a fasted state, your body will burn stored fat more efficiently. That’s the basic benefit, but IFers report many other benefits, including metabolism boosts. Many people also say that IF gives them more energy and makes them feel more clear-headed.
If this sounds good to you, here’s how you get started. There are different ratios that you can choose, but one of the most common is 18/6. That means that you spend 18 hours fasting and eat in the remaining 6 hours. If that seems like a staggering amount of time to go without food, remember that you can make it easier by spending a good amount of that time sleeping. So if you sleep for 8 hours, then you fast for 10 waking ones.
Of course, that still may be difficult for some (most?) people. The good news is, you don’t have to be an IF superhero when you first start. Like all aspects of fitness, just starting is the most important part. So you don’t have to start fasting at 18 hours. You can start with a smaller ratio, like fasting until your lunchtime. Once it gets easier, start stretching out your fasting time.
Now, there are some misconceptions about IF. The biggest one is that it gives you license to eat as much as you want. IF isn’t a miracle binge; you still need to consume a calorie deficit, like any diet.
You can, however, choose any ratio you want or any combo of meals and/or snacks. Some people choose to eat the standard 3 meals, for example, while others choose 2 meals and a snack or even just one meal. The only requirement is that you don’t go over your limits, whether that’s just a calorie limit or more specialized.
So that’s IF. If you’re trying it, I wish you good luck. I’m excited to start this journey with you.