While there are a number of benefits and drawbacks of intermittent fasting, one may consider it a somewhat extreme approach. Due to the duration of a typical ‘fasted’ period, a lot of people may implement I.F into their daily routine without realising, yet it is a term which some namedrop as a means of asserting their knowledge and overwhelming those as though it has been the best kept secret of the last few decades. Ultimately, fasting diets aren’t new to the fitness community, nor should they be packaged and sold to an unsuspecting ‘client’, amongst every other fad and scam, they are just another option for weight loss. For Muslims during this month of Ramadan, fasting will commence at dawn until sunset, making the time in-between a critical period of replenishing the first days energy stores whilst substantially covering the second. The more generic application of intermittent fasting which many athletes and the like endorse with the goal of ‘fasting to utilise fat as energy’ has certainly awarded I.F both intrigue and scrutiny even more so.
The fasted period requires the individual to refrain from consuming anything containing calories. For muslims, water and even chewing-gum must not be touched during said time, yet it is common for the majority of the non-religious to drink water, with an exception of zero calorie drinks –likely containing caffeine– to surpass the initial hunger upon waking or further cravings post-workout. Ultimately, the total calories consumed during the ‘eating’ period total a day like any other, which is often the scepticism of intermittent fasting in toto. Yes, only so much of the nutrients consumed during such a period may be sufficiently absorbed and utilised at once, yet it is often the restriction of intermittent fasting which makes it a valuable tool against the downfall of us all, snacking.
For people that may fast for around nineteen hours and eat for five, the aforementioned restriction will almost certainly delight a smart eater to choose the next foods wisely, one with energy and performance at the mercy of one unfulfilling snack. Consuming foods that are calorically dense will ensure a consistency of energy, as opposed to an incidence of irregular peaks and troughs –see Summer Blues & The ‘Juicing’ Craze— a spike in blood sugar, a crumble to cravings. So what can you expect from a typical day of intermittent fasting? Well it can be said that a lot of people struggle to eat first thing in a morning. Whether this is due to the fact that they can’t stomach food so soon upon waking or preparing breakfast gives them even less time in bed, there must be some relief to missing the ‘most important meal of the day’?
The problem lies with the fact that missing breakfast makes the rest of the day a mere game of catch up. One that may not go down so well for someone that only gets an hour lunch –or even less– whether it’s all day at a desk or one of ‘hard graft’ Blood sugar and cravings aside, the short term reward aspect of food either during a break or at the end of such a day would entice anyone without an ever-looming date requiring them to look their ‘best’ So how could Intermittent fasting solve this problem? Well I myself am not one to eat pre-cooked meals out of tupperware at various inconvenient points in the day, despite the incline to others. I don’t believe this is necessary to satisfy the more generic goal of overall health and weight loss, but alike I.F, it is a systematic approach which reiterates the importance of food choices. The freedom of choice is a concept that most people looking into the lifestyles of those eating to fuel rather than enjoy, burden themselves into the abyss of snack-filled binges. Although it is these times in which we can reassess the value of foods, now that only the initial enjoyment has any bearing, to a diminishing course of habit.
Fasting reinforces the value of foods that may not be deemed necessity, and highlights the inconvenience of foods containing redundant or ‘sabotaging’ macros, yielding only a short term relief in a 24 hour period. Said macros may total one’s overall caloric intake, yet may still be a fraction of the nutrients required to support a demanding workout routine or busy lifestyle in general. All in all, intermittent fasting is a useful tool for those who tend to eat later on in the day, and can appreciate the fact that snacking as opposed to consuming substantial meals is often a familiar occurrence.
For anyone that’s interest here’s an illustration of the typical fast/feed splits of Intermittent fasting, use at your pleasure or at your peril.
Please follow me on IG 👊