Starting Your Own “IF” Lifestyle
The biggest concern I have gotten since starting this blog in 2010, is emphasizing too much on my personal experience. There aren’t two Anna’s in this world!
In fact to effectively use Intermittent Fasting (IF) to achieve goals and maximum results can vary by each person with fat loss, muscle gain, better health, improved performance in your sport of choice and more. With that comes the individuality of what is a person’s insulin resistance, current body composition (body fat %), daily lifestyle, eating habits, type of exercise program, frequency and volume of training and so forth.
It is unlikely to find large groups of people with the exact same set of parameters and responses to an intermittent fasting protocol. My suggestion is to start with a basic intermittent fasting format, and then learn how to monitor results and adjust as you go.
Even down the road things will change as you will improve health, lower insulin resistance or losing weight. So nothing is really ever just one set way (as it shouldn’t have to be). Life is dynamic (always changing and evolving) and so should be the way we see our own journey for health and fitness.
What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
If you are new to the term, intermittent fasting is just taking “intermittent” times of fasting (no food) and working them into your lifestyle. This can be either daily or a couple times a week (will get into that more below).
How to Begin Using Intermittent Fasting?
Is there only one set way in which to use intermittent fasting? No, of course not.
There are many different IF protocols based on people’s individualistic needs, lifestyle, exercise, goal, macronutrient ratios, and so forth. I am going to keep it simple and give the 2 most frequent options.
• Longer IF 1-2x a week: This is taking a longer fasting period of say for up to 24 hours and repeating 1-2x a week. Note that 24 hours is not skipping a whole day, as stopping to eat on 6pm Tues and then having your next meal at 6pm Wed is 24 hours. I usually don’t talk about anything beyond 30 hours for using IF, as most research is usually based on that fasting window. There is a book called Eat Stop Eat detailing the ‘1-2x a week’ mode of IF.
• Shorter More “Daily” IF: This means that it is done more than a couple times a week with a condensed eating window such as eating their calories in a 8-6 hour window more daily (and the fasting does happen around it). There is a book called 2 Meal Solution detailing the ‘daily’ mode of IF.
With those approaches there are still many variables to include such as calories, activity/exercise, recovery needs, food choices, etc. In the end it is still about finding a way that does work for you. Picking the approach you think fits around your lifestyle best is going to lead to better results.
Wrapping it Up
Over the years I have adapted more of the “long” IF approach than the ‘short’ without really planning.
I eat anywhere from 12-24 hours without worrying about food all the time. I focus more on healthy foods and the results come, while still being able to enjoy other splurges when I go out and eat/socialize. I’m not a slave to some mentality of “needing” to eat all day and enjoy the freedom that comes with that.
Heck sometimes on occasion I may work in a 24+/- hour fast just because of my schedule, but there is more flexibility to how I eat now. I listen to my body and know what is right for me. Staying lean and healthy year round is easy once you can do that.
The key part of the IF experience is just starting with it and seeing how it works for you. Knowing how to change things up when they aren’t working. Making a lifestyle solution and not needing anyone to tell you how to eat again. That is how you find that freedom and results that last.
Personally I enjoy reading the The IF Blog which covers everything about intermittent fasting. And the author Mike O'Donnell answers questions promptly.
Intermittent Fasting - How to Start Using IF