So you finally realized that breakfast is just a regular option, not “healthiest, the best, a must” meal in your life. Well, glad you did. The fasting trend started just a few years ago and it is proven to have many health benefits. This intermittent fasting step by step beginners guide will make fasting easier for you because it's not really easy.
What is (intermittent) fasting?
Fasting is a period of time when you don't consume any calories. Saying that fasting is also a period of time between two meals (you ate at 9 am and then at 2 pm – way to go, you fasted for 5 hours!). Fasting can last for a couple of hours, days, and there were even recorded some cases in the past where people fasted for over a month.
Angus Barbieri is known to be the absolute recorder in fasting. He fasted for 382 days and lost 275 pounds (125 kilos). Angus was 27 years old at the time when he did this “stunt” in 1965/1966 and was considered a medical miracle because he stayed alive. He was morbidly obese and searched for help in the University Department of Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Dundee, Scotland when doctors gave him a short-term fasting program.
No copyright infringement is intended
After losing a few kilos, Angus decided that he will fast until he reaches his goal – 180 pounds (82 kilos). It was reported that Angus sometimes took vitamins, sodium, and potassium supplementation. Even today, fasting longer than 40 days is considered to be extremely dangerous and you shouldn't attempt this without medical supervision.
Funny thing was that Angus didn't gain any weight back after he started eating. 5 years later, he weighed 89 kilos. He died of natural death in September 1990.
And you think you fasting for a day is hard? When you are hungry just think of Angus!
Types of fasting
There are several types of fasting and you should get to know all of them. That way you will know what is best for you and what you think it will give you the best results.
Either way, every type of fasting WILL give you results.
If it doesn't, then I believe you are a bigger medical miracle than Angus!
So here are all types of fasting explained:
Water fasting is a period of time where you don't consume any foods or liquids that contain calories. Saying that water is the only thing allowed.
Dry fasting is the hardest type of fasting. During this fast absolutely nothing is allowed, including water. But that's not it. It's called “dry” because you are not supposed to have any contact with water. Showering, brushing teeth even doing the dishes is not allowed. We also hydrate through our skin, so during the dry fast contact with liquids is not allowed.
Snake diet has been created by Cole Robinson per his belief that we have to change (quote) “the way we view food and food consumption”. I absolutely agree with Cole and that's why I have left you a link in the name of the diet. Basically, diet is all about the fasting system he has developed, and drinking “Snake juice”. Through the Snake diet, Cole is enforcing a body into deep ketosis, which results with burning fat and not muscles. If you want to know more, make sure to check out his website.
Scotsman's fast is exactly the same thing Angus did. It's fasting over 40 days until you reach the desired weight. You should not enroll this without medical supervision.
Intermittent fasting is, in my opinion, the best fasting method, because it's very adaptable and efficient. Basically, you have two time-windows. Eating window and fasting window. The fasting window should be at least 16 hours and the eating window is max of 8 hours.
The science behind intermittent fasting
There are thousands of information out there about the “true” science behind intermittent fasting. I read numerous researches and can tell you that most of them agree that periodic fasting is good for us.
Science has proven that after 12 hours of fasting, the growth hormone works at its best because the insulin level is very low. Also, after 24h of fasting certain cells in our guts start to regenerate. I even managed to find articles where people give their testimonies about treating serious diseases with fasting, such as cancer.
Cole Robinson said the great thing in one video on his YouTube channel: “Of course it heals your body, no sickness can live if you don't feed it!“. That makes sense because if you don't feed something, it will eventually die!
If you are really interested in the science behind intermittent fasting Google will answer many questions for you. Personally, I read everything I needed to know, and I'm doing intermittent fasting for a long time now and it seems there is nothing wrong with me (physically of course. I'm not talking about mental!)
How to start intermittent fasting
You are probably used to eating or snacking all the time, so you can find 16 hours of fasting pretty difficult in the beginning.
No worries, you are not alone. I have been there, and I learned how to come to the point where my eating window is 1 meal only.
Let's break some steps on how to start it without suffering and pain:
- Balancing the meals, no snacks between
- Enrolling 12-12 system
- BOOM day vol. 1
- Enrolling 14-10 system
- BOOM day vol. 2
- Enrolling 16-8 system.
Balancing the meals, no snacks between
So when you decide to start intermittent fasting first review your previous days. How many meals did you have? How many snacks did you have?
It's okay if you have no idea, if you don't remember or if it all seemed like just eating all the time. That's the usual situation because people today have very busy lives.
For the beginning just spread 3 meals throughout your whole day and don't have any snacks. Take 3 normal meals, like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don't pay much attention to what you eat, although you should get the sweats and sugars out because they will make you crave and binge eat after you start fasting.
Make sure you drink a minimum of 8 cups of water every day. This phase should not last longer than 4 days, but if you need more time to adapt, that's fine.
Enrolling 12-12 system
After you adapt to having 2 meals, now it's time to partially include some rules of intermittent fasting. Take those 3 meals and put them in your 12 hours eating window. So if your first meal is at 8 am, your last meal should not exceed 8 pm.
In 12 hours fasting window you include your sleep time.
Make sure you are not eating anything 2 hours before going to bed! You don't want to go to sleep right after the insulin spike. Let your body accept the food you ate, and gradually lower the insulin level.
This phase should be 7 days max.
BOOM day vol. 1
Okay, I made up this name, there's no such thing as BOOM day.
Actually, I made it up for a reason. Just when you get comfortable with the system, BOOM!!! Your body really doesn't like booms, even when they are healthy like this one.
BOOM day is actually a day with an extended fast.
So you are sticking to your 12-12 plan and it's going great. You had your last meal last night at 8 pm. Just like you would do it every day, you are planning to break the fast at 8 am. Well, if you are okay with that, it's time for an upgrade.
Extend your fast for 8 hours.
So instead of breaking it at 8 am, break it at 4 pm. You get the BOOM part now, don't you?
This will not be easy for you, but that's what you need. It's better to have one BOOM day, then enrolling the full intermittent fasting plan at once, and suffer for weeks. This will cause your body to get confused and drop out of your comfort zone. It will get to the fat-burning zone and that's when the game starts.
Enrolling 14-10 system
BOOM day is completed and finally, you get to break the 20 hours long fast. You will now break it with only 10 hours eating window.
That's right, no more 12 hours of eating. BOOM day will shrink your eating window by 2 hours. That means that from now on you will fast for 14 hours and eat for 10 hours.
Doing so you will emotionally recover from the BOOM day and you will probably not even notice that you don't eat for 12h anymore. Remember, it's all about enjoying the process! This phase should not last longer than 7 days.
BOOM day vol. 2
Here we go again. After 7 days of 14-10 system, it's time for another BOOM day, but there's just one tiny little thing I didn't tell you.
This BOOM day will last longer than the previous one. That's why it has “vol. 2”, though!
You will have to fast for 24h.
Surprisingly, this won't be hard as you may think because you already taught your body to have 0-calories-consuming periods. When I was doing this second BOOM day, I even fasted more than 24 hours. There are 2 ways of doing this:
- You finish your last meal for example at 8 pm, and your next meal is to be the next day at 8 pm.
- You finish your last meal 2 hours before sleeping, not eat ANYTHING for the entire next day, go to sleep, and when you wake up the morning after, break the fast.
I personally would advise you to take option number 2 because magic actually happens during sleeping time.
When we are sleeping our bodies doing something like inventory check. They take all proteins, carbs, fats, minerals, and vitamins that we took that day, and place them where they belong. However, if there is no food imported since the last sleeping time our bodies will use fat to provide us with energy for the next day. Basically, you lose and gain weight while you are sleeping.
Both options will give you results, but I really do recommend taking option number two.
Enrolling 16-8 system
And now you are finally intermittent fasting!
Just like after the first BOOM day, you will accept these windows a lot easier. The concept of intermittent fasting is 16-8, but reaching that can be difficult, and this is proven to be the easiest method I managed to create.
In this phase, you shouldn't eat 3 hours before sleeping, and you should increase the water intake.
You can stick to the 16-8 as long as you want, and even if you choose to upgrade, you don't have to do BOOM days anymore. Your body got used to a bigger fasting window, so you can increase it gradually.
Speaking of an upgrade, there is also the hardcore version of intermittent fasting. That is having a 20-4 system. Yes, 20 hours of fasting and only 4 hours of eating. If you decide to do this, first get comfortable with the 16-8 system. When you get comfortable enough with it, move the limits for 1 hour. You will be amazed how pounds are flying down!
A couple of tips about the process
I'm going to give you a few tips about the whole process and intermittent fasting in general. There are also a few things you should know:
Intermittent fasting is a tool for losing weight, not a diet. If you are struggling with choosing the right diet you can pick some of these healthy diets. You can take it for a week, month or even for the rest of your life. There are no cases recorded where intermittent fasting caused negative side effects!
Water intake is extremely important. Water will flush out all the toxins and your hunger level will be much lower.
Make sure to have more potassium in your eating window.
It would be great if you could make yourself some of these fat burning detox drinks every day. They will help your body throw all the toxins out and it will rebuild your digestive system.
Avoid sugar and sweets. They cause serious insulin spikes, food cravings, and hunger.
During the BOOM day or the first day after, don't exercise or go to the gym. Your body is under the stress, and you don't want to faint out. Relax, take a cup of water, and watch Netflix or something.
Coffee and green tea CAN interrupt your fasting window! Even though you read everywhere that they are calorie free and everything, I'm telling you from personal experience. Drinking only water in fasting window will give you the best results! Keep it clean and without cheat attempts!
During the eating window, I strongly recommend having a protein powder. You need protein to prevent muscle breakdown and to feed your organs, and that includes skin. Protein consumption will help you prevent cravings and you will feel a lot lighter. I recommend getting Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard, as for the past years it was the best protein powder in the world.
[amazon fields=”B000QSNYGI” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard” image_align=”center”]
[amazon fields=”B000QSNYGI” value=”button”]
Supplementation is a great way to cover everything your body needs. Vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, I know it can be tricky to have all that while having a small eating window. Check out our post about 5 best supplements for weight loss and muscle gain, you should have all the information there.
Summary of Intermittent Fasting Step-By-Step Beginners Guide:
- Have 3 normal meals per day, with no snacks. Pay no attention to time windows.
- After 4 days enroll 12-12 system.
- After 7 days, extend your fast for 8 hours (BOOM day)
- Enroll 14-10 system
- Again, after 7 days, extend your fast for 10 hours (BOOM day)
- Enroll 16-8 system and stick to it,
That's it, folks!
Founder at Extreme Loser
P.S. When you are hungry just think of Angus!!!