I’m sure if you have spent any time researching diets, you have come across the term intermittent fasting. There has definitely been a lot of hype about its effectiveness in recent years. The big question on everyone’s mind is, “Does intermittent fasting help weight loss?” Well, I decided to test it out for myself to see (we’ll get to that later).
Now, if you are new to the site, this is part of an ongoing series of articles that attempts to take a look at all kinds of diets out there (and believe me, there are tons) to see what is sensible and what is downright crazy. The aim is also to help you see if something is right for you and your fitness journey.
If you missed the other “diet analysis” posts, feel free to check them out at the links below:
- What Is The OMAD Diet? The Most Extreme Intermittent Fasting
- What’s The Carnivore Diet? Descending Into Diet Madness
- What Is A Juice Diet? Read This Before Starting One!
Before we get to my personal results, let’s take a look at what intermittent fasting is.
What Is Intermittent Fasting About?
I posted in my article on the OMAD Diet a basic overview of intermittent fasting, which I will summarize here.
Whether you know it or not, we all go through some type of fast when we go to sleep at night. Generally that is the longest time we spend without consuming food, since the recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours (The Sleep Foundation).
That is why the first meal of your day is referred to as breakfast, since you are breaking that fasting period.
The goal of intermittent fasting is to extend that amount of time fasting, whether day by day or over the course of an entire week.
According to Healthline, it actually shouldn’t be seen so much as a diet, since it doesn’t specify which foods to eat and which to avoid, but more of an eating pattern.
Speaking of eating patterns, there are various ways to approach an intermittent fasting plan. Many people go with the 16/8 Method because it is easy to get into and stick with. However, there are others to consider as well.
- The 16/8 Method: The way this works is you fast for 16 hours and then have an 8-hour window in which to consume your calories every day. That usually means skipping breakfast while eating lunch and dinner.
- For example, eating your last meal at 8 p.m. and not eating again until 12 p.m. the next day.
- Many who already skip breakfast or don’t really enjoy it find this to be the best choice for their lifestyle.
- The 5:2 Method: This method sees you eating normally for 5 days a week and then limiting yourself to 500-600 calories per day for the other two days.
- One thing to note is that the two days do not (and probably should not) be consecutive.
- The Eat-Stop-Eat Method: Eat-Stop-Eat means that you eat normally, but 1 or 2 times a week, you fast for 24 hours.
- Basically, if you eat dinner at 6 p.m., then don’t eat again until the same time the next day.
- The Every-Other-Day Method: This is petty self-explanatory. You do a full, 24 hours fast every other day. For some this means consuming no calories, while for others, you can eat up to 500 calories on the fast days.
- The Warrior Method: This method involves eating small amounts of fruits and vegetables during the day and having one big meal at dinner, during a 4-hour window.
- There also seems to be a focus on whole foods, somewhat similar to a Paleo Diet.
- The Unstructured Method: You skip meals when it works for your schedule and how your body feels. If you are busy or just aren’t hungry, that’s when you fast.
- The OMAD Method: As described fully in the above article, the idea is that you fast for 23 hours and then eat one giant meal for the remaining hour.
The whole point of intermittent fasting is that you will naturally be cutting calories, which in turn, could lead to weight loss. However, multiple studies have found it to have other health benefits besides affecting the scale.
What Does Intermittent Fasting Do? What Are The Benefits?
- Weight Loss: Not only can this be achieved because you are taking one less meal and thus, fewer calories (only if you don’t overdo it when you eat), but it can lower insulin levels and boost growth hormone. This increases your metabolism, helping you burn more calories as well.
- Lower insulin also leads to more fat burning. Higher growth hormone does as well adds the benefit of muscle gain.
- Cellular Repair: No, not those jeans. See the previous benefit for that! Interestingly though, fasting also starts the body repairing its own cells by getting rid of waste that is inside of them.
- Gene Changes: Studies have shown that fasting helps genes to express traits that help with living longer and protecting against disease.
- Blood Sugar: Fasting has shown to be able to lower blood sugar and thus protect against Type 2 Diabetes.
- Inflammation: Fasting shows promise in fighting off inflammation, which often leads to disease.
- Blood Pressure: Intermittent fasting may have a positive effect on your blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Now that I’ve gone over some of the potential benefits, what are others saying about intermittent fasting?
A Caution And A Story
While there are definitely good benefits to intermittent fasting, it isn’t for everyone. I found a couple of videos that might be helpful for you in deciding whether intermittent fasting is for you.
First off, the Mayo Clinic weighs in on intermittent fasting in a short video.
Secondly, YouTuber Matt D’Avella tried it for 30 days and gives his take on the journey.
My Personal Journey Into Intermittent Fasting – The Numbers and Experience
This was the first time I took one of the diets I analyzed and tried it for myself. I felt like it was a good one to be a guinea pig for since it didn’t seem that extreme and had research to back it up. I ultimately would do the intermittent fast for 15 days (just over two weeks) and followed the 16/8 method.
I started to process by doing a weigh in on my FITINDEX Bluetooth Bodyfat Scale. This scale has the ability to tell me my weight, BMI, body fat percentage, fat free body weight, and muscle mass, among several other measurements. I thought it would be a good idea to see where I was when I started and where I ended up.
Check out my full review by clicking the link!
Getting back to my experience, I should note that I am relatively fit already. What I was looking for most during this period of time were the benefits of fat burn and muscle gain. With that said, here are my stats when I started the fast on May 1st. After each measurement, I will add how the app rates me based on the numbers:
Beginning Measurements as of May 1, 2020:
- Weight: 179.6lbs
- On the cusp between being normal and overweight according to the app.
- BMI: 25.1
- Slightly overweight.
- Body Fat Percentage: 13.8%
- Rated as on the lower end of Fitness, close to being considered an Athlete.
- Body Water Percentage (Your water weight including blood, lymph, extracellular fluid, etc.): 62.3%
- On the upper end of normal.
- Skeletal Muscle (Ratio of muscle involved in the mechanical systems of the limbs): 55.7%
- On the upper end of standard.
- BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate or the minimum amount of calories needed per day): 1,887 calories
- Slightly above average.
- Fat Free Body Weight (Your muscular body weight): 154.8lbs.
- Subcutaneous Fat Percentage (The ratio of subcutaneous fat in your skin to your body weight): 11.7%
- Slightly below average.
- Visceral Fat (Fat around your organs): 7
- On the lower end of acceptable and trending toward good.
- Muscle Mass (Total muscle weight): 147.2lbs ‘
- Bone Mass (Weight of all bone tissue): 7.8lbs
- Slightly above average.
- Protein Percentage: 19.7%
- Metabolic Age (How old your body measures rather than how old it is…apparently it should be 2/3 your actual age): 34
- Right on point, as I am now 34 years old.
As far as my experience while going through it, it wasn’t all that bad. I am definitely a huge fan of breakfast, so I was
missing it each day. I would start to feel hunger pangs around 10 a.m. but tried to keep myself busy with work so that I could ignore them. They eventually went away, but once it was time to eat, I was really hungry!
I was also working out during this fast and I did find that I didn’t have as much energy to push when I was working out during the fasting period. However, I switched up my workout time to after I had eaten lunch and that seemed to help with the energy level.
At the end of two weeks, here are the stats that I got at my weigh in. As a quick note, I will put two numbers here. The first will be where I started and the second will be where I ended up so you can compare the two better:
Body Measurements as of May 17, 2020:
- Weight: 179.6lbs / 175.4lbs
- BMI: 25.1 / 24.6
- Body Fat Percentage: 13.8% / 13.3%
- Body Water Percentage: 62.3% / 62.6%
- Skeletal Muscle: 55.7% / 56.0%
- BMR: 1,887 calories / 1,859 calories
- Fat Free Body Weight: 154.8lbs / 152.0 lbs
- Subcutaneous Fat Percentage: 11.7% / 11.3%
- Visceral Fat: 7 / 7
- Muscle Mass: 147.2lbs / 144.4lbs
- Bone Mass: 7.8lbs / 7.6lbs
- Protein Percentage: 19.7% / 19.8%
- Metabolic Age: 34 / 33
From the numbers, you can definitely see that I experienced change. I dropped weight, my BMI, my body fat percentage, and my metabolic age. However, I also noticed drops in my muscle and bone mass, which I wasn’t looking for. Therefore, can I say that intermittent fasting works? For me, to a degree, yes.
However, while it helped me accomplish a goal of fat loss, it didn’t help me accomplish a goal of muscle gain.
The other effect it had on me was emotionally. It is really tough to sit with your family while they eat breakfast and you aren’t. It’s also another thing to be cooking their breakfast knowing that you won’t be eating any. That got really hard because the smell started my stomach thinking it was getting some food.
Speaking of breakfast, I really love it, which also made it difficult because I was missing out on something that I liked to take part in. That is something that speaks failure for many diets out there. When they restrict the things you really love, it is incredibly difficult to maintain them.
The Verdict – Results And Reactions May Vary
Is intermittent fasting for me? I’d say “No”. Does intermittent fasting help weight loss? I think the results of the studies and my own personal experience would say its a resounding “Yes”. Does that mean it is for you? Well that all depends on your personality, your fitness goals, and your lifestyle.
I think this might best be suited for those who are overweight, single, or married, but without kids. I don’t think it is for those who are already in shape and want to put on muscle, or have a young family. To me, the results of burned fat were great, but my goal was to also build muscle, making the intermittent fast not really worth it.
Missing out on breakfast was painful and trying to keep up with kids and my workouts while in the fasting period wasn’t very realistic. That being said, I wouldn’t put it in the category of crazy, extreme diet that you shouldn’t try.
Though I will be going back to my normal balanced diet, there are plenty of people who have achieved great results from intermittent fasting. The only way to find out if it is for you is to try it yourself!
Should you be interested in intermittent fasting, I found a cool product that can help you ease yourself into the process. Click the banner below to check out Fast Bar, a Non-GMO, whole food, gluten free, and plant based nutritional support bar. If you enter your email, you get 20% off your first order!
Now, its your turn! What do you think of intermittent fasting? Have you tried it before, and if so, what was your experience like? Which of the methods would you choose if you were to take on a fast?
For those of you with more intermittent fasting experience, do you think there was something I was missing or could have done better to achieve the muscle gaining results I was looking for? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below! I’d really like to hear what you have to say!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section as well and I will do my very best to give a good answer!
For those of you who are looking for more info on nutrition, recipes, or even products that you can add to a healthy diet, feel free to check out these other posts that might be of help!
- Recipe Of The Week – Banana And Peanut Butter Oatmeal
- Recipe of the Week – Banana Carrot Pancakes
- Recipe Of The Week – Easy Beef And Bean Burritos
- Recipe Of The Week: Panko Chicken With Wilted Greens and Fried Eggs
- Recipe Of The Week: Grilled Ribeye Steak and Cheese Sandwich
- Recipe of the Week – Part 6: My Ultimate Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl
- Recipe of the Week – Part 7: Capellini Pomodoro
Restaurant Survival Guides:
- What To Eat For Health – Part 1: At Chipotle
- What To Eat For Health – Part 2: At Arby’s
- What To Eat For Health – Part 3: At McDonald’s
- What To Eat For Health – Pt. 4: At Chick-Fil-A
- What To Eat For Health – Part 5: At Burger King
- What To Eat For Health – Part 6: At Panera Bread
- Oregano’s Health Benefits – It’s Not Just A Pizza Topping
- Basil’s Health Benefits – What Italy’s Primo Herb Can Do For You
- Parsley’s Health Benefits – Not Just A Garnish!
- Rosemary’s Health Benefits – Packing A Flavor And Nutritional Punch?
- The Artichoke’s Health Benefits – Who Knew Thistles Were So Tasty?
- The Apricot’s Health Benefits – Why Haven’t I Been Eating These?
- Arugula’s Health Benefits – Nutritious Or Just Delicious?
Nutritional Products and Tools:
- What Is The Best Vegan Protein Powder? GoL Raw Meal Review
- Vega One Organic All In One Shake – Will It Be Your Meal Replacement?
- Daily Workout Journal – Review of NewMe Fitness’s Incredible Log Book
- The Takeya Water Bottle – Your New Container Search Is Over
- Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli Cereal – Power Your Morning!
If you are interested in not only trying a new diet, but either making some extra cash or even starting your own business, I highly recommend you check out these reviews I did that can help you do just that!
Make Some Extra Money:
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That’s all for now! As always, God Bless and Happy Eating…whenever you choose to do so!