Weighing In: Intermittent Fasting

Photo by Alexis Desrosiers

“Don’t skip breakfast” is one of the most redundant phrases heard around the world from doctors and mothers alike, but there’s a large population of people skipping breakfast each day— on purpose.

Why is this?

They are practicing intermittent fasting.

This pattern isn’t changing what you’re eating or why; it’s changing the patterns of when you eat for maximum fat loss and muscle gain. Those who choose to fast this way will consume their normal daily calories, but they usually do so in an eight hour window, then fast for the other 16 hours. Some do it a few times a week, while others do it every day.

For example, someone will eat all of their calories between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Then they’ll fast until 10 a.m. the next day.

Why People Are Doing It

If you didn’t have to change what you were eating and you were still able to lose fat and gain muscle, would you? This is why many people are adapting to this lifestyle. YOU choose when you will eat your meals, whether you start early in the day or early in the afternoon. Eating this way will help your body learn what real hunger is by feeling those actual hunger signals your body creates. It reduces snacking, helps you follow an easier schedule, and improves insulin sensitivity. Those who have hectic workdays or long days of class benefit from this method because it takes away the effort of having to make breakfast in the morning.

It can be scary feeling the hunger “pang” and not being able to satisfy it. Matty Fusaro, a popular Fitness & Nutrition coach on YouTube, alerts those who fast that it “might be difficult at first to cope with, but if you give yourself enough time and you try it out, your body will be able to control those hunger feelings and you won’t feel as hungry as often.”

The Science Behind it

After a meal, it takes around five hours for your body to digest and absorb your meal. When you eat, your sugar levels rise and at this point, your body is storing fat instead of burning it. Your body burns fat in a “fasted” state— when sugar levels are low. Those who eat normally don’t often have these “fasted” states because by the time their bodies want to burn fat, they are already eating their next meal. Those who intermittent fast give their bodies a chance to enter the “fat burning” zone by changing their diet, without having to actually change their diet.

Trying this way of eating may be very beneficial, but it depends on the individual. If you can’t function properly without a morning meal, this might not be for you. However, if you find yourself to be productive and active in the mornings without having to be fueled by food, give it a shot!