Can Skipping Meals Can Make You Healthier?

Fasting can skipping meals make you healthier Can Skipping Meals Can Make You Healthier?

If you’ve been around the mainstream health community much, you’ve heard the much important advice about not skipping meals. Apparently, it is best for our bodies to eat every 2-4 hours and to graze constantly on small meals throughout the day. More importantly, we should never, ever attempt a workout without a solid protein and carb snack before and after. We must always carry 100-Calorie packs in case hunger strikes, lest brain fog ensue.

Eating small meals throughout the day keeps the fire of our metabolism burning and should we miss a meal, our body will jump into starvation mode and scavenge our muscle and brain tissue to survive. Skipping meals leads to a slowed metabolism and certain weight gain. Breakfast, being the most important meal of the day, should never be skipped, or one is at risk of tremendous overeating throughout the day, brain fog and impaired mental state. To keep our bodies running optimally, we must eat small meals throughout the day of carefully portioned amounts of 600 calories or less, preferably from “healthy whole grains” and lean proteins. This will also keep us from that ever dreaded feeling of hunger which we all know causes us to shift into animal existence and eat everything in sight, especially chocolate cake. Sounds logical enough, right? I believed it all for a long time.

The problem is: research and experience don’t back it up. In fact, the information in this post was some of the most freeing information for me personally on my own health journey.

What Do Our Bodies Actually Need and When?

Conventional wisdom says that our bodies need a constant supply of food to keep running steadily and have stable blood sugar. While it is true that a constant supply of carbohydrates (which the body breaks down into glucose=sugar) will keep the blood sugar constant, it will be constantly elevated.

In all fairness, some people do succeed at losing weight with the grazing system, but it is a difficult model to follow as it necessitates constant access to food and many people eventually find that they hit a plateau. This plateau makes a lot of sense metabolically, as the body gets used to a constant supply of food and down-regulates the metabolism since it can count on a steady supply of the same amount of calories.

Some studies have shown very positive benefits from caloric restriction diets, though recent research is showing that this can be accomplished in more ways than simply reducing calories at all meals throughout the day. Animal and human studies about caloric restriction shown that when calories are reduced by 30-40%, the subjects tended to live a lot longer… 30% longer actually. That alone might make a case for caloric restriction and small meals, except for one thing that every low-fat dieter knows: the subjects (animal and human) were miserable and showed signs of depression and irritability.

Ever felt that way on a diet? Unfortunately, the benefits showed by overall caloric restriction were included with the suggestion of a low-fat diet, often recommended for weight loss. Fat does contain more calories per gram, so it was the logical source to cut down on. In primate studies, cutting down fat and dietary cholesterol caused problems including making the primates more violent. The body actually vitally needs fats for hundreds of processes throughout the body, so when caloric restriction became fat restriction, health problems followed. What if there was a way to accomplish the life-extending benefits of caloric restriction without bypassing real meals or saying goodbye to steak forever?

Enter Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting basically refers to occasionally reducing or eliminating food intake for a period of time. In studies, this was often done with alternate day fasting, though there are many ways to incorporate fasting. For many, including me at one point, intermittent fasting seemed to go against all the health advice I’d ever heard. Emerging research is showing that fasting is not a threat to overall health, but it actually has many health benefits:

Intermittent Fasting for Cancer and Heart Disease Prevention

Studies have shown that the benefits of caloric restriction can be obtained in ways besides just reducing overall calories (especially by cutting fat) and that some other methods might be more effective. One study found that when lab animals were allowed to eat freely on every other day, they actually consumed the same total number of calories as a group that was allowed to eat freely every day. The difference was that the group that fasted every other day showed longer life, increased resistance to disease, and improved insulin sensitivity. Human studies back this up too showing that when human subjects fasted on alternate days they not only showed the same benefits as caloric restriction groups, but also showed an increased ability to lose weight and improvements in coronary heart disease risk factors. Studies (like this one) have even demonstrated a reduced proliferation of cancer cells in subjects who practiced intermittent fasting, and another study showed that alternate day fasting led to better reception of chemotherapy in cancer patients and a higher cure rate.

Intermittent Fasting for Mental Health

It turns out that fasting occasionally can be good for mental health and repair also. As that study from the National Institute on Aging found:

Although all cells in the body require energy to survive and function properly, excessive calorie intake over long time periods can compromise cell function and promote disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and cancers. Accordingly, dietary restriction (DR; either caloric restriction or intermittent fasting, with maintained vitamin and mineral intake) can extend lifespan and can increase disease resistance. Recent studies have shown that DR can have profound effects on brain function and vulnerability to injury and disease. DR can protect neurons against degeneration in animal models of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases and stroke. Moreover, DR can stimulate the production of new neurons from stem cells (neurogenesis) and can enhance synaptic plasticity, which may increase the ability of the brain to resist aging and restore function following injury.

Not just extended lifespan but better resistance to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntinton’s as well as stroke! The study also found that intermittent fasting had a positive anti-aging effect on the brain. Life altering diseases aside, won’t restricting calories through fasting lead to the mental fog and sluggishness that we’ve been warned about (and perhaps even experienced) from not eating regularly? I suggest that, when done correctly, logic points to intermittent fasting actually being better for mental clarity and energy levels. It doesn’t make sense that fasting, which we just saw can improve brain health, would also make the brain foggy or sluggish. That being said, if the body (and brain) are used to running on a constant supply of fast carbs, cutting these out will lead to brain fog and sluggishness. If the body is getting the proper nutrients and an adequate supply of beneficial fats and proteins, it is used to running on these types of fuel, and when it doesn’t receive calories from the diet it will turn to fat cells for energy.

Intermittent Fasting for Fitness and Health

Besides the benefits in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and neurological problems, fasting actually helps facilitate weight loss and muscle growth. This actually seems logical if we think about it. If a person has consumed food (especially carbohydrates) right before working out, the glucose from this food is still floating around in the bloodstream or is in the liver and muscles as glycogen. This is a fast fuel for the body, and it will choose to burn through this before resorting to burning fat cells, which take slightly more effort to break down. When a person eats immediately after working out, these glycogen receptors and stores are refilled and some of the positive effects of the workout are cut off. After a resistance training workout, the body naturally produced growth hormone for several hours. Growth hormone is that all-important hormone that kids make in abundance but that declines as we age. The right kinds of high-intensity and resistance workouts can increase the body’s own natural production of growth hormone and slow aging. When food, especially food containing fructose, is consumed after workouts, it binds to the same receptors as growth hormone and prevents uptake of all the growth hormone the body has made. Fasting for at least an hour before and after working out can ensure the most uptake of growth hormone, and contrary to popular belief, does not cause muscle wasting or inability to work out effectively.

How to Incorporate Intermittent Fasting

When it comes to fasting, there is no single method that is best for everyone, but there are some important factors that make fasting more effective and beneficial.

Fasting is easiest and most effective if the body is used to utilizing fats and proteins and is not dependent on fast acting carbohydrates for energy. If the body is used to that constant supply of fast energy, total fasting will not be a pleasant experience. If, however, you have eliminated the grains and sugars and your body is a fat-burning machine, fasting can actually be refreshing and energizing. It gives your body a break from digestion and let’s it focus on cell regeneration and waste removal.

This is logical too, think about times you have been sick and naturally didn’t eat because you weren’t hungry. This gave your body a break from digestion so it could use its resources to fight your illness. The great news is that you don’t even have to go without food for a whole day to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting. There are several easy ways to incorporate small fasts with minimal effort:

  1. 16-Hour Fast/8-Hour Eating Window- This is one of the easiest forms of fasting to start with, and you can still get the benefits listed above. You also get to eat each day, and in my experience feel only mildly hungry if at all. The basic idea is that you eat all your meals during the day in an 8 hour window (10 am to 6 pm for instance) and don’t eat at other times or while you are sleeping. This gives you a 16-hour fast during a 24-hour period with only minor adjustment to your normal eating schedule. This also seems to be the best option for women, as extended fasting can actually be counter-productive.
  2. 24-Hour Fast Still Eating Each Day- I heard this one recommended by Dr. Eades, one of the top bariatric doctors in the country. The basic idea is that from 6 pm one day to 6 pm the next day, you fast, and alternate fasting days and eating days. The benefit here is that you can eat dinner after 6 pm one night and then eat breakfast and lunch the next morning, so you are never going a day without eating. This type of alternate day fasting is what is referred to in many of the studies above with the highest cancer and heart disease benefits.
  3. Full Alternate Day Fasting- Some people think that for the first couple weeks, it is good to do a full alternate day fasting to help the body rid itself of toxins. If you want to attempt this, simply use the 24-Hour fast method above and repeat for two weeks.

You can also just try the novel approach of eating only when you actually get hungry, not just when you crave food, and let your body feel hunger every once in a while. If you aren’t hungry in the morning, don’t eat. If you aren’t hungry at dinner time, don’t eat. It seems like such a novel concept, though really, shouldn’t it be common sense?

Our bodies came with great built in feedback mechanisms, and to think that we must eat constantly to keep from being hungry (our body’s way of telling us to eat) isn’t even logical. As I said, finding all this information was incredibly freeing for me personally. I no longer felt guilty when I skipped meals, especially breakfast, just because I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t feel tied to an eating schedule and I wasn’t worried I was cannibalizing muscle tissue by skipping a meal. I personally also slept much better and lost weight once I started incorporating fasting into my routine. If you decide to try fasting, make sure to use common sense and ensure that when you do eat, you are getting enough nutrients and protein. Small children and pregnant women should not undergo long fasts and should let hunger guide their eating.

Have I freed you from the bonds of snacking? Are you open to trying fasting? Perhaps you are fasting today, like I am? Let me know below!

Reader Comments

  1. Lisa says

    I’m avoiding snacks today, per Ash Wednesday standards, and eating smaller meals. In the past, this day has been very, very hard for me. But since giving up sugar for health reasons two months ago, fasting between meals isn’t hard at all. I often don’t even have the cravings I used to have. I’m interested to see how eliminating grains affects this.

    • tim says

      Ya. Refined sugar seems to be the main culprit in driving binge eating I think. I’m trying to remove it from my diet too.

  2. Laurie says

    I’m so glad to read this. When I practice the types of fasting that you describe I feel so much better, have loads of energy, think more clearly and creatively, and the weight falls off. When I have tried to eat the recommended way by snacking all the time all that I think of is food and I pack on the pounds and feel miserable. I know this is all anecdotal but I’ll continue to do this as it obviously works for me. Ate roast chicken and a veggie saute for lunch which I’m thinking will be all for today except for water and herb tea.

  3. Mimi says

    The information in No. 2 above has me confused. If you do as you describe “from 6 pm one day to 6 pm the next day, you fast, and alternate fasting days and eating days” then I cannot understand how you then can say “you are never going a day without eating.” What am I missing here? I count that as 24 hours and you certainly are going without eating for an entire day. So how does this differ from No. 3? Or is there a misprint in the information somehow?

    • says

      I see how that could be confusing! You would never go a day (for instance, Monday 12 am to 12 am Tuesday) without eating, though you would go 24 hours without eating. In other words, since you would fast between 6pm one night and 6pm the next night, you would eat breakfast and lunch before 6pm on the first day, and dinner after 6 pm the next day. You would never be eating breakfast/lunch and dinner on the same day if you were fasting this way ,but you would always eat breakfast/lunch or dinner.

  4. Rhodes says

    oh boy! I fast each day from about 8 at nite to noon the next day–I may eat some veggies ( smoothie) at noon and then naything at about 6 in the evening – I do this each day – fast for about 16 hours and then one bigmeal and then the ” smoothie” make sense to you? I hope so – any comments– Please – i need suport –thnaks

    • says

      What is your purpose of fasting this way? Is it a hectic schedule or a voluntary fast? This type of fasting could be really good for weight loss or helping with some certain health issues, as long as you are sure you are getting enough nutrients in the meals you do eat. Veggies smoothies are great, especially if they are only veggies and not sweetened with fruit. What do you typically eat for dinner? As long as you are getting enough protein (70-100 g depending on your size) and enough healthy fat (about half your calories) in the evening, you should be fine eating this way. If you ever find yourself really hungry during the fasting window, you could occasionally add a few eggs with some veggies. This would help get in the protein and good fats and shouldn’t hinder weight loss or health improvement at all. Feel free to email if you have more detailed questions though!

  5. Rose says

    Thank you for this post! I believed all those myths, too. What you say makes complete sense, though. I look forward to practicing intermittent fasting as the occasion arises.

  6. Heinz Breidenbach says

    I  started skipping breakfast 1964 when I was 34 yrs old.  It greatly improved my health.  And  many times I also skip dinner, with still better results. Two or three times I fated for 72 hours. I dont believe i doctors which have been a complete disappintment in my case. No
    pills or medicine whatever. Kind regards, H. Breidenbach.

    • kstuff says

      My religion is very into fasting, and we say not to fast while pregnant or nursing. You have another little person that is depending on you for calories, so we just don’t mess with that.

      • Utawal Matyek says

        Hi. In my case , fasting for a spiritual reason while nursing isn’t too bad but shouldn’t be drastic. For instant, nursing mothers in our church can break their fast around 2pm instead of the 4 or 6pm that others do for the sake of the baby. Yes there is someone involved but I don’t think we should use that as an excuse to humble ourselves .#myopinion .

  7. Mklgn says

    Intermittent fasting is a great way to get a handle on your appetite and what you eat. I love it, but I wouldn’t make it a new way of life like some do. I couldn’t see doing it for months at a time. I enjoy breakfast too much and feel like crap when I skip that first meal of the day. But fasting is great for when I am trying to lose a few pounds because I find that I eat less when I only have 8 hours to do so. LOL. Funny how people overeat when they have too much time on their hands isn’t it.

  8. Charlotte says

    The way I am fasting is during the day i don’t eat and drink(water or juice), only in the night before i go to bed. My weight used to be 220 lbs and now i am weighting 172 lbs and i feel prettier than ever

    • James says

      Hello, if you don’t mind, can I ask you how long it took you from 220 to 172 pounds to lose that amount of weight? Also, what time should I eat at night? I usually eat around 7/8 pm. It’s a little straight forward, but I really need to know.

  9. Melisleflef says

    I always found it interesting that so many cultures have fasting in their religion. And how I don’t eat when I’m sick. I’m convinced that fasting is part of humanity. I have a tiny appetite and never eat when I’m not hungry. If I try to eat the last spoonful on the plate I feel sick. I don’t understand how people can go on eating after they’re full. You can probably guess that I’ve never had any weight issues!

      • Lemurette says

        Thanks a lot for talking about Intermittent Fasting (IF) Wellness Mama! And thanks a lot to Sarah for mentioning the Warrior Diet!

        I’ve been doing IF for years, just because I let my hunger drive me, and for me, what works best is to eat a little bit in the morning, nothing at lunch, and a BIG (BIG) early dinner which makes me feel full till the next day. So I guess this is similar to Sarah’s system, and I never questioned this Warrior Diet (because it’s very natural for me!)… till recently. I’m starting to wonder whether this form of IF is actually healthy, for two reasons:

        – To the best of my knowledge, very few women do this kind of IF routinely, i.e., for me, this is natural to eat a lot at once for dinner and nothing the rest of the day (except herbal teas), but I guess it’s not natural at all for the average woman; I tend to believe there may be a reason for that.

        – More important, I’ve seen this post recently, which argues IF is very unhealthy for women:

        http://www.paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/

        The post as well (as the numerous comments to it) have worried me, especially concerning the fertility thing: it is argued that IF can have a very negative impact on fertility, glups…

        Wellness Mama, the question I have at this stage is simple: would you say that so long as we eat a very nutrient-rich paleo diet (with plenty of coconut oil, young coconuts, olive oil, calves liver, grass-fed meat, veggies and fruits, and ‘green pasture’ cod liver oil/butter oil), the frequency of the meals in itself is not critical for fertility? Or do you agree with the theory that for women the Warrior Diet can seriously damage fertility?

        The fact you’re doing the Warrior Diet yourself tends to reassure me, albeit maybe you were not doing it at the times you became pregnant with each of your children ;-) ?

        Thanks a lot again for your insights and the great paleo recipes :-)

        • says

          Great questions.. I definitely back off an way more often when. I’m pregnant or nursing… I’ve seen that IF can be bad for some women, especially if it is with a low calorie and low nutrient diet… If that is what your body naturally gravitates to, it is probably fine, but if you are working on boosting fertility, it might be worth adding another really nutrient dense meal

  10. says

    The 16 hour fast is actually a good way to keep your weight down. I was never hungry in the mornings and so didn’t get to eat until lunch (11-12) and then ate dinner between 6-8 pm depending on my work schedule. I read about the whole breakfast is the most important meal of the day thing and decided to try it. What I found was that I was actually hungrier ALL day and ate way more than usual. This resulted in weight gain within a few days. Plus, eating my normal way, I got to eat pretty much what I wanted without gaining a pound.

  11. onamission says

    For almost 2 weeks I have been on a 16/17  hour fast. I have not weighed myself yet, because I never weigh myself, but I can tell I’m shrinking. I don’t eat till around 10 or 11 a.m. and usually don’t eat after 6 p.m. It’s working for me, and it’s pretty effortless. I eat what I want and don’t feel cheated at all. 

  12. says

    We started the 16 hour fasting last Saturday, although we managed only 14 hours on the first day, then 15 on the 2nd, yesterday and today we succeeded the 16 hours and I guess it was no big deal and we hope to continue and see the results after a month- me if I lost any weight (am 122lbs I need to loose 7lbs; my husband is diabetic, will see how it af
    fected his FBS)

  13. jo says

    This is a really interesting article, I’ve just started looking into the health benefits of fasting having recently watched a documentary about it. My biggest problem is that whilst I have discovered I CAN go for longer periods than I expected without food (I genuinely never realised that hunger comes in ‘waves’ and mistakenly thought that if I skipped a meal I would become more and more hungry until I ate). However what I am finding more difficult is going without coffee. Whilst I only drink 2 – 3 cups of coffee per day (with milk & 1 sugar) I find it incredibly hard to skip these as they are not only my way of keeping hunger at bay, but also my 10 min breaks throughout the day. Does anyone have any advice? I should mention I find black unsugared coffee completely repulsive and I don’t drink tea!

  14. kstuff says

    As part of my religion, we are supposed to do a 24 hour fast once a month. Growing up this was no problem, but as I started eating worse and worse, my health declined and I would literally get sick from fasting. I am hoping that by eating enough fat and protein, I can participate fully in the next fast. To me, being able to fast shows that my body is healthy and strong.

    Also, my mother was so smart about this stuff. She wouldn’t let us break our fast with something easy like bread. It had to be a nice Sunday dinner with meat and vegies and everything good for you.

  15. loraine says

    Brilliant article! Whole grains are the worst as well… Stick to supplying your body with fats and protein for energy and you will notice incredible differences in health and genereal satiety. You will not be constantly hungy (common complaint ) because your body does not constantly need to refuel its quick sugar energy sources. Its more complex than that but very true. I’m living proof.

  16. Shea says

    I recently moved to the south of Chile and my body suddenly was not the same body I came with. One month of major diet changes (reintroducing refined carbs, and eating more) led to quick weight gain, obvious hormone imbalances and moodiness. Despite the fact that I have realigned my eating (cutting out grains as much as possible, and sticking to a higher protein and veggie intake), I still feel out of sorts. I am looking forward to trying the above methods and sharing the progress!

  17. Tony Dance says

    Different people work differently. I had to do this because of my schedule once, and the difference between my 7hrs exercise and 4800 calories a day and my 2 hrs exercise and 2000 calories a day was tremendous – 15 pounds. But I GAINED 15 pounds, and I felt sick all the time because I could not eat enough. This may work for some people, but not all. When I was eating a “healthy diet” as a child and had normal exercise patterns, I was always below the first percentile – when I was ten I was 4’11” and 64 pounds. Although I was healthy at that weight as I healthy at my new, not particularly favorable weight (5’3″ and 112.5 lbs), it was only because I was a child, and children can be skinny with less detrimental effects.

  18. Bjw says

    This makes so much more sense than what the mainstream leads us to believe. My body has always told me what you have explained here. Thank you for ridding me of guilt for skipping meals!

  19. maxine torres says

    What an interesting read I know feel that I don’t have to eat by the clock and not listen to my body.I was thinking surely it must be a good thing to give our organs a rest from all that hard work they do.Im a Christian and the Bible says about fasting,this article confirms it is good to fast for Mind,Body and Spirit.Thank you.

  20. Fleming says

    I tried Intermittent Fasting a few years ago, but life got in the way & it was hard to keep at it… I’m thinking of trying it again, partly to lose weight, but more importantly, I think, as a way to “reprogram” my mind… teaching me that I don’t have to follow society’s 3-meals-a-day rules… teaching me what it really feels like to be hungry, instead of going by the clock or my emotions or what my friends/family are doing… I have a feeling that thin people might just naturally practice intermittent fasting, but without any kind of definite, strict eating plan, without even thinking about it… is it possible there are some days when they (skinny people) don’t eat anything at all?.. I mean, if they eat only when they’re hungry, it’s conceivable that they might go more than 24 hours without wanting to eat… even I have felt that way, not often but for sure it’s happened… but instead of foregoing food, I ate just to keep from “slowing down my metabolism” as I’ve been scared into believing for years & years… if I were successful in not eating ’til I’m hungry, the problem then would be to avoid pigging out when I finally do eat… I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to chuck the intermittent fasting plan & transition into Intuitive Eating…

  21. says

    Very interesting reading. It’s funny, I’ve just started reading another blog, of someone on the 5/2 fasting diet – fasting two days a week. I haven’t read much about it yet, but I’m intrigued.

    I’ve just started a 40 day sugar-free effort. I’ve done thirty days before, so this is the next step :) I keep hearing that the desire for sugar can go away if you cut it out – mostly cutting out fructose really I think, but I’m starting with all sugar (except in fresh fruit and vegies obviously).

    Anyway, I’m enjoying working my way through your blog, thanks for the comprehensive posts and links to studies.

  22. coytle says

    I can easily skip lunch and perhaps dinner but I could never skip breakfast. I wake up so hungry that I feel like vomiting and can barely leave the bed. I have to keep a small item by the bed so I can get up to pee or ill dry heave my way to the bathroom. Does anyone know what couls help that?

    • James Childress says

      Low blood sugar is usually the culprit with nausea while sleeping. As a borderline diabetic, the medications I take can cause my blood sugar to go too low even after a meal resulting in nausea and feeling like I am going to puke.

  23. sheilabocchine says

    Super interesting. I have a few questions and I’m interested in the 16 hour fast, option 1.
    *Can I drink lemon water in the morning?
    *Can I drink lemon water with chia seeds in the morning?
    *Can I have my 2 spoons of coconut oil in the morning?

    Or do I have to wait until after 10am for all of these things?

    Thanks!!

  24. Chelley Cocoma says

    This makes a whole lot of sense. When I focus on grazing it seems that all I ever think about is food and I am never truly satisfied. When I eat when I’m hungry, I can go much longer periods where food doesn’t even cross my mind. The analogy of when we’re sick and naturally aren’t hungry allowed our body to fight off the cold/virus makes so much sense! By constantly eating (even small amounts) our body is constantly working on digesting instead of working to keep us healthy in other ways… Thanks so much for the info! Loved it.

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  26. Heather says

    My husband is big on eating every few hours. I have been telling him it doesn’t make sense. Won’t my body tell me when I’m hungry? Also, I have to have breakfast while my kids don’t. I really think every body is different and your body will tell you what and when it needs to eat. I’m really glad I found your website. Very informative thanks!

  27. Glen Gunderson says

    Thanks for the article. I cut out pop, 5 alive and McDonald’s about a year ago but my weight was unchanged 210. I started a 4 day a week treadmill exercise a few months ago and no big weight change for all that work I was still 205. Im the type that if I start eating in the morning I tend to be starved all day long and can’t stay out of the fridge. About a week ago I was too lazy to work out so I thought, I’m not hungry, so I’m not going to eat for the day, and really was never as hungry as I normally am for the whole day, it was easy! I woke up hungry the next day so I ate like I normally do- non stop as if someone else is at the controls. But something happened, I am now actually losing weight (fast), down to 195. Today was a fast day but tonight became worried maybe this would be bad for my health. Because I read this and the above comments I am re assured and will try and continue until I get down to 180. Thank you, this feels so empowering to me.

  28. Luke Jones says

    help! I am on a calorie restriction diet… 1950 cals per day. 244 grams of lean protein, 98 grams of complex carbs, 65 grams of healthy fats. if I hit the number of calories in one meal and fast from 6 pm Monday to 6pm Tuesday I feel like I am being counter productive. I started my calorie restriction diet at 251 pounds and I currently weigh 201 pounds I am 6’1 and 24 years old. I have a little belly fat left around my lower abs that I cannot get rid of and I am looking for advise on how to get rid of the last little bit! I have been dieting since the beginning of October. I know my protein intake is high, I do this because I do strength training 5 times a week and I bike nearly 60 miles per week.

  29. Tim K says

    I have been doing one meal a day between 6 PM and 8 PM. Only threes with a few days of cheating due to transitioning. I am glad to see many health advisor/ internet experts actually provide us the correct information. As stated in the above article, I have been trained for many years of the eat light and often.

    I am losing a healthy amount of weight, going to one meal a day. Once I have gotten use to enjoying the hunger and the energy I get from the between meal fasts, I don’t want to switch up this plan again. Plus now I can buy just enough for one meal and get the foods I want. So much easier to plan and prepare one meal daily. I save so much more time, and can actually get a few more things done daily.

    So far so good,

  30. Chelsea says

    Hi all, I know I’m late to jump on this thread but better late than never I guess! I’ve only recently started playing around wih the 16/8 IF, and I’m loving it. I will celebrate my 2 year Paleoversary next week, and it has beena realy struggle. I’ve come up against some pretty gnarly realities about my health and the condition of my gut, so while I’m not on a complete autoimmune protocol, it’s pretty close. I’ve struggled to get things right, and now that my diet seems as clean and on-point as possible, I’m trying to really heal my gut. One of the things that makes me feel best (on top of daily bone broth, US Wellness Meats, and homemade Kombucha) is just giving my poor, overworked, underappreciated guts a break.

    My only concern is that my husband and I are planning to conceive our second child inthe Fall, and I’m hesitant. I’m feeling really genuinely good, and I’m a little scare of what pregnancy might do to my system (I was a SAD eater during my last pregnancy, and have severe nausea and aversions throughout, ended up losing a lot fo weight). I noticed that there was some allusion above to altering IF during pregnancy, just wondering if you could share a bit more about how you did that, Katie?

    As for IF while BF, I’m sitting for the IBLCE exam next week and can tell you that in MOST cases, maternal nutrition does not affect milk supply. I’m also doing IF while continuing to BF my almost 3 year old :)

  31. Tamara says

    It’s funny that you posted this today, as it’s the last day of fasting in the month of Ramada for Muslims. We fast for 30 days from sunrise to sunset. This year they have been 16 hr fasts due to Ramadan falling during the summer . I converted to Islam aprox. 14 yrs ago and although fasting has been difficult I’ve learned how to manage it better with choosing the right foods when I’m able to eat. This discovery has made my fasts much easier with more energy throughout the day .In the past I would fill up on junk and empty calories and have not seen the benefits that I am seeing now. Although Ramadan is a spiritual month with your focus on God and those suffering, it is also a physical cleansing as well. Reading your article actually shed new light and validity to fasting. Pretty cool!

  32. Kaley says

    Aaah!! I think I love you! Thank you so much this makes me feels so much better and now I have more motivation to fast!

  33. Joanne says

    Typically I have always been a bit of a grazer and this seems to have left me overweight, tired and constantly hungry. I have always eaten fairly healthily but know that my grazing leads to going way over my calories some days. I have only very recently started the 16/8 routine – I have never been an early breakfast person anyway preferring to eat around 10am so going an extra couple of hours with a noon to 8pm eating window has felt like an easy transition for me…

    After just 1 week, I have lost a couple lb, don’t feel bloated any more, have much more energy and have started to sleep better too! I have noticed that my first meal at noon (later some days) is soooo satisfying because I am nicely hungry by then so food tastes so much better. I get full fairly quickly and my urge to constantly snack seems to have lessened as well. The 8pm stop time also gets rid of the mindless late night munching.

    I am eating foods I love, still healthy but with some treats and portions that are satisfying. So early days but I think I may have found a way that works for my body that doesn’t leave me deprived, helps to gradually shift that extra weight and leaves me feeling healthier than I’ve felt in a long long time – happy! :)

  34. Katy says

    A year ago, I weighed 160 lbs. I went through a long-term relationship ending and because of emotions I wasn’t hungry in the following week or two so I didn’t eat much. But what stuck with me after the initial heartache was that I realized how much I was confusing appetite with hunger. Now I only eat when I’m hungry. I used to think I was hungry all of the time, but I’ve found that naturally, I’m only hungry in the afternoon/evening. I don’t count calories and eat pretty much whatever I want, although I make sure I get plenty of vegetables. I’ve lost 25 pounds since then (and still losing) and I feel like my digestion is better and I’m not as sluggish. I also haven’t been sick for at least a year. I don’t believe for a second that eating only when you’re hungry (even if that means skipping breakfast and/or lunch) is unhealthy. I think having symptoms of low blood sugar due to not eating every 4-5 hours (like many overweight friends of mine) is similar to withdrawal and after your body adjusts, that won’t happen. I don’t think our ancestors ate snacks and small meals so frequently!

  35. Eleanor says

    I’ve tried the 16 hours fasting for a few days and I’m constantly tired and irritated .. Is it healthy for teens too ? I’m 16 and my bmi is 18.29 , could my weight or age be the reason ?

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