Pros of Intermittent Fasting
Easy to Understand Concept
The idea of intermittent fasting is easy to grasp. Simply don’t eat, or eat very little for part of the day. Then eat the bulk of your calories in a set timeframe.
Of course, it can get more complicated than that in terms of calroies and macros. But the general concept is easy for people to wrap their head around and take action on.
Burn More Fat
Clinical studies show that intermittent fasting increases insulin sensitivity. And that results in more fat loss compared to standard calorie restiction2.
Less Meal Prep
Fewer meals during the day means less time spent prepping meals. Even if you choose to eat low calorie snacks during the day, they’re usually raw foods you can carry with you. As a result, you’re liberated from cooking 3 times a day and carrying around meal prep containers.
Feel Full More Often
While you will feel hungry at times during the fasting window, you will also get to feel full during the feeding window. In contrast to feeling hungry all the time on typical calorie restriction diets.
Adjustable to Your Schedule
You can change the time and duration of your fasting window. For example, most days I fast from bedtime until the following afternoon.
However, when I travel later in the day, I fast in the evening. That way I can workout and eat while I’m home. And fast while I’m bustling around the airport and flying cross country.
Adjustable to Your Goals
You can also change your intermittent fasting windows based on your goals. Making the fasting period longer when you want to burn more fat. And gradually increasing the eating period when you want to gain more muscle.
Cons of Intermittent Fasting
Difficult First Week
The first time I tried intermittent fasting I was two weeks out from a bodybuilding contest. So I was already tired and hungry.
As a result, the first couple of days were very hard. I felt weak in the legs and a little foggy in the brain. But, by day 3, I was feeling better than ever and seeing results.
Fatigue and foggy headedness aren’t uncommon if you’ve never fasted before. Although it’s not as bad if you’re eating enough calories during your feeding window.
Awkward Social Situations
Intermittent fasting can be difficult at work, school, or other social functions. When everyone else is eating as a group, you’re seen as antisocial when you don’t participate.
Even if you clearly explain the purpose of intermittent fasting, some people think it’s weird. And peer pressure can temp you to give in.
Requires a lot of Discipline
Even when you’re not in social situations, intermittent fasting requires discipline.
For example, you face tempting smells, enticing ads, and easy access to food. Some days you’ll feel strong urges to break the fast.
While it’s not the end of the world, the more times you give in to your desires, the less likely you are to see the results you want.
Undereating is the biggest problem with intermittent fasting, and any diet for that matter. With intermittent fasting, it’s easy to eat fewer calories than you burn in a day.
While a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss, eating too little for too long causes metabolic disorders. That’s another reason I recommend eating a few small low carb meals during the fasting window. It ensures you’re overall calorie deficit isn’t too large and keeps your metabolism in check.
Related Article: Why Calorie Deficit Diets Don’t Work
Not a Cure All
Finally, intermittent fasting is not a one and done solution. You can’t expect to fast for 16 hours, then eat junk food for 8 hours and get good results. That’s just not how it works.
Instead, you must be willing to pay attention to calories and macros. As well as make healthy food choices in order to get the full benefits of intermittent fasting.