There are countless patterns of intermittent fasting. People seem to be doing it using newer ways all the time. But have you wondered what it can be like doing it without restricting your calorie intake? Well, I’ve tried that, and I want to share the results with you here today.
Doing Intermittent fasting without calorie restriction can still give you most of the benefits it usually offers. However, physically, it can either lead to weight gain, weight loss, or weight plateau depending on how many calories you’re consuming and how long you’re fasting.
In the remainder of this article, we’ll dig deeper into what happens in each scenario, so you know what to do in order for you to be hitting your goals more reliably with intermittent fasting.
Let’s first talk about the benefits of intermittent fasting that can still happen even if you’re not doing caloric restriction. For example, autophagy, which is a process that induces cellular repairs and helps your body get rid of waste products and recycle and reuse nutrients. I.F. can also help decrease insulin sensitivity, increase growth hormone (making it easier for you to lose fat and build muscle). It can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in your body, benefit your brain and help you focus more. It can even cause beneficial changes in gene expressions leading to protection against many diseases.
That’s all great news that can still happen just because you’re doing a minimum of 16 hour fast per day.
Now, if you don’t want to be reducing your calorie intake, or you just want to still be eating as usual without having to count calories, here’s what can and will happen.
A- You’re Eating More Than Your Body Needs
Eating Enough Protein & Challenging Your Muscles
In this case, you’re doing the two most important things you need to be doing to build muscles (eating more protein and challenging your muscles). On top of that, you’re also doing intermittent fasting, which can dramatically increase growth hormone and can make building muscle easier and more achievable.
In this case, I would just advise getting some healthy fats and schedule your carbs before your workout while relying on low glycemic index carbs that take a longer time to digest, helping you have more sustainable energy during your workout.
Eating Too Much Sugar and High Glycemic Index Carbs, With A Sedentary Lifestyle
Too much sugar is almost always a recipe for fat gain. There’s practically no way you can be burning all that sugar you are consuming. And sugar is digested fairly fast. So if you’re not using it right away, it has to go somewhere. In most cases, it’ll get converted to body fat.
Now, because you’re doing intermittent fasting for enough hours, you’ll be burning more calories than you would with a regular eating pattern, due to physiological changes happening in your body we have discussed earlier.
That being said, too much sugar is not healthy for you, neither is it good for intermittent fasting. In fact, most people who regularly consume big amounts of sugar, develop insulin sensitivity, which makes it a lot harder to fast because your body is always asking for food in general, and sugars in specific.
That’s why I suggest replacing some of these sugars with protein and healthy fats, resulting in a healthier lifestyle and an easier time committing to intermittent fasting.
Getting More Than Half Of Your Calories From Fat, With Moderate Protein And Few Carbs
If you were to come to me when you first decided to do intermittent fasting, that’s exactly what I would have recommended you do.
Which practically is Healthy Keto & Intermittent Fasting.
50% fat is not enough to achieve ketosis, but it can be a start.
When you’re doing that, you’ll start to feel satiated most of the time, which is gonna make it a lot easier to cut down on calories, which is recommended if you want to lose weight.
If, on the other hand, you’re doing it for muscle gain, in addition to consuming more calories, you should also aim to consume more protein.
B- You’re Eating Less Than Your Body Needs
Adhering to the Keto Ratio: More Fat, Moderate Protein, And A Few Carbs
This is the route most people go on when doing Keto & IF. It’s perfect for those who are doing it to burn fat and preserve their muscle mass along the way.
You just have to learn more about the healthy version of Keto so you can achieve the best results in the healthiest way possible. This includes inserting more vegetables into your diet to get enough micronutrients, choosing the healthy fats over the crappy ones, getting more fiber, and many other nuances that when put together can dramatically change your journey.
Not Eating Enough Fat
A lot of people have reported not being able to actually commit to intermittent fasting because they’re eating too much sugar/protein, and not enough fat. This causes a constant feeling of hunger and can really slow your progress down.
More Sugar & Carbs Than Protein (Not Eating Enough Protein)
Here we’ve got a problem. When you’re doing Keto and/or intermittent fasting, you tend to need less protein than used to. However, you still need some amount of it. And if you don’t get it, you’ll start losing your own muscles. You don’t want that to start happening.
C- You’re Eating Just About How Much Your Body Needed Before Intermittent Fasting
Even if you’re eating as much as you used to eat before (an amount that caused you to plateau prior to intermittent fasting) this same amount might now help you lose fat. This is because intermittent fasting, as explained earlier, increases the levels of growth hormone in your body, making you burn more calories than you usually do.
This means that even if you’re eating the same amount as before, your body is burning more, which means you’re in a calorie deficit without even knowing it.
Have you ever heard about intermittent fasting magic? This is only a part of it.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work Without Calorie Restriction?
You can still harvest most of the benefits of intermittent fasting even without calorie restriction: autophagy, positive hormonal changes, muscle mass sparing, among many others. However, you shouldn’t always expect to be losing fat if you’re not paying enough attention to your calorie intake.
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