What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting can be done in various ways but the most common methods involve either restricting calories 2 to 3 days a week or fasting during certain hours of the day.
The Three Methods
- The 2 day method, often referred to as 5:2, requires participants to reduce their calorie intake to 500 calories on 2 days of the week only (600 calories for men) then eat normally the other 5 days.
- The 3 day method, often referred to as 3:4, requires participants to reduce their calorie intake to 1000 calories on 3 days of the week only (1200 calories for men) then eat normally the other 4 days.
- The part day method, or 16:8, requires participants to eat within an 8-hour window and stick below 1600 calories (2000 calories for men).
Often termed ‘part-time dieting’, Intermittent Fasting advocates enjoy the fact that they are only dieting during certain days or hours of the week which leaves them room for socializing and enjoying all the food they’d usually have to avoid on traditional diets.
Case Study- Rosemary
Rosemary, 58, has lost 14kgs from Intermittent Fasting and says it worked for her due to this exact reason. Describing herself as ‘very social’, Rosemary was struggling to stick to her old, strict diet which required daily calorie restriction. It got to the point where she didn’t really want to go out anymore because she couldn’t eat or drink the same as everyone else.
“You don’t want to be the one who’s sitting at the table and eating the rabbit food on the side while everyone else is enjoying their glass of wine and the beautiful meal.”
Rosemary decided to try the 3-Day method of Intermittent Fasting. She also signed up for the online fasting program SuperFastDiet for support.
“The meal plans and tips in the program became my go to. This meant that I didn’t find the fasting days hard. And, as it turns out, 1000 calories can be a lot of food when you know what to eat.”
Rosemary weighed herself after her first week and “was rather shocked to see that I’d gotten results.”
Encouraged, Rosemary tried another week, then another, losing weight consistently each time. She attributes the big difference between 3-Day fasting and other diets as “not sacrificing all the time”.
“On other diets you think ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t’, but with fasting I know I can have the food/drinks I want tomorrow.”
Case Study- Rosemary
“I have tried all three methods but my favourite by far is the part-day method as it suits my lifestyle. I’ve never been a huge breakfast lover, so it wasn’t a big adjustment for me. Additionally, I like to socialise and have nice dinners with family and friends, so the extra calories allow for that. I also exercise most days, so I need more energy food throughout the day which the part-day method allows for.
“The difference was that I didn’t feel like I was on a ‘diet’. Every other program I had tried I had to stick to what they told me to eat and as soon as I came off it, the weight would pile back on, plus extra kilos to boot! With Intermittent Fasting I could eat what I wanted, have a social life, and still lose weight. It actually felt too good to be true.”
Nicola hasn’t only lost weight, she’s enjoyed a range of health benefits.
“I have lost 13 kilos. I went from a Size 14 to a Size 6/8. Apart from the weight I have noticed a significant improvement in my health markers. I’m a breast cancer survivor so I have regular blood work done. My cholesterol and blood pressure are all in the healthy range and my visceral fat (the fat around my organs) has improved significantly.”
What do you actually eat?
You can really eat what you like with Intermittent Fasting, as long as you stay within the calorie allowance on fasting days/times, however eating lower calorie foods will keep you fuller for longer. For example, if you blew all of your calories on a lunch-time hamburger on a 500 calorie fast day, you’d be pretty hungry later on. To make the most of lower calorie days, expert Gen Davidson – the SuperFastDiet co-founder – recommends eating fruits and vegetables such as grapes, watermelon, apples, strawberries, pumpkin, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, kale, rocket, mushrooms and celery which are all very low in calories. Combining them with proteins such as eggs, prawns, tofu or fish, which are all very filling, is also a popular choice among fasters.
“We find many of our members use salads topped by proteins and seeds for lunch, or make omelettes with one full egg, one egg white. Another great idea is to have soup. There are some supermarket brands, such as Darikay, that are very low in calories and packed with nutrients. Pumpkin is one of the best at approximately 100 calories.”
“For dinner, barbecued seafood is a good choice and you can throw vegetables on there while you’re at it, such as sweet potatoes and eggplant. Kebabs work well too, especially Hawaiian style which can be as simple as pineapple, capsicum, chicken and onion.”
“There are so many foods that are lower in calories than you may think. 500 or 1000 calories on a fast day might not sound like much but you can make it go a long way.”
Here is an example of what you could eat on a 1000 calorie fast day (with additional options for men to bring it 1200).
- Breakfast: 2 egg omelette, 1 spring onion chopped, 30g feta cheese full fat, salt & pepper = 235 cals
Men can add 1 slice of wholegrain toast = 325 cals
- Snack: 1 full fat cappuccino = 121 cals (121 cals)
- Lunch: Minestrone soup tub (Darikay or similar) = 126 cals
Men can add ½ sourdough (small) roll = 208 cals
- Snack: 1 cup of tea (full cream milk), apple = 70 cals
- Dinner: 150g Porterhouse steak cooked, ½ cup of each steamed broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, 1 tsp butter = 454 cals
Total for the day = 1006 calories women, 1178 men
*Sample day courtesy of SuperFastDiet
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