everything you need to know about fasting

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FASTING

Fasting is nothing new. In fact, we’ve all been doing it without even realising. Fasting, for most people, is the time between the last mouthful of food in the evening, and the first mouthful of food in the morning when we ‘break the fast’ at ‘break-fast’. This type of fast normally lasts between 8 – 9 hours, depending on the times we eat. Recently, fasting for longer than this “normal” duration has increased in popularity, thanks to new science supporting the benefits associated with the technique.  
 
As more diets have incorporated this method, it’s made this type of dieting more mainstream but is it effective? James Hudson, nutritionist at Protein World, shares everything you should know about intermittent fasting.

1. The 5:2 Diet 

If you google “weight loss diets”, one of the first things you’ll see is a mention of the “5:2 diet”. The 5:2 diet is a type of intermittent fasting which restricts energy intake on two of the seven days of the week. This is not a complete fast on those days. Instead, dieters usually consume around 1/4 of their normal intake. For ladies, this is typically around the 500-calorie mark, with men getting slightly more at 600 on the “fast” days. As calories are restricted on these days, the normal overnight fast is extended into the day, and this creates intermittent fasting.

2. The 5:2 Diet is not the only way to fast

Although incredibly popular, there is a new fasting diet that has grown in popularity due to its recent science-backed benefits. Although the name isn’t as catchy, it’s referred to as the “Restricted Eating Window Diet” (REWD). Although pretty self-explanatory, it basically restricts the length of time that we spend eating food each day, and increases the length of our overnight fast. It might sound similar to the 5:2 method, but for the REWD diet, there are no calorie restrictions.  Research showed that when dieters ate within a restricted window of just 10-12 hours (instead of the usual 15) they ate up to 20% less calories, lost weight and became metabolically healthier.

3. Time limits apply

For the 5:2 diet, the “fast” window depends on when you have your first meal of the day. If you split your calories, the fast could last 15 hours, or if you power through until dinner, it could last for up to 22 hours. For REWD, the length and duration of the fast is up to you. However, you should aim for a minimum of 12–14 hours, and it is better to start the fast earlier in the evening rather than later. Looking at the pros and cons for both, the 5:2 diet gives you freedom with your eating habits on non-fast days, as you are only restricted on two days of the week. REWD has no limitations on what you can eat, but you do need to stay within your selected eating window, and do this for as many days of the week as possible. Choose what fits in better with your lifestyle.

everything you need to know about fasting
everything you need to know about fasting

4. Water is allowed when fasting

Fasting, by definition, is abstaining from food or drink, however, when it comes to fluids, we don’t have to take this so literally. Fasting for specific religious reasons may include a restriction of all fluids, however on these particular fasting diets (REWD and 5:2), you are allowed to consume as much water as you like. During the fasting period of these diets you have to avoid all fruit juices, smoothies and even coffee, as all these contain energy or caffeine which has to be metabolised by the body. That being said, if you feel you can’t function without your morning Starbucks, it's not the end of the world, just avoid drinks with added sugars and milks. Then, you can work towards eliminating these once your body gets used to longer fasts, transitioning to water. 

5. Prepare to be hangry

A disadvantage to eating this way is the hunger pangs you may experience in the first couple of weeks, in this instance, the hanger (hunger-anger) is real. For example, if you have pushed your breakfast back, reduced it or even eliminated it entirely, it may feel tougher in the morning as you are running on barely anything. When you’re hungry, it’s a natural instinct to grab something to eat. When you’re fasting, whether it’s a restriction of timings or calories, you need to train yourself to ignore the hunger pains. My tip would be to keep yourself busy so you have less opportunity to dwell on the fact you are hungry.  

6. You can exercise whilst fasting

It is suggested when following the 5:2 diet that on your low days you don’t do a lot of vigorous exercise. There are two reasons for this, you will find the exercise tougher and feel more tired/depleted for the rest of the day. What I would suggest is you experiment with exercise on low days (on the 5:2) and during your fasting window (on the REWD). Yes, you may find it harder and you might become more hangry, however, you will soon learn when you’re pushing yourself too far. I would suggest starting with lower intensity and shorter duration activities, then slowly increase. There are many benefits to exercising in a fasted state, but attempt it gradually and ease in. 

everything you need to know about fasting

7. There are multiple benefits of fasting

There are both mental and physical benefits to increasing the length of your fast. With regards to mental benefits, studies have shown that fasting diets are more sustainable than most diets, as they are a very simple way of dieting. You can either eat what you want, within an allotted time, or you can’t go over a certain number of calories a couple of days a week. The physical advantages to fasting include weight loss, (due to the likely reduction in calories), increase cellular repair (which is stimulated in the fasted state), increased sensitivity to insulin, better sleep and a more diverse gut bacteria.

8. Practice makes perfect

Although simple, all dietary changes require time to adjust, so don’t worry if it you bend the rules slightly at the beginning. An extra 50 calories or half an hour in the evening isn’t going to ruin all you’ve worked for. Try setting yourself a target for the fast, sticking to eating well for five days a week, and then indulging in a treat meal at the weekend. It will allow you the freedom to enjoy all the social benefits food and drink offers (whether it’s eating at a restaurant or going out to a bar and having a drink), without over-analysing, restricting or stressing us out too much.

9. When you'll see changes

Like all weight loss diets, you shouldn’t become disheartened if you do not see changes immediately. However, you should start seeing and feeling some of the benefits mentioned in point eight as early as four weeks in. However, with dieting consistency is key, so I would suggest finding a partner to join you on the same diet. This means you have someone to motivate and be motivated by, as well as someone to vent your hanger with, but ultimately, someone to enjoy the benefits with. 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

The Slender Blend
Shop

Fat Metaboliser
Shop

The New Slender Bars
Shop

The Slender Collection
Shop

OTHER STORIES

Speed up your weight loss

TOP TIPS TO SPEED UP WEIGHT LOSS

Feel like your weight loss has plateaued? We have 7 tips to speed up weight loss and to help you start seeing results!

Speed up your weight loss

PIMP YOUR PANCAKES

Five of our favourite toppings to pimp your pancakes. Because pancakes aren't just for Shrove Tuesday...

Everything you need to know about fasting

 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FASTING

 

Fasting is nothing new. In fact, we’ve all been doing it without even realising. Fasting, for most people, is the time between the last mouthful of food in the evening, and the first mouthful of food in the morning when we ‘break the fast’ at ‘break-fast’. This type of fast normally lasts between 8 – 9 hours, depending on the times we eat. Recently, fasting for longer than this “normal” duration has increased in popularity, thanks to new science supporting the benefits associated with the technique.  
 
As more diets have incorporated this method, it’s made this type of dieting more mainstream but is it effective? James Hudson, nutritionist at Protein World, shares everything you should know about intermittent fasting.

1. The 5:2 Diet 

If you google “weight loss diets”, one of the first things you’ll see is a mention of the “5:2 diet”. The 5:2 diet is a type of intermittent fasting which restricts energy intake on two of the seven days of the week. This is not a complete fast on those days. Instead, dieters usually consume around 1/4 of their normal intake. For ladies, this is typically around the 500-calorie mark, with men getting slightly more at 600 on the “fast” days. As calories are restricted on these days, the normal overnight fast is extended into the day, and this creates intermittent fasting.

2. The 5:2 Diet is not the only way to fast

Although incredibly popular, there is a new fasting diet that has grown in popularity due to its recent science-backed benefits. Although the name isn’t as catchy, it’s referred to as the “Restricted Eating Window Diet” (REWD). Although pretty self-explanatory, it basically restricts the length of time that we spend eating food each day, and increases the length of our overnight fast. It might sound similar to the 5:2 method, but for the REWD diet, there are no calorie restrictions.  Research showed that when dieters ate within a restricted window of just 10-12 hours (instead of the usual 15) they ate up to 20% less calories, lost weight and became metabolically healthier.

3. Time limits apply

For the 5:2 diet, the “fast” window depends on when you have your first meal of the day. If you split your calories, the fast could last 15 hours, or if you power through until dinner, it could last for up to 22 hours. For REWD, the length and duration of the fast is up to you. However, you should aim for a minimum of 12–14 hours, and it is better to start the fast earlier in the evening rather than later. Looking at the pros and cons for both, the 5:2 diet gives you freedom with your eating habits on non-fast days, as you are only restricted on two days of the week. REWD has no limitations on what you can eat, but you do need to stay within your selected eating window, and do this for as many days of the week as possible. Choose what fits in better with your lifestyle.

Everything you need to know about fasting
Everything you need to know about fasting

 

4. Water is allowed when fasting

Fasting, by definition, is abstaining from food or drink, however, when it comes to fluids, we don’t have to take this so literally. Fasting for specific religious reasons may include a restriction of all fluids, however on these particular fasting diets (REWD and 5:2), you are allowed to consume as much water as you like. During the fasting period of these diets you have to avoid all fruit juices, smoothies and even coffee, as all these contain energy or caffeine which has to be metabolised by the body. That being said, if you feel you can’t function without your morning Starbucks, it's not the end of the world, just avoid drinks with added sugars and milks. Then, you can work towards eliminating these once your body gets used to longer fasts, transitioning to water. 

5. Prepare to be hangry

A disadvantage to eating this way is the hunger pangs you may experience in the first couple of weeks, in this instance, the hanger (hunger-anger) is real. For example, if you have pushed your breakfast back, reduced it or even eliminated it entirely, it may feel tougher in the morning as you are running on barely anything. When you’re hungry, it’s a natural instinct to grab something to eat. When you’re fasting, whether it’s a restriction of timings or calories, you need to train yourself to ignore the hunger pains. My tip would be to keep yourself busy so you have less opportunity to dwell on the fact you are hungry.  

6. You can exercise whilst fasting

It is suggested when following the 5:2 diet that on your low days you don’t do a lot of vigorous exercise. There are two reasons for this, you will find the exercise tougher and feel more tired/depleted for the rest of the day. What I would suggest is you experiment with exercise on low days (on the 5:2) and during your fasting window (on the REWD). Yes, you may find it harder and you might become more hangry, however, you will soon learn when you’re pushing yourself too far. I would suggest starting with lower intensity and shorter duration activities, then slowly increase. There are many benefits to exercising in a fasted state, but attempt it gradually and ease in. 

7 ways to speed up your weight loss

 

7. There are multiple benefits of fasting

There are both mental and physical benefits to increasing the length of your fast. With regards to mental benefits, studies have shown that fasting diets are more sustainable than most diets, as they are a very simple way of dieting. You can either eat what you want, within an allotted time, or you can’t go over a certain number of calories a couple of days a week. The physical advantages to fasting include weight loss, (due to the likely reduction in calories), increase cellular repair (which is stimulated in the fasted state), increased sensitivity to insulin, better sleep and a more diverse gut bacteria.

8. Practice makes perfect

Although simple, all dietary changes require time to adjust, so don’t worry if it you bend the rules slightly at the beginning. An extra 50 calories or half an hour in the evening isn’t going to ruin all you’ve worked for. Try setting yourself a target for the fast, sticking to eating well for five days a week, and then indulging in a treat meal at the weekend. It will allow you the freedom to enjoy all the social benefits food and drink offers (whether it’s eating at a restaurant or going out to a bar and having a drink), without over-analysing, restricting or stressing us out too much.

9. When you'll see changes

Like all weight loss diets, you shouldn’t become disheartened if you do not see changes immediately. However, you should start seeing and feeling some of the benefits mentioned in point eight as early as four weeks in. However, with dieting consistency is key, so I would suggest finding a partner to join you on the same diet. This means you have someone to motivate and be motivated by, as well as someone to vent your hanger with, but ultimately, someone to enjoy the benefits with. 

 

- OTHER STORIES -

7 ways to speed up your weight loss

TOP TIPS TO SPEED UP WEIGHT LOSS

Feel like your weight loss has plateaued? We have 7 tips to speed up weight loss and to help you start seeing results!

 

Pimp up your pancakes with these toppings

PIMP YOUR PANCAKES

Five of our favourite toppings to pimp your pancakes. Because pancakes aren't just for Shrove Tuesday...

 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

The Slender Blend
Shop

Fat Metaboliser
Shop

The New Slender Bars
Shop

The Slender Collection
Shop

XClose