Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to intermittent fasting in 2023

by | Dec 4, 2022

You must be familiar with the word “Fasting.” It is the willful refrain from eating for a specific time.

Intermittent fasting defines the circle of means eating and fasting, where you eat all your meals in intervals and fast the rest of the time. Like some people eat 2-3 meals in 8 hours and then fast for 16 hours.

Over the last couple of years, intermittent fasting has become a big thing, and more and more people benefit from it. 

Here is the ultimate beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting.

What is Intermittent Fasting? 

First, we must understand that “Intermittent fasting” is not a diet. It’s a way of living, or you can say a way of eating. It is an eating pattern where you restrict your food intake for a certain period called the “Fasting Phase.” Eat your meals at intervals called “Eating Window.”  

Intermittent fasting doesn’t specify what food you should eat; it specifies when.

There are many different patterns, and the most popular ones are 16:8 or 18:6. For example, in the 16:8 practice, we fast for 16 hours and then eat 2-3 meals in an 8-hour eating window.

It’s in almost every religion worldwide, including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. But now, the worst thing we humans are doing is taking this concept and making it into a fad diet, using it for weight loss, and missing the science behind it.

It is just a way of living where you change your eating habits while eating the same amount of calories, rather than those fancy diets where you watch your calories all the time and still don’t get results. Intermittent fasting is easy to implement because it requires little behaviour change that you’ll able to do it.

Basically, You eat your food for a specific period and fast for the rest of the period.

How does Intermittent fasting work?

We can describe Intermittent fasting in two phases- the elimination phase and the building phase.

The elimination phase is fasting, when you’re fasting or not eating anything. It typically starts three to five hours after your last meal.

All the magic happens in the elimination phase because we shut down our digestive system. All that energy our digestive system uses to constantly break down the food we’re eating goes for repairing. Your body starts detoxifying you, and it’s cleaning you; it’s repairing you. Your body produces growth hormones, reduces acid levels, and balances blood sugar levels. It removes all your dead and sick cells from your system; this happens in the fasting phase.

The building phase is when you break your fast and start eating, or you can say where digestion happens. It lasts three to five hours after your meal.

In the building phase, your cells are hungry for nutrition, so you need to give yourselves all the raw material in the form of food. You provide carbohydrates, vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. All of this goes toward your cells. 

Your cells use all these ingredients as a building material to keep yourself healthy, keep organs alive, your muscle mass in place, and your metabolic system active.

Important Note:- Many people make mistakes in the building phase, try to diet, eat less food and skip important nutrition like carbohydrates and fats and focus more on protein, which cripples your metabolic system and results in your energy level crashing.

 If you starve yourself in the building phase or try to diet in the building phase, it will take away all the benefits of intermittent and dry fasting. 

Subsequently, fasting will harm your body because it is asking for food, but you’re trying to diet, and you’re trying to starve it because you assume that you will lose more weight that way but guess what? 

First, it will cripple your metabolism, which means you will gain more body fat rather than lose it. Second, your immunity will decrease because your cells ask you for nutrition. Still, you are not providing the required nutrition. 

As a result, your energy levels will crash. After a while, your intermittent fasting starts producing headaches, migraines, and much more acid, basically doing the opposite of what it should be, so do not make it a fad. Be patient. It is a system that should be natural to your body.

Bottom Line: Don’t try to push yourself after watching some social media clips, and try to fast for 16 hours or 18 hours in the beginning. Understand your body and eat when you feel hungry, don’t starve for the sake of fasting. Hunger means your energy levels start to drop. But being empty-stomach is a good thing. In the begging, start fasting for 7, 8 or 10 hours.

How to start Intermittent Fasting?

The best way to start is fast after the day’s last meal. Eat your last meal 3-4 hours before sleep.

For example, If you eat dinner at 7 pm and sleep around 10. After a normal sleep of 8 hours, when you wake up in the morning, you will be already in around a 10 to 11 hours fasting state. So eat your first meal at 7, 8, 9, or whenever you feel hungry. This way, you can do at least 11 hours of fasting.

Gradually increase your fasting time, like I eat my first meal at noon while I eat my second meal between 6 to 8 in the evening. You must understand that many people break their fast in 12 hours today with all the benefits because that’s all their body needs. Some do it in 16, some do it in 18, or do it in 20 hours. Everyone is unique; listen to your body.

At the beginning first 2 to 3 days are going to be difficult. You may get headaches and migraines because all the toxins that come out first get into your blood before being removed from your body. When toxins enter our blood, we usually get headaches and dull migraines. You may feel low on energy and can get hunger pangs, and all of that stuff is normal, but you’re fine once you pass three days.

Types of Intermittent Fasting.

There are so many methods to do intermittent fasting, Let’s discuss the most used ones

Daily Intermittent Fasting

The most common intermittent fasting model worldwide is the 16:8 model, which involves fasting for 16 hours and then eating for 8 hours. You can start your 8-hour eating period at any time that works for you, and it doesn’t have to be a continuous 8 hours. For example, you could start eating at 8 am and stop at 4 pm, or start at 2 pm and stop at 10 pm. I tend to find that eating around 1 pm and 8 pm works well for me because those times allow me to have meals with friends and family. Breakfast is typically a meal that I eat alone, so skipping it isn’t a big deal.

Intermittent Fasting

In the above Diagram, I describe the best way to do it. Most of the fasting happens during sleep. Just try to put a gap between meals and sleep at least for 2 hours.

Intermittent fasting every day becomes an easy habit to get into. You are probably already used to eating at certain times every day without thinking about it. With intermittent fasting, you just need to learn not to eat during certain times, which is surprisingly easy.

Important Note:-There is no compulsion that you should start with 16 hours of fasting. In the beginning, you should listen to your body and can start with 12 hours of fasting or less whatever is comfortable for you.

Warrior Intermittent Fasting

The warrior diet is a type of intermittent fasting schedule that involves fasting for 18 to 20 hours each day, followed by a 4-6 hour “eating window.” During the fasting period, you should consume 85 to 90 percent of your day’s food.

The warrior diet is based on a book of the same name written by Ori Hofmekler, and it claims to help you achieve a leaner, harder body with more energy and explosive strength.

In the above diagram, I describe the best way to do it, every day you consume a big meal in the evening and then fast for around 18-20 hours until lunch on next day. For lunch, eat raw vegetables and fruit, small amounts of protein, and beverages including water followed by a large meal in the evening consuming lean proteins, healthy fats, and nutrients.

I would not recommend this diet to beginners unless they have done fasting before. This diet has many health benefits and makes you mentally strong as well. It is inspired by the lifestyle of warriors who eat less and stay more active than normal people. Most professional athletes follow this diet.

People follow this diet by eating intelligently during their eating window. This means choosing nutrient-rich foods and drinking plenty of water to stay full longer.

Meals should be high in protein to build and maintain muscle mass, which is essential for the warrior diet. Other foods that can be eaten on the warrior plan include whole grains, raw produce, and full-fat dairy products like yogurt and cheese.

Weekly Intermittent Fasting or The 5:2 Method

One of the best ways to get started with intermittent fasting is to do it one or two days per week. Research has shown that the occasional fast can lead to many of the benefits of fasting, even if you don’t use it to cut calories all the time. 

The graphic below shows one example of how a weekly intermittent fast might look.

If you follow this schedule, you will eat a meal on Monday and then fast until lunch on Tuesday. You will repeat this pattern by eating on Thursday and then fasting until lunch on Friday. This way, you will fast for two days each week while still eating five days out of the week.

This schedule has the advantage of allowing you to eat every day of the week while still reaping the benefits of fasting for 24 hours. It is also less likely that you will lose weight because you are only cutting out two meals per week. So, if you are looking to bulk up or keep your weight on, then this is a great option.

The main benefit of fasting for 24 hours is that it helps you to overcome the mental hurdle of not eating. Additionally, it helps to cleanse your body of toxins.

Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting

Alternate-day intermittent fasting involves fasting for longer periods of time on alternate days throughout the week. 

For example, in the graphic below, you would eat dinner on Monday night and then not eat again until Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, however, you would eat all day and then start the 24-hour fasting cycle again after dinner on Wednesday evening. This allows you to get long fasting periods on a consistent basis while also eating at least one meal every day of the week.

Intermittent fasting using the alternate-day fasting method is often seen in research studies, but it’s not very popular in real life.

Theoretically, alternate-day intermittent fasting gives you more time in the fasted state than the other method of fasting, which could increase the benefits of fasting.

However, in practice, It would be concerned with getting enough to eat. One of the hardest parts of intermittent fasting is teaching yourself to eat more consistently. You might be able to feast for one meal, but learning to do so every day of the week takes some planning, cooking, and consistent eating.

If you’re fasting for 24 hours at a time on multiple days of the week, it will be very difficult to consume enough food on your feast days to make up for the calories you’re missing out on. I think it’s a better idea to try daily intermittent fasting or a single 24-hour fast once or twice per week or once per month.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. I thought we were supposed to eat every two hours.

    Mindless snacking every two hours eating, which many promote, is useless for the human body. Very few people require to eat meals every two hours who are diabetic or have specific medical issues or are very weak.
    People who promote that two-hour eating boost your metabolism is a crap. The human body doesn’t work on the number of times you eat. Your metabolism is determined by how sedentary your lifestyle is, how nutritious your meals are, how good your sleep is, and how much you exercise.

    For example, digesting a typical vegetarian meal takes about three and a half hours. A non-vegetarian meal can take five to six hours to digest, so if I’m eating every two hours, I still need to digest my first meal. I’m going to eat my second meal. It means I’m creating more acids in the stomach and making my pancreas work harder to produce more digestive enzymes.

    This way, I put the entire digestive system and body out of balance. Most of the time and energy of my body will waste in food digestion. Instead of a two-hour meal, eat a great meal once, twice, or thrice a day.

  2. Do I lose weight with intermittent fasting?

    The answer is yes, But don’t approach intermittent fasting with this wrong attitude of “fasting for weight loss” only. Intermittent fasting is not just for weight loss. It’s better to clean out toxins from your body and improve your metabolic activity. It reduces your acids and creates an environment where your body will allow you to drop your body fat.

    As a result, most people who try intermittent fasting lose some weight because their meal sizes stay the same even though they’re skipping a few meals each week. Keep in mind; It would take time to reverse if it took you two or three years to put on all that weight because of a poor lifestyle. Intermittent fasting is a science; it is not a quick-fix weight loss tablet.

  3. How many hours should I fast every day?

    There isn’t any parameter for it; the best advice is to listen to your body. Just because your friends are doing 16 or 18 hours doesn’t mean your body needs 16 to 18 hours. No one has the ability or intelligence to decide how many hours your body needs to fast except your body.

    I suggest a minimum of 10 Hours, which could be a maximum of 16, 20, or 24, depending on your body.
    If your energy levels drop after 11 hours or 13 hours, it is asking you to break your fast, then break it by pushing it for 14 to 16 hours. You will probably do more harm to your body and compromise with your building phase.

    As your body adapts, you will be more energetic and active even if you are fasting for 16 or 18 hours. Just go with the flow without pushing for an hour game. 

  4. Can I drink coffee during intermittent fasting?

    You must have heard that it’s okay to have intermittent or bulletproof coffee on an intermittent fast. Putting highly acidic caffeine into an empty stomach, more importantly, into a fasting body, is not good.

    You may feel energetic because your cell will suck caffeine. It will enter your blood quickly and give you the feeling of high. Most importantly, you will ignore your body’s most prominent symptom, hunger. Your body cells will be tired and asking for nutrition.

    I don’t prefer coffee, lemon water, green tea, or any energy drink to boost my fasting state except plain water (preferably at room temperature). You can drink anything in your “Eating Window.”

  5. How does fasting help to prevent disease?

    We all know the human body can heal itself. Our body requires energy and time to heal itself. The healing process starts when our body is in a relaxed state. As we know, digestions consume a lot of energy. After our meal, digestion takes 4-6 hours, depending on the food we consume. When digestion stops, the healing process begins. If we fast for 12 hours, our body gets enough time to repair itself, make new blood cells, and bring the inflammation down.

    Inflammation is the root of almost all diseases like Cancer, Heart disease, etc. In a fasting state, our blood sugar level stays constant and records no spike.



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