Has Anyone Benefitted From Intermittent Fasting?



First off… I wish I had photos to attach, cause I know that would make for a better answer. (I’ll try and add some later)

Some background:

So last year I moved to London for 6 months and got fat. I am 61 and weighed about 183 when I left to London. While there, I had a super crazy schedule where I worked 12+ hours a day, and when I wasn’t working, tried to see sights and have fun. The gym didn’t happen. And all I really did was eat. A LOT. I lost a ton of muscle and put on a ton of fat.

People make fasting more complicated than it needs to be. We believe in keeping it simple and seeing results – you can always experiment after that. If you’re new here make sure and take a look at our free audiobook offer Eat Stop Eat Making Fasting Simple Again (And Seeing Real Results).

I then spent 6 months in San Francisco where my schedule was similar, just I ate a lot of fast food and got even fatter. Till eventually I weighed 207/210. The heaviest I’d ever been. Not to mention I had the least amount of muscle I’d had in years. I wish I’d gotten my body fat measured, but I was definitely hovering in the 25+% range.

Thank God for intermittent fasting:

Starting on May 16th of this year (it’s July 19th) I began practicing intermittent fasting and working out. Tim makes an excellent point when he says:

“It’s not that intermittent fasting itself works, it’s the amount of calories you consume as a whole within your day.”

And for me, intermittent fasting makes it WAY easier to consumer less calories than normal and stay in a calorie deficit. And that’s by far the most important thing if you want to lose fat, especially that tough to remove belly fat.

I workout in the morning. And only drink liquids until I break my fast at about 13pm (depending on how I’m feeling) with a snack like a greek yogurt. Sometimes I get into a groove at work and won’t break my fast until dinner.

Then I eat my one main meal of the day between 57 typically. This way I can eat something delicious and hardy. My buddies (who also practice IF) and I tend to eat burrito bowls from Chipotle, grilled chicken from Chik Fil A, or homemade chicken or taco meat or whatever. The point is, I eat a GOOOOD meal and I get stuffed.

(sidenote: for me, I’m shooting for around 14001800 calories a day depending on whether its a training day or not. It’s important to figure out what calorie and macro goals you should be aiming for)

After dinner I play it by ear. Either I’m good for the day, or sometimes when I’ve been in a serious deficit for a few days in a row, I can just feel that I need to eat more. So I eat another snack or mini meal. (My favorite thing is Halo Top ice cream. One Pint has under 300 calories 24+ grams of protein and all the macros are great)

Results:

So Like I said, I was 207 lbs in the beginning of May. As of this morning, July 19th, I am now 181 pounds. And am down to about 15% body fat. My body shape is totally different than it was. I’ve lost multiple inches off my waste and my abs are really starting to come in.

I can’t preach how great intermittent fasting has been for me enough. It has made getting back into shape and ‘cutting’, SOOO MUCH EASIER.

I’m just a normal dude who works at a startup and definitely is not a fitness freak or guru. But I’ve really seen the results of I. F. Let me know if you have any questions.

This answer originally appeared on this Quora question on Fasting.

Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting + How To Do It

Text version:

Hey, Dr. Axe here, doctor of natural medicine and founder of www. draxe. com. In this video, I’ll be training you on the many benefits of intermittent fasting, what to do and what not to do, and who should do it when it comes to intermittent fasting.

And also some of the key foods you’re going to want to be eating if you’re going to be following intermittent fasting type of diet. So let’s jump right in. Let me say this, intermittent fasting the benefits can be pretty profound, and what tends to happen when you look at what it is and how you want to do it . .

. First of when you look at intermittent fasting, you want to typically eating a four hour to a maximum eight hour window, but typically that window is about six hours. Now, most people eat first thing when they wake up in the morning, so maybe that’s 7 o’clock, and also they eat a snack or something even up to till the time of bed, maybe that’s 11 o’ clock. So what ends up happening is most people end up eating for about 16 hours a day or at least 12.

And so, your body is kind of always digesting, always processing and it doesn’t have a very long rest period for really cleansing, detoxification, for internal healing. So, we’ll talk about that more in just a minute. But one of the big benefits is that you have a much longer period where you’re not eating so your body can recover and heal. Now here’s one of the biggest benefits of intermittent fasting. It promotes human growth hormone.

You know, there was an article written years ago by Herschel Walker, a famous Georgia running back and also was a very prosperous NFL running back. In fact, broke the rookie running record in terms of yards per carry. But it promotes HGH, that’s human growth hormone. You know, most people today as we age, our human growth hormone declines. And this is why you’ll see a lot of men with low testosterone, have low human growth hormone. When women start to age faster, get brittle bone, their human growth hormones lower.

Naturally having more human growth hormone tends to mean you’re younger, you’re more vibrant, you’re more energetic. But again if it’s low, that starts leaning toward sickness and disease. Now, some people as they age will start to try and do testosterone injections and other things that are synthetic. The problem is those outside in things that are unnatural also have serious side effects versus ideally, you want to boost the human growth hormone in your own body and keep it high, one of the best ways to do that: intermittent fasting. You know, also if you were working out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, boost your human growth hormone by sometimes more than a 1000% can go sky high. So again, one of the biggest ways you can actually increase human growth hormone is by intermittent fasting and coupling it with heavy weight training. It’s a great way to stay younger longer.

Number two, as we’ve talked about anti aging. So much of aging is sort of balancing hormones in your body as you age, from human growth hormone, to cortisol levels, to insulin. We want to keep your cortisol levels balanced. Really one of the keys to doing that is intermittent fasting. An intermittent fasting diet, most people might have their first meal at 1 o’clock. Maybe they’ll do two meals a day. They’ll eat at 1 o’clock and around 5 or 6, and that’s what they do. You’re always skipping breakfast when you’re intermittent fasting.

Some people eat at noon, 3 and 6. That’s another option if you still want to get three meals. But in general with intermittent fasting, is you’re waiting to eat, and it’s really eating possibly more like our ancestors did. You know, our ancestors we don’t know that they necessarily ate something every morning and then they might have gone out and worked for a while. Then when they started getting hungry, then they would eat. They were really listening to their body. But again, intermittent fasting can promote anti aging because of how it balances out cortisol, human growth hormone, insulin, and other hormones that really affect aging.

Number three, improve sports performance. You know, a lot of this has to do with again HGH. You know the best athletes are faster and they are stronger. Stronger has a lot to do with that human growth hormone, which a lot of people try and cheat the system and do anabolic steroids. Here’s the truth. You can boost your own internal natural steroids and your own anabolic system if you follow intermittent fasting, and especially if you couple that with weightlifting and burst training or high intensity training.

Doing those things together really helps boost that human growth hormone, which will boost your strength and help sports performance. Number four, normalizes insulin sensitivity. Now, this is huge. You know, people with diabetes, we know that they have insulin spikes. We know that they are having issues with their insulin receptor sites with diabetes. So obviously, this helps that. But a lot of people don’t also realize that insulin has a lot to do with weight gain. Also insulin has to lot to do with other hormones being balanced in the body like progesterone and estrogen.

And oftentimes what happens if insulin stays imbalanced, progesterone gets low, estrogen gets high. That can lead to issues like infertility in women. It can lead to PCOS, that’s polycystic ovary syndrome, severe PMS symptoms. A number of hormonal health conditions are related to insulin imbalance.

So again, insulin . . . your energy levels all day should kind of be like this, okay? They should just be high, they should be feeling good.

What happens to a lot of people who eat these carby breakfasts, which your body can deal with because you fasted for eight hours. But then for lunch, we do a lot more carbs. So what happens is you hit that like 2 or 3 o’clock coma, you want to go into a nap. You know, that’s what happens when you have insulin levels that aren’t balance.

So ideally what you do is, you miss breakfast and then you’re eating a diet that’s high in protein, fiber, healthy fat, and other antioxidants, okay? So again, notice I didn’t say carbs in there. You want to keep insulin levels balanced? Do intermittent fasting and follow a diet that has protein, fiber, healthy fat, some other antioxidants in it, and that’s what’s going keep you really leveled and energized all day long and help normalize insulin sensitivity. Number five, it helps regulate hormones in your body like leptin and ghrelin. Now, ghrelin is known as your body’s hunger hormone, so maybe you’ve been in that position where you are just hungry, you’re famished, and your body says, “I need more food.” Well, when you start intermittent fasting, you might have that for about three days. But after three days, that starts to go away. When you do intermittent fasting the right way and eating foods that are high in fat, protein and fiber like an example of a meal would be for breakfast, doing a smoothie, doing bone broth protein with some coconut milk with maybe a little bit of fiber like a chia seed or flaxseed, you can do a few berries in there. I’m sorry. And by the way, your breakfast is at noon, okay? And then at 3 o’clock, maybe you’re eating another meal a 3 o’clock lunch and you’re doing like a big salad with lettuce and chicken breast and olive oil and that type of thing.

And for dinner, organic meat like triple dose of vegetables, some more healthy fat like an avocado. That’s the ideal meal plan. If you eat meals like noon, 3 and 6, it’s going to help kill off that hunger hormone or balance that out. And also there’s another hormone intermittent fasting helps balance out called leptin. And leptin is really released by some of your fat cells and it’s really what tells your body that you need to burn fat or to store fat, more fat in your system. So again, intermittent fasting can also help in a major way with balancing out those hormones that cause cravings. Also it can lower triglycerides.

You know, it’s interesting, there’s this debate between the holistic natural health community and the medical community, and the medical community is saying cholesterol is what causes heart disease. Really, it’s not cholesterol. It’s high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol. But one of the things you want to do look at with your heart health is overall triglycerides.

We know, triglycerides, when those get high, those can actually increase your likelihood of having clogged arteries and a heart attack or stroke. So what we want to do is balance out those triglyceride levels. You lower triglycerides by consuming a lot of herbs, okay? Things like cinnamon and ginger and turmeric, and also by intermittent fasting. Doing those things together is going to help bring those triglyceride levels back into balance. Number seven here, detoxification. This is probably one of the greatest benefits of intermittent fasting.

So think about this, when you wake up and eat first thing in the morning, that’s 7 a. m. and you eat another little snack at 8 or 9 your body’s only getting about maybe 8 to 10 hours of rest while you sleep at night. If you eat a meal, let’s say at 1, and your next meal at 6, where your body’s digesting for about five hours there or maybe let’s say six even while your body’s have an extra eight hours, let’s say 18 hours for your liver to detox, for your colon to cleanse, for your lungs to filter, for your kidneys to balance out these fluids in your system. It’s giving your body more time to not have to work.

Here’s the thing. This is really important thing to remember, foods don’t heal you, your body heals itself. Your liver detoxes, so milk thistle or turmeric or beets or . . . none of those things actually heal you.

They support your organ in functioning. Your liver detoxes, your body heals itself. So the important thing to remember is, the best thing you can do for your body is practice fasting and really resting your body. This is why fasting itself has been practiced for thousands of years. If it’s referenced throughout the Bible, for fasting, for spiritual insights and for overall health, it’s referenced in Chinese medicine, fasting, Ayurvedic medicine, so we know that fasting was recommended by Hippocrates and Galen, the fathers of Western medicine, so we know there are many benefits of fasting. One of the biggest reasons is it supports detoxification of your organs. Number eight here, weight loss. Probably, one of the biggest reasons people will use it is, when you’re intermittent fasting, again, you’re experiencing the benefits of killing off your hunger hormones, balancing out insulin levels, having more anti aging hormones, detoxification.

All of these things benefit weight loss. And also, when people tend to eat less meals or closer meals together, they tend to eat less calories. Overall, it supports weight loss in a major way. Also doing this combination of a diet where you mix intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet for 30 days, marrying those two diets together is the fastest way to burn fat and lose weight you could ever imagine. That’s a combination of a ketogenic diet plus intermittent fasting for about a 30 day to a 90 day period really leads to rapid weight loss. So who should do it? Anybody’s who’s looking for these benefits. If you want to experience the benefits of intermittent fasting . .

. Again, if you’re a person who wants to lose weight, you want to balance insulin levels, you want to balance hormones, you want to age slower, you want to get rid of brain fog for a lot of people, you want to support detoxification, that’s who should do it. People that shouldn’t do it are potentially women that are pregnant. You know, you want to just make sure that you’re eating when hungry. You’re listening to your body during pregnancy, of course.

And anybody where it’s been contraindicated. If you have diabetes, you want to work with a practitioner on this to make sure at least you’re getting some food so you’re not having these spikes. But over time, most people with diabetes can start to see that reverse by practicing that diet that I talked about, fiber, fat, protein, get rid of the sugar and carbs. Consuming a diet like that with intermittent fasting over time can really help with those insulin levels and the blood sugar levels. And then, how to do it.

Ideally with intermittent fasting, I kind of went through this earlier. Again, you want to start eating your first meal around noon or 1, last meal around 5 or 6. I typically recommend like a six hour window of when you can eat, okay? And then the rest the day, you don’t eat. Now, you can drink fluids during that time, get plenty of water. But that’s really what you want to do on an intermittent fasting diet is not eat during those six hours. And remember, when you’re doing intermittent fasting, eat a diet that’s high in protein, fiber, healthy fat, and lots of nutrients from herbs. When I say herbs throwing turmeric in with your chicken or with your hummus or something like that that you’re eating. If you’re making an Italian chicken dish, lots of basil, lots of oregano, lots of rosemary.

You know, if you’re making a smoothie, a big teaspoon of cinnamon in there. You know, using lots of herbs, lots of vegetables as well on this diet is something you absolutely want to do as well. And again you can see all of these benefits here. So hey, if you want to experience the benefits of intermittent fasting, go ahead and I would just simply just know that there’s really nothing complex about it. You’re eating less during a six hour window during the day. It’s really that simple to following the diet. Hey, the first three days, you start to have a lot of those cravings.

But listen, after a few days, you don’t even get hungry in the morning and you won’t even be hungry till lunch. So again, try out an intermittent fasting diet. I know you’re going to see benefits. And hey, if you’ve enjoyed this video, make sure you’re subscribed here to my channel.

And hey, we’ve got a lot of great content coming out about essential oils, other advanced diets like to ketogenic diets, and really just teaching you how to use food as medicine. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. Hi, Dr. Axe here. I want to say thanks so much for checking out this You Tube video. And also don’t forget to subscribe if you want to get more great content on things like herbs, essential oils, natural remedies, and how to use food as medicine.

Also check out more of our content on my channel. Thanks for watching…

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Comment (20)

  1. I never feel like eating anything until I’ve been up for five or six hours yet all these years health experts have been saying I must never miss a meal and breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
    So now the opposite is true??

  2. So the way I do intermittent fasting is I fast for 16 hours and eat within the rest of the 8 hours. So when I wake up I don’t eat until 1 o’clock and then finish eating at 9 o’clock. then it repeats itself the next day. I’m not rigid on the window but rather just push breakfast back a few hours after waking wake. My fasting clock starts when I get out of bed so not on some separate timeframe. Now I love this because I can eat really large meals in these windows that I do eat and can position these meals for social occasions or days when I know I’ll be eating more. And saves me so much time preparing meals because of the simplicity of it.

    Now, this is also better than just reducing calories because when you eat your body converts into glucose which is used as energy so when glucose levels rise another hormone called insulin is produced. Now insulin makes it very hard to lose fat because of its anabolic so this means it will help us maintain muscle but will also make you hold onto fat.

    Now when insulin has spiked and you’re not in fat burning mode. And why would you be when you have all this quick accessible glucose as energy. But by fasting your glucose store will become depleted and once these stores are depleted then your body has no chose but to burn fat as energy. Fat is stored fat, so we only use stored supplies once we have used up our more assessable supplies first.

    This is why we have fat to protect us in case food becomes scarce. now you have a reason to burn that fat instead of using glucose and storing leftover glucose as fat. so Glucose is the quickest most excess-able source for energy. so it will always use that before burning fat. So it’s important to understand that in simple terms that when you eat the energy from what you get goes in two directions either stored as fat of burnt up as glucose.

    But another benefit is once your insulin levels have dropped, growth hormones increases which lets you maintain your muscle and in studies with mice actually showed to increase muscle mass. The science is still very new but very existing.

    And once you break your fast and since everything like glucose is depleted you become more insulin sensitive so your body will now optimize energy use and this means it will send that energy where it’s most needed straight into your muscle cells rather than your fat cells, especially after a workout. If your body relates strength exercises with food it’s going to work hard to keep or grow that muscle.

    So by eating throughout the day has the opposite effect keeping you insulin high all day which continually keeps you anabolic, not catabolic,( anabolic building up your cells, Catabolic being breaking down your cells) Which is essential for breaking down fat cells with ketoses.

    So intermittent fasting is like this hybrid of the paleo and ketogenic diet which all aim to put you in ketosis but what they have left out is this important concept of timing. depleting glucose stores through a period of fasting putting us into a fat burning state rather than trying to reduce insulin through a high-fat diet. because you can’t do any better than eating nothing. you will still somewhat produce insulin.

    Now, thats just all the biological benefits for fat loss of intermittent and haven’t even gone into all the lifestyle benefits. Because when your body adapts to fasting you can now go longer without eating.

    And his leads to a whole lot of benefits like eating bigger meals, eating more of your favourite foods, no longer having to do cardio which is a big one. so there’s a whole lot of them and once this approach is put in place it becomes a much more enjoyable diet which is sustainable.

    Now The One thing everyone is thinking right now is but I will get hungry if I don’t eat for 6 hours. Now you should go listen to my 5 steps to starting intermittent fasting podcast but it’s not as hard as it sounds and I would fast anyway if I wasn’t concerned about my fitness because I feel so much better, more alert and all these really new studies come out.

    Now I have seen it work for a lot of people and its got a lot of backing from science as being and an extremely good way to help reduce cardiovascular diseases. And it all points back to this is how we lived for thousands of years, continually going through periods of fasting because-because really don’t understand just how unpredictable food was.

    Now there’s obviously a lot more hormones and processes that are acquired when trying to lose fat but I think most of you guys are just looking to lose some weight and are not looking to become doctors or coaches so a basic understanding of the processes is all that is needed.

    So hopefully this is enough to let you get a good understanding of intermittent fasting and how it’s an extremely useful tool to lose fat and so improve other areas of your life.

  3. Intermittent fasting has changed my life. weight loss, but most important my skin, so clear and beautiful, I am 34 and I never seen my skin so beautiful and glowing.

  4. First time viewer and now a subscriber. I’ve been doing IF for over a year and I have lost 75 lbs. I am the result of what YouTube has taught me. This is by far the most accurate and dead on videos of why you should do IF. For me personally the best reason to do IF is to balance out your hormones. I was on High blood pressure medicine. I was on 300g of Allipurinal for gout and I took a daily 20mg dose of Prilosec for acid reflux. I am on no longer on any medication at all today. I don’t even take low dose Advil or Tylenol. I am convinced now the reason I’m no longer on any prescription or over the counter drugs is because of my hormones all being used and in harmony with my body. All because of IF. Again this video In my opinion is perfection. Thank you and I look forward in watching all your past and future videos.

  5. I started dong IF and that cured my cystic acne. I just felt like I was over eating and making my body dirty that way, I’m skinny by the way.
    Thanks for enlightening us dr Axe!

  6. Six months in I’m 35 lbs down of fat. IF has been a Godsend for me love it, think I’ll keep it as a part of my daily lifestyle from now on. I feel great everyday. God bless

  7. Great tip of thought . Food only aids. Your body heals itself. Never just thought about it the way you stated it. I had a lightbulb moment. Thanks Dr. Axe…

  8. I completely disagree with your recommendations of limiting carbs. Eating 80% whole food carbs each day have helped me lose 30 pounds in just a few months. Whole food carbs full of fiber DO NOT make your blood sugar spike like processed, refined sugar.

  9. Muslims fast one full month every year they fast all the day and only eat at night, the eating window is about 8 hours and that depend on the country they live in

  10. I lost 50lbs with the 5:2 Intermittent diet ALONE for 3-4 months. I didn’t exercise while doing it. Three years later, I do this occasionally just to give my body a boost (I do heavy lifting now). I am still at the same weight. It was the only diet that worked for me. I am a huge advocate to this. I am happy Dr. Axe finally did a video on this. This diet is excellent for the body.

  11. I do IF and I eat plenty of carbs. I’ve had great results! You CAN eat carbs, it will still work. I’ve gone from a size 12 to a size 2. Carbs are not the devil!

  12. Just want to share some evidences about it despite many dont believe:

    Ellen G white wrote in 1869 about it and many more. Look for her books.

    “I am astonished to learn that, after all the light that God has been given to me in this place, many of you eat between meals! You should never let a morsel pass your lips between your regular meals. Eat what you ought, but eat it at one meal, and then wait until the next.”Testimonies for the Church 2:373, 1869

  13. For the life of me for long time i couldn’t loss weight and i start fasting eating my first at 12 pm and then at 6 pm dinner, i lost so far 18 Lb.

  14. 6 weeks past when istarted IF and lost over 10kg already. Now i’m exactly 100kg and my goal is 65 – 70kg as a gift for my self for my birthday this coming august.

  15. I’m a 52 year old woman. I’ve been on a low carb lifestyle for years after a while my body just changed and seemed to get used to the lifestyle and wgt creeped on even with exercise. I began intermittent fasting almost a year ago and it seems as though my body woke up from being asleep. I feel great and am at healthy wgt and am going forward!

    I love intermittent fasting it feels great!!!

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