The most IMMEDIATE and DISCERNIBLE benefits of intermittent fasting after 5 YEARS19 Apr 2017
This question comes up in various forms on the intermittent fasting subreddit:
What kind of benefits will I get if I do intermittent fasting?
I figured, after having practiced it for over 5 years now, I'd weigh in on what I have found are the most immediate, tangible, experiential benefits of intermittent fasting.
Sure, intermittent fasting (IF) can increase fat mobilization, potentially leading to an increase in fat loss, but it's hard to know if you're actually getting that benefit. I think what is more important are the benefits you can actually see and experience immediately, as those are what will keep you going.
Let's jump right in. Watch the video or keep reading below it.
Most importantly, intermittent fasting makes hitting a caloric deficit EASIER
I can't hammer this point enough.
Too many folks come to intermittent fasting looking for a magic pill. "I'm doing IF but it's not working" they'll say, assuming it should make fat melt off the morning after the first day.
If you are losing weight while doing intermittent fasting, it's because you are burning more calories than you are taking in, usually in the form of eating less. The magic pill phenomena people are expecting happens because when you start doing IF, you naturally are eating less than usual since you are skipping entire meals. Those automatic results will eventually taper off though and you'll have to be a bit more calculated.
For me, IF just makes it easier to eat less. I like to eat, so I end up eating a lot. I eat until I'm full. IF lets me continue to eat big, filling meals while still hitting my caloric deficit and losing weight.
I can eat whatever I want, in large portions, and lose weight. It's awesome. But it won't do jack squat if I'm still eating a maintenance-level of calories.
Another way it makes it easier has to do with tracking. If you are tracking your calories or macros (something I only do temporarily when I need to tighten up the dial on my diet), IF can make it easier simply because you may be eating less meals. Less meals, less tracking. How nice.
It simplifies meal planning and grocery shopping
This is one of my favorite minimalist advantages of intermittent fasting. I personally only eat one large meal and one smaller meal every day. The way that works out is that I only plan one main interesting recipe every day, then I'll eat a repeated side-meal made up of a common set of foods.
Common meals work nicely with this model of eating, so I tend to fly in and out of the grocery store, knowing exactly what foods and how much I'll need for the week.
If you eat more meals than this, you may not get this benefit, but it's one of the best parts of IF for me. Before IF I would buy a bunch of random ingredients hoping to cover all breakfast, lunch, and dinners for the week, inevitably wasting food. That can be fixed with meticulous meal planning, but it would take much longer to plan and to shop.
It saves MONEY
This is leading of the previous benefit. The mere act of buying less food saves money.
But not only that, eating common meals over and over allows me to be efficient. I literally buy the exact amount of food I'll be eating for the week and nothing goes to waste.
It frees up time and allows you to get more shit done
Being an entrepreneur, my time is very valuable to me, so freeing up time by less cooking and planning is the final main benefit I have gotten from intermittent fasting.
I like that I can wake up and not have to cook or buy food to eat. I save all the mental resources that go into that effort and can jump right into work.
I know many people that have a regular bagel or some other sugary breakfast that makes them groggy and have a post-breakfast crash, rendering them useless in the morning. Do you know that crash?
I feel great in the morning. I never used to be a morning person but now I'm excited to get up, sip some coffee, and dive into a project. How would you use this free time?
What have you experienced as a real and tangible benefit from intermittent fasting? Tweet me your top benefits, I'd love to hear them.