As long as you’re aware that it isn’t nutritional magic, Sasson isn’t against intermittent fasting altogether. “I’ve worked with patients who need positive reinforcement to see that their weight went down to feel better, and they feel in control for the first time,” she says. “That self-efficacy, that feeling that they could do it—for some, that might be important.”
The most common approach to eating less than you burn is to “watch what you eat” or to eat at a low-grade calorie deficit all the time. At every meal, eat about 10 to 20 percent fewer calories than you need in order to maintain that deficit, which requires your body to dip into its reserves and burn excess fat. This can be mentally difficult, because you always have to be restricting calories.
Fasting can be used for nearly every chronic condition, including allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes, headaches, heart disease, high cholesterol, low blood sugar, digestive disorders, mental illness, and obesity. Fasting is an effective and safe weight loss method. It is frequently prescribed as a detoxification treatment for those with conditions that may be influenced by environmental factors, such as cancer and multiple chemical sensitivity. Fasting has been used successfully to help treat people who have been exposed to high levels of toxic materials due to accident or occupation. Fasting is thought to be beneficial as a preventative measure to increase overall health, vitality, and resistance to disease. Fasting is also used as a method of mental and spiritual rejuvenation.
When it comes to intermittent fasting, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting fits all your eating into a 6-hour window, leaving you with an 18-hour-fast each day. This is often called “18:6” fasting. You can also try variations such as the one-meal-a-day method, or fasting every other day. The key is to experiment and listen to your body to see what works best for you. If intermittent fasting causes fatigue or other negative symptoms, try fasting just once or twice a week, and build up from there.
To make “down” days easier to stick to, Johnson recommends opting for meal replacement shakes. They’re fortified with essential nutrients and you can sip them throughout the day rather than split into small meals. However, meal replacement shakes should only be used during the first two weeks of the diet — after that, you should start eating real food on “down” days. The next day, eat like normal. Rinse and repeat! (Note: If working out is part of your routine, you may find it harder to hit the gym on the lower calorie days. It may be smart to keep any workouts on these days on the tamer side, or save sweat sessions for your normal calorie days.)
Fasting or intermittent calorie restriction may affect cancer and tumor development, but are not currently used as a form of treating cancer.[5][6] In 2011, the American Cancer Society recommended that people undergoing chemotherapy increase their intake of protein and calories,[6] but provided evidence that a short-term period of fasting may have benefits during chemotherapy.[5][7] Chronic fasting is not recommended for people with cancer at risk for weight loss or a suppressed immune system.[5]
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