ASK A TRAINER: “What’s Up with Intermittent Fasting?”

zzzzzzzz lift and bitch 033Dear Fitbabe, What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting? I have heard about this a lot in the media lately. Do you eat this way? Thanks, Henry

Dear Henry, Intermittent Fasting is the process of taking a break from eating for a certain period of time. There are a number of different ways of doing intermittent fasting, but if you are looking to use intermittent fasting to help you lose or control your weight, then the most important thing is to find an approach that works best for you.

Weight loss occurs when you ensure that you are creating a calorie deficit. Even with intermittent fasting you must consume fewer calories than you need in order to lose weight.

There is some debate about the ideal length of the fasting period. It would take a bit of time to get used to fasting 24-36 hours, without going crazy with hunger, and then gorging when the fast is finally broken. Some people are using this protocol as a green light to binge, and that can create disordered eating patterns. We are not hunters and gatherers anymore. Many of us live in an abundant world where we can eat regularly, and we also live in a world where we sit more than we ever have before! The idea response to this modern situation is to learn good eating habits and create a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. If we were constantly marching or climbing to find food, burning a massive amount of calories on a daily basis, we would earn that feast at the end of the day. However, this is no longer how the vast majority of us live. Nowadays we sit in our offices, sit on the couch, sit in the car, and lay down in bed more than ever before.

In my opinion, all diets work as long as you can stick to the diet. If fasting doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, and you are hungry all the time, and being hungry makes you feel miserable, then this is not the plan for you. So try to figure out what works for you, and what you can sustain over the long term. As for me, I fast only when I sleep, and also do cardio, lift heavy weights, drink water, eat a couple of larger meals then a few smaller ones every day, and finally I have plenty of orgasms to relieve stress. That’s my ticket to being lean!

Deanna Harder: Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer), and Figure Competitor. She will be back on stage, competing in figure, on June 1 2013.

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About feministfiguregirl

I am a 51-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. About eight years ago, I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

5 thoughts on “ASK A TRAINER: “What’s Up with Intermittent Fasting?”

  1. I have always wanted to try intermittent fasting, mainly to see how my body would respond to it. Ideally I would fast for between 8-12 hours overnight, being asleep for at least three-quarters of that time. The problem is that I now sleep relatively little because of my busy schedule, so I am going to work on extending my nightly sleep beyond 5 hours, and then try fasting.

    • I think there is nothing wrong with trying it maybe once a week to start and then go from there. Since you do not sleep that much it may make it difficult to fast as the earlier I am up…the hungrier I am all day! Start out with just the 12 hour fast, and you could also dabble in carb back-loading as well, just to see how it feels. You know what to do to get lean right? So it is fun to play around to see what else may or may not work. See you in the gym FFG!

  2. I love periodic fasting, but you have to be committed. I have done the Master Cleanser twice now – the first time for ten days straight and the second time (several years later) for four days straight. Both times were really positive experiences. The Master Cleanser is also known as the lemonade diet. I didn’t do this fast to lose weight (although I did lose approximately a pound per day), but to give my system a break from digesting food (I eat meat and other intestine clogging substances) and to hit the reset button, basically to just flush my innards out a bit and create a conscious break from eating mindlessly. I came off my fast slowly and with respect for what my body could reasonably handle, meaning other juices with pulp and blended vegetables for a day or two after the fast. My energy levels during the fast were higher and more even than they ever are when I’m eating normal food, because I was basically regulating my blood sugar at an even level constantly. It’s a great experience. Plus, I collected recipes of all the amazing foods I wanted to prepare when the fast was over, and gained a much, much greater sense of reverence and ritual around food preparation and eating. I became far more conscious of what I actually put in my body. I suspect, however, that my metabolism was affected in a way that I didn’t anticipate, in that since my body thought I was starving, when I actually did start eating again, I put on all the weight again just as fast as I’d lost it, and then a few pounds more. I’m trim, so whatever, but that’s just something to keep in mind if you fast for weight loss purposes. I’m not sure it would work for that in the long run.

    • I agree with you that you will have an abundance of energy while fasting. There are a lot of studies that show once you are over that hungry feeling, you get a surge of energy! I appreciate you sharing your experience with the audience as this is how we learn. I think one should just know the body is made to use food as a source of fuel. Not every meal is going to be a freaking celebration! Society is lazy. If the diet is easy, then people will follow it.

  3. Hello,

    Loved your post. I love IF but have a Problem I need help solving. I work best with a 9-5 or 11-7 feed and 16 hour fast. I hate eating before bed. I wake up groggy. So this plan works.

    However I am a professional ballet/modern dancer and workout with my company for three hours at a time 6-9pm three days a week. My question is: if I take a protein shake in prior to my workout, is it ok that I’m not refueling after dance? I do my weights and HIIT in morning fasted before meal one or no morning workout at all sometimes. Is it dangerous to not supplement with anything after a three hour intense dance practice? Is a protein shake prior enough? Moving my feed to 2-10 is just something I can’t handle as I work days and would be miserable.


    Best, Kristen

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