Intermittent Fasting for Health and Wellbeing

How often do we say that the way to a man’s heart is through their stomach? Well, happiness, health, and wellbeing comes from many things, but food is one of them. My husband and I were gaining weight in our 30s. It came from a combination of changing bodies, having kids, being busy all the time, and losing sight of our own health. He found his solution in eating less meals and enjoying those he did eat more – he’d discovered Intermittent Fasting.

What is Intermittent Fasting? IF is when someone goes an extended amount of time without eating or on significantly reduced calories. However, it should not be confused with long term fasting. The longest amount of time recommended by any of the most popular fasting routines is 36 hours while most keep it to 16-20 hours. Before getting to the risks and benefits, take a look at the different types of intermittent fasting available:

·         Daily Intermittent Fasting (lean gains): 16 hours fasting each day (8pm to 12pm)

·         Weekly Intermittent Fasting (eat-stop-eat): Each week period includes at least one 24 hour fast.

·         Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting (up day down day): One day you eat normally and the next you eat  of the calories required.

·         The Warrior Diet: Designed for muscle builders – 20 hours of fasting with a 4 hour eating period.

·         The 5:2 Diet: The most popular diet – 5 normal eating days with 2 fasting days within each weekly period.

·         Fat Loss Forever: The most complex plan with 1 cheat day, 36 hours of fasting then a complex routine of fasting/eating periods.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Studies are beginning to show a wide range of benefits for men who undertake intermittent fasting. These include better insulin sensitivity, weight loss, reduced inflammation, better cellular regeneration, better use of energy reserves, increased satisfaction with food, better mental health, and increased energy. These benefits are not universal and if fasting leads to feeling faint or your energy/blood pressure drop suddenly, eat something, even a snack to get you back up. It can take the body a while to adjust and sometimes it can’t.

Not for Everyone

However, before you get started, do bear in mind that you will need to find the best routine and diet for yourself. Inner happiness and a healthy body come from many sources and can be achieved in many different ways. Therefore, don’t stick to one method if it is not working or if it does not suit your lifestyle. 

bolton-2016-42A good example of this is my husband and me. Lean Gains works for him and he is able to do his most active work in the morning on an empty stomach having not eaten since 8pm the night before. He has a modest lunch then a big meal when he gets home or vice versa. 

Intermittent fasting does not work for me and in fact there is growing evidence that it’s not good for women in general. I work better on many smaller meals with a balanced diet and so does my mother and best friends. Studies are showing IF can be linked to poorer insulin sensitivity in women, menstrual disruption, premature aging and menopause, and reduced fertility. Instead, you can find your own path to happiness and wellbeing.

 Jane Sandwood

About Jane Sandwood

My name is Jane and having spent over a decade as a nutritionist, I’ve learned two things. Firstly, dieting is not the solution to being out of shape or overweight, and secondly, everyone’s bodies are different. For example, a well-balanced, but restricted diet and exercise works for me, but my husband has found a fasting regime mixed with exercising on an empty stomach to be better for him.

Now, as the Content Manager for a small fitness and nutrition site, I felt it important we cover the topic of intermittent fasting and how it can help some people lose weight and actually boost their workouts. The guide covers what fasting is, how it compares to diets, who should not do it, and also the different kinds of fasting people can undertake.


These are the views of author and not of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing.