Intermittent Fasting for Beginners – Complete Guide

Do you hesitate to start intermittent fasting to lose weight or improve your health? This comprehensive guide will allow you to answer the many questions you have. I will first reassure you by saying that yes, fasting can really help you lose weight and improve your health, you have chosen the right method. Let us have a look at the Intermittent fasting for beginners.

Summary : Intermittent Fasting for Beginners

  1. Fasting is Normal
  2. Food abundance
  3. Why use fasting to lose weight?
  4. The impact on Leptin
  5. The impact on ghrelin
  6. Hunger related to habit
  7. Improved insulin sensitivity
  8. It’s practical and economical
  9. What is intermittent fasting?
  10. We stop the added sugars
  11. We starch poor starchy nutrients at lunchtime
  12. How to avoid the inconvenience of fasting?
  13. Cramps
  14. Constipation
  15. Headaches
  16. Deficiencies
  17. Frequently asked questions
  18. How much weight will i loose?
  19. Conclusion

I used intermittent fasting to overcome obesity and improve my health. Today it has become my way of life. I sincerely believe that intermittent fasting is a method that can help the majority of the population. That’s why I’m doing my best to share the knowledge I’ve gained on the subject with one year of research and experience.

Fasting is normal!

Many fasting people will advise you not to tell your family at first, why? Just because he’s going to think you’re crazy! And will try to dissuade you. They will be sincere but unfortunately ignorant on the subject. It can even come from very educated people, who think they know everything about nutrition.

I do not know anything about nutrition, but I know the fast well and I’m going to explain to you here why fasting is a normal and natural thing that will improve your health and not an aberration that will weaken you. This will give you concrete and scientific arguments that will allow you to reassure your loved ones if you want to talk about your fast with them.

The first concrete argument is that fasting is practiced by more than a billion people each year, fasting is an ancestral practice, all major religions include periods of fasting in their practices and this for several millennia. Our organization is able to adapt to extreme situations, for example with a little training you can adapt and survive at an altitude of 5000 meters while you have lived all your life at the edge of the daisies. Our body is able to adapt to the depletion of oxygen caused by altitude, it will even become more efficient in its use.

In terms of food we also have phenomenal adaptability that unfortunately serves us in our modern society of food abundance. Let me explain: we do not need to go back in time to find periods where men do not have access to abundant food permanently. It is even enough to travel to certain parts of the world where famine still strikes today. It is therefore essential for the survival of our species to be able to face long periods of famine, it is for this reason that we stock fat mainly, one stores also many other nutrients. And we use that fat when the food runs out.

Food abundance

Our ancestors had to deal with periods of feast and periods of famine cyclically. During the Second World War, the European population experienced a period of famine in places. During this period the mortality rate related to heart problems fell sharply in Norway for example. One can not make a direct connection to fasting, but I give this example to say that in some cases, the lack of food can be beneficial for health.

The problem is that today the food is present permanently, it is available everywhere and without any particular effort. This situation requires, as part of a Western diet, our body to remain permanently in storage, it never has the opportunity to destock accumulated fat. While we have the ability to easily switch between storage mode and destocking when the metabolism is working properly.

Why use fasting to lose weight?

The short answer is that it works, on top of that fasting has many health benefits. The first successful diet book was William Banting’s 1875 book “Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public”. Obesity has always existed and can be said to increase as fast as the number of diet pound. The subject is not new and there are thousands of methods, more or less effective, to lose weight.

Eat more fat with a ketogenic diet?

So, why choose intermittent fasting? To sell their dung some media qualifies the fast of a simple fashionable diet that will be his time like the others, then will disappear. This is why fasting is becoming more and more popular. Over the last 30 years, many scientific studies have demonstrated its benefits and superiority over low calorie diets.

Saves muscles

When you want to lose weight you have to know that it is theoretically impossible to lose weight without losing muscle. The best you can do is minimize muscle loss to optimize fat loss. Sport, nutrition and fasting can allow you to do that. This study compares the weight loss of fasting with low caloric diets. Fasting allows you to lose as much weight, but it also helps you stay healthy, which means you lose more fat.

Fasting boosts the production of the growth hormone essential for the development of muscles, so it is a very good way to accelerate muscle mass gain.

It reduces hunger

Another point that really distinguishes fasting from dieting is its impact on hunger and cravings. Personally I was very hungry the first week of my intermittent fasting, however, the days I noticed it is a feeling fleeting and decreasing over the days.

It has been proven many times that diets increase the feeling of hunger, it is related to the impact on two hormones that regulate the sensation of hunger and satiety: leptin and ghrelin. I’m going to explain how fasting to a much better impact on these hormones and therefore will make you lose weight while decreasing your hunger.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

The impact on Leptin

Leptin is a hormone produced by our fat, it regulates our metabolism and tells our brain that we must stop eating, it is the hormone of satiety. Leptin decreases drastically after a low calorie diet. The amount of leptin in the blood is regulated in the long term by the amount of fat in our body, the more we have, the more we have leptin. Therefore, if we lose our guy we have less leptin, it causes an increase in hunger.

This also applies to fat lost with fasting. However, fasting counterbalances this effect with leptin peaks triggered by the breaking of fasting. Indeed leptin is also regulated on the short term by the quantities of food that is eaten. The young intermittent allows to have high peaks of leptin during the breaking of the fast. This will counterbalance its decline the rest of the day. This is not the case with a low calorie diet, our body is permanently with a weaker leptin, which increases the feeling of hunger.

The impact on ghrelin

Ghrelin is the other hormone that regulates hunger, it is secreted by the brain, stomach and intestine. This scientific study shows that it is usually secreted before meals that we usually take. It is as if she is preparing our body to eat or remind us that it is soon time to eat. However with fasting the ghrelin gradually decreases. So will be less and less hungry before your usual meals. Ghrelin levels vary depending on the level of insulin in the body. The decrease in insulin level during the young could explain the decline of ghrelin.

Hunger related to habit

Beyond the impact of ghrelin, concretely, I noticed that hunger occurs at the same time as when I ate “normally”. At 11am, noon, around 4pm and 7pm. After two weeks of fasting only the hunger of midday and 19h was manifested. Plus by drinking a glass of warm water or herbal tea, the feeling of hunger disappears.

Fasting will allow you to decondition somehow. It’s really a liberation. Today, after several months of intermittent fasting, I feel a real liberation from hunger and food.

Improved insulin sensitivity

The first factor that will determine whether you store fat or not is the insulin level in your blood. Contrary to what all dietetic gurus say, the number of calories is only secondary.

For example, people with type 1 diabetes may eat 5,000k calories a day, they will not store fat because they have little or no insulin in their blood.

Conversely, obese or overweight people have the opposite problem. The cause of obesity is an insulin level in the blood that is too high. Some people have the impression that they grow up just by looking at a chocolate cake, it is not far from reality. We are not equal in the face of weight gain and insulin is the main cause. Fasting is the most effective and long-lasting way to tackle this chronic rise in insulin and restore insulin sensitivity.

With time and a high level of insulin all the time, our cells lose their sensitivity to this hormone and this triggers a vicious cycle called insulin resistance. Our pancreas produces even more insulin and so on. Meanwhile our fat cells continue to be insulin sensitive and therefore continue to store more and more fat.

So if an obese person consumes 100 grams of sugar, his insulin will rise higher and she will store more fat than a metabolically normal person. It is a true hormonal injustice that causes obesity. The consequence is that an obese person needs to consume more calories than a non-obese person to have the same calorie count immediately “available” for the body.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

It’s practical and economical

When we fast we eat less often so we free up a lot of time we usually spent cooking and eating. The other practical aspect is its simplicity. The rules are simple. Just eat nothing, or drink caloric drinks, for more than 12 hours.

Experts have tried a lot to help his diabetic patients with changes in their eating habits. However, very few patients are ready to adopt a new lifestyle, especially older patients. With fasting he notes a much better adoption and setting up of the habit by the patients. It’s easier because it does not ask them to change the food they eat, but simply the meal times. This seems much easier to adopt and follow in the long run. Dr. Fung has helped hundreds of patients heal from their type 2 diabetes.

However, if you have diabetes and want to fast, you must seek advice from your doctor, it will probably adjust your treatment down to avoid hypoglycemia, because fasting naturally lowers your blood sugar.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

Other benefits


In 2016 the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to a Japanese researcher who demonstrated the interest of autophagy, a possible mechanism only during fasting. Autophagy allows our bodies to recycle what is useless and damaged in our cells. The young person allows you to activate a real makeover for your body.

The popularity of fasting grew at the same rate as scientific publications validating its interest.

High blood pressure

Intermittent fasting for beginners

One of the most effective and simple ways to lower blood pressure is to fast. Several scientific studies validate this point.

Until the 1990s, it was still thought that the brain of an adult person was unable to regenerate and develop, we now know that it is wrong, our brain is “plastic” (neuroplasticity) until last moment. One of the factors that promotes its plasticity is the BDNF. Mental degeneration is one of the epidemics afflicting our society today, more and more people are suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Fasting can slow the onset of these diseases. It boosts the production of BDNF , an essential factor for cell renewal in the brain.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not eating for 12 to 24 hours. During this period, you eat nothing and you only drink water. Other drinks are also allowed, such as coffee or tea without sugar, but technically it is no longer a fast.

The lean gains method (16h / 8h)

The method, from Martin Berkhan, was originally developed to optimize muscle gain by weight training and intermittent fasting. This is probably the most popular method today, it is the method I use and recommend you to test. It consists in fasting during 16h and being able to eat during 8h. For this, just do not have breakfast. For example you finish dinner at 20h, you fast until the next day 12h minimum. Nothing prevents you from fasting more, if you wish.

The Warrior diet

This method, invented by Ori Hofmekler is older, but very close to the Lean earnings method. However, here is no need to define a window of fasting and nutrition. We must follow his instinct. The idea is not to eat enough in the morning and noon, then to take a big meal in the evening. Ori recommends physical activity during the “fasting” period. This method is not technically a fast as it allows to consume some food in small quantities during the day, for example a banana.

The OMAD (one meal a day) one meal a day

Intermittent fasting for beginners

This method is the strictest method of intermittent fasting, the hardest to follow in my opinion. It consists of taking only one meal a day, a big meal. The goal of this method is to prolong the fasting period as much as possible in a day. If you put an hour to eat the big meal, your fasting period lasts 23 hours.

The method 5: 2

This method was developed by Dr. Michael Mosley, it is largely thanks to his fasting documentary “eat, fast and live longer” that I tested intermittent fasting. The method is spread over the week. It breaks down into 5 days of normal feeding and 2 days of fasting. On fasting days you are only entitled to a mini meal of 500 kcal (a large salad).

The fast

This method is a francophone initiative. It’s the combination of Thursday and fasting. She was initiated by a French doctor.

It consists of one day of fasting per week, preferably on Thursday. You fast 24h or more. For example you do not eat after dinner from Wednesday until breakfast on Friday morning. It represents a fast of 36h around. Or you fast until dinner on Thursday for a fast of 24h. To renew every week.

We’re not going to lie here, fasting is not easy, you’re going to shit at first. But as with everything in life, good things are always on the other side of the effort.

I had the bad idea to throw myself as a barbarian in the fast, I explain: I went from a standard diet of three to four meals a day and a lot of sweet stuff in all that, at 20h of fasting by days and almost more added sugar. My body was literally panicked.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

First week

You need to do only one thing for the first week. In fact you have to stop doing one thing: take your breakfast. Why ? two simple reasons:

Continue the fast of the night : indeed every night we fast during our sleep. For example if you stop eating at 9pm and the next day you have breakfast at 7am, you already fast 10h without special effort. The goal of skipping breakfast is to extend this fasting period from 10am to 4pm fasting. So in our example if your last meal ends at 21h just add 16h to know when you will eat the next day. 21h + 16h = 13h the next day. I want to clarify here that nothing prevents you from lunch at noon, 11am or much later at 14h if it suits you best. You really have to appropriate this method and adapt it to your lifestyle, you will increase your chances of success in the long term.

The other benefit of skipping breakfast is that you will naturally consume less sugar in your day. The classic French breakfast is stuffed with sugar. Bread, cereal, jam and milk are very sweet and will mount your insulin in the morning. So continuing the fast of the night has a big additional positive effect that will allow you to burn fat and heal your metabolism.

During this first week your body will gradually get into the habit of using your fat as a source of energy and it will produce more and more ketone bodies so that your brain functions optimally even without eating.

Second week

During this second week you will continue not to have breakfast but, you will also apply two points that will help you to stabilize your sugar level all day and keep it at a relatively low level.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

We stop the added sugars

This point is important. If you are about to start intermittent fasting to lose weight it’s because your weight, shape and health are not optimal. Added sugars are largely responsible for this situation. You must realize it and internalize it.

It is inevitably hard to say that we will have to stop sugar to be healthy. So many good things contain sugar: chocolate, cakes, ice cream … it’s almost impossible to avoid added sugars. Instead of thinking in terms of deprivation you have to tell yourself that right now you are going to become demanding and you are only going to eat things that are really worth it. For example a birthday cake, an exceptional pastry that you do not cross often. The goal is to get the added sugar out of your everyday life so that it becomes exceptional in every sense of the word. Let’s be honest, the majority of the sweet things we eat are not exceptional, so reserve this little treat for exceptions that are worth it.

Even the sweetener, sweetener and aspartame

During the whole preparation period and during periods of fasting, it is strongly discouraged to consume sweeteners. Even if they are of natural origin. Here’s why:

Sweeteners stimulate your body in the same way as sugar, hormonally. Your mouth feels sweet, your pancreas will produce insulin so your body can regulate your blood sugar level. But a high level of insulin literally blocks the use of fat as a source of energy and therefore stops your weight loss. Since you have not consumed sugar your blood sugar level will drop and this will cause hunger at best and hypoglycemia in the worst case.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

We starch poor starchy nutrients at lunchtime

The other point that will help you start intermittent fasting gently is to stop nutrient-poor starchy foods in the afternoon: bread, pasta, rice, sweet potato, quinoa, wheat, spelled, other seeds, and everything else. flour base. Not only do these starchy foods bring you almost no micronutrients, but they also have the unfortunate tendency to boost your blood sugar level and at the same time your insulin.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

Recommended starchy foods are legumes such as chickpeas, beans, lentils. Sweet potato, squash. These starches provide more nutrients than others, contain less sugar and are absorbed more slowly because they are rich in fiber.

The goal here is to remove starchy foods that are likely to vary your insulin too strongly after your lunch. This will have the effect of reducing your cravings, cava help you stay in “destocking” mode of fat and optimize your use of fat as fuel.

Obviously no! These are tips that will really help you make the transition easier. If you think that “I just want to fast and it’s out of the question to change my eating habits” is that it’s not the right time to introduce all these changes, it’s not a problem. You can simply fast without changing your habits.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

How to avoid the inconvenience of fasting?

I will be sincere with you, fasting is difficult at times. Especially at the beginning. Hunger tends to diminish over time, but some side effects can make their appearance.

People react differently to lack of food. We are all different and the difficulties that you will encounter while fasting are probably different from those that I knew. To avoid the galleys that I knew during the fast I propose you here some simple solutions, I think that they will help you to prevent the inconveniences related to the fasting.

Intermittent fasting for beginners


I always had cramps on my feet, at night when I fasted at first, it quickly got me drunk. So I took the time to understand the origin of this problem and to test several things to prevent cramps.

Cramps are caused by an imbalance of electrolyte in the muscles. In general it means a lack of magnesium and potassium and sometimes sodium.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

I speak very often of insulin in this guide, this hormone is really ultra important. It also influences our ability to retain electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium. When the insulin level is low, which is the case with fasting, the kidneys retain much less minerals. We end up eliminating many more minerals in our urine than when insulin is higher. If you start fasting, here’s how to avoid cramps:

The solutions

Just take half a teaspoon of pink salt from the Himalayas every morning. To dilute in a glass bottom of water. You can also take extra minerals in the form of capsules during your meals. It is strongly recommended to supplement magnesium, because more than ¾ French are deficient, so if you adopt intermittent fasting you risk aggravating this deficiency. Strong magnesium deficiencies can cause serious problems such as heart rhythm disorders, so do not take a risk, take your supplements.

The constipation

It’s a little embarrassing to tackle this subject but it’s really essential. Constipation can manifest itself with fasting, it is not systematic, but when it does, it can complicate your task and erode your motivation. Constipation in normal times can be caused by many factors, but if it is triggered only by adopting fasting without any other lifestyle changes, it signals the same thing as cramps: a lack of minerals.

Another counter intuitive point that can cause constipation during fasting is over consumption of water and other drinks. Indeed, to fight against hunger you will probably drink a lot of water, and as explained above your kidneys do not hold the minerals, so you will empty your minerals because you drink too much water. Your body will try to recover as many minerals in your digestive system and it can lead to constipation.

The solutions

As for cramps, half a teaspoon of pink salt from the Himalayas every morning. I also advise you to increase your consumption of vegetables, rich in fiber, however it should not be done abruptly, as this can aggravate constipation. Finally, I advise you to season your dishes well with olive oil or butter, it helps to lubricate the digestive system.

It is necessary to drink between 1 and 2 liters of water a day, preferably well spread over the day. It is also necessary to drink regularly, strongly mineralized waters such as Vichy, St Yor and Hepar. If constipation persists you can take Forlax.


The majority of people who start fasting encounter this problem. It is difficult to identify the cause of headaches but generally following the tips below they will disappear quickly.

Before you start fasting, your brain carbons sugar. After a few days of fasting, your body will produce ketone bodies. These will replace much of the sugar in your brain. The good news is that ketone bodies are a much cleaner source of energy than sugar. So be patient during this period of a few days or your body adapts to your new way of life.

The solutions:

If you do not drink a lot, do it! You must drink at least 1.5l of water and other herbal teas a day. However, to avoid cramps and constipation I advise you not to drink more than 2.5 liters.

The other point not to neglect is sleep. The cleaning of the brain happens in the evening, lying down only. So to properly eliminate the waste of your brain sleeps more than 6 hours, and makes sure to go to bed before midnight.

The Deficiencies

This is one of the things that scares the most of the loved ones when someone launches into a fast. To reassure my wife, I took multivitamins for more than a month to make sure I did not miss anything.

This fear is legitimate because if during your fast you have a poor diet of micronutrients, which is the case in our modern diet, you will probably be deficient. In the short term impacts are often invisible because our body will draw on its stocks, but in the long run it can pose serious health problems.

The solutions

The best solution is also the cheapest is to eat real foods rich in nutrients, especially vegetables. We are reminded every day that you have to eat five fruits and vegetables a day. This is really the minimum in my humble opinion.

Our generation eats less fruit and vegetables than our parents and we are surprised that our health is deteriorating visibly. Fruits and vegetables are really very beneficial to our health. They bring us the majority of the micronutrients we need.

To be sure to consume enough, I always take care to build my meals around vegetables. I fill my plate of vegetables, I add a portion of protein and sometimes some starchy foods. Another habit that will also allow you to not be deficient in micronutrients is to incorporate offal in your diet, I am talking about the liver, heart, kidneys, brain and kidneys.

French cuisine is full of varied recipes based on offal. In her book Deep Nutrition , Catherinr Shanahan tells us that the best things to do in terms of nutrition is to take inspiration from these traditional recipes that showcase these forgotten cuts of meat.

Finally, if the two solutions that I propose to you are not obvious to put in place in your life. You should take multi-vitamins of your choice.

Frequently asked Questions : Intermittent fasting for beginners

Is intermittent fasting dangerous for your health?

In this guide we speak of intermittent fasting, it is a fast of less than 24 hours. This type of fasting is not dangerous to health and can be practiced by anyone in good health. However, I want to talk about the following cases or some precautions:

Diabetics: All people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should consult their doctors before starting fasting. Fasting naturally induces a drop in blood sugar, combined with medical treatment the drop in blood sugar may be too important. Your doctor should adjust the treatment accordingly.

Undernourished people : People who have a low body mass index, that is, below 20, should not fast. Indeed, our body fat needs to be at a certain level to be healthy, neither too high nor too low. That’s why leanness is no more recommended than obesity.

Pregnant and lactating women : A pregnant woman needs a lot of nutrients to develop a healthy baby. Many pregnant women are deficient, on certain nutrients, at the beginning, it is not necessary to take the risk to create additional deficiencies with fasting. It is the same for the woman who is breastfeeding. It is best not to fast during this time.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

Can I drink or eat something during the fasting period?

It all depends on why you are fasting and what kind of fasting you are following. I have written this guide for people who wish to lose weight with intermittent fasting. As part of this goal, I recommend that you eat nothing during the fasting period. As for drinks you can drink water (flat, sparkling …), black coffee, tea and herbal teas. All these drinks must be sugar-free, sweetening and milk-free or vegetable-free. Only water to infuse your drink.

I read that breakfast is the most important meal is not it risky to skip it?

The breakfast as we know it is a recent invention. The majority of French people only had coffee with milk and a butter sandwich, for simplicity, as a breakfast. The myth of breakfast is linked to scientific studies that show that people who skip breakfast may experience slips of attention in the morning. If you are not used to fasting, actually your body at first will run out of sugar because it is dependent on this source of energy. However, once you have fasted, your body produces ketone bodies that will feed your brain optimally. This will increase your concentration and clarity.

The other benefit of skipping breakfast is to eat less added sugar. Indeed at breakfast, the French eat a lot of sugar: cereals, bread, jam, nutella, chocolate drink, sweet yogurt … in general breakfast is not at all a healthy meal and provides very little of nutrients.

Can I skip dinner instead of breakfast for intermittent fasting?

Yes, on one condition, have a salty breakfast. What is wonderful about intermittent fasting is that you can adapt it to your lifestyle. Does it bother you less to skip dinner than breakfast? No problem. However, it is important not to consume added sugar. I repeat it many times because it is a key point. If you skip your dinner for a sweet breakfast, your fast may be counterproductive. Indeed if you eat at 16h then you eat nothing until 7am the next day, your insulin will drop well after 15h of fasting. A classic sweet breakfast may put too much on your insulin. You will cause too much variations in your insulin and your blood sugar level. This will make you hungry quickly.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

How much weight will I lose?

The miracle method does not exist. If you fast regularly you will have results and quickly. At first you will lose a lot but it is mostly water. Then you will slowly lose. Depending on your starting weight the average loss will vary from 250 grams to 2kg per week depending on the people. Yes it is a big fork but we are all different.

How to diagnose Obesity

What you should not do is draw conclusions after a week of intermittent fasting. For some people it takes at least two weeks of adaptation so that the body is able to easily burn fat and use sugars or fats indifferently. I advise you to test the young intermittent for 3 weeks minimum. If you followed the preparation tips above you will see results immediately. Otherwise be patient. If at the end of 3 weeks you do not see any result, you must change the way you fast. Either you extend the period of fasting, you can lengthen it up to 22h of fasting a day easily. If you have not done so, stop added sugars and low nutrient carbs such as paws, bread, wheat and potatoes. You will see the results.

Conclusion : Intermittent fasting for beginners

One of my favorite quotes, I do not know who she is, is “I had a lot of problems in my life and the majority never had places”. It is useless to ask too many questions. Go ahead ! What do you have to lose? If you have fears or apologies for intermittent fasting, the best way to lift or confirm them is to test it yourself. If you read negative testimonials about fasting do not let them demotivate you. Everyone experiences this experience differently. There is no guarantee that cava will match you, but there is a good chance that it will change your life for the better.

Intermittent fasting for beginners

If you have questions you can send them to me by email Shivani Sikri : Best Dietician in India

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