Intermittent Fasting: Intentional Eating for Lasting Results

Intermittent Fasting: Intentional Eating for Lasting Results


In a world that often emphasizes constant consumption and habitual eating, the concept of intermittent fasting (IF) has emerged as a dietary practice that challenges conventional norms. IF, particularly the 16/8 intermittent fasting method, is not only about shedding pounds or boosting metabolism; it's a practice that encourages individuals to realign their relationship with food and cultivate intentional eating habits. Similar to the "live intentionally, not habitually" mantra of Functional Patterns, IF goes beyond its physical benefits to address the deeper psychological and behavioral aspects of eating. This article explores the purpose of intermittent fasting results, examines how to sustain the results it offers, and emphasizes the potential for synergy with Functional Patterns and mechanistic behaviorism.

Understanding Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that alternates between fasting and eating periods. It contrasts starkly with the traditional recommendation of three daily meals. A popular method is the 16/8 intermittent fasting approach, involving a 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour eating window. This 16/8 intermittent fasting method not only aids in weight management but also bestows numerous health benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced cellular repair, and cognitive function (1).

To most people, the concept of intermittent fasting results makes intuitive sense. As we decrease the number of meals we have, we increase the amount of time spent fat-burning.

The Origins of Intermittent Fasting

The concept of cyclical fasting has its roots in humanity's early struggles when food was scarce, and eating was irregular and uncertain. Human physiology evolved to endure low-calorie periods, enabling survival and performance despite famine. Our bodies are ill-suited to the constant consumption of today's world. Intermittent fasting reintroduces cyclical fasting, aligning with our genetic heritage and the notion that intermittent low-calorie phases can promote overall well-being.

Intentional Eating with Functional Patterns and IF

Awareness of Behavioral Patterns: Functional Patterns methodology fosters awareness of behavioral patterns, especially related to nutrition. Practicing IF prompts individuals to recognize their habitual eating habits and question their connection to hunger cues.

  • Mindful Food Choices: Both Functional Patterns and IF stress the importance of making conscious food choices. Instead of mindlessly eating out of habit, IF encourages individuals to select nutrient-rich foods that support overall well-being.
  • Conscious Timing: Functional Patterns emphasizes proper body mechanics and movement patterns, while IF guides individuals to align their eating patterns with natural bodily rhythms. This fosters a deeper connection with physiological needs and helps to override habitual consumption.
  • Breaking Free from Automatic Consumption: Functional Patterns encourages breaking free from automatic, habitual behavior, paralleling IF principles. Intermittent fasting challenges the impulse for continuous eating by deliberately abstaining during specific windows.


The Science of IF and Its Simplicity for Weight Loss

Recent scientific studies have investigated the effectiveness of intermittent fasting (IF) for weight loss compared to traditional diets that limit calorie intake throughout the day. What's intriguing is that IF has shown results in a manner quite similar to conventional calorie-restricted diets, but it offers distinct advantages, making it easier for many individuals to maintain in the long run.

Researchers have conducted studies comparing the weight loss outcomes of IF to those of traditional diets that involve consistent calorie restriction (2). These studies consistently demonstrate that both IF and conventional dieting can lead to significant weight loss. The primary mechanism behind this weight loss is creating a situation where the body expends more calories than it consumes.

Intermittent fasting achieves this by restricting eating to specific time windows, effectively reducing daily calorie intake. In contrast, traditional diets distribute calorie restriction throughout the day. In both cases, individuals end up consuming fewer calories, resulting in weight loss.

What sets intermittent fasting apart is its long-term adherence. Many individuals find it easier to follow than traditional diets requiring constant calorie monitoring throughout the day. With IF, there are designated eating and fasting periods, which some people find simpler to adhere to than continuously monitoring their food intake. This is significant because maintaining a calorie deficit over an extended period is vital for sustained weight loss.

Furthermore, intermittent fasting appears to address some challenges commonly associated with traditional diets, such as persistent hunger and cravings for specific foods. By allowing people to consume their daily calories within a shorter time frame, IF can help them feel satiated during eating periods, potentially leading to reduced overall calorie consumption without excessive hunger or discomfort.

Recent scientific studies indicate intermittent fasting can be as effective for weight loss as traditional calorie-restricted diets. However, its appeal lies in its ease of long-term adherence. As we delve deeper into the science of intermittent fasting, it underscores the significance of what we eat and when and how we eat in achieving and sustaining healthy weight management.

The Physiology of a 16-Hour Fast

The timing of our meals and the frequency with which we eat plays a big role in the functioning of our metabolism. A 16-hour fast, often referred to as the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting, offers several benefits for fat loss and overall health:

  1. Increased Fat Utilization: During a 16-hour fast, your body has depleted its glycogen (stored glucose) reserves. When this happens, your body starts tapping into its fat stores for energy. This process is known as lipolysis, where stored fat is broken down into fatty acids and used as a fuel source. As a result, fasting can contribute to fat loss because your body becomes more efficient at burning fat for energy.
  1. Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Intermittent fasting has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity. When your body is more sensitive to insulin, it can effectively regulate blood sugar levels. This is particularly beneficial for individuals at risk of or dealing with type 2 diabetes, as improved insulin sensitivity can lead to better blood sugar control and reduced fat storage.
  1. Enhanced Autophagy: Fasting triggers a cellular process called autophagy, which is like a "cellular cleanup." During autophagy, your body breaks down and removes damaged cellular components, including proteins and organelles. This process can rejuvenate your cells, support overall cellular health, and potentially aid in fat loss by improving cellular efficiency.
  1. Appetite Regulation: Fasting often leads to better control over your appetite. By narrowing your eating window, you're more likely to eat fewer calories overall, as there is less time for snacking and additional meals. This controlled calorie intake can help with fat loss.
  1. Metabolic Benefits: Fasting can have positive effects on your metabolism. It encourages your body to switch from using glucose as its primary energy source to using stored fat and ketones. This metabolic shift can enhance fat burning and lead to greater weight loss.

Navigating Weight Loss Plateaus

Weight loss plateaus can be frustrating. Plateaus often result from metabolic adaptation or overeating during the eating window. To overcome stalls in weight loss, monitor caloric intake, manage any major stressors in your life, and make time for more rest and recovery. Patience and persistence are crucial for lasting intermittent fasting results.

To maximize the benefits of 16/8 intermittent fasting, employ these strategies:

  1. Mindful Eating: Embrace the philosophy of intentional eating. Pay close attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly and mindfully, understanding that it's not necessary to eat til you're physically full. Treat your nutrition as an experiment; keep track of any foods that leave you bloated or increase your hunger.
  1. Balanced Nutrition: While fasting can grant flexibility in meal timing, it shouldn't be an excuse to overindulge in unhealthy foods. Avoid inflammatory foods such as grains and seed oils and prioritize nutrient-rich options such as meat, eggs, dairy, and fruit.
  1. Regular Exercise: Combining intermittent fasting with regular physical activity can yield optimal results. Strategic, intentional exercise complements weight loss and enhances mood, energy levels, and overall fitness. Try the Functional Patterns 10-Week Online Course or Functional Training System to improve your posture and biomechanics.
  1. Adequate Sleep: Sleep impacts weight loss by affecting hormones controlling appetite, leading to increased cravings for unhealthy foods. Poor sleep also disrupts metabolism, reduces energy for physical activity, and impairs decision-making, making it harder to stick to a healthy diet. Prioritizing quality sleep is vital for successful weight loss, as it helps regulate hormones, supports energy levels, and promotes better food choices. Ensure you're getting enough restful sleep to support your body's functions.
  1. Hydration: Drink plenty of water during both fasting and eating windows. Hydration supports digestion, curbs unnecessary snacking, and contributes to an overall sense of well-being.
  1. Manage Stress: Unchecked stress will wreak havoc on your physiology, causing an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol. Elevated cortisol can lead to overeating, emotional eating, sleep disturbances, and stubborn fat gain. The Functional Patterns perspective is that stress can be managed through mechanical means, such as using myofascial release techniques to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.

Addressing Potential Disadvantages

While IF offers many benefits, it's crucial to acknowledge potential downsides, particularly for women. Women's heightened sensitivity to stress hormones like cortisol can be exacerbated during fasting, impacting overall well-being. Depending on individual factors, such as stress levels and physical activity, fasting can be perceived as a significant stressor.

It is essential to recognize that intermittent fasting is not universally suitable for everyone or suitable at all times. Individuals are encouraged to experiment with different fasting schedules to find what works best for them. An intermittent fasting schedule involving breakfast and lunch may be better suited to individuals experiencing higher stress levels.

Embracing Intentional Eating for Lasting Results

In conclusion, merging Functional Patterns with intermittent fasting creates an opportunity for more mindful eating. Intermittent fasting results aren't just a fleeting diet trend; it's a thoughtful approach to nurturing body and mind. It empowers individuals to break free from automatic eating habits and make deliberate choices about when and what to eat. This practice prompts individuals to reconsider how much food is truly essential. By limiting the eating window, intermittent fasting can lead to a reevaluation of portion sizes and a reduction in overall calorie intake. This process encourages a healthier relationship with food, fostering a deeper understanding of one's nutritional needs.

As you embark on this journey, remember that intermittent fasting results require consistency, patience, and a commitment to self-improvement. In a world often marked by hasty, thoughtless meals, this approach encourages you to pause, savor, and reap the benefits of intentional eating through intermittent fasting. By embracing Functional Patterns alongside IF, you pave the way for a more intentional, mindful, and lasting well-being.


  1. Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? | Johns Hopkins Medicine
  2. Research shows that intermittent fasting is safe and effective   | UIC today
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