Mistake 2 – Taking the Easy Way Out
Intermittent fasting continues:
The original intermittent fasting approach was based on human cycles – you had a "sympathetic/active" phase and a "para-sympathetic/rest and recover" phase:
Sympathetic/active phase: Don't eat
Para-sympathetic/rest and recover: Eat
Simple. Basically, this meant not eating during the day when you're active and then eating in the evening when you have to recover. You used food (or the lack of food) to help put yourself in the best physiological/neurological state for what you had to do.
Nowadays a lot of people do an easy (but less logical) version of intermittent fasting. They count the time they're sleeping as fasting. For example, they stop eating at 8 PM and start eating again at noon the next day (a 16 hour "fast"). Of course, the first issue is – as we saw earlier – they're not truly fasted for 16 hours. But the other problem is that not eating while sleeping doesn't have the same effect as not eating while you're physically active.
Do you know what I call it when I stop eating at 8 PM and start eating at noon the next day? Skipping breakfast. That happens to be the most common habit of overweight people.
The fact is, when you're sleeping everything is slower. And you're also inactive. See, the main benefits of fasting come from an increase in AMPK. And AMPK is increased when you're in a significant caloric deficit. When you're sleeping your energy expenditure is drastically lower than when you're awake, sometimes twice as low. So an hour of "fasting" while sleeping is, at the most, equivalent to a half-hour of fasting while awake.
So let's look at an intermittent fasting guy who stops eating at 8 PM and starts again at noon. He goes to bed at 11 PM and wakes up at 7 AM. So he spends 8 hours sleeping and counts those hours as part of his fasting period. But in reality it's closer to 3 hours.