Giving a simple concept a fancy word can really change the perspective one has.
Intermittent Energy Restriction, or IER, is pretty simple indeed.
IER mimics intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting has become very popular in the fitness and weight loss community. Studies have shown that fasting for an extended amount of time past the fasting that occurs during sleep and then eating can actually help lose weight and much more. Intermittent fasting is basically breaking up the day and week into eating periods and fasting periods.
When it comes to intermittent fasting, the type of foods eaten are not discussed as much as when to eat and not to eat. This has raised some eye brows amongst some critics because the lack of healthy eating habits that can evolve from such a weight loss method and the bad foods that can be consumed which can lead to other health issues.
This is where IER separates itself. IER is not based so much around fasting (completely restricting yourself of food), but calorie intake levels going up and down. Another difference with IER is the amount of time a person restricts calories. With intermittent fasting, hours are used as the time metric, with IER, days and even weeks are what is used. IER resemble more of a carb cycling approach, where a person goes an extended amount of time (usually days) with a limited amount of carbs, but never completely cutting out carbs. IER follows this premise but with overall calories, which is why the word “energy” is used in the name. Calories are seen as an energy unit for the body. Being balanced with your calorie intake is important to having optimal energy levels throughout the day and during workouts.
So why IER over intermittent fasting or carb cycling? It is seen as more manageable and tolerable for people who struggle going without eating or restricting carbs, especially people with diabetes. IER is great for a person who is very overweight and needs to be cautious of how quick and the method they use to lose weight. IER gives you more freedom for as well for developing your macro profile (fats, protein, carbs). In simple terms, IER is more “user friendly” and not as intense as intermittent fasting and carb cycling. You will also have to learn healthy eating habits as well to make sure you are consuming good foods to keep your calories in check.
A sample IER lay out would be:
Week 1: 1200 calories a day
Week 2: 2500 calories a day
Week 3: 1500 calories a day
Week 4: 3000 calories a day
(Can be done in 2-3-day cycles as opposed to 1-week cycles if your tolerance level is limited. On the contrary, you may do them in 2-3-week cycles as opposed to 1-week cycles if you can tolerate it)
Like anything you do intermittently, the concept is to keep the body guessing and always putting it in a position to react or respond to the demand or stimuli put on it. So just when your body is working into getting used to eating a set number of calories, you add to or deduct the daily amount.