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Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you have a period of eating, and then a longer period of fasting.
It doesn’t really focus on the foods that you should eat, but more on when you should eat the foods. There are several methods of fasting that you can choose from, and they can all be effective if you properly use them. All of them are going to split your week, and even the day, into periods of fasting and periods of eating.
What Does Intermittent Fasting Mean?
Many people find that doing a fast each day is a good way to start. This just extends out the fasting that you already do when you sleep at night.
If you can just extend that out a few hours in either direction, you can technically complete your fast.
Just stop supper a bit earlier, skip breakfast, and then eat the first meal when it is lunchtime can help you do one of the fasting methods.
With the method above, you are technically fasting for about 16 hours a day, and then only eating for about 8 hours total. This is known as the 16/8 method of fasting, and it is one of the most common ways of fasting.
How Easy is Intermittent Fasting?
Despite what you may think about fasting, it is actually easier than many people think.
In fact, after you adjust and find the right method of fasting that works for you, you will find that you may have more energy during the fast than ever before.
In the beginning, there could be some issues with feeling hungry, but this is just because the body is making some adjustments to not being able to eat for more extended periods. Once the body adjusts a bit, you will find that the hunger pains are much easier to work with.
When you are in your fasting period, you will not be allowed to consume any food during that time. You are entitled to drink plenty of water, tea, coffee, and other non-caloric beverages until it is time to get back to the eating period again.
There are a few forms of intermittent fasting that will allow you to eat a bit of low-calorie foods during the fasting period, such as the Warrior diet, but most of these methods ask you to abstain from eating during that time.
Also, if you need to take a supplement during the day, it is generally safe to assume it during your fasting period. These don’t contain any calories in them, so they are considered safe. Of course, listen to your body. If you find that you don’t react well to them on an empty stomach, then just wait until your eating period starts again.
Why Should I Fast?
Humans have actually been doing fasts for thousands of years. Sometimes these fasts were done out of necessity because they weren’t able to get ahold of food because none was readily available.
Often people would fast for a variety of religious reasons. Many religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, mandate fasting in many instances. We also instinctively go on a fast when we feel sick.
As you can see, there isn’t really anything unnatural about fasting. Our bodies are adapted and equipped to handle longer periods of fasting without us getting sick.
When we don’t eat for a bit of time, there are a lot of processes going on inside the body. Without having to use energy for digestion continually, energy is used for ess processes of cellular repair and reducing inflammation instead.
When we initially go on a fast, there is going to be a large reduction in our insulin and blood sugar levels. There is also a significant increase in the amount of human growth hormone that we experience. Both of these can help the body to repair itself and even aid you in losing weight.
Fasting is a very easy and effective way to help burn off fat and restrict the number of calories that you will take in.
Other people choose to do it to get metabolic health benefits. This is because fasting is known to help improve a variety of different risk factors, as well as some of the health markers that are found with your metabolic health.
In addition, there are some studies out there that show how fasting may be able to help us live longer.
Studies that have been done on rodents show that they can extend their lifespan just through fasting by up to 30%. There is even some research that this kind of fasting can help with many other health diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Others purely find that going on an intermittent fast is a very convenient eating plan. This can be an effective life hack that can really help to simplify life while making your health better than ever before.
For example, being able only to prepare one or two meals a day, rather than three or four, can help save a lot of time and makes meal planning much easier overall.
One interesting point when it comes to working with an intermittent fast is that it doesn’t concentrate as much on the foods that you eat as it does on the times of the day that you are going to eat your food.
There are a few options that you can pick from that allow you to decide how long the fast will last. Making sure that your fasting window is at least 12 hours will ensure that you can enter into a fat-burning mode and actually see the weight and fat loss that most people are looking for.
Except for the Warrior diet and maybe a few others, there are no specific rules when it comes to what you are allowed to consume on an intermittent fast.
This is actually a great thing for a lot of people who are getting started with fasting. It will enable them to choose whether they just want to stick with a diet that is healthy and full of lots of wholesome foods. Or you can choose to pick out a specific diet plan that you would like to use alongside fasting.
What Foods Can I Eat on this Eating Plan?
Intermittent fasting is more about choosing the right times to eat, and the right times to fast, rather than the foods that you are going to consume. There isn’t a diet plan associated with intermittent fasting, which gives you a lot of freedom when you get started.
Some people find that they like to have a bit more structure. This ensures that they don’t overdo it once the fast ends.
As long as you eat lots of healthy and wholesome foods, you are going to see some great results on intermittent fasting.
One diet plan that is often used with fasting is the ketogenic diet. But other programs such as the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, or just generally eating healthy can work as well.
A good rule to follow is to try and make sure that 80% of the foods you eat have no added ingredients.
Fresh meat, fish, vegetables, fruits are a good place to start. You may find this guide comparing cookware beneficial.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are several different methods that you can choose when it comes to being successful with intermittent fasting. All of them can be effective. Some may be easier to follow, but it will take a bit longer to provide you with the results. Then some provide you with faster results, but they are harder to follow. You can pick out any of the methods that sound the best to you. Some of the options that you can pick from include:
- The 5:2 diet: This is where you pick out two non-consecutive days during the week and limit your calories on those days to just 500-800.
- Eat stop eat: This method has you pick one or two times a week where you don’t eat anything starting at dinner one day until it is dinner time the next day. This is an effective 24 hour fast.
- The 16/8 method: For this one, you will fast for about 16 hours a day with an eating window of 8 hours. If you aren’t hungry in the morning, it makes sense just to skip breakfast and wait until lunch to start your eating window.
Many people choose to go with the 16/8 method because it is simple to follow and is really just an extension of the eating plan that most of us are on already.
And since many of us already skip out on breakfast because of lack of hunger and because of being busy, so this makes it a natural way to keep yourself healthy and get the results you want from intermittent fasting.
This is a good starting, and once your body adapts and you see how easy it is, many people then choose to go onto and 18/6 window or even 20/4.
Intermittent fasting is not meant to be a challenging program to get on.
You get a lot of choices when you fast, and you can pick the one that works the best for you.
This is a great option that can easily fit into your schedule and will help you to see fast results, without having to be on a specific diet program or worry about counting calories all the time.
Video: Intermittent Fasting May Have Health Benefits Beyond Weight Loss | TODAY
Tips to Help You Get Started
Fasting can seem a little bit intimidating when you first get started with it. You may worry that it is going to be complicated or that you won’t be able to see actual results with it.
If you are worried about getting started on a fast, make sure to follow these techniques to make it easier for you:
- Drink lots of water: You will find that staying hydrated and drinking enough water during the fasting periods can make fasting easier.
- Fast overnight: If you have the majority of your fasting hours happen at night, this makes things easier. Think about how great it will be to wake up and already have at least eight hours of your fast done!
- Rewire the way that you think: Think about fasting as taking a short break from eating. This can be a nice break from the monotony of worrying about when and what you want to eat next. This makes it easier for you to follow a fast for much longer.
- Overcommit: It is often best to get started on a fast on a day when you are busy and won’t mind missing a meal that much. It is never a good idea to do a fast, or start one, on a day when you are just sitting on the couch and wanting to snack.
- Hit the gym: In the beginning, just focus on getting the fast started. But once you are familiar with the way that fasting works, add in some regular exercise. You don’t have to go all hardcore or crazy with your workout. Doing a few strength training or cardio workouts a week can be enough.
- Drink tea or coffee. These will both help with suppressing your appetite if you get really hungry. Just make sure not to add milk, cream, or sugar!
- When you feel really hungry, remind yourself that you could probably survive at least 30 days without food anyway. Obviously, this depends on your current size, but most of us could survive at least a month without food, so 16 hours (or however long your fast is) really isn’t such a long time! Avoid starchy foods like pasta and rice as they create cravings.
- Ever felt extremely hungry but had to wait so long for food that by the time it came, you didn’t even have much of an appetite anymore? This is because hunger comes and goes. It is temporary, remind yourself of this if you are struggling.