Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting
- 16 Jun, 2020
If you are looking for a weight loss diet plan for rapid results, intermittent fasting (IF) has been proven to be the most effective and popular fitness and weight loss procedures. There are many celebrities who have incorporated intermittent in their daily lives to maintain a goal weight.
The concept of fasting is not new; it is just the modern generation that has given it a fancy name. In older times fasting was actually a method to keep you healthy. It helps your body to remove the toxic substances from the stomach and prevents any digestion related problem.
Research has also been done on intermittent fasting; it has shown very strong results that it can have very positive effects on your brain. It will also help you live a longer and peaceful life.
There are certain things which differ from keto diet but it also has the same objective, to take the body to ketosis.So let’s begin with the basic knowledge of the intermittent fasting.
This is most likely considered to be the dieting pattern just like any other diet plan but basically it is about how your eating pattern must be. It defines you the cycles between the periods of fasting and eating. Unlike keto diet it will not restrict your eating habit.
If you think that you will be restricted from eating anything then you are wrong. Intermittent fasting wholly focuses on when you should do it and when you should not. For your better health purposes, you can surely avoid unhealthy food such as deep fried, high cholesterol and too much outside and packaged food. So, yes we can describe it by quoting, ‘Intermittent fasting describes the pattern of your eating schedule. It rotates on when you should fast and eat’.
It will help you to reduce your belly weight in a hustle free manner. You won’t have to completely change your eating habits. Little limitations can make your intermittent fasting successful.
The most common methods of intermittent fasting are either 16 hour fasts or 24 hour fasts twice in a week. Fasting is a natural method to relax your body and your metabolism process.Even if you go through the religious aspects, you will find that every religion recommends you to keep fasts. This will help you to be proactive and be energetic.
METHODS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
If you think that intermittent fasting has a simple rule book then you are actually wrong. There are various methods which are divided on the basis of time period and cycle change. During the time when you are fasting, you are supposed to either eat very little food or nothing.
Three most popular methods are:-
- 16/8 intermittent fasting method
- Eat Stop Eat intermittent fasting method
- 5:2 intermittent fasting method
#1 16/8 INTERMITTENT FASTING METHOD
It is a true fact that there are limited restrictions in intermittent fasting. Restrictions are also for the health purposes. The limitations will allow the intermittent fasting to work in a better way. It depends on limiting the amount of food you consume and also to reduce the calorie intake of your day.
In a whole day if you eat for eight hours and keep a fast for 16 hours, it is commonly known as 16/8 method. The repetition of the intermittent fasting can be according to your own choice. It can be from once or twice per week to everyday.
Those who have limited choice for food and do not know how to cook can also follow this type of intermittent fasting. It doesn’t follow any restriction or limitation. 16/8 intermittent fasting is easy to follow without any much effort. That is why it has become so popular in this generation.
Those who want to reduce the weight and burn belly fat can incorporate this type of diet in their lifestyle. It has also improved blood sugar levels, brain functions in the body.
Keeping a fast for 16 hours will help you to reach the ketosis procedure for a temporary period of time. Now, let’s begin with the guide to start the 16/8 method.
HOW TO BEGIN WITH
To begin with the ultimate intermittent fasting procedure, you must first start with the 16 hours fasting and 8 hours eating window.
- You could eat your meals between noon and till 8.00 pm. This will make sure that you have all your meals and your fasting period will cover the sleeping period. You aren’t allowed to snack in between the fasting period.
You will have to skip your breakfast because of the fasting period in the morning. That is why you can have a balanced brunch at noon followed by a few healthy snacks and can end your day with a proper dinner. Skipping breakfast doesn’t imply that you cannot have a heavy brunch.
- There is a certain group of people who are an early riser and cannot miss breakfast. They can opt from the 9.00 am to 5.00 pm window. This will let you have a proper breakfast as well as lunch. You can also have a light dinner around 4.30 pm before you start the fasting period.
To maintain the 16/8 intermittent fasting method, it is necessary for you to plan your meal in such a way that you don’t get deprived of any nutrients. There must be enough carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. The snack in time could include various fruits or a light salad.
It should also be taken care that you are well hydrated during the fasting period. Your fast doesn’t include water. You can also include green tea or black coffee in your fasting time.
#2 EAT STOP EAT INTERMITTENT FASTING METHOD
Eat stop eat is an intermittent fasting method which was developed by Brad Pilon. He has also written a book on it. According to him it is not just a weight loss plan rather it is a reevaluation of your eating schedules and frequency. He has also mentioned how it can affect your health in a positive manner.
This approach involves a fasting method where you need to keep fast for at least two non- consecutive days per week.
HOW TO BEGIN WITH
It is a very straightforward type of intermittent fasting where you are absolutely prohibited to eat anything for a particular fasting day. That is why it is a proper protocol to keep fasts on two non consecutive days.
For example, if you are fasting from 8.00 am Monday until 8.00 am Tuesday, then you need to make sure that you eat a proper meal before 8.00 am on Monday. This will make sure that you are fasting for exactly 24 hours.
If you have kept fast for two days in a week then you are supposed to have balanced diets for the remaining 5 days. There shouldn’t be any leniency in the eating habits. You must remain on a diet with certain calorie restrictions. You must also take care that you don’t miss any meal.
Whereas, not missing a meal doesn’t imply that you are allowed to have high calorie, high fat and high carbohydrate diet. It should be a balanced diet with proper nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. Do also keep in mind to keep yourself hydrated during fasting period.
You can have artificially sweetened and low calorie beverages.
#3 5:2 INTERMITTENT FASTING METHOD
This is not a fasting method whereas it is a type of restriction on the type of food you eat. It is called the 5:2 method because for five days you can have a normal eating day and other two days restricts the amount of calories to 500-600 per day.
This calorie restriction of 500-600 per day will also help you to improve your eating habits in those five days.
This is also more of a lifestyle for many people and isn’t a tedious task to follow.
HOW TO BEGIN WITH
Like all the other methods, this is also very simple and doesn’t require much preparation for the newcomers. Although, you will need a proper diet plan where you need to mention the schedule of your every meal with the calories you consume.
As you have read above, for five days in a week you are supposed to eat your normal meals without any junk food and extra calories. The other two days of fasting will require you to be a little aware.
For those two days you will have to reduce your calorie intake to quarter of the previous. A woman can consume 500 calories per day whereas men can intake 600 calories per day.
It is all on you to choose any two days of the week but you must take care to have at least one non-fasting day in between. This will help you to be active for both the days and will help you to maintain the blood sugar level and body metabolism.
It is preferred that you fast on Mondays and Thursdays. The meals on the fasting days can include fruit and vegetable salads. Make sure to plan your diet plan beforehand so that there is no problem with the maintenance of the calories.You can also think about alternate day fasting for better results.
WEIGHT LOSS AND INTERMITTENT FASTING
The most common reason people generally attract towards intermittent fasting is weight loss. It is true that it can affect your weight.There is so much reduction in the calorie intake and carbohydrate diet that it directly affects your body weight. It affects your hormones for various factors.
Intermittent fasting lowers your insulin levels whereas increases the growth hormone. To burn the fat body also releases a hormone called norepinephrine or noradrenaline.
It is a very effective way to lose weight and keep eating your favorite foods. You can be able to lose weight within 5-20 weeks. You will also observe that there isn’t any muscle loss which any other diet might.
- 5:2 diet – As I have mentioned earlier, there is a method of intermittent fasting where you eat normal meals for five days and calorie restrictions on the other two days of the week. You can also lose weight using the same.
The calorie intake in the body is reduced to a considerable amount that it can help you in losing weight. You can also observe the weight is lost from the waist region which consists of the harmful fat.
- The other intermittent fasting we studied about was Eat Stop Eat. It has been observed that at least for 1-2 days there is a reduction in the calorie consumption. This can result in the weight loss procedure and which will help you to burn an adequate amount of calories.
Because of the fasting stages in this method you can also observe certain metabolic changes in the body. The already accumulated glucose in your body gets broken down when you keep a fast for a day. Your body uses the already stored glucose and reaches a state called ketosis.
This fat utilization from the body acts as an aid for weight loss. The fat is used for energy purposes to help you lose the accumulated weight.
OVERALL HEALTH BENEFITS
- Balance in blood sugar levels – Because of the certain fasting periods, there is a reduction in insulin levels. It is also observed that those who have a high BP problem can reduce the blood sugar level by intermittent fasting. It will prevent you from type 2 diabetes for a long term.
- Reduction in inflammation – There are many chronic diseases which have inflammation as a side effect. Disease like Alzheimer’s can also create inflammation in any body part. The intermittent fasting results in the reduction of inflammation markers.
- Improves heart health – Intermittent fasting can result in reduction of the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. They are major risk factors for heart diseases.
- Brain health – In Alzheimer’s disease it has been observed that nerve cells get damaged. Intermittent fasting will help you to increase the amount of BDNF (a brain hormone). This will help you in the growth of new nerve cells which can easily replace the damaged ones.
- Anti aging – As you must have noticed that our grandparents are much healthier than us. The intermittent fasting has been in this world since ancient times. It helps you to detoxify your body with an easier method.
- Lower the BP – If you have a low BP problem then this type of fasting might result in being harmful for you. Intermittent fasting itself reduces the BP levels and for the low BP patients, it can be life taking itself. These kinds of patients need to keep eating to maintain their BP levels.
- Affects the medication – Those who are already on certain medications cannot risk their lives by following intermittent fasting. Certain medicines require you to eat something. If you do take those medicines on empty medicines then it might not affect you and rather create a side effect on your body.
- Pregnancy or new mothers – Pregnant women are not supposed to diet or fats for a longer time. It can affect the growth of the baby in the womb. The new mothers are supposed to feed the infants, if they are into intermittent fasting then they won’t be able to transfer the nutrients and immunity to the baby.
It has been made clear that intermittent fasting also has many aspects. To benefit your health, you will have to do certain things which can affect your body in a better way.
You must also know that any intermittent fasting and dieting is useless until you perform a physical activity. Exercise and fasting must go hand in hand.The effects of intermittent fasting can only be known after a certain period of time such as a month or two.There are very little details which if you take care of, you can improve your health.