Intermittent Fasting (IF) is recently one of the most popular health, wellness and fitness trends of the year.
It has been practised throughout history and was just rediscovered in our generation.
It’s has huge benefits if done properly:weight loss, health and lifestyle improvement etc.
This is an introductory guide for Newbies to intermittent fasting.
What Is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
“Isn’t that going on a hunger strike or starving?”
No, it’s an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. That’s just eating at intervals.
It doesn’t restrict you to the type of food you should eat but rather when you should eat them.
There are several different ways of doing intermittent fasting — all of which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods.
During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.These are the most popular methods:
- The 5:2 diet: With this method , you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.This still involves 5 regular eating days and 2 fasting days. However, on these two fasting days, it is permitted to eat 500 to 600 calories on each day. These calories can be consumed at any time during the day – either spread throughout the day, or as a single meal.
- The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.For example, you may eat all your meals within the time period of 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. Generally, this means skipping breakfast. You generally eat two or three meals within this 8-hour period.
- The 20:4: This involves a 4-hour eating window and a 20-hour fast. For example, you might eat between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm every day and fast for the other 20 hours. Generally, this would involve eating either one meal or two smaller meals within this period.
By reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss as long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.
Many people find the 16/8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to. It’s also the most popular.
- Weight Loss
- Lowers blood sugar
- Keeps your heart healthy
- Prevents cancer
- Boosts Brain Health
Who should NOT fast?
Here are answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.
1. Can I Drink Liquids During the Fast?
Yes. Water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages are fine. Do not add sugar to your coffee. Small amounts of milk or cream may be okay.
Coffee can be particularly beneficial during a fast, as it can blunt hunger.
2. Isn’t It Unhealthy to Skip Breakfast?
No. If you make sure to eat healthy food for the rest of the day then the practice is perfectly healthy.
3. Can I Take Supplements While Fasting?
Yes. However, keep in mind that some supplements like fat-soluble vitamins may work better when taken with meals.
4. Can I Work out While Fasted?
Yes, fasted workouts are fine.
5. Will Fasting Cause Muscle Loss?
6. Will Fasting Slow Down My Metabolism?
No. Studies show that short-term fasts actually boost metabolism.However, longer fasts of 3 or more days can suppress metabolism.
7. Should Kids Fast?
Allowing your child to fast is probably a bad idea.
Should You Try It?
Intermittent fasting is not something that anyone needs to do.
Intermittent fasting is great for some people, not others. The only way to find out which group you belong to is to try it out.
If you feel good when fasting and find it to be a sustainable way of eating, it can be a very powerful tool to lose weight and improve your health.
I’m still experimenting with this and I’ll write about my review soon.