Of all the fat loss approaches, intermittent fasting is probably the one that makes the most sense, is extremely effective for weight loss, and is easiest to implement because it doesn’t restrict your food choices but rather when you should eat them. No wonder why it is becoming very popular for dieting these days.
What Is Intermittent Fasting ?
Intermittent fasting basically is the extension of your sleep. What? When you sleep, you do not eat. Sleeping is actually a period of fasting cause when you’re sleeping you’re not eating and when you wake up and eat your first meal, you break your fast. Break fast, breakfast. Get it? so intermittent fasting is basically the extension of your nighttime fast.
There are 3 most common ways to do intermittent fasting but first, let’s learn more about it.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Works ?
It works by decreasing your overall calorie intake. The longer the period you have without eating, the fewer calories you are eating throughout the day, and when you eat fewer calories your body starts using your body fat for energy and you start burning fat.
The reason why it is very convenient and easy to follow is because of all the fat loss methods intermittent fasting doesn’t specify the food you should or shouldn’t eat as it gets really difficult to memories foods to avoid and to eat. Now that does not mean you start eating unhealthy foods, always prefer healthy food over unhealthy food.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- As mentioned above it is very easy and great for fat loss and weight loss.
- Intermittent fasting reduces your insulin resistance and makes your cells sensitive toward insulin, which protects you from type II diabetes.
- It decreases your inflammation, which is a key driver of many chronic diseases.
- Intermittent fasting reduces your LDL cholesterol, which is also known as bad cholesterol, a risk factor for heart problems.
- Some studies on animals have shown intermittent fasting to reduce the risk of cancer.
- Since it prevents a lot of diseases, it increases your life span.
How Intermittent Fasting Affects Your Cells and Hormones ?
Whenever you do any type of fasting, it has a lot of changes in your body, including hormonal changes and intracellular changes.
These are some of the changes you should be aware of:
- Increase in HGH: HGH is a “human growth hormone” when doing intermittent fasting, your HGH levels skyrocket which is very good for fat loss and muscular gains.
- Increase in insulin sensitivity: The levels of insulin in your body drop dramatically making your cells very sensitive to insulin, and this forces your body to use your body fat as a source of energy.
- Initiate cellular repair: When fasted your cells initiates cellular repair by digestining dysfunctioning protiens that gets build up inside cells.
- Gene expression: This means the genes changes its function related to longevity and starts protecting against diseases.
Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting
Now you might be thinking if intermittent fasting is so easy and effective for weight loss and fat loss, and has so many health benefits, everyone should start doing this, but the answer is no, there are some people who should avoid intermittent fasting or at least consult with their doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
Those people are:
- Individuals with diabetes (especially type I).
- Have problems with blood sugar regulation.
- someone who has low blood pressure.
- People who take multiple medications.
- Individuals who are underweight.
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Any woman who is trying to conceive.
- Any woman with a history of amenorrhea.
- Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
Side-Effects Of Intermittent Fasting
Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting, people who fast for the first time may feel very hungry and as a matter of fact any fast will make you feel hungry and hunger should be considered as a sign of success stating that fasting is working just like it is supposed to.
The second side effect is feeling weak but this will happen only for a few days and as your body adapts to the new diet you will start feeling normal again.
If you are a well-fed healthy individual who just wants to lose some pounds then you don’t have to worry about anything.
Note: If you have any medical condition then you should consult a doctor before starting intermittent fasting.
How To Do Intermittent Fasting ?
The 3 most common ways to do intermittent fasting
- The 16/8 method: This is the most commonly used method, also called the Leangains protocol, in this method we skip our breakfast and restrict our daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between including 6-8 hours of sleep.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: In this method we fast for straight 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 diet: In this method, we consume only 500–600 calories on two nonconsecutive days of the week, and on the other 5 days we eat normally.
All these methods are equally effective but the first one is a bit more convenient, all of these 3 methods will induce fat loss as they all restrict your calorie intake given that you don’t compensate your fasting hours by eating much more than usual on your eating hours.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How to start intermittent fasting?
Ans. If you are new to intermittent fasting then you should start with the 16/8 method (as mentioned above) as it is the simplest and easiest way of intermittent fasting.
Q. What to eat during intermittent fasting?
Ans. This method of fasting does not restrict your food choices but as a rule of thumb, you should always choose healthier options.
Q. What can you drink during intermittent fasting?
Ans. As answered in the previous question, this method of fasting does not restrict your food choices nor does it restrict your drink choices, but avoiding drinks that contain a lot of sugar is always a good habit.