So What Is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a not necessarily a diet, but more of scheduled or timed patterns alternating between eating and fasting. Some studies show that IF can improve health by having powerful effects on the body and brain as well as aid in weight loss. Some people use it as a way to simplify their healthy lifestyles.
The most popular methods for IF are:
The 16/8 method: 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.
Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 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: Here you consume only 500–600 calories per day.
Keep in mind that for weight loss, the goal is to not add back or make up for the calories lost during fasting.
What Are the Benefits of IF?
Fasting effects the body on a cellular level by adjusting hormone levels and causing your body to burn through fat stores as well as initiate repair in cells.
Weight loss is generally the benefit most people wish to achieve through IF. By eating fewer calories, you will naturally have a reduction in weight - so long as you do not add these calories back during eating periods. This also helps to boost metabolism aiding in fat reduction.
Ok, How Do I Start?
It is recommended that you start with the 16/8 method as it is the easiest (and most popular) method. Keep these tips in mind:
-No food or calories may be consumed during fasting periods. You may have water, unsweetened tea, coffee, or other no calorie drinks. However, some artificial sweeteners may cause an increase in appetite making it harder to maintain your fast.
-You CAN workout while fasting. Start with a low impact or Yoga type workouts at first to see how you feel. Higher intensity workouts will deplete you faster and may cause you to break your fast if you are not prepared.
-If you are able to maintain the 16/8 method, you can try harder/longer fasts such as the 24 hour fast for 1-2 days per week or just eating 500-600 calories 1 or 2 days per week. There is no set way to fast and you can see some benefits by any type of fasting.
Anything Else I Should Know?
Of course you should always talk to your doctor before starting a new program. Fasting is not for everyone and could be harmful to those who are underweight or have a history of eating disorders.
Fasting does effect hormones and if you're pregnant, trying to conceive, or have had trouble conceiving, IF might not be right for you.
Again, talk to your doctor to be sure if it's right for you.