The term intermittent fasting has become quite the buzz word within the past few years. Please note that intermittent fasting is more than a weight loss plan. It is more about lifestyle change. You would be amazed to know that this fasting style has been prevalent for centuries.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
To be precise, intermittent fasting is a unique eating pattern alteration method. Rather than thinking about what to eat, it focuses on when to eat. An average intermittent fasting routine involves 8 hours of eating and 16 hours of fasting. Although, most of us do a bit of intermittent fasting during nighttime. This concept extends to the next few hours.
How does Intermittent Fasting Work?
According to health experts, the primary objective of intermittent fasting is to divert your body’s focus from eating to recovery and digestion. During the fasting duration, the body undergoes a starving mode, kickstarting a series of metabolic changes.
Interestingly, due to the unavailability of carbohydrates, the body gradually enters a ketosis state, where it starts consuming fats for energy. This comprehensive process helps in shedding weight.
What are the Types of Intermittent Fasting?
- 12 Hours Fasting - It is one of the most popular and simple fasting methods where you need to fast for 12 to 13 hours a day. The easiest 12 hours you can choose for fasting is from 7 pm to 7 am.
- Eat-Stop-Eat – It involves completely stopping calorie intake for one day, once or twice a week. So, what can you consume during this time? You can consume only zero-calorie food items these days. It is quite a challenging fasting method that demands the highest discipline and self-control.
- The 16/8 Fasting – Also known as the Leangains protocol, this method involves fasting for 16 hours and limiting the eating period to 8 hours. You are free to fit in 2 or 3 meals in this window. However, keep a check on your calorie intake, please.
- Alternate Day Fasting – As the name suggests, you need to fast every alternate day until you attain your weight loss goals. This fasting is unsuitable for beginners as it requires strict self-control and willpower.
- The 5:2 Diet – In this fasting method, you can consume only 500 to 600 calories for two consecutive days. However, you can normally eat for the next five days of the week.
Some Tips for the Beginners
- Intermittent fasting does not restrict any food item or group, so try to go for power food items.
- Drink a lot of water and zero-calorie beverages to keep yourself hydrated and energetic.
- Make sure you only consume unsweetened coffee or tea while fasting.
- You can drink diluted apple cider vinegar to prevent cravings and weakness during fasting.
- End your fast with a lighter and smaller meal. Eating heavy meals can lead to bloating and indigestion. You can start with smoothies, soups, fermented foods, and fruits.
- Similarly, avoid taking sweetened food items after ending the fast immediately. It can spike your blood sugar levels drastically.
Intermittent fasting may not be healthy for everyone. Ensure you consult a health expert or search for a doctor before you start any fasting method. In addition, you should be well aware of its pros and cons.