Intermittent Fasting (IF) is currently amongst the most popular health and fitness trends. Many people do this specifically for weight loss.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet but a dieting pattern in which there is a window where you can eat, and there is a window where you have to fast. So, this method does not specify what to eat rather when to eat. It is popular because it’s flexible and helps eat fewer calories and optimize various hormones related to fat loss. Some studies have even suggested that we can slow down our ageing process and improve our cardiovascular health through this eating pattern.
Popular Methods Of Intermittent Fasting
1. 16:8 Plan
This is the most common and practised version of Intermittent Fasting. In this method, you have to keep a fast for 16 hours, where ideally, you should not eat anything except water, but you are allowed to have black coffee or green tea without sugar. And then in the 8 hours window, you have to consume all the three meals, i.e., breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The best part is, you are free to choose your 8-hour window, let say from 9 AM- 5 PM, or it can be 12Noon- 8 PM in the night or 2 PM-10 PM depending upon your convenience.
2. The 5:2 Diet
It is also known as the fast diet. It works like this, you can eat whatever you want, of whatever number of calories it may be in the chosen five days, but the premise of the whole thing is those 2days where you ideally fast in taking minimal calories, say 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.
3. Eat Stop Eat
This involves 24-hour fasting once or twice a week. In a week, you can typically eat for five days, and for two chosen days, you have to do complete 24-hour fasting where you are only allowed to take zero-calorie beverages but no solid food. For Instance, if you complete your dinner at 8 PM on Monday, you have to fast till Tuesday at 8 PM. Similarly, you can fast from breakfast-breakfast or lunch-lunch- the result will be the same.
4. Alternate Day Fasting
It is fasting every other day either by not eating anything or taking significantly fewer calories. It is not recommended for beginners as fasting every alternate day looks pretty extreme. With this method, you may go to bed very hungry several times per week that is not very pleasant, and it is probably unsustainable in the long term.
5. The Warrior Diet
With this dieting pattern, you fast the whole day and feast at night. You eat only raw fruits and vegetables during the day, and then at night, you can have a massive meal within a chosen 4-hour eating period. This was one of the first popular diets to be included in the form of intermittent fasting.
6. Spontaneous Meal Skipping
This is another widely practised form of IF. Here, you don’t need to follow any structured plan; instead, you need to simply skip meals from time to time, either when you are not so hungry, or you are too busy to cook. Say you miss one or two lunches or dinner once a week, depending upon your convenience.
How Does It work?
IF acts as a shock for our bodies. During this course of action, there are many hormonal changes in our body, which helps us lose body fats effectively.
Advantages Of Intermittent Fasting
- It drops the insulin level. When we fast for a longer period, there are no carbs in our bodies, so our body starts utilizing fat cells for energy, and we start reducing our fats.
- It increases our human growth hormones up to almost 5 times and thus increases our metabolism, which in turn helps in faster fat loss.
- It increases the cellular repair processes.
- Because of these positive hormonal changes, studies have shown that it increases life span and help to avoid diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.
It is imperative to keep in mind that when you eat your food, keep your meal high in protein, well-balanced with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Please remember not to take the liberty of eating unhealthy food during your eating windows, which might impact your health in the long run. Intermittent fasting is a great way to go about weight loss and being healthy if done right. I hope this article helps!