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What is Intermittent fasting?
Out of so many diverse ways of losing weight, the one that has become viral is intermittent fasting. Intermittent diet is a specific way of consuming food involving short intervals of fasts. A small period of break or fast allows the little number of calories to be consumed by a person and also boost up the hormones that help in weight loss. There are lots of patterns and ways that can be used successfully in intermittent fasting.
How does Intermittent fasting work
Body stores energy (calories) in the form of body fat. When we restrict ourselves from eating, the body has to find another option for getting energy. Thus, under such circumstances, the body utilized the internal body fat and gains energy from it. In order to make energy more accessible, certain changes are induced in the nervous activity as well as the hormones. Some major alterations that occur during the process are discussed here for your better understanding.
When we eat something, insulin levels rise and when we do not, insulin level decreases. When insulin level lowers down, fat burning is facilitated.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH):
It is a hormone that helps in the loss of fat. When a person fasts, the human growth hormone increases as much as 5 fold.
Intermittent Fasting Methods:
Intermittent fasting is highly effective and efficient in weight loss. This is the very reason that a huge amount of people benefit themselves from intermittent fasting and make their life a healthier one. Besides weight loss, intermittent fasting has a huge list of advantages that shall be discussed later in detail. Right now our focus is to look for those ways through which one can do intermittent fasting and acquire desired results. Six different ways have been discussed here. All provide effective results, however, effectiveness may vary from person to another. Therefore, you will have to choose the method that suits your body the best.
Fasting for 16 days each day: 16/8 Method
As the name suggests, fasting in this method is done for 14 to 16 hours. It means that you eat for 8-10 hours only that is also called the eating window. 2 to 3 meals can easily fit in your eating window. Another name for this method is the Leangains protocol. A fitness expert Martin Berkhan was the one who popularized this method of intermittent fasting. It might seem complicated and tedious but it is easy to adopt. Have dinner, eat nothing after it and then skip your breakfast. For instance, if you have your dinner at 9, and do not eat anything until 1 o clock the next day, then you are automatically fasting for 16 hours between your regular meals. However, people who get find it difficult to start their day without breakfast may find this method hard to adopt. When you are fasting, you may drink water, tea, or other juices but not eat anything. And during the eating window, eat as much healthy food as possible. Do not forget that this method will flop if you eat junk food.
Fasting for 2 days per week/ 5:2 diet
In this method of intermittent fasting, the person eats for 5 days a week and fasts for 2 days. In this manner, around 500 to 600 calories are restricted from being entering the body. Dieticians refer to it as a fast diet as well. The fast diet was coined by Michael Mosley who was a doctor and a British journalist. Due to the apt relation between the word and the actual effectiveness of this diet, the term got popular. On the days you are fasting, do not exceed your calories more than the prescribed quantity. Males can consume 600 calories and females can consume 500 calories. You can eat all you like on normal days but not on the fasting days.
Eat Stop Eat/ 24 hours fast:
24 hours fast mean one day fast. It can either be done once or twice a week. A fitness expert Brad Pilon was the one who introduced and popularized this method of intermittent fasting. This has even become viral due to its effectiveness. Not eating anything from one dinner to the other dinner next day counts for 24 hours diet. For instance, if you are having dinner at 7 pm, then you are supposed to restrict yourself from eating anything until 7 pm the next day. This can also be done from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch. However, you may drink water and other drinks but not eat even a single bite of any solid food. For the sake of efficient weight loss, make sure that the regular meals are healthy and not based on junk food only.
Alternate day fasting/ every other day:
This means that you have to fast after every regular day. In fasting days one can only consume up to 500 calories. However, intermittent fasting on alternate days may become very hard for beginners, therefore, it is not recommended for the newbies. Moreover, remaining hungry most of the time during the weekend can also be tough for normal people who fast occasionally. People who have exceptional stamina and will power can pursue alternate fasting.
The warrior diet:
The warrior diet, as the name reflects, is for people who are ready to fight obesity with an iron fist. In the warrior diet, you fast for the whole day and eat a huge meal at night. Ori Hofmekler was a fitness expert, who popularized this method of intermittent fasting. During the day, you may eat small fractions of raw vegetables or fruits or drink coffee and water. However, a proper meal you can only consume at night. So, technically, during the day you have to fast and during the night you can enjoy the whole feast.
Spontaneous meal skipping:
Spontaneous meal skipping has no structured procedure for skipping meals or regulating fasting hours. As the name depicts, you plan the fasting hours at the moment, spontaneously! Whenever you feel convenient or want to skip meals. This should happen off and on. Even in daily routine, sometimes we do not want to cook anything or do not feel hungry at all. Such occasions provide a chance to go for spontaneous meal skipping intermittent fasting. On a general note, the human body can survive famine let alone a few meals.
Advantages of intermittent fasting
Intermittent comes with so many advantages besides weight loss. It is important for you to know what other benefits do intermittent fasting carries. Here is what we have for you!
Improves health and promotes weight loss
Few studies have revealed the fact that whole day intermittent fasting as well as alternate day intermittent fasting are closely linked with the reduction in body mass, body fat and finally body weight. Waist circumference also reduces significantly. The best part is that these results have proved to be long term. A systematic review of 2016 had a review of all studies regarding weight loss that proved that intermittent fasting actually works. A similar review of 2017 showed that weekly intermittent fasting works as effectively as a proper CER (Continuous Energy Restriction) for weight loss. As you keep on taking meals during the eating window, you remain healthy. Intermittent fasting is therefore healthy. As calories consumed are lower than regular, that is why weight loss occurs.
Increment in brain functioning
This is the most striking advantage of intermittent fasting. Researches have shown that the time constricted diet and regular diet intervals strongly impact cognitive processes of the mind. The impact is always positive. Cognitive processes refer to the processes that are continuously done by the brain like seeing, observing, responding, learning, memorizing, understanding and so on. Along with weight loss, intermittent fasting improves your brain functioning making you sharp and smart.
No complicated diet plan
With other complicated diet plans, you have to go through the tedious plan of remembering their particulars, keeping in mind the restricted food items and follow a set pattern. On the other hand, intermittent fasting saves you from this headache. You can eat what you want when you want and how much you want. You can start intermittent fasting at any time during a day and can east whatever you want during the eating window. It is as simple as this!
Consume maximum calories in minimum time
People like intermittent fasting a lot because of this edge that it provides. When you eat a huge and heavy meal, the stomach becomes full and satisfied. The feeling of fullness stays for a longer time as well. Eating again worries the least and it provides a lot of margin for intermittent fasting. This way you cannot only go for a diet but also eat as much as you can. Calorie restriction is not the concern of intermittent fasting at all.
Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting comes with lots of benefits, but since there are two sides of a coin and excess of everything is bad, therefore, it is important to discuss all the aspects that are related to intermittent fasting. One such aspect entails the drawbacks of intermittent fasting. Give it a read and get yourself acquainted with the worth knowing knowledge.
Eating has become more of a social activity nowadays. We see that in everyday life, occasions, parties, and meetings involve food in one way or the other. Business matters are discussed over lunch or dinner between two parties, families get together over meals, friends meet in a restaurant, students are taught caring and sharing via making them share their lunch. Hence, eating has much to do with socialization. Staying on the intermittent diet during all such things makes you feel awkward. In some cultures, refusing food is taken as a bad gesture. Therefore, such incidents may make you uncomfortable.
Since during intermittent fasting, you have to take your hands off food and only rely on drinks. This can reduce your energy level and can make you lazy. If you are a student or an office worker, you may not show full productivity with the assigned tasks and they may become compromised. For a gym-goer, exercise may become dull.
How to tackle it?
Do not adopt intermittent fasting during your work hours, office hours or gym hours. Try it when you are at home.
During intermittent fasting hours you may have a bad temper, headaches, low energy levels, drop in body temperature and constipation.
Unhealthy Eating window
An unhealthy eating window means the consumption of unhealthy food during feasting. When you stay hungry, the sight of food may drive you crazy. In such situations, people eat anything without considering its impact on health. Yes, you can consume a lot of memories but that does not mean eating unhealthy food link junk food and destroying the entire purpose of intermittent fasting.
Digestion issues are likely to occur because eating pattern changes. Especially when huge portions of meals are eaten within no time. Big volumes of food need more time to digest. This particular situation stresses not only the GI tract but sometimes also results in indigestion and bloating. Bowel movements also get disturbed.
What shall such people do?
People who already have digestion issues, must not go for a heavy intermittent diet that restricts eating for longer periods. Such people can do intermittent fasting for small intervals and eat at regular times.
Intermittent diet is not for everyone
A hale and healthy person with phenomenal stamina can successfully do intermittent fasting. However, if you are not healthy and have a certain medical condition then you must avoid intermittent fasting. It can have a negative impact on your health. People on medication are also supposed to fil their stomach before taking their medicine. Staying hungry could be dangerous for them. If your medical condition is not very serious then you can consult your doctor and only start intermittent fasting if he/she allows.
Long terms impacts especially for females
If someone does intermittent fasting for longer intervals and for a longer period of time then there is a serious risk that he/she may fall short of essential nutrients and a significant amount of electrolytes. There is a more real threat to females. They may fall prey to infertility and issues related to reproduction may instigate. In addition to this, problems related to menstruation, early menopause, and metabolism disruptions may occur.
Tips for a successful intermittent fasting
Quality of the food you eat:
You can eat what you like and how much you like with the exception of unhealthy food. Unhealthy food is fast food like burgers, pizzas and carbonated beverages. If you eat such food, intermittent fasting loses its purpose. Try eating more raw vegetables, fruits and homemade food using organic vegetables and fruits.
Consistency in intermittent fasting:
Sticking with intermittent fasting is profoundly significant. If you fast once a month then there would be no change either in your body mass or weight. Chose a method that suits you and stick to it without taking any break.
Patience during intermittent fasting:
Staying patient, while you are on a diet, is the key factor. There would be times when out of hunger you shall think of quitting intermittent fasting. But that is not the solution. Having control over oneself is the thing that makes intermittent fasting successful.