For some people, losing weight can be quite a challenge. Not everyone can easily shed off some extra pounds whenever they say they will. We all have different body types, different lifestyles, and different body responses to exercise and diet.
Whether for better fitness or to “fit in” to certain body standards, a lot of people try to lose weight by any means possible. When it comes to the current weight loss trends, Intermittent Fasting has been making quite a buzz to those interested in losing weight.
Now the question is “Does it really work?”
What is the deal with Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting, also known to many as the IF Diet, is more of an eating pattern rather than a type of diet that helps the body lose weight through short periods of restricted eating. While other diets focus on what food to consume and how much calories to take IF focuses on when you can only eat.
Intermittent Fasting requires you to only eat at a specific schedule. Others perceive it as starvation, however, it is far from that. One should not be confused about starving and fasting because they differ crucially on one thing — Control. IF is more on controlling your eating patterns— in cycles of eating and fasting.
The practice of fasting has already been around for quite a long time, doing it for various purposes such as health and religion. Backed by studies, the Intermittent diet has been proven to not only help facilitate weight loss but also has many other benefits on the overall health and brain function. According to studies, intermittent fasting may also slow down the aging process as it also helps regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol in the body.
How does Intermittent Fasting Work? How does it affect the body?
When we eat, we store food energy more than how much we use immediately. Some of this energy is kept in store in the body for later use, a function performed by a hormone called Insulin whenever food is ingested by the body.
Body fat is basically food energy that has been stored in the body. If you don’t eat, your body will simply consume its fat and use it for energy. During intermittent fasting, individuals usually alternate fasting and eating within an 8 to 10-hour window to allow the body to burn fat.
When you don’t eat, the insulin level of your body drops because it has no energy to store. The result of this is that the cells will release the stored glucose as energy. Repeating the cycle of fasting and eating will eventually lead to weight loss. During the time of fasting, you are also allowing your gastrointestinal tract to rest and repair.
The premise of IF is that when your insulin levels go down at some point where it uses up the stored fats and energy during fasting, the body is able to burn off excess fat. Generally, instead of storing more fats, you are burning them up while you can still eat the food you like.
6 Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
The 16/18 Method involves fasting for 14-16 hours a day with an 8-10 hrs eating window. It’s basically fasting throughout dinner and skipping breakfast the next day. You can fit in 2 to 3 meals during the eating window. While the amount is not limited, it is recommended to eat healthy food during your eating time.
1. The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet, also known as the Fast Diet, involves 5 days of normal eating and 2 days of controlled eating wherein you only consume 500 calories (for women) and 600 calories (for men) during fasting days.
2. Eat Stop Eat
The Eat Stop Eat method involves fasting for 24 hrs once or twice a week. During the 24-hrs of the fast, you are allowed to consume only small amounts of beverages like water, juices, and other zero-calorie drinks but not solid foods.
This method of fasting is quite challenging as it requires you to fast for the whole day or is allowed only a few calories. Not recommended for IF beginners. However, you can start by decreasing the duration of fasting and gradually increasing it so your body can get used to the fasting.
3. The Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet requires you to fast the whole day and feast at dinner time. During the day, you are only allowed to consume small amounts of raw vegetables and fruits. This IF method is a bit similar to the Paleo Diet in which you consume mostly raw and unprocessed food.
4. Alternate-Day Fasting
The potential downside of the Alternate-Day Fasting is similar to the Eat Stop Eat but is more challenging because of the 24-hour fast. To add more difficulty, fasting is done every other day which may be fairly difficult for many people. Also not recommended for IF beginners.
5. Spontaneous Meal Skipping
You do not have to follow a certain schedule for your fasting to reap the benefits of IF. What you can do is skip some meals from time to time especially when you don’t feel hungry. For example, if you don’t feel like eating breakfast or lunch, you can skip one to two meals then eat healthy at lunch and dinner.
One amazing fact about the human body is that it can survive days without consuming food as long as hydrated. Therefore, this eating pattern will not cause detrimental effects on the body.