Intermittent fasting is an interesting and effective approach to weight loss that involves periods of normal eating followed by shorter periods of fasting. Your approach to Intermittent fasting can be as simple as skipping one meal or extending the time between two meals to fasting for one day followed by a single day of eating followed by another one or two day fast.
More recently, during the 1930s Cornell University nutritionist Clive McCay discovered that rats subjected to a severely calorie restricted diet (similar to fasting) lived much longer and healthier (and leaner) lives when compared with rats that ate at will. Even more recent studies draw a direct correlation between restricted diets and periods of fasting which reduce body fat, reduce inflammation and chronic disease and promote longer life.
FASTING AND WEIGHT LOST
Intermittent fasting with the specific goal of weight loss is relatively new and there are a variety of combinations of eating to fasting periods, each with its own unique benefits. The effectiveness of each combination differs by individual and it is important to determine which one is best for you based on your personal health and fitness goals.
Here are several examples:
ALTERNATE DAY FASTING
This simple approach involves one day of fasting followed by one day (12 waking hours) of eating whenever you are hungry, then repeat. This method has been shown to promote weight loss and lower blood cholesterol but may be difficult to follow.
This method has predetermined “normal” days of a healthy diet followed by set “fasting” days of strictly restricted calories. You may eat on your fasting days but only 10-20% of your normal daily intake. One popular example of this approach is the 5:2 Diet, 5 days ON and 2 days OFF. This approach can reduce body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass and may be the best option for a hard training athlete who needs calories for energy and lean proteins to repair and build muscle. Ideally your OFF days (restricted calories) should coincide with your rest or recovery days.
TIME RESTRICTED FEEDING
This approach involves only eating calories during a small portion of each day and fasting for the rest of the day. Start with the simplest daily fasting interval of 12 and 12, shown as 12:12, 12 hours fasting and 12 feeding (eating). Gradually increase the fasting times and eventually work your way up to a 16:8 ratio. Time restricted feeding works well with your daily work and sleep schedule and promotes healthy metabolic function, weight loss, and insulin sensitivity.
BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
Aside from losing weight, intermittent fasting provides additional health benefits including:
5 ADVANTAGES OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
Here are five:
Counting calories is unnecessary. Almost all diets involve counting calories. While this may be necessary following these short-term eating plans, it is almost impossible to do this long-term. This means that when the "diet" is over, the classical rebound fat gain is just around the corner after a period of rigidly controlling all food.
Intermittent fasting is less restrictive than other diets. If your idea of good food is a burger and fries, no diet is going to help you until you change your thinking. But it is possible to have some leeway in what you eat. Start with your healthy proteins and complex carbs, but you can occasionally add some of what you like.
IS INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR YOU?
- If your primary fitness goal is fat loss then Intermittent Fasting should be something you consider. By eating during a limited time period you are more likely to be in calorie deficit, hence promote fat loss.
- There is very little planning involved - you don't have to measure out your foods or prep loads of meals. It's very easy to follow, eat or don’t.
- Fasting is easier than dieting. You are not adding new foods that you might not like to your mealtimes, you are simply changing your pattern of eating.
- If you decide to try fasting, review the different approaches and find the one which is best for you.
Risks Of Fasting - There are some risks involved with intermittent fasting including:
- Dehydration. You must replace the fluids you are not receiving through fruits, vegetables and juices during your fasting phase.
- Fasting periods will lower your vitamin, mineral and electrolyte intake, be sure to replace these nutrients.
- Anabolic vs. catabolic states will be dependent on your feeding or fasting period, overtraining while fasting will force your body to “eat” muscle tissue to survive, reducing or eliminating gains in size, speed or strength.
- Overeating. The feeding periods are not intended as binge eating periods. To maintain health and a healthy weight, choose natural “clean” foods during your feeding pe
5 TIPS TO HELP GET STARTED INTERMITTENT FASTING
- Don't make your fast too long or too short. An ideal fast length for weight-loss and health benefits is between 16 and 24 hours depending on age, experience and exact goals. Any less than this won't really give you the results you want, and any longer than this is unnecessary and can be harder to adjust and adapt to.
- Increase your water intake when fasting. Intermittent fasting will also help to cleanse your system and let your body work more efficiently. In order to help this process, you should increase your water intake. The best way to do this is have water with you at all times so that you can sip regularly.
- Break your fast with a healthy meal. The first thing you eat after a fast should be a healthy meal. You might only have 8 hours to eat your daily food, filling up on the good stuff first is always a good option.
- Time your eating around your workouts. Working out should be part of any healthy eating plan. Your training should include weight-training or bodyweight training. Try to eat most of your food in the period immediately after your workout, allowing your body to use these calories to rebuild and repair rather than be stored as fat.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. The real benefit of intermittent fasting is that you don’t need to count calories or grams of macronutrients. This can be a pain and makes diets difficult to follow. Stick with your timing and fasting schedule and the details will take care of themselves.