Fasting is not a new thing in the world. Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most popular trending fast in the fitness industry. It can be simplified as a pattern of eating and not eating at specific time periods. It is well known for aiding weight loss, improve hunger cravings alongside other benefits.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
This is cycling patterns of eating periods. It is not about what you eat, rather, what time you eat.
You might have heard some history on the ancient human beings. They did not have a food supply all the time due to the seasonal harvesting time of crops. They fasted on some hours and some hours they ate. This applies to some days too. They could go on without some food for a day or two and eat on the rest of the days. This became beneficial to their overall health and lifestyle.
Typically, Intermittent Fasting (IF) tries to imitate the ancient method for overall health and fitness.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting can be done in several ways which involve fasting for a long period of hours or fasting for a day or eat-fast-eat. The following are the types of fast:
This type of fasting entails fasting for 14 hours and eating within a window of 10 hours. Say you start eating at 8.00 am in the morning and stop eating at 5.00 am in the evening until the next morning at 8.00 am
The most common, effective, convenient and trending fasting method. It involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8 hour window period. You can start eating at 12noon and stop eating at 8 pm. Note that you can always adjust the timings to fit your schedule.
If you feel you are strong enough to go for 20 hours without eating then you can give this a try. It is refreshing and worth it at the same time. Your body will thank you.
One Meal A Day (OMAD)
Just as the title. It is only taking one meal a day. Ensure that you eat well during this type of fasting. If you know you can consume 1500 calories that are healthy in one meal, then this is the type of fasting you should look forward to. It is also very effective in comparison to 16/8
It entails fasting for 2 days and eating for three days. Do not fast for 2 days straight if you can not handle it or your doctor doesn’t recommend it. This type of fasting helps the gut be relieved of working off the food you put in your system.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Fasting, in general, is used as a form of detoxification or cleansing. Diverting into religious fasting, it is done when we want to abstain from food or social media e.t.c, for soul causation, seeking for God’s face among other reasons, just to mention a few. The same can be seen in intermittent fasting. We stay away from food for certain periods of hours to cleanse our digestive system and also give it time to rest and reset.
Some of the benefits of this amazing fast are:
- Weight and fat loss
- Overall rest of the digestive system
- Detoxification of the digestive system
- Increased energy
- Reduced hunger
- Less food/junk cravings
- Lower blood sugar levels and insulin
- Improvement of health in patients with diabetes
All the above are according to researchers, therefore it might or might not work for you. Consult your doctor for further clarification in accordance with your body type.
Downside of Intermittent Fasting.
Disclaimer: This does not include any religious fast. In fact, religious fast has no downside to it.
Besides weight loss, which is rather pleasing to our ears, IF has some downsides that are not pretty. They include:
- Feeling of weakness
Who you should and shouldn’t fast?
Patients that are under medication and have been opted out of fasting by their medical doctors are not allowed to fast.
Pregnant and lactating mothers along with children under the age of 18 are advised not to fast as well.
The rest of the people including people with type 2 diabetes can be able to fast but under the instruction of their doctors.
Do not do the fast before consulting a doctor or testing if your body can withstand fasting.
Do’s and Dont’s during the fasting.
- Drink a lot of water
- Sleep at least 7 to 8 hours.
- Drink black coffee while at it to carb hunger.
- Keep yourself busy.
- Avoid heavy workouts during this time.
- Eat healthy meals such as low carb diet meals.
- Be consistent.
- Do not go in too fast with the fasting hours. Start with 14/10 as you progress
- Do not consume any calories.
- Do not eat anything.
- Do not eat heavy foods immediately after breaking the fast.
- Do not eat a high carb diet.
- Do not give up once you start.
- Do not stress because when stress levels increase the cortisol hormone will hinder your weight loss journey
What to eat after breaking a fast?
You don’t want to go in heavy immediately after finishing your fast and this is because your stomach has shrunk and therefore you need to introduce foods slowly by slowly. For instance, you can start with slicing up some cucumbers and boiled eggs and then later can introduce some low carb foods.
Another reason for going in slowly is that you don’t want to gain back the weight or fat that you had lost during your fasting. (This applies to those who want to do the fast for weight loss, which I will be explaining in a moment)Because the moment you start eating a feast after you fast, you will not see your desired results.
Some of the low carb foods include:
- Spinach and Kale.
- Peanut/ Almond butter.
- Almond bread/pancakes.
- Almond milk.
- Chicken breast.
- Green leafy vegetables.
Fasting for weightloss.
This type of eating pattern helps in reducing calorie intake hence the weight loss.
In addition, levels of norepinephrine (a type of hormone) are increased and neurotransmitter aids in boosting metabolism that in turn increases burning of calories throughout the day.
Levels of insulin at this period have reduced and a drop in insulin results in an increase of a fat-burning process.
At least 10 hours of limiting food consumption can promote weight loss. So whether you decide to go as low as 14/10 or as high as 5:2 you still get the chance to lose weight alongside other IF benefits.
How long does it take to notice results?
Researchers claim that between 2-14 weeks you start to lose fat by up to 16% and 8% of body weight.
Personally while at IF I started to notice a difference in my stomach area after a month. My stomach area, because that is where I store most of the fat. So where you store more fat, there you will start to notice the difference.
It really depends on how your body works. Some people might not have IF work for them and others might. So in the long run, is what really works for you.
Can I workout during a fast?
Absolutely and it actually helps burn fat faster. You can do light exercises but if you feel you are strong enough you can go ahead for the heavier ones.
Consult your doctor before commencing.
Do not jump in too fast. Start with a 14/10 as you progress upwards.
Break your fast with salads and any other lighter meals.
Incorporate exercises as you progress by the weeks.
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