Intermittent fasting is a practice that switches between fasting and regular eating.
There has been a lot of speculation around this new form of fasting. What is it about? How is it different than Ramadan fasts? Do I have to change my diet? Is intermittent fasting good for fat loss? What is an intermittent diet plan? If it is, then what would be my intermittent fasting diet plan? There are so many questions out there.
What sparked my interest was its uniqueness. For years weight-loss experts told us what to say for the first time we were told when to eat.
As I first started reading about it, like you I also had many questions. I knew fasting was beneficial. But the stop, pause, now eat, the trend was completely different. My first concern was;
Is it safe? Where does it come from?
In this practice, you only eat 1 or 2 meals a day. This was quite similar to Muslim traditional fasting that made it safe for me to practice. Though you are not eating while doing this type of fasting, you can drink plain water or black coffee in between.
As I further read regarding the practice I realized Muslims are not the only people who fast.
John Hopkins neuroscientists have been studying intermittent fasting for over 25 years. According to their research, our bodies are designed to survive on less food. From prehistoric times, the scarcity of food and constant movement kept people at their ideal weights.
In modern times, fewer activities and extra calories have increased our likelihood of being overweight and being at higher risk of diabetes, heart complications, and other health problems. Interestingly, many scientists claim that intermittent fasting can reverse these unhealthy patterns.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits.
When you take a pause from eating, several good things happen to your body.
Cells, hormones, and Genes (yikes!) act differently
By different I mean good. Very good.
One of the most surprising pieces of research suggested that regular fasting can change gene expression in increasing protection against diseases. It also suggested the longevity of genes.
Other studies showed how while you have put you’re eating to rest, your body starts repairing your important cells.
How I see it is, that once your body gets a break from breaking downing and processing food, it can finally put its focus on other important functions.
Human growth hormone and insulin levels are also promoted.
Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss
Well, this is pretty much simple maths.
As you will be fasting for half of the day, you will eat fewer meals. This means fewer calories many people do intermittent fasting to lose weight.
I’ll come to how to do intermittent fasting correctly in a bit. But it is an ideal practice if you do not like low-calorie meal planning.
Fewer calories boost your metabolic activity. Once your metabolic activity is set, your hormones will start leveling up as well. In a study, participants lost inches from the waist just within 6 to 24 weeks. These participants particularly lost harmful fat that is usually present around the belly.
Another review showed that intermittent fasting retains muscles and prevents their loss as compared to any other weight loss method.
So is fat loss and intermittent fasting a good combination? Yes, 100%!
Excellent for Heart Health
A healthy heart is the core of our body. Simple fasting can decrease many risk factors that pose a danger to your heart. Intermittent fasting has been shown to help in many risk factors such as;
- Low blood pressure
- Healthy sugar levels
- Less inflammation
- Less fatty blood
- Controlled cholesterol
Though it is not advised for heart patients to practice long hours of fasting. Instead, try different types of intermittent fasting where there is less pause is required.
Cancer is uncontrollable cell growth.
As previously mentioned that fasting helps with maintaining metabolism. It has also shown good benefits of reducing cancer-related cell growth. Many promising types of research show that doing it regularly can not only reduce the chances of cancer but also help with the side effects of chemotherapy.
Not to forget the benefit it does for your brain, also automatically helps cancer patients to be mentally stronger.
Now that you know about a few of intermittent fasting’s many benefits, here is how you can start practicing it from today!
Intermittent Fasting Schedule
Before starting out, you must check with your doctor once. Once you have your doctor’s permit, you can start this simple fasting practice.
Keep a daily, weekly, or few times a week practice in your mind. For example ‘I will do it daily for 2 weeks’ or ‘I will do it on Mondays and Thursdays’ or ‘I will do it for 2 days straight then take a day off and then do for the next 2’. It really depends on how comfortable you are.
Next, decide on how long hours will you go without food? 12, 16, 18? Longer periods are not recommended. If you are just starting out, 12 hours is a good option. Here is one way to do it. Take your last meal before 7 pm, and have your breakfast around 9-10 am. This is one ideal way of starting with intermittent fasting.
You can also choose to eat normally for 4-5 days and reduce your calories to 500-600 for 2-3 days.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to be mindful of while doing intermittent fasting
- Eat junk food at the end of your fast
- Eat late at night then starve yourself through the day to eat again in the evening
- Going on without food for long hours
- Taking less calories while fasting
- Eating your full
Also, it is not for;
- Children and teenagers
- Pregnant or nursing women
- People with eating disorders
- Eat lots of veggies and fruits
- Take a break from not eating every now and then
- Short eating pauses are good
- Take healthy liquids in between your fasting interval
- Eat intuitively
Intermittent fasting is Safe and Healthy!
Take it as a lifestyle change.
The idea behind it is to keep a healthy weight and stay mentally strong. Intermittent fasting will not only help you with weight loss, but it will give you clarity of mind and feeling light on your feet.
Though it has worked wonders for many people, it can also come with side effects. In case if you feel anxious or nauseous after practicing it, immediately consult with your doctor. You can find some of the best nutritionists near you with Healthwire.pk.
If you have also done intermittent fasting, comment below and let us know about your healthy journey!