Losing weight can be one of the most daunting tasks, especially when you have to forego all the sweet foods by changing to an all-healthy diet. Keeping up with a strict diet and intense exercise, all in the name of losing weight, can be frustrating.
However, intermittent fasting (IF) can come in handy as an alternative to help you lose weight. Imagine not having to give up your favourite meals or enroll yourself to a gym and still manage to lose weight. Here is what you need to know about intermittent fasting:
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is all about creating time periods between when you eat and when you abstain from food.
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It involves creating a cycle between periods of fasting and eating. Unlike the conventional method of watching what you eat, intermittent fasting is more concerned with when you eat and not what you eat.
The human body is made in a way that it can adopt to staying without food for extended periods of time.
It is important to note that you should put a time frame for when you decide to fast, you cannot practice intermittent fasting every day for the rest of your life.
You can decide to go for up to two weeks in a month, until you accomplish your goal.
Methods of IF
Intermittent fasting can be done in several ways, depending on what suits you best. All the methods will involve splitting your day or week into periods of eating and fasting, so long as you eat very little or nothing at all when on the fasting phase.
The most common methods of intermittent fasting are divided into three.
The 16/8 method: Most people prefer this method. It involves skipping a meal, mainly breakfast. You will have to restrict your eating period to eight hours a day. For instance, you can only eat between 12pm – 8pm then after that fast until 12pm the following day, which will be 16 hours of fasting.
The 24 hour no eat: This can be the hardest method because it will need you to go without food for 24 hours. It’s mainly done on a weekly basis. You can go without food for 24 hours a day twice a week.
The 5:2 diet: This method involves eating foods with lower calories on two days of the week while eating normally on the other five days. The only difference between this and the 24 hour no eat method is that during your fasting days you still get to eat, but only eat foods low in calories.
All these methods, depending on what you choose, can only work if you are committed. After breaking your fast don’t go raiding your food trying to make up for the lost time.
The whole point of the fast is trying to help your body adopt to the change, so you can reduce some weight.
Intermittent fasting will change your hormone levels in order to facilitate weight loss; this will help you eat less and burn more calories. It changes both sides of the equation. Also with time you will notice your calorie intake will start to decrease.
Why you should try intermittent fasting
Unlike other conventional methods of losing weight, intermittent fasting doesn’t need you to break a sweat or go to extreme lengths to change your lifestyle.
Dieting can be hard, especially when you have to change your lifestyle; from what you cook to what you are allowed to eat. You also factor in all the planning that is entailed in cooking healthy meals, not to mention how expensive some of these foods can be.
Intermittent fasting, however, is easier and more pocket friendly. This is because you will not need to cook as much meals or eat as much during the day.
IF is an important life hack and it will improve your health and simplify your lifestyle at the same time.
Who is eligible?
Of course intermittent fasting is not for everyone. IF is all about missing meals at certain periods of the day or week, if you are underweight or have eating disorders it can be harmful to your health.
If you are pregnant, intermittent fasting may not be a good idea. You will be depriving yourself of nutrients that you need through this period. Also, when you are breastfeeding, changing your eating patterns might interfere with your milk production, which can be harmful to your baby.
If you also have conditions like diabetes, low blood pressure, taking medication or have an underlying condition, you will need to consult your doctor first before trying intermittent fasting.
Other than hunger being the main side effect of intermittent fasting before your body adopts to your new meal schedule, there is nothing wrong or dangerous with intermittent fasting if you are healthy and properly nurtured.