Intermittent fasting is an effective way to control your appetite and lose weight. A regular eating schedule is included in this eating plan in addition to fasting periods. There are a lot of different terms that you can use, like eating window, eating period, and so on. Intermittent fasting places more emphasis on WHEN to eat than WHAT to eat unlike diets such as the Keto Diet and the Paleo Diet which focus on the types of food.
Several hours of fasting or reducing the number of meals some days or weeks can help the body burn fat. Therefore, you will need to fast for a few hours or reduce the food you consume. Here are some of the types of intermittent fasting:
- Alternate day fasting
- Time-restricted eating
- The 24 hour fast
- 5: 2 method
Alternate day fasting is one type of intermittent fasting. This is modified fasting since every other day is a fast. You usually eat regularly one day, fast the next day, and repeat this cycle every other day. On a fasting day, you should consume approximately 500 calories, and on normal days, you should have a normal diet. In other words, for alternate day fasting, you cut down your normal eating to 25%, leaving you with about 500 calories for the day.
Time-restricted eating is the second type of intermittent fasting. For example, 16:8 is a time-restricted eating schedule. A person following this diet fasts for 16 hours and eats within an eight-hour window. Among the time-restricted eating, examples of schedules are 9 to 5, 11 to 7, and 12 to 8. The 9 to 5 window specifies that a person can eat all their meals between 9 am and 5 pm. Furthermore, this is still a person who should aim for about 2000 calories, so don’t go overboard. It is a good idea to avoid too much snacking when you are doing intermittent fasting, even on off days. If you are fasting or outside the eating window, such as the 16:8 diet, you may drink water, black coffee, or other zero-calorie drinks, such as green tea. A time-restricted eating schedule is the easiest and most popular method because most of the fasting hours are spent asleep. It’s alright to change to another method later if it makes more sense to you. It is advised to try a few different ones and see what works best for you through trial and error. It is suggested to experiment with the times to figure out which eating window works best for you.
It may take up to four weeks for a person’s body to adjust to intermittent fasting. Be patient! Stay consistent; give it time to work, the cravings will pass. The body has become very accustomed to eating all day, eating at night, and eating when we wake up. It will take some getting used to.
The third method of intermittent fasting is the 24-hour fast. Essentially, you will eat, stop, eat, stop. This method involves fasting for a full 24 hours without eating. The 24-hour fast occurs one to two times a week; you do not do it five days a week. The side effects can be extreme. Among the side effects are fatigue, headaches, irritability, hunger, and low energy. Oftentimes, a person may go from breakfast time today to breakfast time tomorrow or lunchtime today to lunchtime tomorrow. In other words, it doesn’t necessarily need to be the beginning of the day to the beginning of another day.
The 5:2 method is the fourth type of intermittent fasting. The 5:2 method means that a person eats normally for five days a week, and then two days a week, they eat a low-calorie diet – 500 to 600 calories. The 5:2 method will require a little bit more work on days when you’re doing calorie counting. The calorie count must be included in either a specific recipe that you’re using in order to keep track. For you to truly know what you’re eating, you’ll need to measure or weigh it. Otherwise, you might end up accidentally going over your calorie count. On the two days a person fasts, they may choose to have two meals, a 200 calorie meal and a 300 calorie meal. The best way to feel fuller would be to include high-protein and high-fiber foods. It has been shown that intermittent fasting is also effective when coupled with a plant-based diet or the Mediterranean diet. Many people use the 5:2 method to reduce the risk of disease in their family or reverse lifestyle diseases, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
You should not use the intermittent fasting method if you fall into any of the following categories:
- If you are pregnant
- If you suffer from chronic disease
- If you are diabetic
- If you have or have had an eating disorder
The benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- Weight loss and lost inches from the waistline
- Improved metabolism
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced production of insulin growth factor (This hormone plays a role in cancer development)
- Activation of the processes that repair cells and cut insulin production
- Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Improved mood and energy over time
Side effects of intermittent fasting include persistent hunger, temperature sensitivity, poor work and activity performance, irritability, and low energy.
Intermittent fasting is one of many methods available to assist in weight control. Be sure to do adequate research and speak with your primary care physician and/or health coach before deciding on one that is best for you and giving it a go.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Be sure to consult your physician or that you are under the care and direction of a licensed medical professional before making any changes to diet and exercise.