Intermittent fasting, or more popularly known as IF, has become one of the most popular eating trends in the world. Although it may seem like any other weight loss trend, it can actually be a good way of regulating your food intake and energy patterns, and is relatively easy to incorporate into any kind of lifestyle — including yours!
So if you’ve been meaning to shed a few pounds recently, here’s a quick guide to make IF work for you and your lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of cycling between periods of eating and fasting. Any time you are not eating, you are intermittently fasting. In fact, it is a very natural part of living. You probably already do this between dinner and breakfast, for a period of 10-12 hours (including sleep). During this time, your body draws the energy it needs from energy stores, such as excess body fat. Fasting allows your body to use up this energy.
Regular intermittent fasting can help boost your metabolism and regulate insulin levels, apart from making you eat less calories in a day. If done regularly, IF can reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. This combination of beneficial effects make IF a very effective way to lose weight, combat disease, and stay healthy.
Aside from this, your growth hormones may also see an increase, facilitating muscle growth and fat loss. Your body will see a change in metabolism and cellular repair processes are boosted, keeping your body clean and functional. IF is also found to be good for maintaining brain cells, and can protect against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
The most popular IF method is the 16/8 method, which is a type of time restricting method. Here, eating is restricted to a period of 8 hours (ex. start at 12NN and finish at 8PM), and fasting is done for 16 hours. You can pick any interval in the day depending on your daily schedule. Its versatility has made it a popular fasting method that is simple, healthy, and sustainable.
There are different methods of doing intermittent fasting to suit your needs and goals. For example, you can start out with an easier 12-hour fasting period before doing the 16/8 method. Other IF methods include:
Alternatively, you can do IF by skipping meals when convenient—like when you’re not hungry or don’t have time to prepare a meal. In any case, you can experiment with different methods and see which works best for you!
Luckily, there are no food restrictions when it comes to IF, but its benefits are still most felt when eating healthy food such as grains, veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats. Be careful as well not to overeat or binge during your chosen eating periods.
You can also drink water, black coffee, or tea during the fasting period to help you combat initial feelings of hunger and stay energized. It’s just as important to stay hydrated, too!
IF is all about balance, consciousness, and developing a healthy and sustainable relationship with your body. After all, consistency is key. If taking on IF is something you’re unsure about for any reason, consulting a nutritionist or fitness expert may be a good step to take. Remember that it’s all about doing what’s best for your health! Hopefully, this guide helps you start building a healthier lifestyle — and creating the beautiful life you deserve!