What does it take to stay healthy? It goes without saying that counting calories is a pain we’d all rather avoid. Thankfully, a decidedly different eating method called intermittent fasting requires nothing more than paying attention to when you eat, not what.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply want to follow a healthier eating strategy, intermittent fasting is a proven way to rev up your metabolism and get your body functioning at peak productivity. In fact, dedicated followers of intermittent fasting find that it leaves them lighter, healthier, less prone to disease, and more physically fit than before.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
In simple terms, intermittent fasting is an eating strategy based on timing your eating periods so that they provide the biggest benefit to your body. Through regular fasting intervals, you push your metabolism to its full calorie-burning potential and keep your body functioning efficiently.
The benefits from fasting come from controlling the amount of time your body spends in “fed” and “fasted” states. When you eat a meal, your body goes into a post-absorptive state for 3-4 hours where it barely burns any calories. After, it enters a fasted state of low glucose levels for 8-12 hours when it fuels itself on stored fat instead. This burns calories faster and more efficiently than before.
Unfortunately, few people allow their body to enter a fasted state for long enough to get the benefits. For those who do through intermittent fasting, they often find that they lose body fat without any effort, simply by priming their bodies to better burn fat.
History of Intermittent Fasting
While it might sound like a new idea, intermittent fasting is a more natural way to eat than modern diets. Throughout history, humans banded together as hunter-gatherers that went through periods of feast and famine, depending on the success of each hunting trip. Their bodies evolved to efficiently handle periods without food, and our digestive systems today aren’t any different. In the 1930s, scientists began to study the benefits of skipping meals and found that lab rats, insects, and monkeys all lived longer when fed fewer meals throughout the day. Since then, various fasting methods have been followed on the fringes as ways to realign the body with the way it evolved to deal with food.
3 Intermittent Fasting Methods to Try
Trying out intermittent fasting for yourself is easier than you think, though learning what method works best for your body takes practice. Below are three of the most popular intermittent fasting methods for you to experiment with.
1. Daily Intermittent Fasting (Lean Gains)
Considered one of the most popular and simple fasting methods, Lean Gains lets you eat for eight hours a day and fast for the following sixteen. For most people, this means eating from 1pm-8pm and fasting for the remainder.
2. Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting (Up Day Down Day)
This fast is specifically designed for weight loss by activating the genes that prevent your body from putting fat in long term storage. To follow the plan, alternate each day between a regular diet and roughly a fifth of the calories you ate the day before (example, 2,000 and 400 calories). This plan is designed to be followed indefinitely or simple until you meet your weight goals.
3. Weekly Intermittent Fasting (Eat-Stop-Eat)
To follow this fast, eat your regular diet for most of the week and go on a 24 hour fast for one or two non-consecutive days. Zero-calorie beverages are okay, including salty chicken broth to keep electrolytes up.
Though you don’t need to count calories when intermittent fasting, it’s a smart idea to fill up on high fiber, protein-rich foods after fasts to maintain your energy. During fasts, salty soups and alkaline water are a great way to keep your energy up and your body nourished so you don’t fade before the end.
For people around the world, intermittent fasting is a smart solution for keeping their health under control and their body’s performing at peak efficiency. Take some time to try fasting yourself, and you might be amazed at what this wellness practice does for you.