Staying fit and healthy is a top priority for the people of the modern world. The awareness about maintaining a healthy body has increased in the recent past. As such people tend to work out, eat right, and maintain the right body mass index.
But the process is not as easy as it sounds. It is a daunting task and needs consistent and conscious efforts. Eating good food and maintaining a good diet is as important as working out in a gym or doing physical activities. Some people even revert to fasting to control their dietary intake and thereby stay fit and lose weight.
One such type of fasting which is gaining popularity these days is intermittent fasting. It has become a health trend and many people are following it. It's considered a quick and effective way to lose body fat and improve metabolic health. Some people even claim that following this diet extends lifespan as well, though the certainty of this claim is yet to be scientifically established.
But intermittent fasting is a complex process, and it is necessary to have complete knowledge about it before you decide to follow it. People generally have half knowledge and they tend to follow the trends blindly. We will discuss in detail the process of intermittent fasting, if it is right for you, how it works, and how you can follow it. Let’s read along and determine how to implement this in the best way possible.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting refers to a general yet popular fasting process which includes alternating in a cyclical way between eating and then fasting. There are no stringent guidelines on what to eat, or what to avoid. It just includes patterns to follow in a day or a week and splitting eating times as per that.
Some of the most common intermittent fasting methods include having 16-hour fasts every day, having 24-hour fasts for a couple of days, or even having fasts with restricted diets. Fasting has been done by humans for ages, and multiple studies have found it to be effectively good for the body if done in the right way. Intermittent fasting promotes the right kind of fasting, and that is why it is becoming a trend over the world.
One thing to notice here is that although you cannot eat any food during the fasting period, it is completely alright to drink water, tea, or even coffee. You can even take supplements if they are calorie-free, as the main purpose during the fasting period is to avoid calorie intake of any kind.
What are the types of Intermittent Fasting?
There are several different types and methods which people generally follow for intermittent fasting. There are so many variations, and people invent their ideas regularly. But some of the most common, popular and followed iterations of intermittent fasting are:
The 5:2 Diet Method
This method segments the days of the week into 5 and 2. 5 days are non-fasting, wherein you can eat as you wish, while 2 days are for controlled fasting. In these 2 days, you can only consume a maximum of 500 to 600 calories. You have to keep a strict check on your diet and look out for calories in everything you consume. This is generally followed by office-goers who get weekdays off and hence can better manage their diets.
The Eat-Stop-Eat Method
The 16:8 Method
This is surely the most popular method since it is quite easy to follow. In this method, there are no rigid or strict patterns. As per this, you are required to maintain a fasting period of 16 hours, and then eat at regular intervals in the remaining 8 hours of the day. The most common way to follow this is to have your last meal of the day a bit early in the evening. After that you can sleep, and when you wake up, within a few hours your fasting period of 16 hours will be complete. Thereafter you can easily manage your day as eating will be allowed.
What does Intermittent Fasting do to you?
One pertinent question that comes to everyone’s mind when they undergo intermittent fasting is what exactly happens in your body when you start fasting. What are the changes that take place and if there is anything which can probably harm you as well?
Many people generally follow Intermittent Fasting to lose weight. Although it does help in that aspect, it is not just restricted to that. Rather, it has a deep impact on your metabolism which further yields various changes and results in your body.
Multiple things take place when you fast, which would otherwise not take place if you feed yourself consistently. The biggest change which happens is in the functioning of your cells, genes, and hormones. As soon as your body assesses low food levels, it initiates changes in cells and hormones to access the stored body fat.
Due to this phenomenon, multiple other processes are initiated in the body. The insulin in your blood levels drops, which results in the burning of fat. The growth hormone increases by up to even 5 times, which again results in burning fat. Besides, the body starts cellular repairing processes to remove wastage while our genes go through changes to facilitate disease prevention.
Fasting, especially for small durations also affects your metabolism rate. It has been found that short-term fasting can lead to an increase in the metabolism rate from 3.6% to a staggering 14%. This results in your body being able to burn more calories, eventually leading to weight loss. A study conducted in 2014 has even revealed that intermittent fasting can help you lose anywhere between 3-8% of your body weight in 3-24 weeks, if consistently followed.
Will Intermittent Fasting work for you?
Intermittent Fasting is a good way to reduce calorie intake and stimulate cellular, genetic as well as hormonal changes in your body. These changes are related to an increase in insulin levels and thereby faster burning of calories and thus weight loss.
With all the scientific studies and data backing the claims about the benefits of intermittent fasting, there is no reason to believe that it will not work for you. It should work, even though it might take time. But with that being said, it is important to note that you have to strictly follow the fasting as well as avoid compensating by overeating during the non-fasting hours.
One important factor to consider here is that Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Vulnerable people such as children, diabetic people, and pregnant women should avoid this, as it will end up doing more harm than good. Also, people who have a consistent history of having eating disorders, or those who are anorexic and underweight should not try it and stay clear from any type of fasting.
But for everyone else, this can prove to be a good way to lose some calories and maintain shape. If you are still unsure about it, you can first talk to a nutritionist or even try to see the impact on your body. Once you are completely sure about it, then you can consistently do it.
For everyone interested in staying fit and healthy, maintaining perfect body shape, or reducing excess body fat, hopping on to Intermittent Fasting or commonly known as IF, might be a good idea.
By following strict patterns and schedules of eating and fasting in such a way that it does not impact your daily work life, one can make significant progress in achieving their health goals. With grit, determination, and patience, you can surely adhere to the fasting plans and achieve desired results.
Besides this, you can also drink alkaline water, which can be very useful during the fasting period. This type of water absorbs more quickly into the cells as they undergo changes during fasting, and helps in improving circulation as well as strengthening the immune system. You can keep the DYLN Bottle handy near you during fasting periods to get alkaline water whenever you want.
Also, since the body goes through a lot of stress due to fasting, it is important to get enough sleep to stay fit and healthy. So, you should religiously adhere to the guidelines of Intermittent Fasting besides following conventional methods such as drinking water in abundance and taking proper rest and sleep. These healthy ways will help you stay fit, maintain your shape and avoid gaining body fat.