You’ve probably heard of or maybe even tried yourself intermittent fasting as this point. It has gained wide popularity among many groups of people as a way to improve health and help with weight loss. Is it actually health though? We’re here to break it down for you.
At the core of all weight loss the same principals are in place. One must take in less calories than they burn off via normal daily activities and exercise. The idea behind intermittent fasting is that it achieves this by restricting calories during certain periods of the day/week to both reduce calorie intake as well as slow down metabolism to make you less hungry when you are eating.
As always there are many ways to implement and practice such diet plan in your daily life. Perhaps the most common is called the 16/8 or Leangains protocol. As the name implies this involves fasting for 16 hours a day and restricting eating time to within an 8 hour window. For example skipping breakfast and eating lunch/dinner within a window from 12pm to 8pm.
Another method is a fully 24 hour fast twice a week. This method involves normal consumption for 5 days out of the week and then for two days no consumption for a 24 hour period. For example eating dinner Monday night and then not consuming anything until dinner on Tuesday night.
And finally the last method that is used is similar to the previous where you eat normally for 5 days however on the other two days you reduce calorie intake to 500-600 for two consecutive days.
The majority of people usually practice and find the 16/8 schedule the easiest to stick to.
So what actually happens to your body when you are fasting? Many are shocked to hear just how much is happening under the hood so to speak inside your body when you are intermittent fasting regularly.
During intermittent fasting your body adjusts its production of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which can help in both fat loss and muscle gain.
Your insulin levels drop dramatically as well and people generally see a lower insulin sensitivity which makes stored body fats more accessible.
During fasting periods your cells begin a cellular repair process where they remove old proteins built up inside of the cells.
Some side effects that you may experience when intermittent fasting include feeling hungry which may be obvious. You may also feel weak or that your brain doesn’t function at full capacity.
So how can you get started if you are interested in testing it out?
As mentioned previously the most popular and widely adopted method is the 16/8 schedule of intermittent fasting.
Many of us have probably already done a fast like this one way or another without knowing.
If you’ve ever slept in until late the next day and didn’t eat until lunch you probably were very close to a 16/8 schedule.
It’s generally recommended to test this method first and see how your body reacts and feels to it before moving on to more intense fasting methods such as the 24 hour fast twice a week.
What many people do as well is to just fast when it’s convenient to them. Whenever they don’t have time or feel like eating they simply just don’t eat. Sounds simple when said but in practice as we all know it becomes a lot harder with all the temptations in the fridge and pantry.
Many ask if they are able to drink anything during the fasting period and the answer is yes. Water, tea, coffee or any other non caloric beverage is perfectly fine to consume during the fasting windows.
So give it a try if you are curious about it and see how you feel. Many people find it’s not as bad as they expected.