Want to know about intermittent fasting? Are you a beginner? Today I am going to explain to you everything about intermittent fasting, from – its benefits to methods to do it.
Many of us try different forms of workouts and diet methods to lose weight. Most people consult a dietician or enroll in high-intensity gym classes.
But some people cannot spend so much on their diet and gym classes. The best option for them would be to try out intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is the current trend for losing weight. Many dieticians and nutritionists also support this way of losing weight. But to be clear, it is not a form of the diet, it is a time-based approach of eating.
Intermittent fasting lets you eat whatever you want but in specific hours. You have to fast for certain hours according to the type of intermittent fasting you are following.
The types of intermittent fasting will be discussed later in this article, so make sure you read this article till the end.
Intermittent fasting For Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting is considered to be a very powerful tool for weight loss. You can automatically lower the calories as you eat fewer meals in a day by following this method.
It also increases the levels of a fat-burning hormone called noradrenaline or norepinephrine which contributes to weight loss directly.
There is a chance that your metabolic rate can be increased by up to 14% due to the hormonal changes that occur during intermittent fasting.
Moreover, studies have shown that intermittent fasting has shown less loss of muscle mass than many regular diet plans.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Before we study in detail about intermittent fasting, let’s get to know the benefits it offers for our health and weight loss.
1. You Consume Fewer Calories:
It is so obvious that your calorie intake is lowered while you follow intermittent fasting.
You eat a few meals in a day which equates to fewer calories. What’s more good than cutting on calories which directly correspond to weight gain? But make sure you do not binge on high-calorie foods after you finish your fasting period.
2. Improved Metabolism:
Now you might be thinking that you have to eat for every couple of hours to boost your metabolism. But that is not true in any case and there are no proven studies.
Intermittent fasting helps your body to boost metabolism naturally and thus burns the fat, leading to weight loss.
3. Reduced Risk of Cancer:
Studies have shown that the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients can be diminished if the chemotherapy is done after intermittent fasting.
Fasting before the treatment has also shown lowered deaths and higher cure rates. Intermittent fasting has also shown the same results in animal studies.
4. Weight Loss Hormones are Optimized:
It is a well-known fact that hormones play a major role in weight loss. With the help of intermittent fasting, the insulin sensitivity is improved, thereby the insulin levels are lowered and fat is burned.
Not only that, but it also helps in normalizing leptin, which is the primary weight loss hormone. Besides these hormones, the human growth hormone (HGH) level boosts helping to increase muscle mass and decrease fat.
5. Makes Your Lifestyle Simple:
So basically there is no need for you to worry about your breakfast ‘as soon as’ you wake up in the morning. There is ‘no rush’ as can simply grab a fruit or drink a glass of water before you start your daily activities like going to college, office or doing your household chores.
Also, preparing a few meals lesser in a day would make your list easier. Plus, studies have also shown that lowering your calorie intake can make you live longer.
So I think, this is just the right reason to restrict calories by trying out intermittent fasting.
6. Other Important Benefits:
You may think that the above-mentioned benefits are not just enough to convince yourself to start intermittent fasting, so I would like to include a few more to the list.
Intermittent fasting can help in reducing the markers of inflammation which can be used to avoid any internal inflammation in your body.
It also reduces the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), triglycerides (typically fats) and blood sugar in the body which are the main reason for many cardiovascular diseases. That means it protects your heart by keeping it healthy.
Intermittent fasting may also have the ability to protect us from Alzheimer’s disease, which is a disease related to the brain. It is known to increase the hormone BDNF present in the brain which aids in the production of new nerve cells.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can slow down the aging properties as it extended the life span in rats up to 83%. It is effective in reducing insulin resistance which is the main culprit of type 2 diabetes. So, can help you with Diabetes!
Methods of Intermittent Fasting – How to Do It!
There are four methods of intermittent fasting and you can pick one among those which is most suitable to you. Stick to your preferred method for a month or two to see if there are any visible results.
You can always shift to another method in case the previous ones didn’t work. But it is better to stick to one plan and choose it wisely considering your daily routine.
The following are the methods of intermittent fasting.
- Leangains protocol
- Eat stop eat protocol
- Alternate day fasting
- Warrior diet
1. Leangains Protocol:
Commonly known as the 16/8 method, leangains protocol was given by Martin Berkhan. It is one of the most followed methods of intermittent fasting. It was previously followed by weight lifters but eventually gained popularity among the people who are interested in fasting.
As the name 16/8 method suggests, 16 hours of fasting is done and food is to be taken in the rest 8 hours of the day.
It is mostly practiced by fasting in the morning followed by the first meal in the afternoon and the second meal around 8 pm. It is advised not to drink any beverages that contain calories.
- Instead, you opt for zero-calorie drinks like water, green tea, black coffee, etc.
This method can be a bit difficult to follow for some ladies, so they can do fasting for 14 hours and eat what they want in the remaining 10 hours.
2. Eat-Stop-Eat Protocol
The second most popular method of intermittent fasting is the eat-stop-eat protocol which is also known as a 24-hour method. This protocol was developed by Brad Pilon that involves fasting for 24 hours by eating nothing, twice in a week.
But it should not be done on consecutive days. It is mostly practiced between 5 pm to 5 pm the next day. In this way, you may not feel like you are fasting for the entire day.
Also, remember to have a big healthy meal (try for medium calorie!) after you finish your fasting and as many people tend to eat comfort foods that are high in calories that can become contradictory to your weight loss.
The people who are completely unfamiliar with how fasting feels like should probably do not opt for the eat stop eat protocol as it can make them more hungry and lead to overeating after breaking the fast.
3. Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate day fasting is also called as the 5:2 method, in which you consume 500-600 calories on two consecutive days in a week and eat normally for the rest of the five days.
It is known to regulate blood sugar, bad cholesterol, and weight loss. In these two consecutive days, you should be taking only the amount of calories you can burn each day (roughly 500 calories) which leads to a calorie deficit and aids in weight loss.
If you are trying out this method make sure you maintain a calorie deficit for not more than two days in a week as it might lead to weakness if you are a beginner.
If you have any underlying health issues or if you are under medication, consult a doctor before trying out an alternate day fasting method.
4. Warrior Diet
Warrior diet is not a very good method to start with if you are in the early stages of your weight loss journey. I mean you can say that it is tough based on its name itself.
It is an extreme way of intermittent fasting which requires 20 hours of fasting and eating what you want in the remaining 4 hours of the day.
Eating the calories you need for an entire day at once can be heavy and hard on your stomach and may cause loose stools, vomiting or bloating when different food items get mixed up in your stomach.
Also eating too much before you hit the bed is not a good practice. It is also impossible for beginners to eat in the morning hours and sleep on an empty stomach at night. This is the reason most people do not opt for a warrior diet in the beginning.
I hope you got an idea about intermittent fasting by reading this article. Choose your method of intermittent fasting based on your requirements and always keep in mind to eat healthily, no matter which type of method you pick.
Note: It is advisable to consult a doctor before you try intermittent fasting as there can be unwanted consequences if you have certain health issues.