The problems of excess weight and general poor health have fortunately taken over a large chunk of the modern world. To deal with several health issues as well as reach our weight goals, many of us try out one diet after another. However, several diets don’t make you lose much more than water weight, meaning you gain it all back once you leave off the diet plan.
Hence, more and more people are now starting to see the effectiveness and lasting benefits of adopting a whole new eating lifestyle. The ketogenic diet, beloved for its rapid results and mental benefits, is one of these. An essential aspect of this particular diet and one that has a strong following of its own is intermittent fasting.
The History of Fasting
The concept of fasting is not at all a recent one but has been practiced since ancient times. Buddhist monks and Hindu priests have been known to fast to reach a higher spiritual level. Muslims and Christians also fast during the times of Ramadan and Lent. However, the methods for fasting and the things allowed or restricted within the fast vary according to religion.
A Warning – Dangers of Intermittent Fasting
Of course, going without food and even water for long periods of time could have some serious health consequences. If one isn’t used to it, they could suffer some pretty adverse results. Just a few examples of these include:
• Fainting or loss of consciousness
• Upset digestive system
• Overeating after the fast, leading to even more weight gain
• Feelings of deprivation, which may lead to depression
• Unfocused mental state
• Confusion and anxiety
Hence, before you get swept away by the hordes of success stories and trending hashtags about intermittent fasting results, seek out the opinion of a health professional. They would be better able to guide you just how much and for long you should fast, if at all. What to eat while intermittent fasting? When you have the medical permission, it is then important that you mentally prepare yourself for going without your morning coffee!
About Intermittent Fasting (IF) Method
We’ll now talk about using intermittent fasting as a cleansing and dietary experience in the modern world. The usual reason for following an IF program is to lose weight. This is achieved by going hungry for a certain period and then breaking our fast.
Of course, we do a sort of fasting every single day when we go to sleep. However, intermittent fasting demands to abstain from food altogether for periods when we’re awake and conscious. The amount that one is allowed to eat between fasting period and the length of time in which to go hungry is not restricted to a certain number or even a range. Rather, IF is about seeing what kind of fasting cycle works for different kinds of bodies and metabolism systems.
The fasting period, if we’re talking about simple secular IF, consists of simply not eating any food. There is, however, the option of drinking black tea, black coffee, green tea, herbal tea, and water. These are beverages which don’t contain any calories.
Intermittent Fasting Schedule
As mentioned above, there are several kinds of IF. We should be looking at them in turn and even try them out to see which one suits us the most:
The 12/12 IF Method
If you’re still a novice at IF, this is by far the best method to start. You’re probably getting at least six to eight hours of sleep in any case. This means you aren’t taking any food into your body. Hence, it should be easy for you to go without food for twelve hours and then allow yourself to eat (in normal amounts) for the other half of the day.
The best way to achieve this is to stop eating in the evening approximately 12 hours before you have your breakfast. For instance, if you usually have breakfast at 9 am, your evening meal should end no later than 9 pm.
Intermittent Fasting 16/8 Method
If you’ve already gotten the hang of the half-day fast, you should then aim for not eating sixteen hours out of twenty-four. This should make your eating window into eight hours. Again, it’s not too difficult to follow this self-imposed restriction.
There are several ways in which one can switch this 16/8 fasting schedule to fit their schedule. For instance, you could skip breakfast and tell yourself you’ll start eating normally at lunchtime. You’re already used to your early evening meal. A snack in between could tide you over if you’re feeling too famished.
The 20/4 IF Method
This is likely an intense form of IF that many people won’t be able to keep up for long. This means one is not eating for a whopping twenty hours! Only four hours are allotted for you to eat, in which time you can probably get in one meal, a snack, and a cup of tea or coffee. If you’re a caffeine addict, this may lead you to have two or three cups in that time.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet
This is quite an extreme form of IF, which works by fasting on alternate days. One cuts down their calories severely for two days out of the week. The recommended amount is usually 500 calories. The upside is that you get to eat what you want for the rest of the week.
Some IF enthusiasts also talk about going it the other way round. This means restricting calories for five days out of seven. However, one should look slightly up their calories intake if they’re going to be controlling them for five whole days. If following this method, we should also be wary of the possibility of binging or overeating on the two days of freedom.
This is perhaps the most extreme method of IF yet. It requires fasting a full 24 hours for a couple of days a week. Apparently, this would cut back on the total calorie intake for the whole week. Only the most professional of intermittent fasters should try this one, and not without a doctor’s approval!
Like the 5:2, this IF method doesn’t provide a consistent daily fast schedule, but rather allows you to choose one or two days in the week to have a full 24-hour fast. TBH, this one sounds like pure hell.
What Does Intermittent Fasting Do? – The Benefits
There are several benefits to the practices described above, strange as they may seem. Just a few of these are:
1. Less Eating
With restricted times for eating, we would naturally take in fewer calories. Hence, less eating is definitely on the charts. Plus, IF is slightly better at keeping the lost weight off for good than other forms of diets.
2. Sharp Thinking
Studies have shown that fasting could trigger the production of a certain chemical in the brain that enhances its function. Additionally, tests have shown that fasting could reduce memory loss and may even prevent Alzheimer’s.
3. Warding Off Diabetes
The fasting cycle would probably balance insulin production and has even promoted the desired pancreatic cells in several scientific studies.
There are several other benefits, including the enhancement of cardiovascular health and the possibility of fighting cancer. All in all, we may conclude that intermittent fasting is indeed a great way to achieving good health, losing weight and making room in our lives for something other than eating!