Now, one of the world's most popular health and fitness trends is undoubtedly - Intermittent fasting (IF). People are turning towards it for all kinds of reasons; to live better, lose weight, improve health and so on. With the IF craze taking our worlds by surprise, it is important to know what exactly it stands for.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is essentially an eating pattern, which cycles between periods of fasting and eating. So, it isn’t a diet fad that will tell you what you should eat and what you shouldn’t; instead all it does is tell you at what time you should be eating.
Let us simplify it further, for intermittent fasting, all you have to do is devote two days a week to either stick to a 16-hour or 24-hour fast. Don’t let the number of hours scare you, because for most of it, you will be asleep.
Say you finish dinner at 7 p.m. and not have anything (not even water) till the next day till around 11 a.m. If you sleep for 8 hours, you’ll just have to have some self-control for 8 hours, which is easier than you think. Plus, you can start slow, by fasting for 10 hours the first time, 12 hours the next and slowly see how comfortable your body is to reach the 16-hour or 24-hour fast. You don’t need to rush things, take your time but make it count.
Where Did It First Start?
If you think about it, fasting has been with us from the very beginning of evolution. Back then, hunter-gatherers didn't have access to the kind of food that we do. So, they would end up fasting until they found food. This is precisely why we can also survive without food and water for quite some time; however, over the years of evolution, we have trained our body to crave for food.
But most often than not, this habit has led us to overeat and fall prey to a number of problems. It is time to go back to the ways of our ancestors; because fasting for a few hours is honestly the natural way to function. In fact, there are many religions that still promote fasting every now and then for the betterment of health.
Kinds of Intermittent Fasting
Eat-Stop-Eat: Another popular kind of intermittent fasting is where you fast for 24 hours, at least once a week. So, let’s say you don’t eat dinner one day and for 24 hours continue fast and eat dinner only the next day.
The 16/8: We’ve already introduced a bit of this one to you, but here are the details - you essentially have to skip breakfast and limit your daily eating period to 8 hours. For example, if you start to eat at 12, which is your first meal; then you should end your last meal by 8 p.m. Any guesses for the remaining 16 hours? Yes, you’ve got to fast during those 16 hours.
The 5:2 diet: You can only consume around 500 to 600 calories at least once or twice a week; but you can eat normally for the remaining 5 days.
How It Works?
Thanks to Intermittent Fasting, your body learns how to make your body fat more accessible. Your body starts losing fat and building muscle due to the Human Growth Hormone and it also increases your body’s metabolic rate. You also have to keep in mind that the only way to build muscle is by lifting weights and exercising regularly. Another great change is that your cells start repairing itself.
No matter how beneficial intermittent fasting is, it really depends on your body to take it. If you have diabetes, are pregnant, have low blood pressure, are underweight or have other issues; you must consult your doctor before giving this kind of fasting a shot.
Good luck, do share with us what results you come across while trying this latest fitness and lifestyle trend!