Intermittent fasting seems to be gaining traction as a means to lose weight and shift your body into a much healthy state, but does it actually work?
Intermittent fasting, for the beginner, can be a daunting prospect that could instil fear of “death by starvation!!” but fasting is nothing to be feared. The human body has evolved to be able to handle going without food for extended periods of time. It’s just that we live in a time when we don’t really need to.
Most of us in the Western world can access food in minutes just by picking up the phone, which is why many have begun to adapt to high-carb, high-fat lifestyles which has caused somewhat of an obesity epidemic. Intermittent fasting has been very successful in helping people regain control of their weight and get their lives back on track.
Please view my medical disclaimer before reading on.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is where you choose a time period that you do not eat any food and there are many variations to how you can go about this, depending on your lifestyle and schedule.
There are not really any restrictions on what you should or shouldn’t eat, it’s more about when you should eat. Choosing an eating “window” will help you to have more control of the calories you eat in a day and you should see some good results on the scales, which in turn will boost your overall health.
(For efficiency, I will now refer to intermittent fasting as “IF” from this point…)
How To Follow IF
There are no set rules to follow with IF other than your own. If you want to do 7 hrs eat, 17hr fast that is entirely up to you. Actually, there is just one rule… Stick to your OWN rules!! You will not benefit from bending your own rules, so that you can fit in some extra eating. Be controlled about what you do.
People have varying success with IF and a lot of it depends on what is going on in your life. If it is going to be hard for you do manage IF around your life, then you will likely fail at it. Think about your schedule and your goals and plan ahead.
Popular Types Of IF
- The 16/8 Method: Eating for an 8 hr window IE 8am-4pm or 12:00pm-8pm and sticking to that routine daily.
- The 5/2 Method: Eat normally for 5 days and have a calorie restriction of 500-600 calories on fast days. You can choose any day that you want to fast on.
- 24 hr fast: Exactly as it sounds. Fasting for a full day.
- 12/12: 12 hr eat, 12 hr fast. This is a good one to do overnight and can help if you are prone to eating at night. 7pm-7am, is quite manageable.
As I said above, there are no set rules and you can work it to how you want to, the end goal is to restrict you calories in order to help you to lose weight. If you have a set a time frame of when to eat and not, this gives you something to stick to and a short-term goal to accomplish.
If you get hungry and you still have an hr or 2 before your eating window is to begin, you’re more likely to stop yourself if you have set these rules in place for yourself. Be disciplined.
Will IF Make Me Healthier??
Losing excess weight is almost always going to be beneficial for your own health and there are many studies that have shown that IF can assist with this as well as the following.
- Reduce blood sugar and insulin level
- Increase insulin sensitivity
- Lower blood pressure
- Decrease inflammation
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Improved digestion
- Enhanced brain function
It’s All About Taking Control
If you are unsure about IF, start off small and work up to bigger fasts to see how it feels and what works for you. A 12/12 fast would be a good one to start with. Try that for a couple of weeks and monitor your results. If you are feeling comfortable with that, then try for a longer period.
Much of my experience with fasting has been with extended fasting and I have only recently decided to try IF to see if the hype fits the bill, which you can read about here, but the benefits of IF have been well documented by medical professionals.
Only one person can make you change your ways and that is the person reading these words right now.
Please leave any questions or comments about your fasting experiences below or message me directly here.