Losing weight has been and is still one of the most complicated things people think about. The fact that eating itself is difficult to overcome, many people also care less about exercising. Therefore, making it harder to maintain and to lose weight. However, a lot of people tried many different methods to overcome obesity and overweight problems. One of which is intermittent fasting. In this article, we will be giving you a few details on what intermittent fasting is, and a guide on how you can effectively use it to your advantage. If you want to lose weight with intermittent fasting easily, continue reading.
What is intermittent fasting?
By definition, intermittent fasting is a style of eating or an eating pattern where you eat within a specific time period only. The rest of the time involved, you will fast. It is a common misconception that you should only consume specific sets of food when you are under the process of intermittent fasting. In reality, it doesn’t really specify which food you should eat; the important part is when you should eat.
Are there different types of intermittent fasting?
Yes, there are a number of methods of intermittent fasting you might want to read and study first. Why? Because the type will depend on the type of work you have, the lifestyle you have, and your own comfortability overall. The different types of intermittent fasting are:
5:2 (Fast Diet)
This type of intermittent fasting allows you a diet twice a week non-consecutively. You will restrict your calorie intake to just 500 calories a day on the two (2) days and on the other five (5) days, you will eat normally (like you are not on a diet).
20:4 (The Warrior Diet)
In this type of intermittent fasting, you will fast for 20 hours out of the day and you will have a four-hour eating window. For example, you can only eat from 3:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. and although this is an advanced intermittent fasting method, some people with fully-booked schedules prefer this.
Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting
You will fast for one day (500 calories max) then the following day, you eat normally. The day after that, you will fast again. Basically, you will fast every other day. You might think of this as non-essential but it is effective if it suits your lifestyle.
This is the most common form of intermittent fasting where you eat for eight (8) hours in a day and then you fast for the sixteen (16) hours remaining. One good example is you eat from lunch until 7 or 8:00 P.M. In a much simpler term, you essentially skip breakfast.
Some people prefer doing this everyday but if you think that it would ruin some things in your personal space, then you can experiment with other forms of intermittent fasting. Or, you can adjust the time of this specific method.
Eat, Stop, Eat
This is the most unique form of intermittent fasting where you fast only once or two times a week. For example, you eat dinner on Monday night at 8:00 P.M., skip eating the whole day of Tuesday and eat again at 8:00 P.M. You need to be in line with your personal schedule if you want to try this intermittent fasting method.
Last but definitely not the least, you eat for twelve (12) hours of the day and fast for the other twelve (12) hours. To give you an example, you will ONLY eat from 8:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M. everyday. This is actually good if you are just starting with intermittent fasting to allow adjustments in your body’s craving and needs.
Those are among the best intermittent fasting methods out there. If you want to lose weight with intermittent fasting, try and research each method and see what best suits your life and your needs.
How can I choose the right method?
As we mentioned above, there are methods made for newbies in order for it to allow adjustments for yourself and your body. Try and find literature on the different methods and if you can find feedback or forums about it, it’s better.
NOTE: There is no best intermittent fasting method. In fact, it will depend on your ability and your discipline.
Some people prefer doing the 12:12 method first and then adjusting to a slightly extreme method like the 16:8 or the eat, stop, eat method. However, try and observe your bodies first and see which method will be the best for you.
Isn’t fasting dangerous for our health?
Eating every three (3) to four (4) hours is much more dangerous than not eating. If you became used to eating at these windows, you will indeed be hungry and failure to comply can result to headaches, irritable feelings, mood swings, etc. However, you can actually train your body to adjust and trying intermittent fasting could be your best option.
Jason Fung, M.D., and the author of The Complete Guide to Fasting, mentions that our bodies can quickly adjust to the eating pattern after overcoming the first four (4) to seven (7) or eight (8) days of fasting, even longer. However, once that is overcame, our bodies will be able to adjust, getting rid of the bothering feeling of not being able to eat.
Drinking plenty of water during fasting windows
Symptoms like headaches, fatigue, stress, and other negative symptoms can be avoided if you drink plenty of water. Other than the fact that it’s good, it also tricks your mind, making it think that you are already full.
TIP: Once you successfully choose a method, drink two (2) glasses of water if the hour of the fasting period is approaching. If you think that you are becoming hungry, drink water again.
What other beverages can I drink during my fasting period?
Water is the best option because it is bland and it is actually needed by our bodies. Alternatively, you can drink herbal tea and black coffee if you think that water is too simple. Avoid drinks which have flavors and artificial sweeteners. Even protein shakes and Gatorade, or other form of artificial drinks should be avoided to ensure maximum effect.
Sometimes, you can add a taste to your water by adding a slice or two of lemon or apple cider vinegar. However, it is best if you just drink plain water regularly.
Can I partner up Intermittent Fasting and Exercise?
Definitely! In fact, doing these two things can help you achieve the results you wish for faster and better. However, if you are just starting, it is recommendable that you start focusing on intermittent fasting first because it can make you feel tired easily.
However, once you get used to it, do it together with exercising to achieve the best results. Just make sure that your body is not being sacrificed with it.
Are there other health benefits other than losing weight?
Nowadays, people who want to lose weight with intermittent fasting are increasing. Why? Because other than the fact that intermittent fasting is a safe, natural, and effective way of losing weight, it also has other health benefits you might not be aware of. Some of these benefits include:
- Intermittent fasting helps you fall asleep faster and better;
- It extremely improves your food craving, leading to;
- You getting less diseases. It also promotes autophagy or the process in which our cells eat up the old cells in replacement of new and stronger ones;
- It improves digestion and it gives a dramatic decrease of belly bloat; and
- You get more energy and mental clarity, you become more focused.
Things you should NOT do when intermittent fasting
If there are other health benefits, there are other things you might want to avoid as well if you are trying to lose weight with intermittent fasting.
You eat less and you eat the wrong food
Since you are already fasting, it is expected that you eat the correct amount of food during your window of eating. That doesn’t mean, however, that you will eat a ton during that window. Make sure to limit the intake of calories that your body is having. In addition to that, you need to eat the correct foods to ensure maximum and best results.
Try to avoid junk and greasy food. Instead, go with dry, full-of-protein foods with vegetables and fruits. Doing so can help you not only lose weight, but to improve your body.
The method you choose does not fit you
Remember, no method is better than the others. You need to choose the method which fits you and your lifestyle. Don’t try to sacrifice your life just because of fasting. Instead, try to deviate and come up with a plan before you indulge into intermittent fasting.
You give up easily
If you plan to lose weight with intermittent fasting and you are expecting results overnight, think again. Although intermittent fasting is known to be the fastest and most effective, a sheer amount of time and discipline is needed to attain the best results.
NOTE: If you are experiencing medical issues, even if the method you choose is perfect for your routine, try sticking with it for a month but see a medical practitioner and consult.
You shock your body with fasting
Intermittent fasting is the same as any type of diet: you start slowly but surely, and then you extend your efforts to a much more advanced level. Giving your body the perfect time to adjust is needed because in the end, it is your body that would be really having the changes.
You can expect results to come by a month or two after starting with intermittent fasting. In order for you to visualize the results, it’s better if you take a picture every now and then to track your progress. Remember, intermittent fasting is not a magical overnight journey to being fit and lean, it requires effort, time, discipline, and of course, you need to have fun while doing so.