You’ve tried everything from low-carb diets, high intensity workout routines, and juicing. But, have you ever just tried not eating? The latest healthy living trend shows a lot of promise, and may be the edge you need to get fit forever. But, what exactly is intermittent fasting and why is everyone so excited about it?
Today, we’re going to take a look at intermittent fasting, explore the various schools of thought, and share a few intermittent fasting survival tips in the event you decide to try it out yourself. It isn’t complicated, and it’s remarkably effective for some people. So, without further ado, Nation presents a beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Unlike pretty much all other diets, intermittent fasting doesn’t tell you what to eat. Instead, it’s all about the when.1 There are a few variations on the theme which we’ll discuss a little later, but the general principles remain the same.
Those adhering to intermittent fasting set strict eating and fasting windows in their day or week, as a means of losing belly fat and maintaining energy throughout the day. It’s a simple and effective strategy that takes a lot of the sacrifice out of crash diets, and a lot of the headaches too.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Fasting isn’t new, and its effects on the body have been studied at length. Intermittent fasting in particular is linked to a number of positive health outcomes. You’d have to imagine so, consider how difficult it can be to put an intermittent fasting plan into practice.
There are a long list of scientifically verified benefits associated with the practice of intermittent fasting.2 Everyone is different, but adhering to this time-tested practice could help you:
- Lose and manage weight
- Reduce your insulin resistance
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote heart health
- Reduce your risk of developing cancer
- Protect and improve the function of your brain
- Extend your life
Talk to your doctor before trying anything, but don’t expect them to say no. Intermittent fasting is a healthy way for some to live their life, and it may be the edge you need to wrestle back control of your waistline.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
As a term, intermittent fasting is a bit of an umbrella. Though it does describe an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting, there are subsets. The numerous intermittent fasting types are determined by the length of the fasting and eating periods, the amount of meals per day, and more. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the most popular varieties of intermittent fasting.3
Time Restricted Eating
Time restricted eating is easily the most popular intermittent fasting type. It involves daily eating and fasting windows with pre-established hours. Many fast for 16-hours a day while limiting their eating to just 8-hours periods. Though any daily ration that sets eating and fasting windows counts as time restricted eating.
One Meal a Day
It’s as simple as it sounds. A more extreme variation on intermittent fasting, the one-meal-a-day type involves consuming an entire day’s worth of calories in just one single meal, and fasting for the remainder of the time.
Alternate Day Fasting
This type of fasting involves fasting a set number of days each week, but usually every other day.
5:2 fasting takes the term weekend warrior to an entirely different level. Those adhering to this intermittent fasting type eat normally five days, but spend two days of their week limiting themselves to between 500-600 calories for the entire day!
Nobody said adopting an entirely new approach to eating was going to be easy. It’s a lifelong process that can take months to really sink into. But if you’re committed to it, and give it enough time to do its handy work, intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool in your healthy living toolbox.
Below you’ll find a few strategies to help you push through the transitionary period once and for all.
There’s no use sitting around waiting to eat. Stay active, occupy your hands and your mind, and harness the power and productivity of your fasting windows. Easier said than done, sure. But thinking about food is only going to lead to breaking your fast early, and we can’t be doing that already!
Water is the intermittent faster’s best friend. Apart from it and some zero-calorie beverages like tea and black coffee, everything else is off limits while you’re fasting. So learn to love the taste of unsweetened java, and prioritize drinking water throughout the day.
Track Your Results
Looking back at where you’ve come from is a fantastic way to help you push through those days when motivation is hard to come by. Use a calorie counting app, a weight loss journal, or a camera to track your progress, and be ready to walk down memory lane whenever you think about quitting.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t work as fast as some people might like, and that’s ok! In order to really begin to enjoy the benefits listed above, you’ll need to commit to the practice long-term. So put your head down, stick to your rules, and take it one day at a time.
Is It Right For You?
Adapting to a new eating routine isn’t always easy. Many report irritability, hunger pains, and frustration in the initial stages of the practice. It’s not nearly as bad as you might think though. After a week, your body grows accustomed to this new routine, and the symptoms mentioned above do subside.
Intermittent fasting is not a one-size-fits-all healthy living solution, but it could play a big role in a more holistic health and nutrition plan. When done alongside healthy food choices and exercise, intermittent fasting is a powerful tool. Consult your doctor, read more online, and try it out yourself to see if intermittent fasting is right for you.