Intermittent fasting can be best described as a proper eating plan that shifts between eating and fasting at a specified time regularly. There are research studies available that show some great results about intermittent fasting. In simple words, it can be defined as a process to manage your weight and sometimes prevent or even reverse the effects of some disease. But the more important question is how do you do it? And is it safe?
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
If you have ever been to a dietician or taken advice from anyone about your diet, you might have noticed that most diet advice is about what to eat and what not to eat. This is where intermittent fasting differs as it focuses more on the timing of the eating and less on what you eat.
Intermittent fasting fixes your mealtimes and you are allowed to eat only at a specified time. If you fast for fixed specific hours daily or eat only a single meal for about a week, it will highly benefit your body and can help burn unwanted body fat. There is some scientific evidence that suggests many health benefits, as well.
Intermittent fasting is very popular and you might have heard about it from a friend or a family member. There are chances that you might have tried that as well. It’s a very popular and quite successful weight-loss program that keeps on gaining a lot of attention from people who are looking forward to losing weight and slimming down.
Where Did Fasting Originate?
First, let’s understand the difference between fasting and starving that most people confuse about. For a simple definition, fasting is defined as not eating food with your wish. In contrast, starvation is defined as not being able to eat because of factors that are not in your control such as insecurity about food.
To find out about the origin of fasting, we have to go back to ancient times. In ancient times people used fasting to heal their bodies and it was a common practice back then. Fasting even has roots in some religions as well. It is said to help deepen your attachment to your faith. The most popular example you can see is during the holy month of Ramadan. During this month people fast from dawn to dusk.
How Does It Work?
The main idea behind intermittent fasting is when we stop the food intake, our bodies drain our fat stores for energy very fast and efficiently. Our body’s most direct source of fuel is glucose from carbohydrates, our body burns fat when glucose isn’t available to gain energy. This can occur even more when there is a shortage of food. You might be surprised to know that our body can store an unlimited amount of fat.
There can be several ways in which Intermittent fasting can be done. There’s nothing like a perfect fasting plan, opt for the plan that works best for your body and adjusts according to your daily life.
The most popular method is fasting for some fixed hours daily which generally ranges about 12 hours or more. The average sleeping time of a regular person is about 7 hours or more. That time can be added to the fasting time. You just have to make sure that you don’t eat after dinner. This makes your target of 12-hour fasting easily achievable. A 12-hour fasting duration helps to burn body fat more effectively. This type of fasting is ideal for people who regularly eat during the nighttime.
Another method of intermittent fasting is to fast on alternate days. In this method, you can eat whatever you wish to eat for 5 to 6 days of the week and fast for the remaining 1 or 2 days. During your fasting days don’t forget to drink enough water and broth to avoid getting dehydrated. This method of fasting is best for people with a tight working schedule, who might be busy for some working days and can’t eat regularly.
Remember: Fasting is your primary focus but remember that when you eat make sure to choose healthy meals such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, plant proteins, whole grains, and low- or non-fat dairy products.
Is It Right For You?
It’s a really hard question to answer. Be clear about what you want to achieve with this intermittent fasting. And why are you choosing this method over tons of methods available? Are you ready mentally and physically to do it forever?
Everyone knows the majority of people try fasting to lose some extra weight and look slim. But can you do it for a long time or forever if you are planning it for a limited period you may again regain that weight whenever you stop fasting. Intermittent fasting is so effective in losing weight because it reduces your overall food intake. This can give even better results for weight loss if during non-fasting days you eat sensibly and choose balanced meals.
For starters, think about your eating habits and write them down on paper. If you observe that you eat more at night even after dinner, intermittent fasting drastically cut off your food intake and you start eating less. If you eat your last meal of the day in the late evening, you can start to eat your last meal a little earlier so that your body starts fasting early.
What Are Other Health Benefits For Intermittent Fasting?
There is a lot of research going on whether intermittent fasting helps in long-standing conditions or not. But still, no credible or enough evidence is available out there to see. Before you start planning or even practicing intermittent fasting, discussing it with your family doctor or a healthcare professional is a must. If you are suffering from some specific conditions and taking certain medications, any type of fasting may cause critical effects on your body. Your doctor or a healthcare professional can review your past health conditions and suggest you with proper guidance.
Always follow the methods that make you happy and benefit your mind and body and not harm them. If you cannot follow eating rules and eat at specific timings resulting in stressful conditions for you then intermittent fasting is not for you.