Your Guide to Intermittent Fasting

October 03, 2018

Your Guide to Intermittent Fasting

What is Intermittent Fasting?

If you are interested in health and fitness, you have probably heard the term 'Intermittent Fasting', as it has been building in reputation over the last few years. Rapidly becoming one of the most popular weight loss methods, intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of fasting and eating. Scientific research has shown that it is, in fact, an effective way to lose weight, as well as improving metabolic health and potentially protecting against a number of diseases, extending lifespan.

Popular Methods of Intermittent Fasting

There are a number of different methods of intermittent fasting, and by learning about the popular ones, you will be able to decide which one will be the best one for you. Here are some of the most popular methods of intermittent fasting.

16/8 Method

We are told by a number of sources that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – vital for kick-starting our metabolism, allowing it to be at its most efficient all day long. Therefore, skipping breakfast is surely only going to slow down your weight loss journey, right? Well not exactly. Intermittent fasting has shown that skipping breakfast can actually boost your weight loss, with the most popular type, the 16/8 Method.

The 16/8 Method of intermittent fasting involves fasting every day for between 14 and 16 hours each day and eating only within the remaining 8-10 hour window. This method is so popular as it is so simple. It can involve simple skipping breakfast or not eating anything after an early dinner. Beverages can still be consumed during the fasting window, but they should be low calorie and alcohol-free, such as water and coffee. Furthermore, during the eating window, a healthy diet should be followed, eating a bunch of junk food will be counter-productive.

24 Hour Fasts

Also known as the 'Eat-Stop-Eat' Method, this kind of intermittent fasting involves fasting for a complete 24 hours, once or twice a week. You could fast from breakfast through to breakfast the next day, lunch through to lunch, etc. As with the 16/8 Method,  low calorie and alcohol-free beverages can be consumed during the fasting period, but absolutely no solid foods.

It can be difficult initially to go straight into fasting for 24 hours, so for those just starting out with intermittent fasting, it is recommended to start with 14 or 15 hours of fasting, and building up from there. This will certainly help with self-discipline.

The 5: 2 Diet

This method of intermittent fasting has been extremely popular over the past few years and involves eating normally (but healthily) for 5 days of the week and on the other two days restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories. There are a number of recipes available online for substantial but low-calorie meals that will keep you going on your low-calorie days. Most people find it easier to split their allocated calories on fast days into 2 protein-rich meals spaced evenly throughout the day.

The Warrior Diet

Harking back to the days where humans lived a more hunter-gatherer lifestyle, where food was not always readily available. It involves eating small amounts of raw vegetables and fruits during the day and eating one large meal in the evening. So essentially, you are fasting throughout the day and night, and limit yourself to eating in a few hour window in the evening.  For the Warrior Method, it is recommended to follow a paleo diet, which includes plenty of whole, unprocessed foods and plenty of lean meat.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

It is widely believed that fasting for short periods of time not only reduces calorie intake but also helps optimize the hormones that are related to weight control. When we undergo a period of fasting, our body adjusts via the nervous system and with changes in the regulation of certain hormones, which makes the energy stored within fat tissue, more accessible.  

It seems that intermittent fasting can significantly boost metabolism, however fasting for longer periods of time can actually suppress metabolism and stimulate the conversion of ingested calories into fat once the fast is over, to prepare for the next potential period of calorie restriction.





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