Fasting concept is nothing new for Indians. We see people fasting on Mondays, Thrusdays, special festivals etc. But could strutural fasting help in weight loss?
Intermittent fasting is the new buzzword. All of you might have fasted for various purposes in your life, but have you ever tried to keep fast only for health reasons? When you are fasting, your body doesn’t have a fresh meal to get its energy from, so it is more likely to get the energy required from already stored fat in your body. You are consuming the calories during a specific time of the day, and not eating anything for the rest of the day. Simply put, it’s having the knowledge of what meals to skip.
That is what intermittent fasting is all about, and it has so much to do more than just weight loss. Recently, a study for which scientist was awarded Nobel Prize in 2016, indicates that abstaining from food and keeping fasts is wholesome—the body truly cleans itself.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting combines regular short-term fasts. Fasting is usually refraining from eating for a specified period of time. Though it is generally done for spiritual reasons, intermittent fasting is said to help you lose weight. It is one of the best ways to prevent many health complications.
We have been bombarded with so much information on the web about different types of diets. Most of the diet plans advise you to eat after regular intervals to lose weight. But intermittent fasting has a time frame within which you have to finish your meal and shut your kitchen for the day, after that. Does it sound like a herculean task? It really isn’t, if you train your body.
Intermittent fasting lets you focus on your work and not think about how many calories you have gobbled up in a day. Sounds good? It will be even better when you get to know that there are different types of intermittent fasting to match different lifestyles.
Some of the popular ones are:
16/8 Method: In this method, breakfast is skipped every day. You should consume food only between an 8-hour feeding window.
Eat-Stop-Eat: In the eat-stop-eat method, you must do 24-hour fasts once or twice in a week. For example, you can skip all the meals and snacks between two dinners, i.e, until dinner the next day.
5:2 Diet Method: In this method, you get to choose 2 days of the week. You can only consume 500-600 calories on these two days. You may eat normally on the other 5 days.
If you can control your calorie intake on the other days, this would be a very efficient way to manage your cravings and eat healthily.
What happens to your body when you fast intermittently?
When you fast to shed some extra pounds and don’t eat anything for a while, your body starts repairing right from the cellular level. This is what intermittent fasting does to your body.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits:
- The insulin levels in blood drop considerably, which burns fat effectively.
- The human growth hormone levels increase, sometimes even as much as 5-fold. This also aids in muscle gain.
- When you are fasting, your body starts to flush out toxins.
- Also, some changes take place in the molecular and genetic level. This ensures longevity by protecting your body against diseases.
- It also has an impact on the hormones, and the stored fat in your body becomes more accessible.
Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting:
- It increases your dependence on coffee.
- It results in untimely food cravings outside feeding window.
- It also gives a headache and leads to a drop in energy if proper care is not taken.
It’s rightly said that every coin has two sides. If followed properly, it has amazing benefits.
What are some myths about intermittent fasting?
Given the kind of effects intermittent fasting has on your body, you are sure to hear some myths about it as well. Here are some that you might come across:
- Intermittent fasting makes you overeat
No. Intermittent fasting only improves your metabolism and controls your hunger pangs.
- You will lose muscle by fasting intermittently
You cannot lose muscle by fasting; on the other hand, you will lose weight.
- It makes your body devoid of nutrients
Fasting flushes out toxins. This makes sure that only the right components are in your body.
How to do intermittent fasting the right way?
Though intermittent fasting is an effective way to lose weight, it has to be done the right way to get desired results. Get a clear picture of how to do it right before you jump into its furore.
- When you are on intermittent fast, you don’t need to look at your watch every now and then. Eat when you are hungry but within the eating window. Do not go overboard.
- Intermittent fast needs a lot of persistence. So start by fasting for smaller periods of time, say 10-12 hours, and extend your fast slowly. The longer you fast, the more fat you burn.
- When you are fasting intermittently, keeping yourself hydrated is the key. Drink lots of water to get rid of all the toxins collected in your body over the years. Water also helps to control your hunger.
Do not think that intermittent fasting is just another diet program. It is something you need to stick to till the end. In short, it is a lifestyle. Intermittent fasting can make you less dependent on food. It works wonders as it is flexible, unlike the tailor made diet plans that never seem to work no matter what, simply because they may not suit your way of life.
If you do it the right way, you would watch stubborn fat on your body melting away. It is also less stress-free when compared to other diet plans. So what are you waiting for? Start fasting intermittently and you will soon be flaunting your perfect shape and health.