Intermittent fasting is a super weapon for losing weight. It means very little eating or skipping meals during a specified period of time. Actually, we all do fasting every day when we sleep. Is fasting right for you and what are the methods?
How It Works
The researchers have been exploring the advantages of limiting calories by skipping meals. Studies have proved that limiting food intake and calories can extend life span, regulate blood sugar and reduce the risks of many diseases. When we eat a little or don’t eat at all for some time, it affects our metabolism, nervous system and several crucial hormones.
Moreover, insulin level decreases, norepinephrine is sent to the fat cells which break down into free fatty acids. Levels of growth hormone increase dramatically. Note that 48-hours fasting boosts metabolism whereas longer periods suppress them. Therefore, fasting makes fat burning easier.
Here are the key advantages of fasting:
- Reduction of calories and weight loss. Most plans suppose skipping meals during the fasting days. As a recent study showed fasting may result in quick weight loss including belly fat loss (0.25 kilos per week in case of intermittent fasting and 0.75 kilos per week in case of alternate-day schedule).
- Healthy eating is simpler. 2 meals instead of 3 is easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- No loss of muscles while losing body fat. Intermittent restriction of calories causes a smaller reduction of muscles.
Each method has its guideline and schedule for how long to fast and which products should be included.
- Eat stop eat. It supposes no food for 24 h once or twice a week (calorie-free beverages are permitted). After complete fasting for this period of time you can eat normally. In addition to this method regular training especially resistance workouts are highly recommended. It’s better to start when you are busy and don’t plan late work dinners or parties. On the other hand, the method has its disadvantages: fatigue, headaches or feeling anxious or depressed. Some people lack self-control to follow this schedule.
- The 5/2 Diet means that you consume 500-550 calories for 2 days and eat normally the remaining time of the week. The diet is easier to follow as you don’t have to starve for 24 hours. For example, broccoli and many vegetables contain just 35 cal.
- The 16/8 Diet means skipping breakfast and eating 2 times from 12 noon to 6-7 p.m. On the other hand, many dieting experts offer to skip late supper instead of breakfast.
- The Warrior Diet. This method supposes fasting for 20 h and eating one big meal at night.
- Leangains method. If you want to lose fat but no muscles this nutrition plan is the best option. Fast for 14-16 hours and eat normally for the remaining time. During the fasting period calories are prohibited except for diet soda, black coffee and tea without sugar.
- Alternate Diet: consume very little food one day and eat normally the next.
How to cope with Intermittent Fasting
Keep in mind the following rules:
- If you take medicine or insulin the dose should be adjusted. Consult your doctor before fasting first.
- Long fasting periods are not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- If you want intermittent fasting to work don’t forget of consistency and be ready to follow the above methods for an extended period.
- Food quality is still important; single ingredient foods are highly recommended.
- Count calories: exclude high-calorie food and don’t compensate for the calories that have been missed by fasting.
- Feel sleep deprived or stressed out? Cope with these problems first as fasting days may be very stressful for the exhausted and tired people.
- If you are addicted to sugar be careful with sweets craving and choose honey and 85-90% cocoa chocolate instead of cookies and cakes.
Remember that intermittent fasting is not for everyone; lifestyle and your goals are principal factors to consider when choosing an appropriate method. Moreover, some people cannot starve and need something to eat to hold them over.
Consult your doctor if you have chronic diseases, health problems or specified dietary requirements. It will take time for our bodies to adjust to the new food schedule.