Should you go with weird tasting ginger-carrot-soup or arugula salad? Grilled chicken or veggie chili? Or perhaps, if losing your weight and staying healthy is your goal, you can make a different choice without changing what you eat.
Well, this is what “Intermittent Fasting” allows you in your weight loss regime. It is the latest trend in the health and fitness industry that combines the age-old spiritual practice of fasting with growing consciousness among people for a fit and well-shaped body.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
It’s fair to say that intermittent fasting is an ancient medical secret. It’s because people have been practicing fasting throughout human history.
It’s not a diet! In fact, intermittent fasting is the process of scheduling your meals so that you get the most benefits out of them. Instead of changing your meals, it changes when you eat.
Now, you may ask does ‘when we eat’ matters?
Well, scheduling your meals can help you give off poor food habits while cutting down calories to almost nothing. Moreover, it’s an ideal way to keep your muscles strong while getting lean. Having said that, the primary reason why people do intermittent fasting is fat loss and to improve metabolism.
Popular Ways to do Intermittent Fasting
There are different methods of intermittent fasting. All of them share a general idea – eat normally some days a week and reduce calories on other days.
Some of the most popular methods of intermittent fasting are:
The 16/8 Protocol
Fasting 14-16 hours a day and eat 2-3 meals within the eating window of 8-10 hours.
Also known as Leangains protocol, this method is as simple as skipping breakfast and not eating after dinner.
The 5:2 Diet
Eat normally 5 days a week and restrict calories 500 for men and 600 for women only on two days a week (the 2 days should be non-consecutive).
24 Hour Protocol
Eat 3 meals every day and then pick a day for a 24-hour fast. You can go for lunch-to-lunch and dinner-to-dinner fasting. Results are same!
You can take alcohol, coffee, and water, but no solid food during the fast.
The Warrior Diet
Fast for 20 hours every day and eat a large meal at night. This diet pattern is supposed to improve immune system’s responsiveness.
Up Day Down Day
Eat very little one day and normal on the next. On the next low-calorie day, limit your calories intake to 400-500. Experts recommend replacing meals with shakes while fasting.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent fasting is the simplest and most effective strategy for weight loss.
- It boosts body’s stress resistance and can increase your lifespan by 30%, according to the 2013 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
- Intermittent fasting improves cardiovascular health and reduces the likelihood of getting sick.
- By lowering blood glucose and IGF-1 levels, it helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- During fasting, the body releases Motilin and Ghrelin, which regularizes the digestive tract and heals your gut.
In addition, the list of benefits stacks up to include cognitive enhancement, inflammation reduction, motivation boosting, memory improvement, and lowering diabetes and autoimmune diseases, etc.
Warning: people with medical issues like neuroendocrine, hypoglycemic, hypercholesterolemia, underweight, circadian rhythm and pregnancy should talk with their doctor or dietitian BEFORE they try intermittent fasting as it may not be right for them.
If you’d like to get started with intermittent fasting, you can check out Brad Pilon’s highly acclaimed “Eat Stop Eat” manual, which is regarded by many as the ‘intermittent fasting bible’. It covers everything about this type of diet and gives you easy to follow meal plans if you would like to give Intermittent Fasting a go!