Intermittent fasting . Now you Do, Now you Don’t !
Intermittent fasting is not a new concept for us; we all do it subconsciously. There must be many times when you are feeling extremely stressed or strained and lose appetite, in due course skipping the meal for that day, or maybe sometimes you are so busy that you don’t get any time to eat your breakfast or lunch. These are forms of intermittent fasting that we do without even knowing about it, and our bodies are totally capable of handling this.
Intermittent fasting is basically skipping meals, fasting for a long number of hours, basically starving yourself for a long period. You must be wondering if it is safe, or is there some science behind it, or are we just crazy for trying this out, or how could possibly this have any health benefits?Slow your train; let’s detail this concept and break down intermittent fasting and everything that goes with it.
What does Intermittent Fasting mean?
Intermittent fasting does not mean to starve yourself to lose weight. It is a system or a pattern in which you divide your day into two parts, which include a cycle of eating and not eating, which is ‘fasting’ in a day. Intermittent fasting has numerous health benefits like-
- Mental sharpness
- Optimized hormones
- Weight loss
- Lower inflammation
- Disease prevention
- Insulin sensitivity improves
- Cures stress and depression
- Increases BMR
- Anti-aging benefits
Types of Intermittent fasting!
There are multiple ways to go on one of these diets. Some of them are-
This means that you have to eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours. Eating for 8 hours means completing all your meals: breakfast, lunch, or dinner in between those 8 hours, and then during the remaining 16 hours, you can drink water, green tea, coffee, or tea but without any sugar and milk. It simply means to skip breakfast and don’t eat anything after dinner. You can choose your own 8 hours according to what is easier and suitable for you. There is no rigid rule for deciding the timing of the window. It can be- 10am-6pm 12pm-8pm 2pm-10pm You can choose whichever timeline suits you and your daily schedule.
This means normally eat for 5 days a week and fasting for 2 non-consecutive days of the week. You can eat 500-600 calories per day like fruits or salads for when you are fasting for 2 days. You can choose any two days as long as they are not successive. The most common way of doing this regime is to fast on Mondays and Thursdays with two or three small meals with 500-600 calories per day and eating normally (not binging on fast food and eating a healthy and balanced diet) for the rest of the week.
Alternate Day Fasting (EAT-STOP-EAT)
This is a very strict regime that involves a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period. During the non-fasting period, you can consume water, green tea, coffee, or tea (without any sugar and milk). During the fasting period, you can eat as much as you wish, provided that it’s a healthy and balanced diet and not junk food. You can fast for 24 hours, once or twice a week. (This method is not recommended for beginners.)
‘One Meal a Day’ Diet or 23:1 Diet
The OMAD diet encompasses eating one large meal during the restricted 1-hour time period and fasting for the remaining 23 hours. During your time window of 1 hour, you can eat whatever you want! You don’t need to limit yourself by counting the number of calories.
Spontaneous Meal Skipping
We have all done this type of fasting at some point of time in our lives. It means to skip one meal whenever it is convenient for your body. The basic idea is to consume only two meals during the day. Eat when you are actually hungry and skip meals when you are not hungry or too tired or busy to cook anything. There is no rigid rule to follow this type of diet regime, just skip a meal when you are not hungry and make sure to eat healthy with your other meals.
Who should avoid Intermittent Fasting?
- Lactating women
- Pregnant women
- Females who are trying to conceive
- If you are underweight/frail/elderly
- People with eating disorders
- You have diabetes, BP, or heart problems.
- If you are taking medication of some sort
People who are fully determined to follow this should start it. You must not continuously stress about not eating.
Tips for Safe and Effective fasting!
Balanced diet: Your meals must be combined with a balanced diet full of nutrition. You cant expect to lose weight if you are eating junk and processed foods during your eating window.
Stay hydrated: Make water your best friend during fasts. It will help you feel full in the stomach and better overall.
Exercise helps: It is suggested to exercise during the day, but know your physical limits and don’t go overboard with it. Black coffee or green tea can also help you feel fuller and boost your energy level.
Try to break your fast with fruit. If you are eating some snacks in between, try that they are fruits and vegetables only.
Be kind to yourself and know that this is not a punishment. Try to enjoy the process. You don’t need to starve yourself; if you are really hungry, then just eat. Notice how you are feeling lighter day by day, and your cravings are reducing, and enjoy mindful eating. Don’t be harsh on yourself. Take it light and easy. You will definitely see results if you do it right.