Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and How Does it Work?
Intermittent Fasting, or IF, is a diet trend that has been rapidly growing in popularity. This type of fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting.
Contrary to popular belief, Intermittent Fasting is not about starving yourself. But instead, it can be incredibly healthy and rewarding to lose weight and improve your health!
In this article, we will discuss the basics of Intermittent Fasting and provide some tips for getting started.
An Overview of Intermittent Fasting
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for various eating patterns that involve periods of fasting and non-fasting.
There are many different ways to do IF, but the most common method is the 16/8 plan. This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating only for an eight-hour window.
It is also important to note that Intermittent Fasting is not a diet but rather a pattern of eating which means that there are no specific foods you must avoid while Intermittent Fasting.
Moreover, Intermittent Fasting can be adapted to fit any lifestyle. Whether you are a busy professional who does not have time for breakfast or a stay-at-home parent who wants to spend more time with your children, Intermittent Fasting can work for you!
How does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting works by reducing an individual’s overall calorie intake. When you fast, your body is forced to use the stored energy in your body, which leads to weight loss.
In addition, Intermittent Fasting has been shown to have numerous other health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, and increased brain function.
Intermittent Fasting Methods
As we mentioned earlier, Intermittent Fasting is not a diet but rather an eating pattern. This means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to Intermittent Fasting.
There are many different Intermittent Fasting methods, and you can choose the one that best fits your lifestyle and goals.
Here are some of the most popular Intermittent Fasting methods you can try:
- The 16/8: This process involves fasting for 16 hours and eating only during an eight-hour window.
- The five/two diet: This involves eating normally for five days per week and restricting your calorie intake to 500-600 calories on two days.
- The warrior diet: This Intermittent Fasting method involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and then later on eating one large meal at night.
- Alternate day fasting: This Intermittent Fasting method involves fasting every other day. On fasting days, you can consume 500 calories or less.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is Easier than Dieting
One of the main reasons Intermittent Fasting is so popular is that it is much easier than traditional dieting.
With Intermittent Fasting, you do not have to count calories or track your food intake. Instead, it would help if you focused on when you will eat and fast.
This makes Intermittent Fasting much more accessible to stick to than a traditional diet, which can often be restrictive and difficult to maintain.
Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight
As mentioned earlier, Intermittent Fasting is an effective weight loss tool (accompanied by exercise).
A 2017 study found that Intermittent Fasting was more effective than traditional dieting at reducing body weight and fat mass. Another study showed that Intermittent Fasting could help you lose weight without losing muscle mass. And this is important because muscle mass is key to maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Intermittent Fasting is Beneficial for the Body’s Health
Studies have shown that Intermittent Fasting can improve blood sugar control, reduce inflammation, and increase metabolism and brain function, which means practicing IF can be beneficial for one’s body health.
Accordingly, Intermittent Fasting is also linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease, which can help increase lifespan in animal studies.
Tips for Maintaining Intermittent Fasting
Now that you know the basics and overview of intermittent fasting, it might be pretty overwhelming for you to stick to the IF program you have chosen. Here are some tips you can make use of to maximize the benefits of intermittent fasting:
Tip #1: Start with a Modified Schedule
When starting with Intermittent Fasting, it is essential to ease into it. This means that you should start with a modified schedule that is less restrictive and gradually work your way up to the Intermittent Fasting method of your choice.
Tip #2: Plan Healthy and Nutritious Meals
Planning Healthy and Nutritious Melas is also essential to ensure that the meals you consume suit the body. This means eating plenty of lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is also necessary to stay hydrated.
Recommended Meals and Foods:
- Lean protein such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes
- Healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts
- Vegetables of all types
Tip #3: Drink Your Water and Stay Hydrated
When Intermittent Fasting, it is essential to drink plenty of water. This will help to keep you hydrated and prevent you from feeling fatigued.
Drinking herbal and green tea throughout the day is also a good idea. These beverages can help to boost your metabolism and provide other health benefits.
Tip #4: Increase the Taste without Calories
If you are Intermittent Fasting and find yourself craving something sweet, there are ways to increase the taste without adding calories.
Adding a natural sweetness enhancer such as stevia or monk fruit extract to your water can help to curb those cravings. You can also add these ingredients to tea or coffee. Another option is to eat fruit high in water, such as watermelon, grapes, or strawberries.
Tip #5: Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting Plenty of Sleep while practicing IF is very important. This will help your body to recover from the fast and repair any damage that has been done.
Ideally, having at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night is ideal. And if you are having trouble sleeping, you can do a few things to help yourself fall asleep.
First, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Second, establish a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. And third, create a relaxing bedtime routine that includes winding down for 30 minutes before sleep.
Tip #6: Eat High Volume Foods
Lastly, when Intermittent Fasting, it is essential to eat high-volume foods. This means foods that are low in calories but fill you up.
Some examples of high-volume foods include soup, salad, oats, quinoa, and vegetables. These foods will help you feel full without eating a lot of calories.
Q: What is Intermittent Fasting?
A: Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of fasting and eating.
Q: What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
A: Intermittent Fasting has been shown to improve blood sugar control, reduce inflammation, and increase metabolism.
Q: What are the best Intermittent Fasting schedules?
A: The best Intermittent Fasting schedule for you will depend on your goals and lifestyle. You can choose from various Intermittent Fasting schedules, such as 16/08 (16 hours of fasting and eight hours of eating), 20/04 (20 hours of fasting and four hours of eating), or even longer.
Q: What can I eat while Intermittent Fasting?
A: You can eat anything you want while Intermittent Fasting, but it is essential to eat healthy and nutritious meals.
Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool you could practice for weight management and a healthy lifestyle. But it is essential to do your research and understand the basics before trying it out. So by following the tips in this article, you will be on your way to Intermittent Fasting success! Have any questions or suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments!