Intermittent fasting isn’t a new concept, its been around for many years. There has however been more research into the health benefits of intermittent fasting which is why many diet plans and celebrities endorse it.
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather a dieting pattern. It’s structuring your meals in a different way so you have longer periods of fasting and designated feasting times. Intermittent fasting generally means that you consume your calories during a specific window of the day.
Intermittent fasting has health benefits for all types of goals, one specifically for weight loss, I would encourage those looking to lose weight to still have a set daily calorie goal. Even if you fast, if you are still eating too many calories for your daily requirements in the “feasting window” you still won’t lose weight.
There are many ways you can install an intermittent fast into your weekly nutrition plan. Always structure this around your workout plan (if you have one). Although there are benefits of doing fasted workouts there are so many variables that need to be taken into account but that’s another article topic! Check it out HERE.
What Types Of Intermittent Fasting Are There
Here are 3 popular ways you can use intermittent fasting.
1/ The 16 hour fast.
This method consists of fasting for 16 hours and consuming all your meals within a 8-10 hour window.
It is generally recommended that women only fast 14-15 hours, because they seem to do better with slightly shorter fasts.
The best way to execute this is to have your last meal for instance at 8pm and then break the fast at 12pm the next day.
2/ The 5:2 Diet
A very popular diet for weight loss which works by creating a calorie deficit across the week by reducing calories significantly for 2 days.
On the plan you will eat healthy on a non restricted calorie diet and on the 2 fasting days you will eat around 600 calories.
On the fasting days, it is recommended that women eat 500 calories, and men 600 calories.
3/ The 24 Hour Fast
Some might find this one a little too challenging. The method is to have a 24 hour fast either once or twice per week.
An example would be to fast from dinner one day, to dinner the next, this amounts to a 24-hour fast.
Water, coffee and other non-caloric beverages are allowed during the fast, but no solid food.
How Long Should I Do It For?
There are no set rules, judge it on how you feel during the week. Take note of your energy levels, mood and sleep patterns. It could be something you do once a week out of every month for a simple way of resetting your system or it could become a lifestyle habit!
What Are The Health Benefits
Weight loss is one of the major benefits of intermittent fasting. The science behind this is “When our insulin levels go down far enough and for long enough, as they do during a fasting period, we’re able burn off fat.”
When insulin levels are low, then the glycogen stored in your muscles is used for fuel, when these stores are low your body will also start to use your body fat as a source of fuel.
Giving your body a break from ingesting food can help the digestive tract to rest and repair alleviating some digestive issues.
Intermittent fasting can slow the ageing process, reduce liver fat (fat around your organs is considered have negative impacts on your health) lower blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, promotes better sleep and better coordination.
Studies also suggest that fasting may reduce tumour growth and could help prevent recurrences of breast cancer.