People are known to go to crazy lengths to get the perfect body. From exercising to dieting, the world is obsessed with different kinds of techniques for losing weight and staying in shape. One such technique that the world is currently talking about is intermittent fasting. We have heard plenty of times that skipping meals is bad for health. But intermittent fasting has taken the world by storm, with everyone from celebrities to mothers trying it to get into shape and stay healthy.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet. It is just a way of scheduling meals. For instance, you might skip breakfast and then eat two meals, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. Then you fast until the next afternoon. People who have tried intermittent fasting claim to have increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, and grown stronger and leaner. The most important reason why people try intermittent fasting is for losing fat, and if the accounts of the people who tried it are anything to go by, it is a great way of cutting out bad fat from the body while getting leaner and stronger.
Fasting is actually a way of life in many cultures. There are certain days of the week when people fast through the day and eat a small meal at night. Fasting a couple of times a week is often recommended for those who are overweight. Intermittent fasting is much like that. You skip a few meals a day and eat a few.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
A lot of skeptics tend to think that it's all a fad with no medical evidence to prove its effectiveness. But it isn't so. Intermittent fasting has been around for a long time but has only acquired celebrity status recently. Intermittent fasting can be done in several different ways. Some people prefer to do it every day, while others do it only a few times a week. There is no strict rule about when and how you should fast. Your health and your comfort should be the first considerations when fasting intermittently.
There are actually a few proven benefits of intermittent fasting. Some of them are:
- It makes life simpler
Cooking and eating take up a good part of the day. Meal planning and cooking are not enjoyed by everyone, and this makes them stay away from eating. Intermittent fasting makes life simpler. You have a few meals less to worry about. For instance, if you skip, you don't have to worry about food when you wake in the morning. For many people, this makes life a little simpler and also reduces stress.
- It increases your lifespan
For a long time, scientists have known that restricting your calorie intake is a way to increase your longevity. It makes sense because when you are starving, the body automatically finds ways to extend your life. However, starving in order to enjoy a longer life doesn't sound very appealing. Intermittent fasting is a good way to enjoy the same benefits of starving, without actually staying away from eating. Whether you fast every day or a few times a week, the same benefits of restricted calories are the same. In a 1995 study, it was found that intermittent fasting extended the lifespan of mice. It is believed to do the same to humans.
- It's easier than dieting
When people diet, they usually eat limited portions a few times a day. But it's hard to go from a plate full of food to eating only an apple for lunch. Most are unable to stick to a diet and eventually give up. Intermittent fasting is a lot easier than being on a diet, but it has the same benefits. You restrict your calorie intake without reducing your portions. People think it's hard, but once you start, it's actually a lot easier to follow than a diet.
Intermittent fasting schedules
There are three types of intermittent fasting schedules: Daily, weekly, and alternate day.
Daily fasting involves a 16-hour fasting period followed by an 8-hour eating period. It doesn't matter what times you choose to eat or fast, or which meals you choose to skip. Some prefer to skip breakfast while some may skip lunch. The most important benefit of daily intermittent fasting is that it helps you get into the habit. With other schedules, it may take some time to form a habit, and you may also forget sometimes.
Weekly intermittent fasting is the best way to get started for beginners. Occasional fasting has been shown to have many of the benefits of daily intermittent fasting, even though you don't cut down on as many calories. When you stick to weekly intermittent fasting, you slowly limit your calorie intake and shed excess weight. Even though the process takes longer, it is gentler and easier to get started with.
Alternate day intermittent fasting involves longer fasting periods every alternating day of the week. For instance, if you eat dinner on Saturday night, you will not eat again until Sunday evening. However, on Monday, you will eat all meals and start the fasting period again after dinner on Monday evening. Alternate day intermittent fasting allows you to go without eating consistently while also letting you eat one full meal every day.
The key factor in making intermittent fasting work for you is to be consistent. It can be hard to get into a habit, especially if you have never done fasting, but the more self-control you have, the faster you will fall into a rhythm and help your body get used to it too.
However, if you have any health condition, make sure to discuss with your doctor before starting any new regime. Going without eating for long periods is unhealthy in various cases, particularly in people with diabetes. Even if you are healthy, take your doctor's advice before going on a fast.
Whether you want to lose weight or get into shape, intermittent fasting gives positive results when practiced with consistency and determination.