Most of you have heard of or even tried fasting before for one reason or another. But have you heard of Intermittent Fasting? It’s one of the latest health trends that has people wondering- Is it bad for you? Is it just starving and binging? Will it put my body into starvation mode? Will I go hungry? I thought breakfast was the most important meal? The answers are all NO!
The truth is, intermittent fasting can help you get healthy and lose weight! I’m not into diets much, but am into looking and feeling my best! I’ve been doing this for years, and when I get off track and decide to eat normally, I notice I feel more sluggish and pack on an extra pound or two!!
With intermittent fasting, the focus is more on when and how often you eat, and not so much on what you eat! But that doesn’t mean you should go and eat a whole large cheese pizza and ice cream cake in 4 hours! Everything in moderation 🙂 I recommend eating a well-balanced diet, while intermittent fasting! And incorporating physical activity.
Intermittent Fasting Methods :
The 16/8 method: This is the most popular method and involves skipping breakfast and allowing an 8 hour eating window each day. This is actually what I usually do anyway. Eating from about 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. Then you fast for the remaining 16 hours.
Eat-Stop-Eat: You stop eating completely for 24 hour periods, once or twice a week. Just don’t do this for two days in a row. You can still consume healthy beverages, like lemon water!
The 5:2 Diet: You limit your caloric intake to between 500-600 calories, two days a week (non-consecutive) and eat as you normally would the other 5 days.
Be sure to keep hydrated! Drink plenty of water or tea! You do not restrict liquid intake, just food!
The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting:
Several things happen to your body when you fast. No, your body does not go into starvation mode. This takes longer than 24 hours without food. And in fact, short-term fasts can actually speed up your metabolism, regulate your hormones, reduce inflammation and make you live longer!
- Reduces oxidative damage. Reduces oxidative damage. Normal cellular metabolism produces free radicals. These highly reactive molecules cause damage in your body. Antioxidants are one class of nutrients that counteract these effects. Intermittent fasting reduces the presence of free radicals, resulting in less oxidative damage. * Oxidative damage is also suspected of being one component of aging. The damage of oxidative stress eventually adds up, and the organism eventually dies.
- Adjusts your hormones. Fasting causes your body to produce more of the human growth hormone. HGH is responsible for fat loss and muscle gain. Fasting also regulates your insulin levels and increases the fat busting hormone- norepinephrine!
- Possibly increases your life span. Intermittent Fasting has been shown to increase life span in rodents. The surest was of increasing the lifespan of any mammal is to reduce its calorie intake. Studies haven’t been going on long enough to show if the effect is found in humans, but scientists have been able to double the lifespan of rats and mice by reducing their food intake.
- Reduces obesity and hypertension. If you only eat for a few hours per day, you’ll probably end up eating less. When you eat less, you weigh less. Hypertension is also reduced by intermittent fasting. This is probably due to a combination of weight loss and reduced inflammation.
- Reduces inflammation. Inflammation is in the news on a daily basis. Systemic inflammation is caused by the immune system. This low-grade inflammation is rarely noticed, but it’s implicated in many chronic diseases. Hypertension, arthritis, and asthma are three examples. Lupus and inflammatory bowel disease are also caused by inflammation. * The foods we eat are major contributors to inflammation. By going a longer period without food, you can reduce the amount of inflammation in your body.
- IF has been found to improve, or even cure, type-2 diabetes. Reducing the number of times you eat each day will reduce the amount of insulin released by your pancreas. This helps to improve insulin sensitivity. Again, losing weight is also believed to be a factor.
- It can help you lose belly fat, fast! One of the first changes I noticed, was less bloating and a smaller waist!
Here’s what happens when you fast: Your human growth hormone levels go up and your insulin levels go down. You reduce inflammation and lose weight. And, your cells repair themselves at a rapid rate! Source.
Although intermittent fasting has been shown to provide numerous health benefits, it’s still important to choose your foods wisely. The quality of your diet matters. No diet will turn doughnuts and chips into health foods. You have the responsibility to eat well.
Intermittent Fasting isn’t for everyone. Always talk to your doctor before trying any new health regimen. If you’re going to try IF, I suggest you start off slow, skipping breakfast (gasp, yep I said it) a few days a week! Eat a well-balanced late lunch and healthy snacks! You’ll be on your way to feeling and looking great!