Feeling low on your energy level lately? Dealing with obesity? No weight loss technique seems to be working? Is aging making you slow, weak, and forgetful? Are you going through a chronic condition like high cholesterol, arthritis, cardiac issues or digestive problems? Intermittent fasting is just the right idea for you! Where other diets can be too constraining regarding what to eat, making them hard to follow, intermittent fasting regulates the pattern of when to eat.
Intermittent fasting is commonly used to lose weight in a healthy and effective manner as it has demonstrated to be more efficacious than other kinds of diets. An average woman’s eating routine, now-a-days, typically involves snacking throughout the day without any track of time. In the rush of daily chores and work engagements, we all think it is okay to have something to eat when we feel the need to do so. This, however, destroys one’s health, lowers productivity, makes the person rely on continual food supply meanwhile making one prone to obesity, heart diseases and other disorders. To prevent these kinds of diseases, intermittent fasting proves to be very effective.
Intermittent fasting basically means allowing yourself to eat in a regulated time frame and fasting otherwise. You can have water and zero-calorie drinks like black coffee and green tea during the fasting period. Unlike other diets where you can have something light to consume and provide your body with frequent energy doses, this technique allows your body to take its time to consume the calories from breaking down the visceral fats (harmful, if accumulated) from the digested meal.
There is a number of ways to fast intermittently depending on one’s capacity and the end goal. For instance, you can have your dinner till 7pm and avoid eating anything else before sleeping, so that the next meal you will have, would be about 12 hours later which counts as the fasting period. This would be 12/12 method which means you left a 12-hour eating window and fasted the rest of 12 hours. Similarly, you can increase, decrease or shift these timings according to your motivation. Also, there is an option of fasting on specified days of the week. A list of more frequently used methods of intermittent fasting includes 16/8 Method, 5/2 Diet Plan, the Warrior Diet, and Eat-Stop-Eat.
This method requires a lot of self-restraint. It is considered a strict diet as you are supposed to abstain from consuming anything but water and zero-calorie drinks in the selected consecutive 16 hours. If that seems too harsh to follow for 16 hours straight every day, remember that you can position the fasting time frame around your sleeping hours, so it can cover most of the fasting time.
Early eating window, i.e., 5am to 9am, aligns well with your body clock as the nutrients are processed more efficiently in the morning. The 8-hour eating window is also expected to be used in moderation; you are not supposed to go overboard with eating junk food and making those 16 hours you fasted count for nothing.
5/2 Diet Plan
The 5/2 diet concerns the days you eat and fast. As per this method, you will be fasting two days a week that must not be consecutive and you can pick any two days that suit you. Following this diet, you will have to cut your calorie consumption to 1/4th of your daily calorie intake and the rest of the five days you can have a normal diet. That being said, one is definitely not supposed to go wild with their food consumption on those normal 5 days but try to bring the calorie consumption to 2,000 per day which should make the fasting days’ goal to be 500 calories. Interestingly, there is a hadith regarding fasting on Mondays and Thursdays every week being, which makes it easier for you to choose the days.
Eat-stop-eat is the method where you fast for 24 hours straight for a day or two in the whole week, as long as the two days are not consecutive. You have to make sure you have a meal right before and after your fast starts and ends, respectively. Alternate-day fasting is similar.
Another type of intermittent fasting is the Warrior Diet that phases lengthy intervals of little food consumption with short windows of overeating. This method is not recommended for most people as it can be detrimental for health.
People who want to lose weight usually go for a 16/8 method as it helps drop those kgs a little quicker. According to experts, you can lose a good 2-6 kilos in the time frame of a month. Those who have made it a part of their lifestyle have shown a weight loss of upto about 21 kg. An interesting detail about the adherents of intermittent fasting is the reduction of waist circumference, which means you are likely to get in shape faster with this technique of weight loss. This technique regulates hormones beneficial for in weight loss, e.g., by lowering your insulin resistance which helps in the breaking down of blood sugars faster, helps production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) that burns fat and repairs muscles and increases the amount of norepinephrine that boosts metabolism.
Gains from this diet routine are way beyond just weight loss. It protects humans from age-related neurodegenerative disorders like lack of mobility, coordination, strength, sensation and cognition. It also boosts the body’s ability to resist oxidative stress, which causes aging and a number of other chronic diseases.
It may come as a surprise but our eating habits can have an effect on our memory and brain function in general as well. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can slow down the cognitive decline in memory, awareness, judgment and mental sharpness in adults as they grow older. It can also improve long-term memory consolidation, adult hippocampal neurogenesis and expression of the longevity gene.
When all is said and done, make sure to consult a dietician before going for a specific method of fasting to know which will fit you better. You should not consider intermittent fasting, however, if you are under eighteen, are pregnant or lactating, have blood sugar problems or if you are struggling with gaining weight. HH
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