Quite often the stubborn extra pounds are the reason for our hard pursuit for a way to melt the fat. It’s more like a mindless, disoriented search that heads in every direction possible. In our frustration over the unwelcomed weight, we try anything and everything that looks promising. In truth, however, most of the methods to get rid of the extra kilos are enticing but hollow by nature. This means that we get back to the point that we started: a bulging belly and a heavy body. But there is light at the end of every tunnel. Your weight loss struggles aren’t going to go down the drain with the latest trending mantra for shedding weight. And here is your intermittent fasting guide.
Intermittent fasting (IF) has been the latest buzzword for losing weight. It kept trending throughout last year. Owing to its effectiveness and because people couldn’t get enough of it, the weight loss method has jumped into the trends’ train this year too. Basically, it is the hassle-free way of losing weight that IF promises, which makes it attractive. Top it up with a long celebrity following and an efficient outcome and you’d be giving in to try this fitness regime. The key features to know before digging into this intermittent fasting guide are:
- No extreme calorie calculations
- Alternate periods of eating and fasting
- Numerous benefits
Intermittent Fasting Guide 101
Here is a look at what this weight loss plan is all about, the benefits it holds, its history, and common methods.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is also known as time restrictive eating. It revolves around alternative periods of fasting and eating. So, during the eating timeframe, you can have your fill. Be mindful that IF does not stop you from sealing your mouth shut completely. This is a great plus, adding points to this method of fat loss.
In your fasting period, however, you are not supposed to be eating. You can only rely on non-caloric drinks such as water, tea, coffee, and other such beverages. Typically, the most common IF methods include 16 hours of daily fasts. If you are not comfortable with this pattern, you can go for 24 hours of fasting twice in a week.
Is Time Restrictive Eating A Diet Plan?
Intermittent Fasting is not a typical diet plan that has food items lined for you and instructions to make recipes. If you are looking to pursue a strict diet plan that you can try the cabbage soup diet. It is based on a particular diet plan that orbits around cabbage soup and other food specified items.
On the flip side, IF does not have diet chart to follow. As mentioned above, you pass back and forth episodes of eating and fasting. No elaborate diet chart is provided. It is simply about eating when you can and fasting when you have to. Therefore, IF is not a diet plan. Rather, it is a pattern of eating.
History of Intermittent Fasting
An amazing fact is that the intermittent fasting guide is nothing new. It is a centuries-old practice. In fact, this pattern of eating is considered as the most powerful and oldest dietary intervention. It is only now that modern research has studied IF and learned about its incredible benefits.
In the past, people used to alternate between cycles of eating and fasting for either religious reasons or a shortage of food. Today, however, it is seen as a method that can help to keep you fit. Research has also associated intermittent fasting with a longer lifespan, improved cardiovascular health, lower risk of diabetes, and protection against numerous diseases.
Celebrities The Practice Intermittent Fasting
A number of celebrities practice intermittent fasting for their fitness. Their fit bodies are a testament that this method of losing weight is a highly effective one. Some of the prominent names include Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Christy Turlington, Liv Tyler, Miranda Kerr, and Beyoncé.
Prominent Methods of Intermittent Fasting
There are several time patterns that can be sketched to get the best of IF. However, here are three of the most known methods of intermittent fasting.
The 16/8 Method
This method of restrictive time eating revolves around 16 hours of fasting. The 16/8 method is also termed as the Leangains protocol. It starts with you skipping your breakfast in the morning and fasting for straight 16 hours. The eating hours are restricted to 8 hours only.
The 5:2 Diet
In this method of intermittent fasting, fasting extends to 2 days of no eating. During this time, you are allowed only beverages and 500-600 calories. The other 5 days in the week can be dedicated to eating normally.
This method of IF inculcates 24 hours of fasting. You can pursue the fasting period once in a week or twice. For instance, you can fast between today’s and tomorrow’s lunch that makes for 24 hours of fasting.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are several health benefits that can be traced to IF. Here is a highlight of some of the advantages of this form of eating pattern in your intermittent fasting guide:
- Linked with improved brain functioning
Research suggests that intermittent fasting is associated with improved brain structure, neuroplasticity, and cognitive functioning. This lays the foundation for improved learning. It also keeps your brain young.
Mark Mattson, Chief of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging and Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, points out the potential role of IF in slashing off the risk of degenerative brain diseases.
Good for heart health
Not only is IF responsible for weight loss but it also boosts metabolic functioning. Moreover, it protects against numerous diseases. A study connects intermittent fasting with improved cardiovascular health. The same study considers IF good for an increased life expectancy.
Protects against diseases
IF helps you to bring your weight digits down without the traditional calorie restricting diet plans. It offers greater flexibility in combating the stubborn kilos. In this regard, William Yancy, MD, director for the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, says, “They don’t want to think about dieting every day of the week, they lose motivation after a certain period of time of restricting calories.”
Works in the long haul
Unlike most of the diet plans, this pattern of eating works long term. It helps you to get rid of fat without any worry of putting weight back again. A study compared IF and a traditional diet plan. The study found out that both the methods of losing weight were equally triumphant in reducing body mass index (BMI) and blood lipids in obese people.
However, it ended up concluding the people who practiced IF were able to minimize weight gain even after the lapse of one year.
In a nutshell, intermittent fasting is a potential way to reduce weight. It helps you to not only effectively cut weight but also helps to maintain the lost weight in the long run. Therefore, there are no haunting memories of the calories that you lose. Not to forget, IF exhibits several health benefits too.