Guide to Intermittent Fasting
IF or intermittent fasting is currently one of the most popular weight loss trends around the world. While a lot of people mainly use it to lose weight, IF is also known to improve one’s health and well-being and simplify their lifestyles.
This is your ultimate guide to IF for beginners.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet menu plan like all the others, it is actually an eating pattern that cycles between fasting and eating periods. IF is not strict with specific food to eat, but rather it focuses on WHEN you eat them, thus a diet pattern instead of your traditional diet plan.
The two most common IF methods are the 16-hour fasts everyday and the 24-hour fasts twice a week.
Humans have been practicing fasting since ancient times. Hunter-gatherers did not have the luxury of having refrigerators, supermarkets, or food supplies available all-year -round. There are times when they have difficulty hunting for food. Because of this, humans simply evolved to having the ability to function even without food for long periods of time.
Fasting is actually a more natural pattern than always eating three to four times (or more) a day.
Fasting is also part of a religious tradition of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism, to name a few.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
There are different ways to do intermittent fasting. There will be little to no food intake during fasting periods.
With the 16/8 IF method, fasting period it between 14 to 16 hours and the eating period is between 8 to 10 hours. This is done every day. Within your eating window, you can fit about two or three (even more) meals.
This is also likewise called the Leangains protocol. This was made famous by fitness expert, Martin Berkhan.
This is the simplest and the easiest intermittent fasting methods. It’s as simple as skipping breakfast and not eating anything after dinner.
It is quite flexible too. For instance, your last meal is at 8:00 pm, you will not be eating anything until 12 noon the next day. Technically, you will be fasting for 16 hours. Your eating window will be 8 hours.
Generally, women are advised to fast for 14 to 15 hours only as they are likely to get better results with by doing slighter shorter fasts.
If you are someone who likes to eat breakfast, it will take a long of getting used to if you decide to follow this pattern. On the other hand, breakfast skippers will easily adapt to this method.
You can still drink water, coffee, tea, or other beverages provided they don’t have calories, during the fasting window. Doing so helps curb the hunger pangs.
While there are no restrictions to the food you’ll eat during the eating window, it’s still recommended that meals are healthy – avoiding junk foods and those with too much calories.
This method is ideal for people who work during the day. So you’ll be skipping breakfast. Your first meal would be by 12:00 pm, then you’ll take your last meal before 8:00 pm. Fasting window starts at 8:00 pm up to 12:00 pm the next day. A lot of people find this easier to follow since they will just be sleeping off the fasting window.
5:2 – Twice-a-Week Method
This method focuses on limiting calorie-intake at 500 two days a week. This is also known as the Fast Diet. It was introduced by Michael Mosley, a British journalist.
5:2 means “normal” eating for 5 days, then restricting calorie-intake for 2 days. This is on a weekly basis. For women, the recommended calorie-intake is at 500, while for men is at 600.
For instance, you chose to eat normally everyday of the week expect on Mondays and Thursdays. During the fasting days, you can consume two small meals of 250 to 300 calories each (to get a total of 500 to 600 for two days). It is also important that these two fasting days are not consecutive.
Alternate Day Fasting
For this method, you will fast every other day. The alternate day fasting method has several versions. Some versions allow people to consume approximately 500 calories while fasting.
This is not recommended for beginners because a full day of fasting will be difficult and extreme for them. With alternate day fasting, you go to sleep quite hungry several days a week, which is not a good practice. Nutrition experts say that this method will become unsustainable in the long run.
This method makes you fast for 24 hours once or twice a week. This was made famous by fitness expert Brad Pilon.
Ideally, you’ll be done with your last meal for the day at 7:00 pm Saturday and you won’t consume food until dinner at 7:00 pm the next day. That’s a full 24-hour fast. You can make changes according to what you may be comfortable with, like if you want to make it from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch. The rule is simple – to fast for 24 hours once or twice a week.
While fasting, you will are allowed to drink water or coffee, or other zero-calorie beverages. However, solid food is strictly prohibited.
If you are doing this intermittent fasting method to lose weight, make sure you eat normally during the eating periods. It is important that you eat the same amount of food like you are not following an intermittent fasting pattern at all.
Experts say that the potential disadvantage of going to a full 24-hour fast is that it will be difficult to follow by a lot of people. For beginners, you don’t have to go the full 24 hours during the first few weeks. You may start at 14 to 16 hours fasting then moving your way up from there. A full 24-hour without solid food will be a challenge, especially if you are used to eating 3 to 5 full meals a day.
Intermittent fasting is an effective tool that works for a lot of people who want to lose weight. However it is not for everyone.
These are just some of the most commonly followed intermittent fasting method. It is important to find what best suits your lifestyle.