Along with juicing, the keto diet and affordable leggings, another big trend that has picked up popularity in the last few years is Intermittent Fasting. We will get into the specifics shortly, but essentially intermittent fasting is when you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.
And adopting or trying this method can be difficult at first, especially if like me, you grew up thinking you need 3 meals and 2 snacks per day with no more than 3-4 hours apart to keep the metabolism working all day long.
Now things have shifted and new studies are showing just how beneficial Intermittent Fasting can be to your health and body.
What is it?
First things first, consult your doctor before starting any new diet and exercise regime to be sure it’s suitable for you.
Second, even though intermittent fasting is the blanket term for this type of dieting, there are actually many different variations.
For daily intermittent fasters, the main goal is to aim for at least a 10-16 hour fasting window everyday (12 hours is common). But you still need to get in your allotted calories for the day, you just have a smaller time window to do it in!
- Fasting Time: 16 hours
- Fasting Period : 7pm- 11am
- Eating Period: 11am-7pm
This type of fasting is said to help turn fat stores into energy, which then can release ketones into the bloodstream and help encourage weight loss.
Here is a list of some of the other most common intermittent fasting schedules:
- 12 hour fast (ex. 6pm-6am)
- 16 hour fast (ex. 6pm-10am)
- Alternate Day fasting (You can either eat no solid food or allow up to 500 calories on fasting days)
- 5:2 (Eat for 5 days, allow 500-600 calories on your 2 fasting days)
- Weekly 24 hour fast
Or you can try just skipping meals first until you’re ready for longer fasts!
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Besides helping to turn fat stores into energy, what can intermittent fasting do for the body?
Well surprisingly, this type of dieting can affect our bodies on a hormonal level too. While the body is fasting it initiates cellular repair processes and helps to change hormone levels making fat more accessible. It can lower insulin levels and actually help to increase the levels of human growth hormone, leading to burning more fat and even muscle gain.
These hormone changes can also help facilitate weight loss because short term fasting can actually help increase your metabolic rate by 3-14% helping you burn more calories daily. And some studies have even shown it can actually cause 3-8% weight loss over 3-24 weeks, many people losing 4-7% of their waist circumference.
Lastly intermittent fasting is said to even be good for your brain too! It can help to reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, reduce blood sugar levels and even insulin resistance. Fasting can help to keep the cells repairing themselves and hormones balanced.
Overall intermittent fasting is just a way to cycle periods of eating and fasting. The amount of time allotted for both is completely up to you and what fits your lifestyle best.
Some say you can be a little more lenient with the actual food you’re eating because you’re also fasting. But you can’t just eat fast food/processed food and expect your body to run perfectly. It is still important to opt for healthier options and be mindful of your caloric intake. And like any diet there will be harder days in the beginning, but in time your body will adapt to its new feeding schedule and the benefits will start coming!