With the holidays around the corner, many people are already thinking of the new year. Specifically, they are thinking of everyone’s favorite New Year’s resolution: to try to shake the holiday weight with a better diet and exercise. But what if all you needed was a different way of eating?
Intermittent fasting is more than another health trend. It’s a way to quickly shed pounds by making a few simple lifestyle changes. Here is the ultimate beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
This intermittent fasting guide will walk you through the entire process. First, though, you must understand what intermittent fasting is all about.
And really, the whole meaning is right there in the name. “Fasting” means not eating and “intermittent” means doing something sporadically. Therefore, “intermittent fasting” is about fasting, but the “fasting” part is relatively short (no one is starving for a few weeks in a desert with this plan).
If you’re wondering how to do intermittent fasting, all you do is selectively skip meals so that you are taking longer breaks between eating. And there are multiple ways to get started.
Different Ways to Try It
Curious about how to start intermittent fasting? Here are several techniques, so you can find the one that works for you.
The most common is a 16/8 pattern. That means that you are only eating within an 8-hour window and fasting for the other 16 hours of the day.
That may sound extreme, but it mostly boils down to skipping breakfast and then not eating past dinner (no midnight snacks). So, someone might eat dinner at 8:00 pm and not eat anything else until 12:00 pm of the following day. And don’t worry — coffee doesn’t count, so you can still grab a cup of joe in the morning.
A more extreme version of intermittent fasting is to skip two meals and take a 24-hour break from eating. However, unlike the 16/8 plan, you can only do this variation every so often.
Of course, you can do the 16/8 thing just a few times a week. Or you can adjust the intervals and turn it into a 20/4 plan. Either way, you should be able to quickly see results.
Why Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss?
Intermittent fasting is often cited as a great way to quickly lose weight. What, then, makes this such a good method for that goal?
On the most basic level, you’ll be consuming fewer calories. If you skip breakfast and cut midnight snacks, it’s easy to ditch 500 or more calories per day. That adds up in terms of weight loss.
Some studies suggest you’ll burn more fat efficiently when you exercise while fasting. This is because your body will start using stored fat for energy when it doesn’t have any glucose and glycogen from food.
Finally, you will still be fasting while you sleep. In this state, your body will continue to burn fat more efficiently… all without you getting out of bed!
Other Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The obvious benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss. But are there any other benefits to be aware of?
Regularly fasting can help you to lower cholesterol levels. It can also improve your blood pressure. Finally, you are likely to enjoy a better night’s sleep and even a longer lifespan.
Ultimately, intermittent fasting offers an amazing number of benefits on top of improving weight loss.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
All of these benefits sound good. In fact, they may sound too good to be true. This begs the obvious question: how do we know that intermittent fasting really works?
There have been many studies on mice concerning intermittent fasting. The results continuously point to this being an effective weight-loss method. It is safer and more natural for your body than things like the keto diet (which has concerned many doctors in the past).
What Is the Intermittent Fasting Diet?
Speaking of keto, many confuse intermittent fasting with a number of gimmick diets. They end up asking what specialized diet they must use whenever they eat.
However, that’s the beauty of intermittent fasting: there is no special diet. Within that limited window, you can eat more or less whatever you want. No need to skip carbs or other fun stuff!
Obviously, you get better weight loss benefits if you are eating relatively healthy and exercising during this time. But even if your eating is not-so-healthy, fasting regulates your overall calorie consumption and helps wire your brain to eat less each day.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
By now, some of you are still skeptical. You’re probably asking, “what’s the catch?” As it turns out, the biggest “catch” is the same one that comes with most New Year’s resolutions: people losing their commitment.
Some studies have found that about 38% of people who try intermittent fasting end up dropping the idea. Some people wonder if this is evidence that human bodies and minds aren’t ready for fasting as a lifestyle, but others think it’s human nature for many people to drop new fitness trends and go back to their old ways.
There is also a risk that you might end up eating too much on non-fast days (assuming you are not fasting every day). Then again, that’s a risk everyone takes with “cheat days.”
A Health Revolution
Intermittent fasting is more than another trend in the fitness and diet world. This is a revolution in weight loss that allows you to shed those pounds without giving up on carbs or any yummy favorites.
Talk to your doctor to see if intermittent fasting is the right weight-loss choice for you. While it’s not going to be every person’s cup of tea, it may just be the weight-loss miracle you’ve been waiting for!