Intermittent fasting is not a type of diet. It’s fundamentally a way to lose weight fast by skipping meals while making sure you maintain a healthy intake of nutrients. Many Orientals look upon fasting as a legitimate way of losing weight, although intermittent fasting is not as severe as this. You can still eat, but only at certain times. It does not mean that, for example, you fast (eat nothing) for two days and then eat for two days.
All sorts of studies have shown that a significant calorie reduction can help promote a longer, healthier life while you lose weight. During the 1930s, such studies were restricted to non-humans such as monkeys, mice, fruit flies and worms. In fact, studies have indicated that by reducing calorie content by a third and over can result in a longer life – by a third or more. Some also believe that such fasting can improve your body’s use of insulin, meaning that it reduces your feelings of hunger.
Different Forms of Intermittent Fasting
There are several ways of fasting in a way that helps you gain such benefits. You should choose the way that suits you best; a way that suits your type of lifestyle. Choosing one at random may not work for you. Here are some options open to you should you decide to try fasting as a means of losing weight and becoming healthier.
If you have a health condition, then make sure you let your doctor or physician know what you intend doing. Discuss it and he or she may suggest one of those below as being most suitable for your condition. You should be clear in your mind why you want to lose weight. For most people it is to lose weight. This means losing body fat as a priority. For others it is to build muscle. In this case exercising your muscle groups is important rather than simply losing weight (or fat!)
Here are some forms of intermittent fasting that can help, whatever your ultimate objective is. They are fundamentally no more than selecting when to fast and when to eat. Here is one popular method of intermittent fasting that many find it easy to stick to.
Lose Weight by Fasting then Eating
You can lose weight if you fast for so many hours each day then eat the rest of the time. So, for example, fast for 14 hours (say 2200 – noon next day). That way, most of your fasting time is when you are asleep – that makes it easier for beginners to intermittent fasting to stick to the routine. Then, from noon to 2200 you eat what you like. So, fundamentally you are skipping late evening supper and breakfast.
If you exercise while you are doing this, then you should find you will lose weight fast until all the excess water and fat are lost from your body. Keep this up until you have achieved your goal (e.g. specific weight, strength or BMI) and then maintain a good diet and exercise program to ensure you do not lose the benefits you have gained.
Keep your protein intake high and also eat carbohydrate-rich foods on days you are exercising hard. Fatty foods can be kept for when you exercising less or resting. When you do eat, try to avoid processed foods. Unprocessed meats (steak, pork, lamb, fish) are best, with fish and lean beef or steak on exercise days and pork and other fatty meats on rest days.
Yes, that may seem strange but intermittent fasting of this kind works best that way. No sugars, candies or cookies. You can take protein shakes if you have no time to take a meal during this program. The above foods are a guide only – you can actually eat whatever you want during the eating period. These suggestions keep your meals healthy.
24 Hour Fasting Method
Fast for a full day – 24 hours – twice a week. You can start with once a week until you get used to it. Drink only beverages with no calories, such as black coffee or water. Then eat as normal for 3-4 days before you fast again! You will get best results if you start eating normally after a fast rather than stuffing yourself with cakes, cookies and ice cream!
Forget you had the fast and start eating meals you would normally eat if you had not fasted for the previous day. This way of intermittent fasting reduces your total calorie intake. If you find it impossible to eat nothing the first time you try this program, then eat a little to keep the pangs away. Make up for it by eating a bit less when you come off. Next time round for fasting, try to go the whole way with eating nothing. You will appreciate your food all the more when you come off the fasting day.
Why 24 Hour Intermittent Fasting Works
Some people prefer this method of intermittent fasting for the enjoyment they have of eating again. They feel that they really appreciate what they are eating rather than it just being another meal. In fact, a few decide to make this their permanent way of eating. It is how their ancestors would have eaten – a day finding no food at all, and then a few days after finding a huge auroch (the prehistoric versions of cattle).
Your body will eventually adjust to this way of intermittent fasting. One major benefit is that no foods are taboo! You can eat anything you want and still lose weight. You may initially get headaches and perhaps feel tired. Once you get used to it, however, you will find it increasingly easier to stick to. An important aspect of this type of fasting is not to overdo the eating, and go on a binge once the fasting day is over. If you do that, then forget the benefits!
Partial Intermittent Fasting
This method of fasting is best for those who have found it impossible to stick to one of the options above. Many people cannot go one meal without eating let alone a whole day! With partial intermittent fasting, you eat as little as you can on day 1 and then whatever you like on day 2 and so on. Try each cycle top cut back on Day 1 ads eat fewer cakes and cookies on day 2.
Although not strictly fasting, this method will lead you into eventually being able to fast for the allotted time using one of the two methods explained above. Some people take longer than others to adapt to periods without food. This is a great way for you to lose weight, but only if you work towards eating nothing for at least 12 hours each day.
Here’s how it works: Eat only a small amount on day 1 and eat normally on day 2. Continue like this. When you eat little, consume just 20% or one fifth of the calories you eat normally. A normal calorie consumption is around 2,000 per day for women and 2,500 for men. So cut that to 400 and 500 respectively.
Calorie Charts: Here are two calorie charts you can use: the second is more comprehensive than the first which gives a good general guide:
This is a fairly easy program to follow. It will be even easier if you plan your calorie-controlled days in advance. You then have time to make sure you have all the foods you need ready at home. An important aspect of this form of “fasting which is not really fasting” is not to binge eat on your ‘normal’ days. Eat as normal so that your 20% day works properly for you.
Lose Weight With One-Meal Fasting
Another way of fasting intermittently is to eat just one meal daily. Eat one large meal each night, and just some fresh fruit and fruit juice during the day. A little lean protein can also be eaten if you wish, such as the white meat of chicken or a little white fish such as haddock or cod. A protein shake can alternatively be used.
By eating at night, your body can recuperate with a good supply of carbohydrate and protein. Do not gorge yourself or you will lose the benefit. Your body will burn fat during the day to make up for any fat gained overnight.
The best types of food to begin with are protein, vegetables and a small amount of fat. Add carbohydrates such as bread, rice or pasta if you still feel hungry. You can lose weight rapidly and healthily using this method if you don’t try to cheat.
Intermittent Fasting: Conclusion
Intermittent fasting works well for many people wanting to lose weight or build muscle but is not for everybody. Work through the various methods above until you find one that suits you. Everybody is different and what suits one may not suit another, so don’t get disheartened if you cannot stick to the ‘Fast Then Eat’ method. Try the next, or even devise your own intermittent fasting system.
Such eating strategies are designed to enable your body to burn off excess fat during the fasting period, without the eating period putting too much on. Keep checking your weight and if you find one method helps you lose weight quickest then persist with it until you achieve your objective. Some even find they can develop that style of eating as a way of life that keeps them fit, trim and healthy.