Intermittent fasting, if done correctly, can help you a great deal in losing weight faster while maintaining an ideal body composition for you at the same time.
When I first heard of intermittent fasting methods for weight loss, I thought it to be just another fad diet that people preach these days to meet their weight loss goals.
Initially, I thought of this diet to be utterly crazy, because, come on! Who stays hungry for 12, 14, 16, 18 or even 24 hours and then feast on 3 complete meals or whatever suits you for a day and then go back to fasting.
But, surprisingly, I was so wrong. This intermittent fasting thing actually works and is far from being a stupid uncomfortable fad diet. Also, there are several scientific underpinnings that have proven the efficacy of intermittent fasting in helping lose weight. Though it is neither a secret formula nor a holy blessing to shed those unwanted kilos or make you look younger forever, it can still be the safest natural way to lose weight effectively.
Intermittent fasting, if done correctly, can help you a great deal in losing weight faster while maintaining an ideal body composition for you at the same time. With this article you will get a clear idea of what exactly intermittent fasting for weight loss is, how it works and what are its benefits on your overall health. Read on to get all your queries sorted:
What is Intermittent Fasting?
If put in simple terms, intermittent fasting is a kind of eating pattern, wherein a person fasts for a specific period of time and then eats for another. There are three most common approaches that a person can follow when it comes to ‘how to do intermittent fasting’, which are, once a week per month, 24 hour fast and a daily 16/8 or 20/4 intermittent fast, depending on the comfort level of an individual.
The 24 hour routine of intermittent fasting diet plan doesn’t allows an individual to drink or eat anything. The exceptions to this routine include drinking water, green tea or some Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) during the 24 hour period. Once the 24 hour period is over, an individual is allowed take regular meals.
The second intermittent fasting schedule of 16/8 or 20/4 hours doesn’t allow an individual to eat or drink anything for either 16 hours or 20 hours depending on the routine they are following, once that period is over, they are allowed take meals during their 8 hours and 4 hours period.
However, having meals doesn’t mean that you are allowed to gorge on all sorts of processed foods, animal products and desserts. Your diet should be very much nutritionally balanced because then only intermittent fasting results will prove to be an effective weight loss system.
Beginner’s Guide To Intermittent Fasting- How Intermittent Fasting Works?
To understand how exactly intermittent fasting works for weight loss, first you need to understand the difference between the fasted state and the fed state, which are the two most important parts of this weight loss diet.
Your body enters the fed state when it starts absorbing and digesting all the food you have eaten. The fed state begins as soon you start eating and it continues for next 3 to 5 hours depending in how long your body takes to digest the food. Once your body enters the fed state it becomes difficult for it to burn fat because of the increased levels of insulin.
Once the fed state is over, your body slips into post absorptive state, which means during this time it is not processing any kind of meal and this state lasts for 8 to 12 hours starting from the time you have taken your last meal. This is the time when your body enters the fasted state and it becomes easier for it burn the fat because of low levels of insulin. During the fasted state your body can effectively burn the fat, which it was unable to due to inaccessibility during the fed state.
Because our body takes close to 8 hours to enter the fasted state, which in simple terms is the best time to burn fat effectively, it is believed that intermittent fasting diet plan helps in healthy weight loss.
People who engage themselves in intermittent fasting experience healthy and effective weight loss without making much changes to their eating pattern like what they eat, how much they eat or even how often they workout.
Intermittent fasting puts your body into the fat burning state, fasted state, which is difficult to enter while maintaining your regular eating schedule. Thus, following intermittent fasting helps in losing weight effectively and naturally.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Fat loss is not the only reason for which you should consider opting for intermittent fasting for effective weight loss. While it is one of the major aspects of this diet, there are other intermittent fasting benefits for body building as well, like:
- Intermittent fasting changes the way your genes, hormones and the function of various other body cells works.
- It helps in loosing stubborn belly fat and fat from other problem areas easily as it breaks down fat by boosting your metabolic rate and also reducing the amount of food you eat.
- It reduces insulin resistance by lowering the blood sugar levels, thus, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Inflammation and oxidative damage to the body caused due to stress can be reduced with intermittent fasting.
- Studies have shown that intermittent fasting helps in promoting good heart health.
- Various cellular repair processes are also induced with effective and stringently followed intermittent fasting.
- Intermittent fasting may help in preventing life threatening diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, while benefiting your brain with the growth of new neurons.
How To Include Intermittent Fasting In Your Daily Diet
While there are different ways to include an intermittent fasting schedule in your daily diet, the popular 16/8 hour intermittent diet is the best way to begin with it.
The basic principle of this kind of intermittent fasting for weight is to have 16 hour fasting period and 8 hour feeding period. The easiest way to follow this principle is to start your fasting period from 9:00 PM and continue it until 1:00 PM on next day. Include exercising in your routine around the noon time, which will include consumption of around 10gms of BCAAs during exercise only. After training, when your fasting period gets over around 1:00 PM, target to have 2-3 large meals before 9:00 PM; wherein your biggest meal for the feeding period will become just after your training session.
However, there are some basic principles to this kind of fasting that one should follow, which includes:
- Include high on protein diet, which can be a mix of meat, poultry and fish along with fresh vegetables in plenty during your 8 hour feeding window.
- Intense resistance training 3 times a week before your first meal should be a part of your intermittent fasting plan if you wish to get desires results.
- Maintain a healthy carbohydrates cycle in your diet by including carbs in the form of quinoa, rice, whole grain, etc. in your base diet of protein and veggies on training days only.
After so much of information on intermittent fasting I think intermittent fasting can be an effective and ideal natural way to lose weight that too without making much changes to your daily lifestyle.