Intermittent Fasting

There is more and more discussion happening around intermittent fasting. It’s something I am curious about but up until now I didn’t know much about it. I do know the basics. Fasting means you don’t eat. There is more to it than that. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. While it is called a form of dieting by some it’s more of an eating pattern. I don’t think anyone will be shocked to know that humans can actually survive if a meal or three are missed. The other big point is that it’s actually good for us to do that.

Digesting food is a resource intensive process. Giving it a break from time-to-time means that the resources normally used to break down the food we’ve ingested can be used for other processes, such as healing an injury. One of the other benefits is that when we fast our bodies adjust hormones levels to make stored fat more accessible resulting in weight loss. Also, by fasting we’re eating fewer calories and that, as we know, contributes to weight loss as well.

There are several methods of fasting. The thing to remember is fasting is meant to be a pattern of eating. It’s a process that needs to be experimented with to find the combination that works best for you. Here are 3 methods:

  • 16/8: This involves consuming food during an 8-hour period and then fasting for the remaining 16 hours each day. Depending on when you have breakfast this is kind of like not snacking after dinner.

  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This is a day of fasting once or twice a week for 24 hours. 

  • 5:2: With this method food intake is minimized to 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but then eating as you normally would for the other 5 days.

Those 3 methods are only suggestions. If fasting is something that you’re interested in try starting slowly and keep a journal on how you are feeling throughout the fasting period. It is important to be careful when reducing caloric intake, and it’s not for everyone. If you’re going to try the 24 hour fast pick a day when your activity is lower than on days when you’re planning to do a large amount of physical movements. No matter which method you try you have to hydrate. It’s best to do that with water. I’ve read that coffee and tea are okay if there’s no sugar added. If I have coffee without food you will find me on the moon, so personally, I would avoid that option. Fresh lemon in water sounds good though.

There may be side effects caused by fasting that our bodies may adapt to after a month or so. They are:

  • Hunger

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

Once again, don’t do anything that doesn’t feel good to you. There’s nothing wrong with starting with skipping a meal or two and progressing from there.

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