I'm going to assume that you are familiar with intermittent fasting from Instagram, Pinterest or general chit chat. People of all varities of life outside bodybuilding are looking to intermittent fasting for health benefits and not just to get shredded.
If you don't know what it is, it's time restricted eating.
In this brief article I'm going to cover the most common questions about this type of fasting. It's not so much a diet, but a timed approach to eating. In all actuality you can eat the same amount of calories with this approach, as opposed to eating 3 square meals a day with a few snacks.
Intermittent fasting is also easier to follow than calorie restrictive diets.
As promised here's an overview so you can see if eating or fasting intermittently can benefit you.
Intermittent fasting, sometimes called intermittent energy restriction, is a very broad umbrella term for a variety of meal timing cycles that cycle from voluntary fasting to non-fasting over a period of days or weeks. The difference is in the eating plan and when it is implemented. This may seem like a complicated topic but it really isn't.
Here's a few examples of intermittent fasting schedules which will give you a broad view of what you can jump in on.
There are several basic questions that often come up during fasting programs. These may be more for the person doing the program than they are for the person asking the questions. The first question is how long does intermittent fasting take? Most people will want to know this at the beginning and after the first few weeks because it's usually a difficult phase for many.
The answer is as long as it takes! If you mean how many hours between meals it can be quite flexible. You can eat in the morning and then snack until 8pm that evening. Or you can eat nothing until the afternoon, it depends what works for you.
Look at the chart above and you will see there are many ways you can approach this. Many roads to Rome and all that, just pick one that fits you.
No Long Term Commitments
Here's the thing with intermittent fasting there are no commitments for staying on this type of eating for the long term. You can do it for a while and then quit when you start to feel the benefits. You may for instance have to travel or go to a new job and you can't fit this approach to eating in.
Try starting with a fast and only doing it on alternate days. Or you may want to only apply it on a few or even one day a week. Then there are individuals who like it so much they want to follow this model for the long haul, as long as possible.
What kind of person are you? Pick something that suits you. No eating plan can last if you can't do it regularly. The one that suits you is the best option for you. If you're a harcore every day person do that.
If you are an every other day type of guy and gal, choose that. If not try it one to two days per week. If you like it you can always add more days. There is no right way!
Whate Are the Benefits of IF?
- It may increase your lifespan as eating intermittently offers a lot of the weight loss and health benefits provided by general dieting.
- It's much easier to implenent than strict crash dieting which ironically can cause your weight to yo-yo- i.e. you lose it fast and put it back on even faster as you cannot cope with the extreme diet plan. Sound familiar?
- It does generally appear to be safer for reducing obesity than extreme dieting and one of the main benefits is a higher quality of life and a massively decreased risk of cardiac arrest brought on by a higher body mass index, that is to say being grossly over weight.
- IF can balance the scales by keeping your weight in check. Done right you can apply this technique and reign it in once you are comfortable with your body weight. Once you start back on the slippery slope you can up the ante and get your weight back under control again.
- A little goes a long way, adopt it 1-2 days a week or even perform a partial fast on a few days and keep your weight and health on the positive side
So is there an exact Frequency With Intermittent Fasting?
Next you'll want to establish the frequency of your fasting schedule. Daily, every second day, once a week? It's up to you.
There are some people who are strictly diet, some are just trying to lose a little weight and some are doing a combination of diet and intermittent fasting. So you can leave space between each meal and also cut down your portion sizes. It really depends on you and how you want to achieve your goals. Is it health, or weight loss,or a combination of the two.
After the fasting break if you are mainly doing it to lose weight you should bring the food back in slowly. It can be time for a snack. Just a small portion of healthy foods is fine. You want to make sure that you still get the nutrition that you are getting during the fasting phase and you don't oveload your stomach by eating a stodgy heavy meal after a long time without eating.
The main benefit of fasting is that it allows your body to adjust to a new eating plan. It is also a natural weight loss process.
What Are The Drawbacks To Fasting?
Fasting can cause some damage to your health. If you are not used to fasting you may experience headaches, nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea and others. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems fasting can put them at risk.
Fasting can be very stressful and unhealthy for you physically. If you do not sleep enough or exercise enough your body will burn calories faster. So you are probably looking at a few hours of insomnia or exhaustion each day.
Fasting can produce bad breath. If you don't drink enough water you could end up with a bad smelling breath. Fasting also can give your skin a dull gray color.
The main benefit of fasting is to lose weight. You do lose weight, but it may take several weeks to see the full results. So there are some drawbacks to this method.
Another problem which is common among people is that their body can experience weight gain after they stop consuming solid foods. This is due to the fact that there is a drop in the amount of calories that are required to maintain your body's energy requirements.
Your body goes into emergency mode and battens down the hatches. It slows your metabolism down as it thinks you are starving to death. During this phase the prime focus of your body is to keep the blod and nutrients flowing to all the essential organs, so your meatabolism slows down to cope with this.
A slow metabolism can be a primary cause for obesity, and generally when you want to lose weight a fast metanolism is the perfect environment. This is why it is important to maintain your body's normal food intake so as not to suffer from this effect. And if you want to lose weight adopt an exercise program that involves HIIT to boost your metabolism is a safe and efficient manner.
HIIT sessions are also fast and short on time, so they are the perfect weapon for anyone just starting an intermittent fasting eating plan.
One of the most important things to remember about intermittent fasting is that it requires a lot of discipline. You must have a strict diet to follow and you must stick with it, no matter what.
With all of that being said there are other methods for losing weight. But, fasting is a good way to achieve weight loss and health. So, if you are serious about your health and want to lose weight and live a longer life then do it for at least three months at least.
If you are serious about changing your life and improving your health then you should consider intermittent fasting.
If you just want to lose weight or improve your overall health with intermittent fasting there are also short term health benefits. Your cholesterol will be lower than if you were consuming junk food all day long. This is because the food is burnt off quickly.
Fat levels will also be lower, since the body will not be storing any of it as excess fat. Your energy levels will increase, which means you will be more active. You'll also lose weight very easily and see more benefits from intermittent fasting.