If you are trying to lose weight, chances are you have come across a few of the multiple theories out there. I still recall my first seminar on weight loss in 2014 where it was broken down to the basics
Calories burned Calories gained= Weight loss
The same principles apply till date however there have been different versions and so today, we would discuss one which has worked best for me through the years.
I got involved in intermittent fasting in 2019 after signing up to an online weight loss blog and I decided to give it a go and have never looked back Intermittent fasting is by definition a brief time period during which you refrain from eating or drinking. It permits a few exceptions like water, tea,coffee, and bone broth. Intermittent fasting should not be confused with starvation or calorie restriction.
It is simply shorting your time window of eating. Intermittent fasting gives your body a break from the stress of digestion thus saving energy that could be diverted to other aspects that are important like cellular repair and fighting oxidative stress.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Apart from having more energy to boost body processes on a molecular level, it also helps with the following:
Reducing stress and inflammation
It tends to reduce blood pressure, reducing cholesterol; it also manages blood sugar by normalizing insulin sensitivity
And finally, it makes you feel good and generally increases your sense of wellbeing.
What are the popular ways of intermittent fasting?
We would discuss the most popular ones out there but to be clear, you can make it whatever you want as long as you give your body a break from food.
The 16/8 method involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours and restricting your daily eating window to -10 hours. You could fit in a meal or 2 within the 8hr window and ensure you fast for the remaining 16 hours. This method is also known as the Leangains protocol and was popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan.
It has been my preferred method as it is easy to adapt, very practical with a few cases of relapse once started. I currently use this method though I did adjust it a little to suit my work and I would encourage you to do the same.
The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days of the week while restricting your calorie intake to 500-600 for 2 days of the week. This diet is also called the Fast Diet and was popularized by British journalist Michael Mosley. On the fasting days, it is recommended that women eat 500 calories and men 600.
For example, you might eat normally every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays. For those two days, you eat 2 small meals of 250 calories each for women and 300 calories each for men
Eat Stop Eat involves a 24-hour fast once or twice per week
This method was popularized by fitness expert Brad Pilon and has been quite popular for a few years. By fasting from dinner one day to dinner the next day, this amounts to a full 24-hour fast
For example, if you finish dinner at 7 p.m. Monday and do not eat until dinner at 7 p.m. the next day,You have completed a full 24-hour fast. You can also fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch with the end result is the same. This gives much flexibility and shows our favourite meal we tend to never give up. To make it easier, water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages are allowed during the fast, but no solid foods are permitted.
Alternate day fasting
In alternate-day fasting, you fast every other day. There are several different versions of this method.
Some of them allow about 500 calories during the fasting days.
Many studies show health benefits of intermittent fasting used some version of this method. I tried this for a few months with significant results but sadly it was not for me as I struggled after 2 weeks with the low-calorie days. I could not really get much variety with meals and I realized I turned really gloomy on my fast days
While intermittent fasting is not new, the trend is beginning to gather more attention. This list is not exhaustive as there are others you could try and people would come up with more variations Nevertheless, the principle remains the same and it would always involve fasting for a period while your body heals itself. I am currently getting on my 6th month and I feel much better and shed a few pounds.
Please remember it should never be a burden and should be considered a lifestyle and habit