The origin of fasting dates back to many centuries ago when man didn’t have enough food to eat. This led to going for long periods without food.
Intermittent fasting is a method of fasting in which a person goes for some time with little or no food intake at various time intervals.
Weight loss is the reduction in the total body mass of a living organism. Of all creatures on Earth, humans are more focused on weight loss therapies which have proved effective over the years.
Intermittent fasting is one of the ways weight loss can be achieved. It has been beneficial in improving animal health too. Results will only be seen when the person chooses a particular style of intermittent fasting and sticks to it.
Classification of Intermittent Fasting
1. Time-restricted intermittent fasting
Time-restricted intermittent fasting involves going without food for a specific time frame in a day. For example, deciding to fast between 10 am and 4 pm each day. This means you will take your meals outside the fasting window.
The 16/8 method is a type of time-restricted intermittent fasting that involves staying away from food for 16 hours in a day, and then eating meals between the remaining 8-hour window.
The warrior diet is also another type of time-restricted intermittent fasting. Here, the individual takes meals during a 4-hour window each day. The remaining 20 hours are used as the fasting period. The warrior diet was coined from the lives of warriors.
2. Whole-day intermittent fasting
Whole-day fasting requires a person to skip meals for the whole day. An example of whole-day fasting is the 5–2 method. In this method, meals are skipped two days every week while the individual gets to eat on the remaining five days of the week. A maximum of 600 calories should be taken in days when the person doesn’t fast.
3. Alternate-day fasting
In alternate-day intermittent fasting, a person decides to abstain from meals from Thursday to Saturday. They eat foods with low calories on the remaining days.
Eat Stop Eat is an example of alternate-day intermittent fasting propounded by Brad Pilon. It involves identifying two days a week to skip meals. The days chosen should be done consecutively.
Tips to Succeed in Intermittent Fasting
Just like there are rules to follow in life, progress can only be noticed in a person’s weight loss journey if the following points are adhered to.
- Stick to one method: It does your body no good if you continuously switch from one type of intermittent fasting to the other. The time that would have been spent getting used to one plan is wasted.
- Eat healthily: A person who has decided to embark on intermittent fasting should ensure that they eat nutritious meals during periods when they have to consume food. A meal plan can be prepared. This is helpful if you don’t want to be bothered about food-making decisions.
- Be consistent: Anyone who spends a specific time learning a skill daily will reap the benefits in no distant time. Anyone who sticks to one intermittent fasting plan and is steadfast with it will notice progress in their weight loss journey.
Steps to Follow for intermittent fasting
1. See your doctor
Before sticking to any intermittent fasting plan, endeavour to visit a healthcare professional to give the go-ahead. This is because some individuals have medical conditions that can prevent them from doing so.
2. Have a goal
This is what you aim to achieve with intermittent fasting. Do you want to engage in intermittent fasting to lose weight or improve your general health?
3. Choose an intermittent fasting plan
Once your doctor has given the go-ahead to embark on intermittent fasting, you can now select your preferred intermittent fasting plan. The choice should be made based on your schedule as you don’t want to be fasting during peak hours at your workplace or business.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The benefits of intermittent fasting are numerous and they include:
1. It helps the body to shed extra body fat, thereby leading to weight loss.
2. It enhances general body metabolism.
3. It improves your diet as a reduction is seen in the number of calories consumed by a person.
4. It is useful for weight lifters and wrestlers who want to lose body fat and build their muscles.
5. It helps to improve medical conditions associated with inflammation e.g. arthritis.
6. It reduces the risk associated with getting cancer, diabetes, and other ailments.
7. It improves the function of your genes and hormones.
8. It helps to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
9. It helps the body to repair worn-out body tissues and cells.
10. It improves the functionality of the brain.
Who Should Not Do Intermittent Fasting?
Persons under the age of 18 and pregnant women should not engage in intermittent fasting. Patients in the hospital and those trying to conceive a child should not engage in intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is very effective in weight loss, but it should be accompanied by the right meal plan, consistency, and patience. Intermittent fasting should be done with caution to prevent dehydration and other health concerns.