Have you ever been curious about intermittent fasting, but didn’t quite know where to start? Intermittent fasting, also referred to just simply as “IF,” this form of eating has become a very popular trend in the health industry. This form of fasting may help you lose weight, since your body must use stored glucose for energy when in a fasted state, burning off the fat that you already have. It is also great to give your body a rest from digestion, allowing the body to heal itself. What is interesting to note is that intermittent fasting is NOT a diet, but rather a scheduled pattern of eating.
What do I mean by a pattern? Well, with intermittent fasting, you schedule your meals so that there is a vacant period of time where your body is not being fueled. During this time, usually 3–5 hours after you last ate, your body is better able to burn fat when your insulin levels are lower.
This doesn’t mean that you have to eat less food or only certain foods. This way of eating doesn’t put extreme limits on what you eat, it simply provides guidelines of when. However, this form of eating typically results in eating fewer calories which may aid in the weight loss process.
Three of the Different Types of Intermittent Fasting
- 16:8 Method
With this method of eating, you fast for 16 hours, and then consume all of your calories within the 8 hour period. You are free to set a time that works for you to stop and start your fast. You may also choose to do this every day or a couple of days of the week.
- Alternate Day Method
This form of fasting is a little bit more intense. For example, you would eat your last meal on Monday evening, and not eat again until Tuesday evening, but then eat all day on Wednesday. With this pattern of eating, it allows you to have at least one big meal a day and then spend the alternate day re-fueling completely. However, with this way of eating comes the risk of not consuming enough calories to properly sustain your body’s needs.
- 5:2 Method
With this form of IF, you eat your normal caloric intake for 5 days out of the week, and for 2 you restrict your eating to only about 500–600 calories. Although there are few studies showing the benefits of this method, you may notice that your digestion is running smoother with two days of “off” time from breaking down food.
Whichever method you decide is ultimately right for you, keep in mind that this is not a diet. It is meant to be a way of living, and a pattern to implement into your life in the long run. Some of its great benefits include weight loss, and time for your body to repair the GI tract. If you are someone that struggles with low blood sugar, among other conditions, fasting could be a dangerous thing to add to your day, so please consult a medical professional before making these changes.