“Fasting is the first principle of medicine; fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.” –Rumi.
In general, fasting was a common way in the ancient age.
Also, Fasting is a religious ritual for many people with different cultures around the world.
But to the intermittent fast doesn’t mean to starve during the day and at the fed time, I eat any kind of food I like.
I hope that too, but it’s like managing your eating patterns through the day.
In addition, there are many health benefits of fasting based on research from Harvard medical school declared that the more meal manageable you’re during the day the more health benefits you get.
But first, “Why do we eat?“, “Do you really eat only to live?”
Normally, we need food for two reasons:
The first one: to stock our body with needed energy to move, think and breath.
The second one: to maintain our body health by providing essential nutrients.
And to be honest, nowadays, we relate our hunger with the current situation more than to our stomach needs.
Most of the time we use food as a temporary healing solution or a celebrating material, not because we’re hungry.
We lately become addicted to food on any occasion, for entertainment, for an awkward situation, even in our free time, we probably choose to eat.
In addition, the majority of the diet plans focus on the number of calories while the intermittent diet plan focuses on changing the way you depend on food that leads you to lose weight and preserve our health jointly.
Warning: The intermittent fasting diet is unlikely for:
- Pregnant women.
- Breastfeeding women.
- Someone who suffer from eating disorders or underweight.
- Body with low fats.
- Children under 8 years old.
- People with type 1 diabetes
- Someone recovering from surgery.
What’s the intermittent fasting diet?
The intermittent fasting diet is to eat your daily meal and snacks for a certain time and fast for the remain hours of the day.
So, this diet won’t tell you what to eat and what to eliminate. It will help you to adjust your daily eating manner.
This diet is practical comparing to another kind of diet, you can plan it based on your own time schedule.
It’s up to you if you want to do it on a workday or on the weekend only ( 2 times a week ). There are so many ways to do it.
Thus, if you would like to eat for 8 hours and fast for the remaining 16 hours start eating at 12 pm for 8 hours you’ll skip breakfast the next day or if you would like to eat in the early morning you’ll have to skip dinner.
There are many types of intermittent fasting diet, but here are the most common methods for beginners:
Types of intermittent fasting diet
1- Lean-gains or 16:8 method
If you’re a beginner in the intermittent fasting diet then choose the 16:8 methods.
This type consists of spending 16 hours of fasting while eating for 8 hours only per day.
Gladly that we sleep around 8 hours per day so it’ll be easier for you to fast for 16, half of the time while you’re sleeping.
Choose any 8 hours that suits you during the day, but take in consideration that’s a diet plan and you should be careful while picking your food.
And the best thing you can do to control your daily meals is to prepare it by yourself.
As usual, you might need to prepare 3 meals and 2 snacks per day by watching the portions and keep the meal full of a variety of nutrient.
Each meal should contain carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables.
The most important part of your day is WATER, every time you feel hungry drink water. It will definitely make you feel full for a longer time.
2- Eat-Stop-Eat method
“If you’re flexible with intermittent fasting, you’ll find a way to make it work, as long as you’re responsible with your eating and not using fasting as an excuse to binge” said by Brad Pilon the founder of Eat- Stop- Eat method.
This method comprises fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week.
Eat- Stop- Eat method give your body a break from food for a whole day.
For example: If you’re planning to eat your dinner at 8:00 pm then you fast for the next 24 hours, and start eating at 8:00 pm the next day.
Usually, try to keep the recommended number of daily calories during your non-fasting time, that means women need around 2000 calories per day and men need around 2500 calories per day and don’t forget to choose your food responsibly without any cheat meal.
Also, pick one or two days to fast that works better for you and don’t try to fast on a consecutive day.
In the beginning, It may sound difficult for some people, you may suffer from moodiness and headache but motivation and self-control will keep you on track. And the symptoms will decrease over time.
3- Alternate day fasting
This method allows you to fast for 24 hours and regular eating for the next 24 hours.
The good thing about this method that’s not a totally fasting, food is allowed in fasting days under one condition, which is to eat only 25% of your daily number of calories.
Means that if you eat 2000 calories on a regular day, on fasting days you eat only 1500 calories.
So, this way you won’t miss your favourite meal but be careful on the non-fasting day, don’t binge.
Always, keep on mind that your aim goal is to lose weight but with different methods.
4- The 5:2 diet
Again, It’s not a totally fasting method.
It assumes that eating fewer calories twice a week will help you to lose weight.
Moreover, those fewer calories should compromise between 500-600 calories twice per week.
If you’re a women 500 calories and men 600 calories per day on the fasting days.
Further, on the non-fasting days, you’re allowed to eat the regular amount of calories.
Once more, keep your eyes on your food choices.
Why pick the intermittent fasting diet?
There are many benefits you can get behind this type of diet for your body and brain function.
- Reduce inflammation.
- Detox your body.
- Improve brain concentration.
- Prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Repair body cells.
- Control blood sugar and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Enhance longevity.
- Boost metabolism.
- Help lose weight quickly.
- Maintain cholesterol level.
- Decrease the risk of heart disease.
- Protect the body from cancer and heart attack.
According to the national health service in the UK, there are health risks behind the intermittent fasting diet.
- Risk of dehydration because you are not getting any fluids from food, so try to keep yourself hydrated during the fasting duration.
- Some short-term side effect like headache, dizziness, lack of sleep, high-stress level.
- May lead some people to eat disorder and binge eating.
- Risk of heartburn, it comes when you’re looking or thinking about foods during your fasting period your stomach start to produce the acid that digests food that may cause heartburn.
- Hormones disruption, that may lead to an irregular menstrual for women or decrease in testosterone for men.
The bottom line
The intermittent fasting diet is a different way to lose weight and boost your overall health while providing your body with the essential nutrients.
In some fasting methods, you can eat your favourite food and losing weight at the same time.
However, there are several fasting methods you can choose between them the one that suits your time schedule.
Also, if you tried one method and it didn’t work with your lifestyle try another and another till you find the optimal method.
Although, this fasting diet not recommended for anyone without a follow-up with a nutritionist or a doctor depending on your health conditions.
In the end, the intermittent fasting diet’s effect differs from one person to another.