Intermittent Fasting is a popular way to manage your weight and stay healthy. It is used by normal people, celebrities, and athletes alike. And there are celebrities and athletes who promote it.
First time I did intermittent fasting (IF) it was by mistake on a busy day. I missed two meals that day because I had to much work . You may think that I was lacking energy, but I felt great and I didn’t feel any hunger. I was feeling so great that I was asking myself “what is happening, why do I feel this way?”. Then I remember about an article I have read about IF and I realize that this can be the reason I feel so good.
You can try tomorrow to miss a meal or two and see how you fell.
For your body, it is a normal thing because your body is more adapted to this than you believe. Think about our ancestors! They didn’t have food available throughout the year, they didn’t have supermarkets or fridges. They could not order food like we do. And they had periods of hunger, food shortage, in time of war and they fasted without there will. Or they were fasting because of religious reasons. Things that happen in today’s world.
You may also fast when you are sick.
So YES… Intermittent fasting is a good way to manage your weight. You will fall in love with it because there’s not much thinking or effort needed to be successful doing IF. It’s so uncomplicated! And it works!
What is Intermittent Fasting
It is an eating pattern. In which you cycle between eating and fasting periods. In the feasting window, you will eat normally. And in the fast window, you can drink water, coffee, and tea. But unsweetened. No milk (at all), liquid calories or diet juices.
Intermittent fasting is the simplest way to lose weight, because is easy to do. And you don’t need to struggle to make it a sustainable habit.
How to do Intermittent Fasting
There is more than one way. And this is an advantage because you can pick the one that works the best whit your lifestyle.
– 16/8. You fast for 16 hours, you eat for 8 and you repeat. The fed state can be from morning until midday, from midday to the evening. Or you can choose 8 hours in the night if you have a night job. You can start eating at 8 in the morning and finish the eating stage at 4 in the afternoon. Or you can start at 12 at noon and finish at 8 in the evening. If you want you can go extreme, fast for 20 hours and eat in a 4 hours window.
– 24 hours. You fast 24 hours one time or two times per week, but not on consecutive days. The fasting period can start when you want. In the morning, at noon or in the evening as is easy for you. If you want you can go extreme with 36 hours fast but no more than once a week.
– 5:2. This means that in two nonconsecutive days per week you get to eat no more than 500 Calories. For the rest of the days, you get to eat normally.
Basically, when you are slipping you are fasting. With intermittent fasting, you get to increase that stage.
Why does it work?
To understand we need to see the difference between the fast and the feast period.
The food that you have eaten is transformed by the body into energy. This energy it is used to sustain all your body function and the surplus is stored for later usage into fat cells. The process of storing these cells is done with the help of a hormone named insulin. But during this time when your insulin levels are high your body can’t burn fat, it can only create new fat. And this is the feasting period.
Now, after a couple of hours from your last meal, your insulin levels are low. And then your body starts using energy that was stored, meaning it will burn body fat. And this is the fasting for weight loss period.
To sum this up! In the eating period, the insulin in your body is high and the food is turned into energy which is stored as fat cells. In the fasting period because your insulin level is low your body uses body fat as energy. So in the eating stage, you are storing fat cells. And in the fasting stage, you are burning fat cells.
If you don’t fast, you spend more time building fat cells than you spend burning them.
And another thing, intermittent fasting is a method of calorie restriction. Because the window in which you eat is small you get to eat fewer calories. And in the fasting stage, because your stomach is without food, in time he will shrink, making you eat less.
For example instead of three normal meals you eat two big meals. But you will eat less food in this two meals compared to the three meals.
At the same time fasting is increasing your HGH (human growth hormone) and your fat burning hormone while it’s decreasing insulin. You know what that means to your body?… It is busting your metabolism!
To sum this up, you will eat fewer calories while your metabolic rate will be higher.
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When you are fasting you restrict your calories for that period of time. And in the studies that I have done, I found that almost 100 years ago scientist knows the benefice that calorie restriction has on our body. It lowers your risk of getting sick, it increases your total lifespan and it’s increasing your help. Because there are changes that occur in the body at the hormone level, cellular level and in the genes.
Here are the advantages that it has:
– Weight loss without counting calories or going on a diet. This works for some people, while it does not work for others. It will not work if after the fast you eat junk food, sweets and fast food etc.
– It simplifies your day. When you skip a meal, there is one meal less to think about. You don’t have to prepare that meal, to do dishes. All that work and you can focus on something else. Thant means more free time for you.
– It cost you less. Because you eat less you pay less. You cook less, you buy fewer groceries or you order less.
– You live longer and this was proven by science so many times. If you restrict calories there are changes that happen in the genes that help you live longer. And when you fast you restrict your calorie intake.
– You are not starving yourself. Because in the eating window, you will eat as your body will demand food and you will be well fed.
– It is better than a diet. Diets are good for weight loss but they are hard to do and as time passes they become harder. Diets are not simple because there is a certain food that you have to eat. With IF you lose the same amount of weight as with a diet. Without the disadvantages that a diet has but with all the advantages that a diet has. You can say that IF is like a friend with benefits. Because you get to eat whatever you want, all the foods that you like, no restrictions.
– It improves insulin sensitivity. This means a better glycemic value.
– Increased human growth hormone this help you to lose weight without losing muscle mass.
– Boost production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This increases the resistance of neurons in the brain. That means lower chances of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
– Boost physical energy, concentration and mental focus.
– Food becomes tastier and eating becomes a more enjoyable experience.
– Physical activity in the fasted stage will improve your weight loss.
– It has metabolic benefits. Reduced the bad cholesterol, increased the good cholesterol, reduced triglycerides, reduced blood pressure and reduced inflammation. Because of this fasting is protecting your heart, which is the number one cause of death in the world. It can switch off certain chemicals called growth factors that promote cell turnover. And by doing this it reduced cancer growth and progression, which is the number two cause of death in the world.
The main side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. But your body will adapt to the new eating schedule and then you won’t have any problem. And usually, the hunger sensation doesn’t last that long.
Here is a list of other side effects that can occur and what to do if you encounter them:
– Constipation, to solve this problem you can use standard laxatives.
– Headaches. They only appear in the first few days and can last for two weeks. You can take some extras salt to solve this problem.
– Be aware of your caffeine consumption. Because coffee and the increased energy from fasting can make you fall asleep harder.
– Stomach tends to gurgle. You will solve this with mineral water.
– Muscle cramps, take a magnesium supplement.
– Because of the higher water intake, you will need to go frequently to the bathroom. But on the other side is healthy to be well hydrated.
– Stomach ache. If this happens you should break your fast with a normal meal or with a smaller meal.
– You’ll be cold because your blood will carry fat and oxygen to your muscle where it will be burned as energy. And less blood will flow to your extremities.
Even if fasting for weight loss is safe, however, it is better to take some safety measures.
So before you fast it is better to talk with your doctor. Especially if you are on medication or if you have health problems you need to talk to a doctor before doing IF.
And if you feel that something is wrong you need to stop the fast and search medical attention.
Muscle and intermittent Fasting
I’m writing about this because there are a lot of concerns about losing muscle as you lose weight. But as I said earlier IF increases human growth hormone. Depending on whether you are doing physical activities or not, there are two things that can happen.
If you are an active person, you go to the gym or you do sports then intermittent fasting will help you put muscle. And at the same time, it will help you lose weight.
If you are not an active person, like me, you will lose muscle mass as you lose weight. But with IF you will lose less muscle compare with any other weight loss method that is out there.
Women and intermittent Fasting
IF has different effects on women and men. There haven’t been many tests done about this. Some experts say that IF is not good for women others say that is good.
Because your body needs extra calories, don’t do intermittent fasting in this situations:
- if you are pregnant
- if you want to get pregnant
- if you are breastfeeding
- if you are skinny
- if you are not an adult.
Otherwise, you can try and see. This is the only way to find out that fasting without works for you! But my opinion: there won’t be a problem if you skip a meal.
I know a lot of women who had great results with intermittent fasting.
This is an excellent method for weight loss and for a healthy life but it is not the only one. There are more ways, such as healthy eating, exercises, yoga, meditation etc. And you can combine them whit fasting.
Sorry about my English, I’m out of practice. But this does not mean that I don’t know my stuff when it came to weight loss.
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