Ok, so you’ve tried everything to lose weight, but you’re still not satisfied with your body. Let me introduce intermittent fasting.
What is it?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It does not specify which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.
Most people already “fast” every day, while they sleep. Intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending that fast a little longer.
You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm.
Then you’re technically fasting for 16 hours every day, and restricting your eating to an 8-hour eating window. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, known as the 16/8 method.
Despite what you may think, intermittent fasting is actually fairly easy to do. Many people report feeling better and having more energy during a fast.
Hunger is usually not that big of an issue, although it can be a problem in the beginning, while your body is getting used to not eating for extended periods of time.
No food is allowed during the fasting period, but you can drink water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages.
Some forms of intermittent fasting allow small amounts of low-calorie foods during the fasting period.
Taking supplements is generally allowed while fasting, as long as there are no calories in them.
Humans have actually been fasting for thousands of years.
In other instances, it was done for religious reasons. Various religions, including Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, mandate some form of fasting.
When fasted, we get significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as a drastic increase in human growth hormone.
Many people do intermittent fasting in order to lose weight, as it is a very simple and effective way to restrict calories and burn fat.
Others do it for the metabolic health benefits.
How does it work?
Think of your body as being in two states: the “fed” state and the “fasted” state.
The fed state occurs when you’re digesting and processing food. Start eating and your body shifts into the fed state. Even after you’ve finished eating you stay in the fed state for roughly 3 to 5 hours.
When you’re in the fed state your insulin levels naturally increase, and when your insulin levels are high you typically don’t burn fat for energy. Your body doesn’t need to tap into its fat stores because what you’re eating gives it plenty to work with.
Somewhere between three and five hours your body stops processing its last meal. There’s nothing left to absorb, insulin levels naturally decrease, and somewhere between 8 and 12 hours after that last meal, your body starts burning stored fat.
However, it takes 8 to 12 hours to get into the fasted state. Start your day with breakfast at 7 a.m. and don’t have your last meal until your 9 p.m. snack and you almost never go into a fasted state. Fast for 16 hours and you do.
In short, without having the constant source of food you’d get from eating all day, your body will dip into the fat it already has stored. That’s why people find so much success losing weight with intermittent fasting.
Types of intermittent fasting
There are a few different methods for intermittent fasting. See which method fits you: