Hitting the gym, watching your meals, calculating those calories, stepping on the scales and praying for improvement – the struggle is real 🙌 Weight loss, or better yet, stepping up your game to a healthier life is definitely not easy.
However, the sad part is that you could be doing all of this every day since months, and yet, not see any results. Without motivation, it gets more difficult to manage the cravings each day 🙁 So, how about a way to curb those cravings, eat everything you want and see a noticeable change? No, it’s no crash diet or living on a liquid diet – it’s called Intermittent Fasting.
If you have been reading up about diets and meal plans, you must have come across this one. In the simplest sense, intermittent fasting is not a diet, but a way of life. This is because once you start doing it, it’s as easy as your routine 😯 The basis of intermittent fasting is well, fasting. Every time you eat something, your body releases insulin. However, we only need a certain amount of insulin per day and the rest gets stored in the form of fat. When you fast and the body does not get the normal amount of food it is used to, it starts using the stored up fat from earlier. This way, your fat starts getting used for everyday activities, without adding or storing up anymore 👍 In just a week of doing intermittent fasting, you’ll start feeling more energetic, see your cravings reducing, go with one to two meals per day and see weight loss in the weeks to follow.
6 ways to do intermittent fasting:
While some may seem too challenging to take up in the beginning, your body will automatically adjust to it 🤷 You can also start with an easier way and take up a more stringent choice eventually. Since I.F. works on science, it does not harm the body, however, if you have a medical condition or consume medication, you should consult your dietician or doctor before starting it.
1. The 16/8 method: In this one, you fast for 16 hours while the eating window is restricted to 8 hours. You can eliminate one meal, breakfast for example and focus only on lunch and dinner 🍲 So, if you consume your lunch at 12 pm, have dinner by 8 pm and don’t eat anything after that.
This will be SUPER TOUGH in the beginning. So instead of fasting for 16 hours, first try 12 hours, once you’re comfy with that, try a 14 hour fast, and THEN to 16. Majority of the time, people stick to 14 hours.
2. The 5:2 method: In this one, you eat as you normally do for five days, but restrict to 500-600 calories for the remaining two days. It’s a good method to start if you’re not sure of following the fast every day 👌
3. The 24-hour fast: If you want to really test yourself, do this one. For this method, you eat as you normally would for five or six days, and for the remaining one or two days of the week, you hold a 24-hour fast 😯 So, it can be from today’s breakfast to tomorrows, dinner to dinner or lunch to lunch. The days of fasting should not be consecutive ones.
4. The warrior diet: This one lets you eat fruits, vegetables, juices etc. during the day and have a full meal at night. The eating window is for 4 hours and you do see some great results with it 🤩
5. 2-meals a day: Well, simply put, you only focus on two meals in a day. Nothing in between and no cheat days 🙅 This one is easy, shows results and you can follow it for as long as you want. Keep the missing meal a common one, so your body adjusts to the schedule and eat the other two at a fixed time every day.
6. Meal skipping: This plan has only one rule: eat when you’re hungry. So, basically, you need to listen to your body and eat only when you’re really hungry, without following the breakfast, lunch and dinner setup 🤷 It makes the body and the mind more cautious about consuming food and it’s an easy plan to follow.
All of these are methods of fasting and you can follow whatever suits your lifestyle. An important bit here is to make sure you keep up the consistency to see good results. The more stringent ones will give faster results 💪
6 Benefits of intermittent fasting:
1. Weight loss: One of the main reasons why people take up intermittent fasting is noticeable and quicker weight loss. However, it also depends on a lot of other factors like body metabolism, the amount of calories consumed in the window, exercise, and self-control 🤔
2. Enhanced energy levels: The initial few days of fasting can be really difficult. However, if you manage to distract yourself and follow the plan, there are good chances you will feel more energetic than before 🤩 As the body learns to adjust to the amount of food being consumed, it will also improve your mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
3. Minimize the chances of diabetes: Since you will be consuming fewer calories and reduce the body’s ability to keep producing more insulin than required, it also means you reduce the risk of diabetes. For diabetic patients, there have been a lot of case studies in which intermittent fasting has actually helped to improve the condition to a great extent 😱
4. Better heart health: Fewer calories also means less obesity, low blood pressure and cholesterol levels too. All of these have a direct effect on your heart health, meaning you could be improving your cardiac health with intermittent fasting as you go 😄
5. Better sleep: Those who do IF by skipping dinner or even having an early one before 8 pm, could be making their way to a better sleep routine 😴 With late meals, the body keeps working to digest and process the food and does not get the rest it is supposed to. However, avoiding a late meal could mean slower functions at night and better sleep too.
6. Reduces cancer risk: With cancer taking the cake when it comes to modern-day diseases, intermittent fasting can help you in reducing its risk. The improvement of body metabolism means reduced chances of cancer.
Intermittent fasting is not just a diet, but a lifestyle. You can never understand the wonders it can do for you unless you try it out for yourself. Like anything new, give it time and stay motivated, without giving in to urges. The results are promising and long-lasting. It’s one way of saying “hello” to a happier, healthier future 🤗
Written and Researched by Nikeeta J