Intermittent fasting is rescheduling of eating patterns across the length of a day. It cuts down the idea of following strict diets and exponentially reducing the calories intake. If you are looking to keep the muscle mass on while losing fat, this is for you. Simply put, it is a strategy to keep the good weight and lose the bad weight with a mere behavioral change.
To understand this practice, let us first dig up on how digestion works with regard to fat and energy. Our body enters into a fed state while we eat and digest the food. During this time, the body generates and stores energy thus fat burn does not happen. Post this process, the body transits into the fasted state when it is not processing a meal. This state can last upto 8 - 12 hours where fat burn happens because the stored energy is being utilised. The people who follow intermittent fasting routines are therefore able to burn fat without altering their regular intake and daily exercises. The fasting pushes the body into the fat burning state which is not possible with a regular eating schedule.
Typically, when we contemplate strict diets, it seems like a breeze but as we practically get onto doing it, the nitty gritty surfaces. We may spree on a low carb diet, but the resolution goes for a toss when we begin to think of all the delicious (fattening) food items, more so while experiencing stress. The craving heightens and perhaps we end up consuming much more than we would normally do. We are all humans and we do succumb away. Intermittent fasting resolves this to an extent. Despite, eating healthy remains crucial because we can’t expect to lose weight and stay healthy while binging on junk. It is also advisable to stay on a liquid diet for a day during the week.
Fasting is not an unknown concept. The human body is designed to thrive without food for extended periods of time. It is quite evident since ancient times did not boast of super markets and easy availability and storage of food. This uncertainty enabled human evolution to use up the stored energy.
With this, we have listed down a few methodical approaches for intermittent fasting, however, we urge you to consult a dietician or a nutritionist before proceeding.
- The 16/8 - This method involves fasting for 14 - 16 hours and allowing an eating window of 8 - 10 hours. 2 - 3 meals can fit into the consumption period. It is as simple as not eating anything after dinner and avoiding breakfast. To help hunger urges, water, coffee or any other zero calorie beverages can be taken. Popularised by fitness expert Martin Berkhan, also known as Leangains protocol
- The 5:2 - This method allows you to eat normally 5 out of 7 days during the week. For the remaining 2 days, the calorie intake is restricted to 500-600. It is not necessary to keep the 2 days in continuation. Depending on the lifestyle and convenience, you can fix any 2 days in the week. Popularised by journalist Michael Mosley, also known as Fast diet
- Eat stop eat - Following this method, you eat once in a day and try to consume the same amount of food as you would have had you not been fasting. This could be a little difficult to adopt and can be begun at a 14 - 16 hours cycle, improving gradually. Popularised by fitness expert Brad Pilon
- The warrior diet - This method involves eating decent quantities of uncooked fruits and vegetables in the day time and one big meal during the night. It is more on the lines of treating yourself well after a day’s work. Popularised by fitness expert Ori Hofmekker
Everything said and done, there is no substitute for eating right and working out. The kind of practices we adopt and adhere to in our prime will draw the foundations of our old age. Work hard, work out harder and enjoy the hardest.
Krista A Varady, Marc K Hellerstein, Alternate-day fasting and chronic disease prevention: a review of human and animal trials, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 86, Issue 1, July 2007, Pages 7–13, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/86.1.7