Intermittent fasting, or IF, is fast becoming one of the most popular eating trends in the fitness worlds. There are blogs, videos, books, and podcasts dedicated to this way of eating. Proponents claim that it can help you lose weight, boost your metabolism, and simplify your eating. You may be interested in these benefits, but don’t fully understand what IF is. If so, we’re here for you. Here’s what you need to know about intermittent fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet. There are no certain foods that you must eat or must avoid. The focus of IF is on when you eat, not what. The goal of this way of eating is to only eat for a small window of time and then fast between eating windows.
There are different types of intermittent fasting, but the most popular for is known as 16:8. In this type of IF, you limit your eating to 8 hours a day and then fast for the remaining 16 hours. For most people, this looks like skipping breakfast and doing all of their eating in the afternoon and early evening.
Other forms of IF include the 5:2 plan in which you eat normally 5 days a week, and then eat a very small number of calories (between 500 and 600) on the other two.
Finally, some people intermittent fast by fasting for a full 24 hours 1 to 2 days per week.
What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Helps You Lose Weight
Intermittent fasting is a great way to help get your eating under control. It can help you lose weight because you must do all of your eating in a compressed window of time. Fasting also increases your metabolism, so you burn more calories even when at rest.
Changes Your Hormones and Cells
When you do IF, you are allowing your body to fully heal when you aren’t eating. Your hormones become regulated and make more body fat available for energy. Your cells also repair themselves and can “clean house.”
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Your cell’s sensitivity to insulin increases when you fast. This is very important because it helps keep you blood sugar levels stable and prevents the development of type 2 diabetes. It also keeps your body from storing excess blood sugar as fat.
How to Get Started Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can take some time to get used to. Don’t push yourself to do more than you can handle. Begin by pushing back your breakfast for one hour. As you get comfortable with this, keep pushing breakfast back another hour until you reach your goal. When you fast, you are allowed to drink water, coffee, and tea. However, your coffee and tea should be unsweetened and you can only have a splash of milk or creamer. Be sure to have your meals prepared so that when you are ready to break your fast, you have healthy food to eat so you won’t be tempted to binge on fast food or sweets.
If you’re considering intermittent fasting, then give it a try by pushing back your breakfast for an hour or two and see how you feel. Pay attention to when you begin to eat and try to stop eating after 8 – 10 hours. Your body will eventually adjust and you may find that intermittent fasting is the perfect way of eating for you!