A Basic Guide for Intermittent Fasting
History of Fasting
Fasting is bypassing meals for a specific time period, willingly. Fasting also is known as 'UPAVAS' means going back from sin and leading a good life. In Ayurveda, fasting is a commonly used practice in ancient times to assimilate the toxins from the body. Major objectives of fasting besides from detoxification are weight control and gaining metabolic homeostasis in the body. Fasting exhibits many potential health benefits such as weight control, blood sugar level control, improved brain functions, delayed aging, and boost longevity. There are some different religious views are also connected with fasting, to justify it as a good practice to live a healthy and balanced life.
Fasting has been also used for ages, as the purest method to please the almighty god.
Conventional Fasting Versus Intermittent Fasting
The conventional fasting method is simply intended forbearance from eating for a particular time period, without any pattern. The time period can be of 24 hours to 72 hours. Intermittent fasting is nothing but a modified form of traditional fasting. It has nothing to do with religious mythology, but only for a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Intermittent fasting is 'restricted calories intake' for a specific pattern of eating and fasting. In a fasting period, you can not eat or eat restricted calories and in the eating period, you are free to eat.
Intermittent fasting does not focus on what we should eat, but, it main focuses on when we should eat. Due to ease and convenience, intermittent fasting became the most popular trend in the fitness world. Many methods are available for intermittent fasting, you can choose one, in which you feel comfortable, and which that can be synchronized with your lifestyle easily. Everybody has different body functioning, lifestyle, life goals also eating habits.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
There are several methods that intermittent fasting very interesting. In all these methods the hours, days, and, weeks are divided into eating and fasting pattern. It is all upon you, which method suits you.
1. The warrior diet/ The power diet- Eating a heavy meal that can serve you the energy for doing physical activities, followed by fasting for a day.
2. Alternate day fasting- Fasting every alternate, by taking only a few hundred calories that can make you able to all the tasks.
3. Time-restricted eating- In this method, you are free to decide the eating and fasting windows; 16/8 and 14/10 are examples of the time-restricted eating method.
- 16/8 strategy- 8 hours for eating, followed by 16 hours of fasting.
- 14/10 strategy- 10 hours of eating followed by 14 hours of fasting.
4. The 5:2 diet- Week is divided into 5 days for eating and 2 days for fasting. During the fasting period, you can consume a restricted diet only. The other 5 days, which are assigned for eating, you are supposed to consume a healthy and balanced diet.
5. Spontaneous meal skipping- In this method, you can skip a meal. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This method is quite handy for everyone.
6. Eat: stop: eat method- This method involves fasting for 24 hours. The time windows for fast can be from lunch to lunch, dinner to dinner, or breakfast to breakfast. This method of intermittent fasting should be done only once or twice a week. A continuous eat:stop: eat have some side effects such as fatigue, headache, fainting, and irritability.
Is Intermittent Fasting is for Anyone?
No, intermittent fasting is not for anyone. You should consider a few things before attempting this practice.
- Underweight- If you are underweight, you must consult a professional before doing intermittent fasting.
- History of eating disorders- Eating disorders are so common in this digital and virtual world. Fasting can worsen the condition. It is suggested to avoid intermittent fasting in such a case.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding- Pregnant ladies, lactating mothers, and those who are trying to be pregnant should not fast, as they require more nutrients and energy in these phases.
- Diabetic patients or taking multiple medications- Fasting can reduce blood sugar levels too much, and the absence of food can affect the absorption of food.
- Under the age of 18- This period is of growth, you need more nutrients to grow in this age, fasting can lead to some physical abnormalities. So, IF is not recommended for those who are below 18.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- Weight loss- Intermittent fasting can help in reducing weight by boosting metabolism at the cellular level.
- Improve brain health- IF enhance the growth of nerve cells and increase the production of hormones that are required for brain physiology. Intermittent Fasting Protects you from several diseases related to the brain such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
- Reduce risks of some diseases- Intermittent fasting can reduce the risk of heart diseases such as hypertension, immune disease, cancer, and diabetes. Fasting controls the level of cholesterol, insulin.
- Delays aging- By improving physiology, by reducing the chances of various diseases, by boosting metabolism, by detoxifying or purifying various toxins from the body, intermittent fasting delays aging.
- Improves genetic repair mechanism
- Helps in overcome bad habits- Intermittent fasting helps in living a healthy lifestyle and addiction to stimulating chemicals.
The new generation is more in getting a fit and slim body. Awareness of health and lifestyle is increasing. Intermittent fasting can be a better alternative among other weight loss diet schemes.
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Do you keep check on your calories intake?
Interpreting Your Score
If you got 0 correct answers: No
If you got 1 correct answer: Yes, regularly
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.