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Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, like Keto, is becoming a buzz-word in the fitness community. It has become a huge trend because of the results people are achieving. Many studies show that intermittent fasting can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, protect against disease, and perhaps even help you live longer. Are you curious about trying it? Here are the things you need to know before trying it for yourself.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are several different methods that we will go over below. The reason this is a fast-growing eating pattern is because it’s an easier way to live life, and there are several health benefits as well.

Health benefits 

  • Weight Loss:Naturally, if you fast, you will eat less. If you eat less than your output energy, you will lose weight.  That is, assuming you don’t compensate during the times you are not fasting, as in “making-up” for the lost time.
  • Insulin Resistance:Fasting lowers your blood sugar and can help protect from Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Inflammation:If you are someone that often experiences inflammation, fasting can help reduce this painful swelling.
  • Heart Health:Fasting may reduce “bad” cholesterol and other risks to heart disease.
  • Cancer:According to animal studies, it is suggested that fasting may prevent cancer.
  • Brain Health:Fasting increases the brain hormone and may aid in the growth of new nerve cells.
  • Anti-Aging:Fasting in rats extended their life-span, so this could be a positive effect for you as well.

As you can see, there are several benefits to trying intermittent fasting. On the flip-side, there can also be harmful effects. Always consult your physician before switching your diet and/or if you experience negative side effects.

Fasting methods

  • 16/8 Method16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour window to consume food. For example, skip breakfast and eat lunch at 1:00 pm, a snack around 4:00 pm, and eat dinner before 9:00 pm.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: 24-Hour fast 1x or 2x a week. Example, not eating dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 Diet:You consume only 500 – 600 calories on 2 non-consecutive days a week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

 

How fasting affects your cells and hormones 

  • While fasting, your body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. This can cause weight loss.
  • While fasting, your cells initiate important repair processes.

Now that you know the facts, how do you decide which method is right for you? Or is fasting for you at all?  If you think about it, our bodies were built to survive. We were hunters and gatherers.  If we did not hunt or gather food, we did not eat.  We are busy people.  Much busier than we ever used to be. So, if you are constantly on the go, fasting can make your life a little easier when it comes to food. It’s also less expensive, because you’re eating less. My recommendation to determine which method works for you is to ask yourself which method would make your life easier? Also, what category do you fall under:

  1. 16:8 Method:For dedicated gym-goers who are looking to lose fat and gain lean mass.
  2. Eat-Stop-Eat:Healthy eaters looking for an extra boost.
  3. The 5:2 Diet:  Disciplined dieters with a specified goal weight.

Maybe you don’t fall under any of these categories right now, and that’s okay! My recommendation would be to start with small goals. Making incremental changes over time will help make this a lifestyle. And making it a lifestyle will ultimately make you successful with any health and wellness goals you have in mind! If you don’t fall under these categories, start off by eating healthier. Once you fall into one of these categories, then test out each method until you find one that works for you.

If you are interested in the 16:8 Method, find more information here about meal planning around workouts and what to eat during your feeding window.

These are not the only methods of fasting. If you want to learn about other methods and more about what might work for you, click here.

 

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