We all know that diets don’t work. So if you hear or read about intermittent fasting or IR, which is actually one of the biggest weight loss trends these days, you might simply shrug it off thinking it’s just another one of those crazy fad diets that tell you they can give you the body of your dreams, but they really can’t.
First things first: intermittent fasting is not actually a type of diet. That’s because it does not tell you what and what not to eat. So yes — you can still eat what you want to eat if you happen to do intermittent fasting, but of course it’s still important for you to make smart food choices if you want to reap the full benefits.
So if intermittent fasting is not a form of diet, then what is it?
Put simply, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern — it simply tells you when to eat, and not which foods to put in your mouth. The truth is there are actually many different ways for intermittent fasting to be carried out, but later on in this article we will discuss only a handful of them — the more popular ways of doing intermittent fasting.
Just like what the name says, intermittent fasting consists of alternating eating and fasting periods. It’s not like the kind of fasting that a lot of people have in their minds in which no food is taken for days and days.
But isn’t intermittent fasting entirely clashing with the idea that eating 5 to 6 small meals a day in order to speed up the metabolism and ultimately lose weight easily?
Let’s now talk about why intermittent fasting works:
It’s true that eating small frequent meals throughout the day can help in accelerating the metabolic rate because calories are consumed by the body in order to digest food. But there’s a reason why intermittent fasting is so much better at helping you to lose unwanted weight — it encourages the body to burn fat, not just calories.
After having a meal, your blood insulin levels increase which make it difficult for your body to burn fat. So, yes, eating 5 to 6 times a day enables you to burn calories, but not necessarily fat.
On the other hand, intermittent fasting actually causes your body to burn fat. When you are on a fast, your blood insulin levels drop, and this prompts your body to use fat as fuel. So in other words, not ingesting any food makes excess fat in your body so much more accessible for powering up your various bodily processes.
But intermittent fasting brings so many other benefits than fat loss. You may be surprised to know that there are lots of bodybuilders who do intermitted fasting in order to help increase their muscle mass and strength. It’s for the fact that during a fast, the body gets to have itself deeply repaired.
Lowered risk of cancer, improved brain health and functioning, delayed process of aging, controlled inflammation, improved cardiovascular health — proponents say that intermittent fasting also offers these things!
So how does one perform intermittent fasting?
Actually, there are many different ways that you may do intermittent fasting. Some of the most popular ones, all of which are really easy to carry out as they’re not complicated, include the following:
This entails skipping breakfast, and then limiting your food intake to only 8 hours during the day — for example, from 12 noon to 8 in the evening. After such time period, there should be no more food consumption.
One or twice a week, you should not eat anything for an entire day. For instance, you may fast from dinner on a Tuesday until dinner on Wednesday.
Twice a day for a week, you should eat no more than 500 to 600 calories per day, and then eat as you would on any other day. The days you choose should not be consecutive.
JUST A FEW WORDS OF CAUTION: Before trying out intermittent fasting for yourself, it’s a good idea to let your doctor know about your plan, most especially if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition.