Intermittent fasting is one of the recent trends in maintain and losing weight. It is a special technique, which allows you to eat and fast with a specific timing, making enough room for your body to dissolve the fat cells.
This article will explain different types and ways that you can try to do intermitting fasting.
When you decide to reduce your fasting time to less than 24 hours, it is a shorter fast. Contrary to the popular belief, there are so many options and flexibility when it comes to fasting. You can fast for any time of your choice but people prefer short fasting.
Following are popular choices with short termed fasting.
- 16:8 Fasting
This means a daily fast with an eating period ratio of 16 and 8. In this ratio, 16means fasting times i.e. 16 hours of fast and 8 hours of eating window. It means you can eat in 8 hours and be on fast for the rest 16 hours of the day.
For example, you can eat all the meals of the day within 8 hours, starting from11 am to 7 pm. It means you should not eat breakfast and late night munching. You can eat 2-3 meals within these 8 hours of eating window. The body will start to digest the food and fat in remaining 16 hours.
- 20:4 Fasting
This ratio means 20 hours of fasting and 4 hours of eating window. It is a relatively difficult fasting than 16:8 fasting. The 4 hours of the eating window come every 20 hours of fasting.
For example, you may eat all meals of the day within 4 hours starting from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm every day. The remaining 20 hours of the day will be your fasting hours. Generally, people tend to eat two small or one large meal in 4 hour eating time. More than 2 small meals are difficult to manage in such short period.
A fast that prolongs to more than 24 hours is considered a longer fast. It is a higher practice and is only suitable for people that have already taken up small fasting. For a start, longer fast is never a good idea. Following are a few options that you can try in longer fasts.
- 24-hour Fasting
This type of fasting involves a complete day of fast. It means your fasting time is from a meal to meal i.e. dinner-to-dinner or lunch to lunch. If you are eating dinner one day, next day you will skip breakfast and lunch and eat dinner at the same time as you did on the previous day.
It means that you are following a daily eating but only at one same time for all coming days. This can be repeated 2-3 times a week.
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- 5:2 Fasting
This 5:2 fasting is an enhanced form of diet, which suggests you eat for 5 regular days and fast for 2 days. These two fasting days doesn’t mean that you will be eating nothing and starve yourself. You can take a diet of 500 calories maximum on each day.
These calories can be taken at any time of the day, regardless of the time, gap and fasting hours. You can split them into small meals or take one single meal of 500 calories.
- 36-hour Fasting
This is a longer period of fasting which means you are fasting for an entire day. For example, if you are eating dinner on day one, your fast will start right after you finish the dinner. Day two will be your fasting time and you cannot eat until breakfast of day 3. It makes 36 hours of fasting with one meal in between. This is extremely efficient for weightless. It also helps to overcome the temptation for food, as there is a complete gap of food in-between two meals.
Fasting also gives you an indefinite fasting option. After experiencing the short and long-term fasting, you can try extended fasting, which is longer than 48 hours. Usually, it is recommended to take multivitamins and supplements during this phase to avoid a nutritional deficiency.
Basic Questions About Intermittent Fasting That You Should Know
Who should NOT try fasting?
Everyone can fast who is healthy and is not underage. But you should avoid fasting if you are:
- An underweight person who has a BMI less than 18.5
- A pregnant woman
- A breastfeeding mother
- Have medical conditions particularly metabolic problems, gout or diabetes
- On certain prescription medicines.
Does fasting mean starving?
The most common myth about intermittent fasting is that people often misunderstand it as starving. Remember fasting is not starving but just a technique to increase the basal metabolic rate by fixing eating and fasting hours.
Can you workout while fasting?
Yes, you can workout and do all other physical activities while you are on a fast. For the workout, you don’t really need food to energize you. The body will use the stored fat and in this way the body will burn fat cells, making you lose weight.
How to manage hunger during fasting?
Many people are eager to know how to manage hunger pangs during a fast. It is a common assumption that hunger waves becomes intolerable and eventually ends the fast. But it is not likely to happen. Instead, whenever you feel a hunger wave, do not ignore it and sip a hot cup of coffee, tea or water. It will pass this way.
During extended hours, the hunger pangs increase on the second day, after that they tend t decrease. People report a complete loss of hunger feeling by 3rd or 4th day. When the body becomes powered by internal energy, it is less likely to show you a hungry feeling.
Can you lose weight by fasting?
Yes, one of the major functions of fasting is to aid in weight loss. It doesn’t make sense that you would not lose weight when you are not eating. Weight loss is a character of all types of fasting i.e. short, long or extended.
Does fasting burn muscles?
This is wrong information that shady websites may tell you. During fast, the body’s glycogen is utilized to make glucose for energy. After that, the body starts the fat burning process to fulfill its energy requirements. Only the excessive amino acids that are the building blocks of the body are used to burn. No muscle is burned for energy.
Can women do intermittent fasting?
Absolutely yes, the exceptional situations when women cannot fast are when they are pregnant, breastfeeding or underage. Other than these, there is no hurdle that may encounter their way. Fasting brings equally good results in weight loss and weight management for men and women.
What are the side effects of fasting?
There is no particular side effect of fasting. But there is a risk of a possible nuisance, which depends on person to person. For example, you may encounter constipation, which is a discomfort but a real side effect.
Other undesirable effects of fasting may be a headache, dehydration, dizziness, heartburn, muscle cramps etc. With a proper management, these side effects can be minimized.
The final word
Intermittent fasting uses one of the oldest ways to weight loss, that is by specifying eating and fasting hours. Fasting is safe and side-effect free for everyone except for certain cases that are listed before. Make sure you drink plenty of water while intermittent fasting. It is better to make yourself busy if you are a starter. Coffee and tea can help to overcome unwanted hunger pangs. It will take some days for your body to accept this new eating routine. You should expect results after one month of intermittent fasting.