By Sherman Mathis
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Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular health crazes. It is a great and safe way to manage your weight. Using this fasting method as a lifestyle change instead of a temporary diet fix will help you maintain your weight, boost your metabolism, and increase your longevity. It’s not one of those diets that you can only stay on for a specified time because of the adverse effects it may have on the body, and I won’t say any names….lol
Okay, Let’s talk about how intermittent fasting can permanently change your life.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting, in a nutshell, is simply going eight to 20 hours without eating. Everyone has done it before, no matter if it was intentional or not. One known challenge with some women is that their level of hunger increases during the luteal phase of their cycles. The longer they go without food, the more they want to eat. It’s a minor issue, and with awareness, one can control it and be successful. The longer you do it, the easier it gets. The good old days of believing that you need three full meals and two snacks a day to maintain your energy and overall health are long gone. The headache for people of all body types trying to figure out how to get their body into fat-burning mode is a thing of the past.
The Three-Hour Diet
Eating several small meals per day has often been used for shocking the metabolism as well. The truth is that it does work. However, for the person on the go all the time, intermittent fasting may be easier. The only drawback with the three-hour diet is that your body may use the food as fuel rather than body fat, making intermittent fasting a faster way to lose weight.
The key is not to overeat during your feeding window. An excellent example of fasting would be a patient preparing for a surgical procedure that will require a general anesthetic. In this case, the patient would fast up to 24 hours before undergoing surgery. For example, the day before my girlfriend’s mother’s knee replacement surgery, her doctor told her not to eat after 6 pm.
A more straightforward example is skipping breakfast, which we all do from time to time. If dinner was at 8 pm, and lunch is not until 1230 pm the next day, the body goes 12 hours and 30 minutes without food. Ongoing intermittent fasting is no longer the unknown health trend but one of the most talked-about long-term diets of this time. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to boost your overall health.
Dieting is complex and, for many, is the enemy. However, with intermittent fasting, one no longer has to worry about adverse side effects, emotional changes, and reduced workout performance. Many benefits of intermittent fasting contribute to overall health. Weight loss, increased glucose tolerance, and an increased metabolism are three of the best advantages of this form of fasting. The belief that you need to eat for more energy has fierce competition.
Increase in Metabolism
Studies show that shorter fasting periods increase metabolism by up to 14 percent. Intermittent fasting promotes a slow and steady weight loss as the fasted state causes the body to use stored fat for energy. Cha-Ching!!! This explains the increased tolerance of glucose. As stored fat decreases, the cells in the muscles and liver grow more responsive to insulin.
Research on Rats
Would you believe me if I told you that intermittent fasting research was done on rats?
Based on this study done on fat rats, intermittent fasting caused them to lose weight. It also caused their blood pressure to decrease. Last, their cholesterol and glucose levels improved as well. The study proves that intermittent fasting is legit.
Let’s not forget that boosted immunity is another significant benefit. Intermittent fasting causes your body to produce more white blood cells. White blood cells fight off infection. The result is faster healing and recovery. It will also lower the risk of contracting chronic illnesses. That means fewer sick visits to the doctor’s office. There is not one person who can’t benefit from that.
Cancer and Chemotherapy Treatment
According to James Clear, intermittent fasting may lower the risk of cancer. For patients receiving treatment for cancer, fasting has been shown to reduce and possibly diminish the side effects of treatment. That makes perfect sense because fasting makes the immune system stronger, helping the body heal itself quicker, resulting in not experiencing those side effects.
Save Money on Groceries
This may be something that you would never guess, but if you are doing the 5:2 fasting method, you are eating less food, saving money at the grocery store. Let’s face it. Groceries aren’t getting any cheaper, so saving 50 bucks here or there is a great thing.
Eat the Cookie……FROM TIME TO TIME
Dieting can be one of the most frowned upon experiences in this lifetime. Depriving your body of the foods you like the most to stay healthy takes away from the experience of eating that should be enjoyable. I believe in longevity and healthy eating. But, I also believe in enjoying your favorite meal from time to time. If you love chocolate chip cookies or pecan swirls, go for it! You only have one life to live.
Please don’t eat it every day now because that is not what I said. I said FROM TIME TO TIME.
You Won’t Crash and Burn This Time
So stop worrying about if the diet doesn’t work? Or if you gain all of the weight back? With intermittent fasting, you won’t. In fact, you will understand hunger and how your body responds to it physically and mentally. It will also help you establish a routine and absorb fewer calories. Consistency is the best way to maintain your health, not so much of crash and burn diets.
I did intermittent fasting for almost a year straight. I went hardcore and chose to do the One Meal A Day method. It is essentially fasting for 24-hours with a one-hour feeding window. I ate roughly the same time every day. During that one hour, I ate all of my calories. I didn’t lose mass or strength during my workouts. Even if I had a cheat meal during that hour, I still looked lean. In fact, I looked the leanest while fasting. Whenever I want to lean back down, I get on the OMAD fasting method, which works best for me. Sometimes I do it a few days out of the week or, depending on my schedule, the whole week.
My Girlfriends Experience
My girlfriend, on the other hand, did not want to do the OMAD fast. She wasn’t sure how I was able to not eat around her while she was eating. I won’t say that it wasn’t tempting, but I’m unstoppable when I set my mind to something. Anyway, she opted for the 16-hour lean gains fast. She ate her calories within an 8-hour window. That worked best for her every day of the month.
The 16-hour fast allowed her to spread out her meals a little instead and keeps her from feeling stuffed from eating it all in one hour. It didn’t take long for her to notice that her midsection looked leaner. She even noticed that she felt better as well and experienced little bloating throughout the month.
The overall goal of intermittent fasting is longevity. We all want to live a healthy, long life. Intermittent fasting is a feasible way to do that. Whether you start by just skipping one meal or choose to fast for 16 hours and eat within the 8-hour window, you will still reap these benefits.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
Here are a couple of other intermittent fasting methods:
The Eat-Stop-Eat method is when you fast for a whole day (24-hours). It may be easier to start doing it just once per week and then work up to two or three days, depending on what works best for your body.
The 5:2 diet consists of eating no more than 600 calories on two days of the week. On the other days, you would eat normally. Just make sure that the two days you diet are not consecutive. It is a great way to shock your metabolism.
The warrior diet consists of fasting for 20 hours and consuming your calories in the 4-hour window. This form of fasting may not work for everyone as it can make you feel stuffed, just as the 23 hour fast does.
How Do I Start?
Now I know you are wondering what’s the best way to start implementing intermittent fasting. As with anything, you should start with a plan. First, you should figure out your goals. You shouldn’t just do it to see what results you might get. Have a plan so that you can make the plan work for you. If you want to lose weight, tone up, or bulk up, you should decide now before starting the plan because it will determine what foods you will be eating during your feeding window.
Once you determine your goals, you can pick the method of intermittent fasting that you want to start with—different strokes for different folks. Whichever plan you choose will depend on what works best for you and your lifestyle. If you prefer to eat dinner with the family every night, then pick a plan or fluctuate the time to allow you to do so. If you feel your body functions better when you eat right after a workout, then pick one based on that. For example, the lean gains plan (16:8) will allow you to have a meal right after your workout and in the afternoon with the family.
If you find that one plan doesn’t work, try another. The whole purpose of practicing intermittent fasting is to feel better and enhance your health internally. If you find you are feeling weak or wousy, then change it.
When You Shouldn’t Use Intermittent Fasting
You should not use intermittent fasting if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Women need to eat on a more regulated schedule to ensure their bodies get the proper nutrition intake to care for the unborn or infant child properly.
The most significant side effect that I hear about when doing intermittent fasting is hunger, which is normal. You are changing your usual way of eating and refraining from food for an extended period. Another side effect is a headache which usually disappears once your body gets acclimated to the diet. That is why I recommend trial fasting. For example, if you find that fasting for 16 hours is too much, start with 14 hours and work your way up to that mark.
If Intermittent Fasting Doesn’t Work
If you find that intermittent fasting doesn’t work for you, it’s okay. It’s not something that is for everyone. Our goal with this article is to give you great information that will help you decide if you want to give intermittent fasting a try. If you suffer from a chronic illness, it is essential to consult your doctor before starting an intermittent fasting regime. When your longevity and overall health are at stake, it is vital to be strategic and be informed.
A great starting point for Intermittent fasting is the Udemy course, Intermittent Fasting- a healthy and powerful eating strategy. If you want to find out more information on your own, this is a good starting point to find out if it will work for you. The course is only $9.99.
Also, if you need help with creating a diet plan for your goals with intermittent fasting, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be glad to assist you in your journey to health.
Remember, don’t play with your body. You only get one!
For more posts on overall health and fitness, check out the Transitional Fitness Coach Blog Page.