Intermittent fasting has been very trendy in recent times. A lot of people admit that are not able to start their day without having breakfast. Even a cup of coffee or a slice of toast can be enough to pump up their mind and body.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or so they say
How about you? Can you imagine a day without having breakfast? Or even not eating for at least 16 hours a day (sleep time included)? At the same time, are you planning to lose some weight?
Then, you might want to try intermittent fasting. In fact, Intermittent Fasting has worked on a lot of people in terms of weight loss and other health benefits.
But before that, you need to understand how intermittent fasting works. Why do you have to skip meals for at least 16 hours a day? What are the benefits of fasting, or are there potential dangers if any?
Understanding Intermittent Fasting
For starters, Intermittent Fasting or IF is not a diet plan. Rather, it’s an eating pattern or meal schedule. In general, there is no food restriction when you are on the “fasting” mode. It’s a matter of scheduling your mealtime.
This is a great way to lose weight if you are not willing to give up your favorite foods. It can even help maintain your muscle mass even with less exercise (although it’s still better to have regular exercise). Nonetheless, you need to understand what happens to our body during fasting time.
Our body undergoes the “fed state” once we start eating. The entire fed state usually lasts for about 3 to 5 hours. During that time, our body absorbs and digests the food we ate. It is also during this time that our insulin levels are at its peak and won’t be able to burn fat.
After 5 hours, the body enters a “post-absorptive” stage and later on usher into the fasted state. The post-absorptive stage usually lasts about 8 to 12 hours after your last food intake.
After the 12th hour, that is the time that your body enters the so-called “fasted state”. It is during the fasted state wherein our body is able to burn fat which does not happen during the fed state.
Why you should consider fasting?
A lot of people choose the fasting lifestyle mainly due to its weight loss benefits. In fact, many did lose weight through Intermittent Fasting. However, Intermittent Fasting can offer more than weight loss. Here are some reasons why you should include fasting in your lifestyle.
It makes life simpler
Some people can function even without breakfast or eat less than three times a day. As mentioned, it does not involve a special diet because it’s not a diet plan in the first place. It is not restricting and eat anything you want within the fasting “window” in moderation.
It is flexible
Most people skip breakfast and eat lunch and dinner. Some breakfast and lunch and skip dinner, and so on. This means Intermittent Fasting can work at any time of the day as long as you complete at least a 16 hour- fasting period. You can also apply Intermittent Fasting with your other diet plans like Keto, Paleo, Carnivore Diet, etc.
It can prolong your life
There are some studies that revealed fasting’s potential to prolong lifespan. One is this study involving rats and another about fasting every other day. It can be possible to enjoy a longer life without feeling starved.
It can improve one’s health
While there hasn’t been proven research about this, Intermittent Fasting is said to help lessen the risk of cancer. In addition, fasting can also reduce the risk of other health conditions including cardiovascular diseases. Some women even reported that their PCOS condition has gone due to IF.
IF schedule options
As mentioned, IF is flexible. Everyone can try this and follow their own schedule. You can do daily fasting, every other day fasting, and once a week or month fasting. It will depend on your lifestyle, as long as you follow the 16:8 fasting schedule.
16:8 means 16 hours of “fasting” or not eating anything. During this period, you should only drink plain water – warm or cold, it’s up to you. However, some also drink green tea or black (no cream and sugar) coffee during this fasting “window”.
As for the schedule, it’s up to you as well. For example, you can have your fasting window at 8:00 PM to 12:00NN (16 hours) the next day. Meaning, you should not eat anything other than drinking only water (or green tea or black coffee without cream and sugar) during that time. You can eat within the 8-hour eating window of 12NN to 8:00 PM.
You can adjust your eating and fasting window depending on your preferred schedule. The important thing is to follow the 16:8 period. Some even extend their fasting schedule to 18:6 (18 hours fasting, 6 hours eating window), 20:4 and so on. Some even fasted one whole day straight (24 hours).
If you are starting out, you can try a 12-hour fasting period. Then, you can gradually increase your fasting period to 13, then 14, then 16. You can go longer if you can as long as you follow the fasting schedule.
Intermittent Fasting can be beneficial to one’s health. Not only can it help in weight loss but also improve one’s health. The best thing about IF is that it’s not a diet plan at all but an eating pattern. It won’t restrict what you eat, but the keyword is moderation.
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