Intermittent Fasting: Complete Guide
The journey towards achieving a healthy physique is not only exhausting but can be highly demotivating when you cannot see visible changes.
With a plethora of gimmicky weight loss hacks or bogus weight loss diet plans, it can be quite challenging to follow through with the dream of achieving a perfect beach-bod.
If you have been through a myriad of diet trends with almost no visible results, don’t lose hope.
You might have stumbled across the term intermittent fasting or might have heard about this diet plan from your favorite celebrity.
Intermittent Fasting, also synonymously referred to as IF as its abbreviated version, has evolved from being a mere diet plan to a full-blown internet-hyped trend.
Intermittent Fasting has been linked to several A-List celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Halle Berry, and Jennifer Aniston.
This effective diet plan or meal plan has also been linked to and compared to Keto Dieting or Keto Eating Plan.
If you are someone who has been researching different ways to start your very own Intermittent Fasting Plan but do not know where to begin, do not sweat!
Here is a complete guide to initiating intermittent fasting and setting up your intermittent meal plan.
What is Intermittent Fasting Anyway?
Intermittent fasting is the nutrition practice or pattern of eating that involves an eating plan that incorporates an alternative pattern of fasting and eating on a regular schedule.
There are different varieties of eating protocols and eating patterns when practicing intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is an efficient way of reducing access to body fat as the individual is promoted to consume only one meal per day in the span of a few weeks.
The most common of these practices is 16:08 which includes fasting for 16 hours and eating on schedule for 8 hours, 20:04 including 20 hours of fasting and 4 hours of regular eating, and lastly 14:06 which includes fasting for 14 hours and eating for 6 hours.
How does intermittent fasting work?
There are several different patterns or schedules of intermittent fasting that are based on regular time periods of eating and fasting.
For example, you can try eating for a total of 8 hours in a day and remain in the state of fasting for the remainder of the day.
Or you can also plan your fast by eating either one meal a day or two to three meals a week.
Ideally, Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period of time when the body has burnt excess calories consumed during the last meal.
What are the benefits of Intermittent fasting?
There are different mechanisms that account for the success of your intermittent fasting, and when done correctly and diligently, intermittent fasting can provide you with a myriad of benefits.
Although due to the lack of research on intermittent fasting, it can be difficult to find credible benefits.
To simplify things here are some scientifically proven benefits of intermittent fasting, proven to be true by experts and studies alike.
So, if you are not able to muster up the courage to execute and commit to an intermittent diet plan, the benefits mentioned below will help you make up your mind for the best:
1. Minimizing Insulin Levels:
According to the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, Intermittent Fasting helps minimize the insulin levels in the body.
It has been proven to repair important cells, reduce the fat mass in the body and prevent several age-related health risks and diseases.
2. Prevents Memory Loss:
According to the Sage Journals, Intermittent Fasting can also help prevent both short-term and long-term memory loss.
It also helps prevent certain metabolic pathologies related to menopause and also helps protect the body against age-related memory loss.
3. Weight Loss:
Intermittent fasting refers to a practice that involves regular periods or intervals with limited or almost no calorie intake.
Hence intermittent fasting process has direct benefits for your lipid profile and is directly associated with weight loss as it helps with the distribution of body fat.
Intermittent Fasting also helps with the improvement and control of glycemic levels in the body which helps with obesity as well as type-2 diabetes.
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4. Improves Metabolic health:
According to the Wageningen Academics, Intermittent fasting helps with the treatment and prevention of certain metabolic syndromes.
Intermittent fasting with a pattern of restricted calories at regular intervals helps alleviate circadian rhythm disruptions that directly improve the metabolic balance in the body.
What are the different Intermittent Fasting Methods?
As a matter of fact, yes, there are many different methods of Intermittent Fasting that involve distributing the days or weeks into regular intervals of eating and fasting.
It is important to remember that during your fasting intervals you either eat extremely small portions or nothing at all.
Here is a list of some popular methods you can choose from to start your own Intermittent fasting diet plan:
16/8 Intermittent Fasting Method:
The 16/8 Intermittent diet plan incorporates fasting on a daily basis for 16 hours along with eating during the 8-hour window.
This type of fasting involves skipping breakfast and avoiding eating anything after consuming dinner.
Ideally, one can say the 16/8 Intermittent Diet plan to eat between the 1 pm to 9 pm time period.
5/2 Intermittent Diet Plan:
The 5/2 Intermittent diet method involves 24 hours of fasting for one or two days of the week and consuming your daily intake of calories to compensate for the two days of fasting.
For the two days of fasting, you can cut back on 20 percent of your daily calorie intake. It is recommended for women consume 500 calories a day, while men should have 600 calories intake a day.
Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting Method:
This method of intermittent fasting is quite self-explanatory and often involves regular intervals of fasting every other day of the week.
But unlike other Intermittent Diet Plans, the alternate-day intermittent fasting method promotes you to consume no or only a couple hundred calories during the days you can eat.
Eat-Stop-Eat Intermittent Diet:
This Method of intermittent fasting involves full 24-hour fasting for one or a maximum of two days in a week.
For example, you can have your dinner one day and fast till the next day’s dinner completing the 24-hour goal.
Although it is important to remember that fasting for a full 24 hours can be dangerous for one’s overall health.
While it seems feasible to fast for 24 hours to reduce weight rapidly, however, it is important to note that not eating for the full 24 hours can cause long-term harm to health.
The 14/10 Intermittent Diet Plan:
The 14/10 intermittent diet plan is similar to the 16/8 diet plan, where you fast for 14 hours and consume an appropriate amount of calories for the remaining 10 hours.
This version of Intermittent fasting is easier when compared to the 16/8 intermittent diet plan, however, it is less effective when it comes to the weight loss process.
The Warrior Intermittent Diet Method:
Do not let the name of this Intermittent Diet Plan intimidate you! The Warrior Method of intermittent diet plan is based on the eating pattern of ancient warriors.
Developed in the year 2001, the term was coined by Or Hofmekler a fitness author and is more restrictive than 16/8 as well as Eat-Stop-Eat methods.
This diet plan involves eating small portions and fewer calories for 20 hours during the day and consuming as much food as you would like during the 4-hour window at night.
Some Tips to remember before starting your Intermittent Diet Plan
Intermittent fasting is a diet plan that involves one fasting and eating at regular intervals. This new diet plan has become a hot trend as it contributes significantly to maintaining health as well as weight loss.
However, intermittent fasting can be quite difficult to follow through as it can be quite restrictive in terms of full fasting and calorie intake.
Here are some tips and tricks that will help you initiate your intermittent diet plan and follow through with the plan with determination as well as motivation:
1. Starting Slow:
As a beginner, it is important to start your diet plan slowly instead of sticking to a rigorous diet plan.
For example, you can start with a 12-hour fasting and 12-hour eating diet plan and then slowly build up to a 16/8 intermittent diet plan.
The gradual build-up of complete fasting will allow you to maintain a healthy weight without posing any risk to your health.
2. Fasting Bars:
Let’s face it, fasting days can be really tough especially when you are restricted to consuming only a limited amount of calories.
This is where Fasting Bars come to your rescue, especially when you have to work late or leave home early in the morning.
Fast-Bars are cynically developed plant-based food bars that ideally trick your body into feeling it’s still in the state of fasting.
3. Starting having late breakfasts:
Fasting overnight and pushing back the breakfast timings can aid significantly in making fasting easier.
However, pushing back the breakfast timing is a gradual process where you can first have your breakfast at 10 am and then gradually push it back to 12 am.
4. Hydrate yourself:
Believe it or not but hydrating oneself by drinking water can be a key element of maintaining a clean bill of health.
Drinking water and staying hydrated can help tremendously when fasting for prolonged periods of time.
5. Make a tight schedule to follow through:
Intermittent fasting during the days when your work schedule is a bit more hectic than usual can be quite demotivating.
Hence it is recommended to plan your fasting days around your daily schedules to avoid fatiguing yourself.
6. Drink Ginger Tea:
Whether you are following a 14/10 or a 16/8 intermittent fasting method, it can be quite difficult to resist the craving to eat.
To help ease the urge to consume excess calories it is recommended to drink ginger tea at night as well as in the morning.
7. Do not compare your progress with others:
Everyone’s body is different and the results according to the body type will also be different.
Hence it is best not to feel demotivated by comparing your progress with others and not following the exact same diet plans as others.
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