Going without food for some time has been shown to be beneficial to the body. In studies done on mice, scientists have noted apparent health benefits. It is within this context that intermittent fasting has grown as an alternative to the diet and exercise that have been prescribed for those wishing to lose weight. The question of what intermittent fasting is as the name suggests a program where one fasts for a period before resuming eating. This cycle is repeated a couple of times. The benefits are said to range from weight loss to a building of lean muscle mass. This increases strength and explosive speed. Intermittent fasting, therefore, is focused on when and not what you eat.
To understand why intermittent fasting works, we need to understand the science behind the working of the body. Diets are usually planned with the aim of regulating a number of calories we consume and also burning the excess stored fat through exercise. Intermittent fasting does not try to control your calorie intake. Instead, it focuses on using stored body fat for energy when the body does not have its usual fuel. When we eat the body begins breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from the food. In the fed state the body burns very little fat if any because the insulin levels in the blood are high. This fed state lasts for 3to 4 hours from the time of eating. The body then enters a phase of post-adsorptive in which it is not processing any food. This span lasts about 8 to 12 hours after eating. The fasting period then sets in. As the body senses its dwindling energy supply in the fasting mode; it begins to burn fat to bridge the energy deficit
This simple strategy, if implemented over a stretch of time, reduces the stored by the body. Also if the calorie intake does not change during the fasting, the good weight is not interfered with. Therefore the body loses fat while retaining its weight and building lean muscle mass. The benefits do not end there. Sipping a meal means you save more on money and time. There will be less time spent on cleaning of dirty utensils and cooking. Moreover, it simplifies your day when a glass of water is taken as breakfast. When one voluntarily learn to control the urge to eat they also learn control of other aspects of their lives. Intermittent fasting could, therefore, form life changing habits for a better life.
The benefits of intermittent fasting have the potential to prolong life. This is because it activates a mechanism similar to less calorie intake that is known to extend life. Furthermore, with less insulin build-up, the risk of getting diabetes is reduced and its reversal enhanced. Moreover, all this is free.
Another positive aspect of intermittent fasting is its simplicity. Diets can be incredibly complicated to follow. This is because you have to calculate the calories in every food before eating it. Some diets are also expensive to maintain. The temptation to enjoy the food you enjoy is also always lurking in the background.
There are several ways of incorporating the intermittent fasting in your life.
Daily intermittent fasting is practiced by taking two meals a day instead of three. Breakfast is the one most skipped. This daily schedule has 16 hours of fasting and 8 of eating. One can also be flexible and make their schedule so that they do not miss out on the family meal or friends’ parties. Occasionally indulging in a snack will not compromise the program especially if compliance is over 90%. The greatest hindrance to reaping the benefits of fasting is the mental barrier.
The weekly intermittent diet involves fasting once or twice a week. While the benefits are not pronounced, it offers the beginner a good starting point to experience fasting before building up the resolve to go full throttle. Going through the first fasting motivates one that it can be done. Moreover, the weekly fasting program is unlikely to lead to significant change of weight even as one burns fat.
The alternate intermittent fasting regime is a program where you feed on one day and fast on the next. It is not popular because of the long span of time without food. While it is likely to burn fatter, there is a risk of not getting enough nutrients during the feeding phase to replace the ones used as you fast.
In conclusion, intermittent fasting should be considered by anyone who is serious about losing weight.
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