Intermittent Fasting, you’ve probably heard of it, but because you think it’s either a fad or you are not trying to lose weight, you may have dismissed it. We are here to tell you that Intermittent Fasting (IF) is not just the latest flash in the proverbial pan, and it’s not just for weight loss! IF has benefits that extend far beyond your waistline.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Unlike other diets which focus on what you eat, Intermittent fasting is all about when you eat. IF doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel or coming up anything new in terms of the food you should eat and avoid, rather it focuses on tearing down the notion that people should be eating as often as they do.
At some point we have all been told that we should eat a small meal or snack every couple of hours (up to 5 or 6 per day) and that that is the ideal eating pattern. What Intermittent Fasting says is that you should alternate between short periods of “feeding” and long periods of fasting. One of the most common IF methods is the 16/8 pattern, which says you fast for 16-hours per day and then do all of your eating for the day within an 8-hour window.
Not eating for 16-hours may sound difficult, but when you factor in sleeping, it’s not actually all that hard. Let’s say, for example, you eat dinner at 6pm every day, if you were doing a 16/8 Intermittent Fast, you would not eat anything until 10am the next day. That is not so bad, right? And remember, with IF you are still allowed to drink black coffee, or unsweetened tea. You just don’t want to add any milk, cream, half-and-half, sugar, or sweetener of any kind.
Other Types Of Intermittent Fasting
Aside from the 16/8 method, here are a couple other popular ways fast intermittently.
- 24-Hour Fast: The popular method is just what it sounds like. You eat dinner one day and then you don’t eat again until dinner time the next day. This is a more casual approach to IF as many people who partake in 24-hour fasts only do so periodically a few times a month.
- The 5:2 Diet: In a 5:2 diet you go on a strict fast for 2 days every week. For some that means eating nothing during those two days, other allow themselves small snacks so long as they total less than 500 calories per-day.
The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Okay, so now that you know what Intermittent Fasting is, you are probably wondering what it’s benefits are and if it is right for you. Don’t worry, we are here to help!
Productivity And Energy
With Intermittent Fasting, one of the first things you’ll notice, even before your waistline starts slimming down is how much more energy you’ll have. Many of us live our lives in a constant up-and-down roller coaster of having energy and then not having energy, of being focused and then not being focused, and much of this has to do with our diets.
If you are very slow to wake up or if you regularly experience the dreaded post-lunch slump at work where you can barely keep your eyes open, you may want to consider IF. During fasting period, which for most people will occur in the mornings you will have lots of energy and abundant amounts of focus. Then, after eating for the first time for the day you’ll actually feel good and rejuvenated rather than tired and sleepy.
Another tip for avoiding the post-lunch slump is to avoid carbs! Watch the amount of bread and other high carb foods!
It is believed that calorie restriction in the form of fasting may have major implications on how long you live. While more research still needs to be done, there has been some promising results. In mice, for example, scientists were able to increase life expectancy by more than 30% by reducing their total calorie intake via intermittent fasting.
The key to IF is that by fasting for 16 hours or more you are enabling your body to deplete all of its glycogen reserves which forces it to switch to fat as its primary energy source.
Your body usually works by converting the food you eat into energy. But, without available food, it will seek alternative fuel sources. Namely, your fat stores.
When the food runs out, in other words, your body uses your fat as fuel. This is good news if you are trying to lose those love handles or some of that pesky stomach fat.
Simplicity And Freedom
One of the biggest, often ignored, benefits of Intermittent Fasting is the freedom and simplicity it provides. If you are a young profession working long hours and trying to stay in shape, the last thing you have time for is to constantly eat. Some people solve this problem by meal prepping. But meal prepping multiple meals per day? That’s not easy either! Also, it can get expensive. With IF you free yourself from the chain of having to constantly eat or worry about what you are going to eat, you will be shocked at how much simpler it makes your life. If you can’t get healthy food at the office or if you don’t have time to prep, guess what? You just turn that time into a fast! It’s the epitome of making lemonade out of lemons.
Intermittent Fasting is a healthy and sustainable way to stay in shape, live healthy, and keep your energy and focus up all day long.