Intermittent Fasting: The ultimate beginner’s guide


Why cut back on all foods when you could just drop the extra weight by watching what you eat? Intermittent fasting is one such diet which can help you lose weight without any fuss. The general idea of the diet is to incorporate regular short-term fasts into your routine. Here is a detailed guide to make you understand the diet better. 

What is Intermittent Fasting?

One of the most famous diets right now, intermittent fasting involves alternating cycles of eating and fasting. It is an eating pattern which tells you when to eat, rather than what to eat. There are several different intermittent fasting methods – all of which split the day into two periods: fasting period and eating period. 

When following this diet, you don’t need to track calories and keep a check on what you eat. Intermittent fasting is less like a diet and more like a lifestyle. Various studies have shown that intermittent fasting helps stave off heart diseases and possibly reverse the effects of brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Also read: Best fruits to energize the body after a day of fasting

Types of Intermittent Fasting 

Fasting for 16 hours a day: The 16/8 Method 

The 16/8 method includes fasting for 16 hours a day, leaving only an ‘eating window’ of 8 hours. In this diet, people usually have dinner by 8 in the evening and skip breakfast the next morning – not eating until noon. 

According to a study, limiting the feeding window to 8 hours can also help fight problems such as obesity, diabetes, inflammation and liver diseases. 

Fasting for 2 days a week 

When following this diet, you have to stick to a normal and healthy diet for at least 5 days a week, but you have to reduce the calorie intake drastically on the other two days. It does not have to be continuous – for instance, you can reduce calories on Tuesday and Thursday, and eat normally on the other 5 days of the week. 

Alternate Day Fasting 

A report published in the Nutrition Journal stated that alternate day fasting shows effective weight loss results and it helps keep your heart healthy. Some people, during the diet, avoid solid foods or eat only up to 500 calories, but they eat as much as they want on non-fasting days. 

Do a 24-hour Fast 

Known as Eat-Stop-Eat diet, it involves eating no food for 24 hours at once. People have water and some other calorie-free drink while on this diet. On the non-fasting days, people return to normal eating patterns. Following this diet reduces a person’s total calorie intake, which in turn limit the specific foods that they consume. 

Sometimes, it may become difficult in the beginning but as you stick to it, the body adjusts to the plan but it is better to consult a doctor before you incorporate such plans in your diet.

Also read: 6 daily habits that will help you lose belly fat in no time

The Warrior Diet 

The diet is a little on the extreme side. This diet involves eating very little – only raw fruits and vegetables during the 20-hour fasting window, and then having a large meal at night. This is an extreme form of intermittent dieting so it is best for those people who have tried the other forms but have not succeeded. 

But during the time that you are eating, make sure you eat sufficient carbohydrates, proteins, nutrients and fats to avoid any kind of deficiency. Your body must get healthy foods for it to function properly. 

Not many studies have proved how effective intermittent fasting is albeit it has been considered superior among all other diets due to the amount of weight loss that occurs after following it. Make sure that you have done trials before actually sticking to a diet like this. Also, consult a professional before opting for the diet.

Read more articles on Diet & Nutrition. 

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