Howdy Freak ! Thinking about how to get start with Intermittent Fasting ? Are you worried about the steps to follow and the side effects you might face ? So, here you are at the right platform. In this blog post you will get a complete description about Intermittent Fasting – Its complete description, benefits, methods, uses, process to follow and side effects. So Lets Get Started !
Table of Contents
1. What Is Intermittent Fasting ?
You might have often heard about the term Intermittent Fasting. But do you actually know what it is ? Fasting is a very old technique which is being followed from several years. Fasting means to restrict yourself from food or any solid dietary particles for a fixed duration of time.
Many people opt to have a complete fast i.e without in-taking food as well as water. But that occurs very rarely and its not necessary to restrict your body to that limit. Getting restricted from food and solid dietary materials is enough for a complete fast and health gain.
Intermittent fasting is the type of fasting which is generally kept for 16 hours in one day duration ( 24 hours ). However, there are few techniques of intermittent fasting which we will discuss later. But if you want to keep a basic intermittent fasting then you have to keep a fasting period of 16 hours.
If you are willing to have a intermittent fasting then you have to restrict yourself from eating anything for 16 hours. You can perform this fasting for twice or thrice in a week.
2. TECHNIQUES / TYPES OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
2.1. 16 / 8 Fasting Method – 16 Hours Fasting
This is the most prevalent and famous type of intermittent fasting. In this type of intermittent fasting you have to keep a fasting window of 16 hours in 24 hours.
Most of the people generally skips their breakfast. So if you want to try this technique of fasting you can keep a fasting window from 9 pm to 1 pm. You can introduce four healthy light meals in the eating window of 8 hours remaining, that is from 1 pm to 9 pm.
You should keep your minimum protein intake, carbohydrate intake, fat ratio very well distributed and measured in this eating slot. Also, don’t forget to keep yourself properly hydrated. Have atleast 3 litres to 4 litres of water per day.
Many studies have suggested to opt for three basic meals during the period of 8 hours. But I will highly recommend you to have four small healthy balanced meal during this slot. This will keep you more energized and active during the whole day.
2.2. Complete Fasting – 24 Hours Duration
This fasting includes a complete fasting period of 24 hours. If you are going to opt for this, then you will have to restrict yourself from eating anything for 24 hours duration that means one day.
You have to keep a cycle of one day fast that is either fasting from breakfast of previous day to the next day or fasting from dinner of previous day to the dinner of next day.
You can keep this type of fast twice in a week to improve your digestive potency of your body. Keeping complete fasting for more than twice in a week is not what I will recommend to you. Also, remember not to keep this type of fasting for consecutive days. Keep a gap duration of minimum 48 hours to 72 hours before adapting the next cycle of fasting.
However, if you start to feel tired or experience fatigues I highly recommend you to have fruit juices or liquid diet. Because it is when your body will start to send you signal that it needs a definite amount of glucose and nutrients to function properly.
2.3. Calorie Restriction
Your maintenance calorie should be your key goal in this type of diet restriction. Check your maintenance calorie before choosing this fasting plan.
When you will get your daily maintenance calorie, cut down to 80 %. It means if you got your maintenance calorie as 2000 Calories / day, then you will have to restrict your diet till 400 Calories/ day. If you have got your maintenance calorie as 3000 Calories/ day then you will have to have 600 calories/ day.
This diet plan you should follow twice in a week but not for consecutive days. Remaining 5 days in the week you can have your normal diet routine with your normal maintenance calorie requirements.
This restriction calorie fasting process is a great method for those who cannot opt for intermittent fasting or complete fasting for any reasons. Although, it is not that much effective as intermittent or complete fasting but still for the beginners it is a great step to choose and proceed forward.
3. BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
Till now you must have fetched an idea about intermittent fasting. But do you really know its vital benefits ? If not, then you should definitely check out this section. In this section you will get to know top 5 benefits which you can achieve from intermittent fasting.
3.1. IMPROVES DIGESTIVE POTENCY
Fasting improves your digestion power. It is very well evident fact from past times. Your body needs a good amount of processing time to digest all the particles in your gut system.
Keeping an intermittent fasting twice or thrice a week makes the gut system to function more efficiently. The digestive time gets decreased and your potency gets increased. This improves your metabolism of your whole body system.
3.2. WEIGHT LOSS / FAT LOSS
It is evidently found that intermittent fasting has shown traces in weight loss programs. Considering you have a good clean balanced diet in the remaining 8 hours of your intermittent fasting.
But the key thing which you should always remember is to have a well balanced diet schedule for the remaining 8 hours of intermittent fasting.
If you are really into a proper fat loss program then I highly recommend you to give a try to intermittent fasting. This will keep you fit, improve your metabolism and help you to lose body weight in a faster rate.
3.3. BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL / INSULIN CONTROL
Intermittent fasting is known to improve sensitivity to the blood glucose-lowering hormone insulin. Also intermittent fasting has shown relevant result in protecting against fatty liver.
Several diseases can arise due to insulin imbalance in your body. Diabetes is one of them. In a proper research study it has been found in two groups that those who were performing intermittent fasting shown less or negligible result in Type II diabetes than who did not.
Your whole body is a circulatory system. Insulin also needs proper ailments in your body to maintain its level. Intermittent fasting is one of the best way to keep it under control.
If you can control your blood sugar level properly then you can easily control your half of the body diseases.
3.4. IMPROVES HEART HEALTH
Intermittent Fasting affects your levels of hemoglobin, RBC ( Red Blood Cells ), HGH (human growth hormone ) and lowers sodium and bicarbonate levels, while also activating ketosis and autophagy. All these factors lead to better heart health and specifically reduce risk of heart failure and cardiovascular diseases.
Intermittent fasting will also keep your cholesterol level normal. This is one of the major reason why person opting for intermittent fasting has a better heart health.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels.
However, there are further studies which needs to be made to get a better clarification.
3.5. ANTI – AGEING TREATMENT
Intermittent fasting triggers a metabolic region way called autophagy, which removes waste material from your body cells. These removal of waste materials shows a significant amount of improvement in blood and body cells.
Oxidative stress is one of the major reasons towards your aging factor and involves you in several chronic diseases.
It involves a wide range of unstable molecules called free radicals which react with other important molecules ( like protein molecules ) and damages them in a drastic manner.
Many studies has evidently shown that intermittent fasting enhances your body’s resistance to oxidative stress.
Side by side many studies has shown that how intermittent fasting reduces your body inflammation. This is a very significant cause in lowering down your ageing process.
4. DO YOU REQUIRE INTERMITTENT FASTING ?
There are several factors that determines your intermittent fasting process. Everyone is generally not advised to opt for this process. So who all should adopt intermittent fasting ? The answer is below –
A ) If you are a good fitness freak who has a good body BMI and you are involved in regular workouts then you might opt for intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting for 2 days in a week will be sufficient for you.
B ) If you have a body type of very skinny or your BMI is very less as compared to what it should be, then at the present time you can avoid intermittent fasting. If you are underweight then you should preferably start building muscle mass first.
C ) For a weight loss / fat loss program intermittent fasting is a great way to start with. If you are overweight and your BMI exceeds your normal limit then you should definitely opt for intermittent fasting.
D ) If you are someone who often gets sick, have very less immunity, low body resistance power then I will suggest you to take intermittent fasting very seriously. You can keep an intermittent fast for 1 day but should have a liquid diet schedule for the 16 hours duration. Hydrate yourself properly. You can also consume small amount of boiled vegetables and fruits to keep your metabolism active every-time.
E ) If you are someone who is suffering from any type of diseases / injuries ( internal and external ) and are in recovery period then do not opt for intermittent fasting. Get properly recovered and after that you can start opting for intermittent fasting twice a week.
F ) Pregnant ladies should avoid intermittent fasting. They requires a high amount of proper nutrients, diet and healthy calories as compared to others. They should avoid going in fasting phase.
5. SIDE EFFECTS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
Is intermittent fasting efficient every-time? No, it is not. If followed or adopted in a wrong way you will face side effects. Here are the few of them.
5.1. CRAVINGS / HUNGER
If you are a beginner you will feel great cravings during the fast period of 16 hours. To avoid this do not start to have a strict intermittent fasting plan from your Day 1. Rather give yourself time. Have very small meals and as days passes gradually try to increase your fasting time.
Your body won’t be able to resist your new changes suddenly. Hence, you need to transform slowly. This way you will feel less hunger and food cravings. Meanwhile if you feel cravings ( during your intermittent fasting period ) you can have a glass of fruit shake, a seasonal fruit, green tea or a small vegetable boiled platter.
This will decrease your cravings and won’t affect very much in your intermittent fasting.
This is the most common symptom in a intermittent fasting person. Headache arises due to Gastrointestinal problems during fasting period.
When you are a beginner, you might feel a headache quite often. Your stomach consist of gastric juice ( pepsin ) which gradually increase its acidity. This happens due to a long interval of time. Your body takes a month time to get acquainted with this fasting method.
This increase in acidity level causes a tinc of headache. To avoid this, the best remedy is to start intermittent fasting part wise. Do not begin with 16 hours. Try to start with 12 hours and gradually increase it. In couple of weeks you will reach 16 hours and won’t get affected with headache too much.
5.3. LOW ENERGY
During your initial phase you might feel a great low energy. This is very obvious reason as you are unable to feed your body with proper nutrients, carbohydrates and good fats. But this symptom will be there in your body for first month.
Once your system gets habituated with intermittent fasting you will start taking it casually. In-case if you experience very low energy you can have a small amount nuts, lentils or sweet potato. These are good carbohydrates and fats source and will spike energy level in your body.
Remember, not to overdose or eat more. This way your body will not able to resist transition phase and you might feel uneasiness, stomach issues and indigestion.
TIP – This is a very basic but vital tip for all those you are performing fast. Never break your fast duration with a unhealthy diet. This will waste your overall fasting period and you won’t be benefited from it. Also remember to break your fast with a low, oil free, small quantity of diet. Overloading too much at a time will cause body imbalance.
These were the beginners guidelines for intermittent fasting. Do comment below your thoughts, queries and suggestions.
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