Intermittent Fasting is more commonly being spoken about in the diet and fitness industry these days. However, IT is not a new concept but one that has historical roots along with its many benefits. In short, IT is the voluntary energy restriction between a fasting period and non fasting period. It has been used with many cultures and religions around the world and comes with a wide range of benefits. Here are just some of the benefits below.
- Cognitive Performance
Some evidence suggest that fasting helps the brain improve cognitive performance by starving off all dead cells and making room for newer cells which in turn can increase focus.
2. Cardiovascular Health
By keeping the body in a fasted state, it has been shown to lower resting heart rate and blood pressure. When the body is not working hard to breakdown food, it naturally keeps a lower heart rate.
3. Physical Performance
It had been shown to give added bouts of energy during physical exertion. It can be related back to improved digestion and cognitive performance
4. Diabetes and Weight loss
IT has been shown as an effective weight loss strategy in overweight and obese people. IT works by using your own fat for fuel in the absence of food and in turn helps to burn calories and drop weight. IT has also been shown to regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetics.
5. Fights Inflammation
By killing off all bad cells and making room for new clean cells in the body, it has been shown to decrease inflammatory responses in the body. This can also apply to injuries and or chronic illnesses that heighten the body’s response to increased inflammation.
There are five cycles of fasting that can be used to fit into your lifestyle. They are identified below.
1. 16:8 Fasting Method
Eat within a period of eight hours and fast for 16 hours. Example of this schedule is first meal at 10AM; Last meal at 6PM.
2. 20:4 Fasting Method
Eat for four hours and fast for 20 hours OR eat one meal a day.
3. 5:2 Fasting Method
Eat normally for five days of the week and for two consecutive days of the week consume only 500 calories.
4. 24 Hour Fasting Method
Fast for 24hrs one day of the week. Example is fast from lunch one day to lunch the next day.
5. 36 Hour Fasting Method
Fast for 36hrs during the week.
If you are new to the world of fasting, my advice would be to take it slow. I began fasting to clean my gut and I wanted to feel like my metabolism was functioning properly. Sometimes after years of dieting or eating poor choices, your body can become sluggish and even if you begin to eat healthier, your metabolism may not be working properly. Fasting could be your option.
Here is my advice to get started.
1. Start slow! Try to start off with a 10–12 hour fast and see how your body does. If you can make it to those hours then you can do 13–15 the next time.
2. Don’t fast everyday at first. Allow your body to get use to the timing. Try two days the first week and maybe three the next. But I do not think you should fast every day either. Take a break for a couple days and cycle on and off fasting for lasting benefits.
3. Plan your “break your fast” meal. Often times if you are not prepared post fast, you will want to grab everything to fill your belly. Fueling your body with clean fuel is as important as killing off unwanted or dead cells. Nourish it and make the fasting worth it.
4. Hydrate! You can never drink enough water especially when fasting. Ensure your cells are properly hydrated and you are moving your digestion along!
5. Journal your progress! It’s good to jot down how you felt daily and how long your fast was so you can see if it’s the right fit for you!
Contrary to all the diet fads out there, fasting has been a historical method and is here to stay. The benefits along with the various methods make it simple to add into most lifestyles. Do your best and play around with the various methods. If something doesn’t feel right-stop. And you should consult your doctor if you have any previous health conditions or on medications before starting.
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