Isn’t it great to come across a diet like intermittent fasting? It’s not only sustainable but also has scientifically proven benefits.
With intermittent fasting, you will lose stubborn weight as you learn to control hunger. If you stick with it you’ll experience better mental focus and concentration. Your heart and brain will be healthier. Additionally, intermittent fasting helps with the generation of new cells and slows down aging.
It’s no surprise that many people are excited to try it out.
Well, here’s what you should know before you dive in.
1. You can choose one of several plans
One great advantage of intermittent fasting is its flexibility. You get to select a plan that what works best for you. For example, you can choose to fast for 12 hours, 16 hours, 20 hours, or 24 hours. There are fasting gurus who can go for more than 24 hours.
Though these hours are not fixed, experts recommend fasting for at least 10 hours. This is because the point of intermittent fasting is to allow your body to burn fat for energy. For several hours after you eat, your body uses glucose as fuel. When it runs out of glucose, the body taps into your fat cells. This leads to benefits such as weight loss and increased insulin sensitivity.
2. Start with a small fasting window
Due to the excitement about intermittent fasting and its great benefits, you may be tempted to go all in. A longer fasting window may offer more benefits, but it will tough to get through if you’re a newbie. Start with 10 hours. You can eat dinner at 8:00 pm then have breakfast at 6:00 am. Doesn’t that sound easy enough? We bet you agree. After mastering a 10-hour fast, keep pushing your breakfast hour forward. Aim to start eating at noon. If you follow this simple process, you’ll be on the 16/8 intermittent schedule in a few weeks. The 16/8 plan is where you limit your eating to 8 hours and fast for the rest of the day.
3. You don’t have to fast every day
Nutrition experts have found that you don’t have to fast every day to see results such as weight loss. In fact, this has led to fasting plans such as the 5/2 diet and the alternate day intermittent fasting. In the 5/2 diet, you consume up to 500 calories for 2 days a week and eat normally for 5 days. You can also fast for 24 hours on alternate days. Aim for a consistent schedule to make it easier for your body to adjust.
4. You may experience some unpleasant side-effects in the first week
The first week of intermittent fasting usually sucks. You’ll feel hungry and tired. Some people will be irritable. Hunger pangs will have you counting down hours as you wait for your fasting window to end. That doesn’t mean that you’ll fail at intermittent fasting. Remember that your body has to adjust to a different eating schedule. Drink lots of water to keep the hunger at bay. You can also sip herbal tea and black coffee. Don’t beat yourself up if you break your fast before the set time. You can always start again.
5. Eating healthy will increase the benefits
Many people jump on the intermittent fasting diet because of the freedom over what they can eat. What you should know is that unhealthy food will still have a negative impact on your body. Intermittent fasting benefits your body to heal, repair, and create new cells. It also helps build the immune system. These processes need nutrients. Ensure that you eat nutritious food until you’re satisfied. As long as you eat healthy food, you can enjoy your pizza, chocolate, and other snacks in moderation.
6. You can still exercise
Intermittent fasting does not mean you that you never have to hit the gym again. Though, you have to take it easy in the beginning, exercise will boost the benefits of your fast. You can consult a nutrition or fitness expert to help you decide on the timing of your workouts. You can exercise during or after the fast. Some studies show that exercising during the fast can help burn more fat. The downside is that during the fast you may have less energy and motivation to exercise. Generally, people who fast for 16 hours or less find it easier to exercise during their fasting windows.
Nutritionists have observed that many people stick with intermittent fasting compared to other diets. With all the right information and your doctor’s approval, you can start intermittent fasting with confidence.