There are several weight loss trends and diet “fads” that have come and gone promising you a “healthy” way of losing weight. Some work and some don’t. Dieting, believe it or not, is not an exact science and it depends on every individual’s own body. The newest dieting trend that is picking up some major steam in the weight loss community recently is intermittent fasting and it goes against every major health fact that we have known to be true.
What is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting, as you can figure out by its name, is a method of fasting during certain hours of the day to burn off fat. Fasting allows your body to burn excess body fat and reduce caloric intake, which then leads to weight loss. It has been practiced for hundreds of years and still continues to this day for religious and cultural reasons. Now, controlled fasting has become the newest trend for people who want to lose weight but don’t really have an idea on how to do so.
Intermittent fasting supposedly has several health benefits apart from weight loss. It is said to improve mental clarity and concentration, lower sugar levels, improved fat burning, lower blood cholesterol and increase growth hormone. Some say it also has the potential to even prevent Alzheimer’s disease. We don’t know how far any of this is true but if you take into consideration the basic principle of weight loss, burning more calories than consuming, fasting in its simplest sense makes a whole lot of.
How to fast for success
So, you know all about fasting but how do you do it? Before we jump into the actual process of fasting, let’s classify the different types of fasting so you can choose which is best for your present dieting needs. And as always, please check with your doctor before starting any kind of diet.
The 16:8 fasting
This variation of intermittent fasting involves fasting for 16 hours and eating only during a set 8 hour period of the day and can be done on a daily basis. The most efficient way to implement this fasting technique is to choose a time period of 10am to 6pm so you can get done with your eating earlier on in the day. Many experts say as the day goes by, your body becomes less efficient in putting those pesky sugars away.
Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate day fasting involves limiting your caloric consumption to 500 calories one day and eating your regular meals on the next. This process can be done throughout the week.
The 5:2 fasting
This fasting method was first popularised by Dr. Michael Mosley in his book ‘The Fast Diet’ and it involves eating as you would on 5 days of the week and a complete fast on 2 days of the week. In those 2 fasting days, consumption of 500 calories is allowed but it should be noted that the fasting should be non-consecutive.
How to fast without feeling hungry
Now that we have gone through the popular methods of fasting, how do we actually do it without getting hungry during the fasting periods?
1. Drink lots of water. Hydration is key in keeping the hunger pangs down. It gives you a sense of fullness without any caloric intake. It is also said that people tend to think they are hungry and reach for a snack when they are just dehydrated. So, keep sipping on some water throughout the day and it will help you conquer your hunger.
2. Invest in herbal teas or green teas. Teas in general are considered to be appetite suppressants, especially green tea since it helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Teas also have catechins which helps in moderating the growth of fat cells and reduces fat storage in your body.
3. Stay busy. The easiest way to stop your hunger pangs from devouring you is to stay busy. Hunger is usually felt during idle times and the best to combat it is to go for a walk or try to run an errand that might have put off for later. Get up and go!
4. Get enough sleep. Sleep is as crucial to our health than any diet or fitness routine. Shortened sleep cycles is associated with a decrease in leptin and elevated levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. So, get your 8 hour snooze no matter what.
5. Eat enough during your “eating window”. Make sure to eat properly during your eating period as it helps curbing your hunger during the fasting hours. Include proteins, healthy cats and complex carbs and try to add color by including different types of veggies on your plate.