DRS Guide to Intermittent Fasting – Everything You Need to Know!

Most of you must have been following fasting as a part of your spiritual, religious, and cultural traditions. Born out of this, is a new way of fasting – IF or Intermittent Fasting! This is something really very different and that your ancestors used to follow in the era when there was no refrigeration, microwaves, food delivery, and electricity.

If you wish to know everything about intermittent fasting, then read this post to explore every bit of it!

What is Intermittent Fasting?

It is a kind of eating pattern where you cycle between abstaining from food and sessions of eating food. You don’t have to restrict to calories or food. The focus is on timing. For this reason, it is also known as time-restricted eating. You simply have to condense your eating hours into a shorter time window.

Why You Must Go for Intermittent Fasting?

Our process of digestion is highly energy-intensive and it is not meant to be ‘on’ all the time. When we allow our digestive system to rest for 12-16 hours in a 24-hour session, it is able to work to remove metabolic toxins and junk, which develop in our body over time.

When we fast, inflammation within our body reduces down and our body initiates autophagy, which is a vital cleansing process that breaks down and revamps damaged cellular elements. when human growth hormone increases, it helps to burn fat, increase muscle, cartilage, and bone growth, and restores muscle mass. The levels of adrenaline, as well as norepinephrine, also increase that release energy while burning fat. The decreased insulin levels allow to burn fat rather than storing it, and lastly, leptin and ghrelin levels are normalized.

Due to activation of such processes during fasting, it is possible for us to experience numerous health benefits like stable energy, fat loss, reduction in oxidative stress, enhanced cognitive function, reduction, and prevention of degenerative ailments in the brain, slowed aging, enhanced longevity, and more.

You see, intermittent fasting, therefore, can be a great way to reduce fat. It is because it trains your body to abstain from food and prepares it to burn stored fat and use it, rather than relying on sugars.

Who All Can Go For Intermittent Fasting?

If you want to improve your health condition and become a better fat burner then you can be a good candidate for intermittent fasting.

Here are some suggested pre-requisites for intermittent fasting:

  • You are consuming a well-balanced healthy diet including fat, protein, and fiber.
  • You can consume three meals a day and no snacks without experiencing hypoglycemic symptoms like blurred vision, light-headedness, confusion, energy dips, getting angry, and more.
  • You can manage stress and have not to experience adrenal dysregulation.
  • You are getting sufficient sleep of 7-9 hours.
  • You exercise regularly.
  • Being a woman, she does not experience hormone imbalances like thyroid, sex hormones, adrenals, and others.
  • You are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You are not underweight or experiencing an eating disorder.
  • You don’t experience a chronic renal ailment.

Some Important Facts About Fasting

  1. Intermittent fasting is not about starvation. The aim of this fasting is not to restrict calorie, but to restrict time.
  2. When you do any kind of fasting, your body restores muscle mass and breaks down only fat tissue to meet the energy requirements.
  3. Finally, intermittent fasting will not slow down your metabolism. It’s true that staying without food can reduce the metabolic rate, short-term fasting maintains body health as well as metabolic rate.

The Intermittent Fasting Approach

There are numerous approaches to intermittent fasting. Here I have mentioned some of the options that might work best for you.

  1. 12-Hour Fast – This is the recommended plan for those who are just starting with intermittent fasting. It is the safest and easiest approach to follow as most of the people don’t have issues fasting for 12-hours. You can decide a suitable time for dinner, like 8 p.m. and do breakfast exactly after 12-hours, which is 8 a.m. In between, you don’t have to eat anything, but you can always consume liquids.
  2. Alternate-Day Fasting – This is another plan of fasting that involves fasting one day where you consume only 25% of the normal caloric value excluding starches or sugar. On an alternate day, you can eat whatever you want but not junk or processed food.
  3. 16/8 Cycling – This plan is based on the same strategy as the 12-hour fasting plan. But here, you just have to limit the eating window to eight hours and extend fasting to sixteen. Though it might be quite challenging as compared to the 12-hour fasting pattern, then the results are also profound. In this plan, you can eat dinner by 8 p.m. and have lunch by 12  in the noon to create a 16-hour daily fasting cycle. You can set a time frame as per your preference.
  4. The Warrior Diet – This plan involves consuming small amounts of raw veggies and fruits during the day and then consuming one big meal at night.
  5. 5:2 Plan – Just like the alternate day fasting, this plan allows to eat normally five days a week and limiting the calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the remaining two days of the week.
  6. Eat When Hunger Ensures Naturally – As per this approach if you are not feeling hungry in the morning then don’t eat breakfast. Similarly, eat dinner only if you are hungry. Don’t eat just because it is the time. This way, you can decide to fast and whenever you eat, avoid consuming high-calorie food.

Tips To Experience Hassle-Free and Safe Intermittent Fasting

  • Start Slow – You can start slow by finishing your evening meal 3 hours before going to bed. If you can’t follow the 12 hours fast at once, aim for a fast of shorter duration for the initial weeks.
  • Gradually increase your fasting window to 13 hours for 2 weeks. Once it feels easy, you can extend the duration.
  • If you are hungry, you can take a few deep breaths. Also, drink some water when you are extremely hungry. If still not feeling better then go out for a walk.

To Sum Up

People having consistency with the IF schedules tend to get more success with it as compared to those with erratic schedules. It is because your body adjusts to a routine, which you offer it. Give your hormones enough time to adapt to the new schedule.

Also, you can try to different intermittent fasting patterns and identify what works best for you and the schedule works best for you. It takes time for the body to get used to this way of eating. Once your body is trained to burn fat, you will be able to get all the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Hope this post is helpful for you to start with an intermittent fasting plan that you can adapt to your health and lifestyle goals!

The Many flavors of Intermittent Fasting

There’s little evidence to suggest one form of IF(Intermittent Fasting) is better than another and no evidence suggesting IF is right for everyone (ask your registered dietitian for thoughts before diving in).  Here’s a look at some common approaches.

Time- restricted fasting: Majority of the day is spent in the fasted state with specific hours allotted for eating.  Popular methods include the 16:8 method (16 hours fasting: 8 hours eating) with ranges existing from a more liberal ratio (12:12) to pushing the limits of IF (20+:4).

Research on time-restricted fasting has found reductions in fasting glucose, and improvements in LDL- and HDL-cholesterol.  Self-reported hunger was higher in the morning for those consuming a single meal per day, and subjects did not report becoming accustomed to this hunger over the course of the study.

Alternate- day fasting: Alternating between days of fasting (energy-free fluids only) and feasting (no rules).

Research comparing alternate day fasters to individuals on a standard, reduced-calorie diet found that there was no difference in weight loss or weight maintenance over the course of one year.  Like time-restricted fasting, alternate day can lead to modest weight loss with possible improvement in metabolic parameters but hunger on fast days is intense and is unlikely to improve over time.

Modified fasting:  Across the week, 5 days typical eating and 2, non-consecutive days of intake limited to 20 -25% of calorie needs.

Research suggests that this method results in weight loss, with modest and mixed effects on blood sugar control, blood lipid levels, and inflammatory markers.  There is little evidence to suggest that this method produces superior weight loss or metabolic changes in comparison to standard energy restriction regimens.

Should You Try It?

IF is not the only (or even the best) way to lose weight but If food controls every minute of your waking hours and you’re desperate for a hard stop, then IF might be the break you need.  Skip IF if you’re prone to overeating after periods of restriction.  Individuals with diabetes, other chronic diseases, and (history of) eating disorder should ask their doctor before beginning IF.  Athletes beware; research suggests that any form of fasting is likely detrimental to aerobic athletic gains since calories consumed in the hours before a workout are essential for optimal performance, recovery, and muscle gain.

Break the Fast Right

Choices during feasting hours and how you break the fast can make or break your success.  Consider this; extended fasting may prompt the body to rely on ketones and endogenous fat stores for fuel once glycogen stores are exhausted.  (And we know that followers of keto diets often turn to IF to jumpstart ketosis!).  Relying on data from ketogenic dieters who broke their fast with simple sugars, we can theorize to uncover what happens to followers of IF who indulge in all-you-can-eat carbs when the feeding window finally opens.  A small, recent study found that keto dieters who broke their ketosis with a bolus of 75 grams of simple sugar carbohydrate experienced vascular damage and inflammation suggesting that an influx of carbs after periods of fasting could push your health in the wrong direction.

To give yourself a break and ultimately move closer to health goals, plan ahead rather than eating everything in sight.  Try easing back into eating with a ketogenic shakes or meals as your first choice.  A keto or even a very low carb, high protein plate may better prevent an immediate blood glucose spike which can follow a plate full of mindless simple sugars.  As your eating window continues, follow the advice of many fans of IF who report better progress when following a lower carbohydrate plan during eating hours.

Source : drxfit