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If you’ve ever heard the term intermittent fasting it’s almost certain that you were immediately intrigued. Not just another diet or health phase, this type of fasting has been proven to detox your body and promote your well-being so that you feel better both physically and emotionally. If you’re curious about this unique phenomenon, read on.
Throughout the ages, people have fasted. Thousands of years ago, people fasted because they did not always have something on-hand to eat. This meant that through evolution, our bodies became used to a type of fasting, so it is not something completely unfamiliar to our bodily systems.
People also fast for religious reasons, including Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists. When you fast, you not only clear your body of harmful toxins, but your mind gets clearer as well. You can concentrate on what’s most important and even make better decisions, so fasting is, in fact, good for you.
Intermittent fasting, or IF, most often consists of going without food for 16 or 24 hours at a time, twice a week. It is more of a meal plan than it is a diet, because most types of intermittent fasting don’t tell you what to eat but rather, when to eat your food.
IF involves various diet schedules, but they all include periods of either eating very little or eating nothing at all. Below are three methods that many people use when they’re interested in intermittent fasting:
There are many other methods than this, of course, but these three are some of the most common types of IF. In addition, of these three methods, the 16/8 method is the most popular one and the easiest one to follow for most people.
As you can well imagine, intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, which is perhaps why it is so popular with women. However, IF provides many benefits to both men and women, and these include the following:
For everyone, IF can change the function of genes, cells, and even hormones. More specifically, your insulin blood levels drop and waste material is removed from your cells so that they repair themselves a lot faster. In other words, intermittent fasting can actually change the physiological makeup of your body so that your health can improve in a number of ways.
IF can also help you:
As long as you don’t eat too much on the days you’re allowed to eat and you always eat the right types of foods, IF shouldn’t be that difficult for you and is all but guaranteed to produce great results. Intermittent fasting can also lower your cholesterol, improve the body’s ability to heal itself, help speed up your metabolism, and may even help you live longer.
IF can burn fat easily and quickly, provide a slow and healthy way to lose weight, provide a simple and affordable diet plan, make dieting easy because you’re not told what to eat, and works whether you exercise or not. It is a simple plan that you are likely to adjust to a lot faster than you might think.
The good news is that these benefits are scientifically proven, which means once you start the IF method you’re most interested in, you can count on getting some pretty amazing results.
Of course, as with any diet or meal plan, there can be negative side effects of intermittent fasting. These include the following:
In addition, you cannot “kind of fast” and get the results you were looking for. You’re either in it for the long haul or you’re not. In other words, you have to give this diet 100% or nothing at all for it to work.
When you’re in the fasting phase, the only things you’re allowed to consume are black coffee, seltzer water, plain water, or black tea. No sugar or cream in your tea or coffee and no flavored waters or soft drinks. You can drink as much of these as you like, of course, but this is all you can have while you’re fasting.
IF is also difficult because many people will react negatively to you doing it, which can decrease your motivation and your commitment to the process. This can be easily avoided by simply not disclosing the fact that you’re on this diet. Or, you can choose a friend to diet with you, enabling both of you to be stronger and more committed.
Intermittent fasting also means you may have plateaus just like you do with other types of diets. Indeed, periods where your weight loss just remains the same can be frustrating, but they happen in other diets as well, which is likely to make this a lot easier on you in the end.
IF can be inconvenient for many people, including when your fasting day occurs on a day that a family dinner is scheduled or on a holiday where eating is an important part of the day. For these and many other reasons, IF isn’t for everyone, but as long as you’re aware of the pros and cons of the plan, you should be able to handle it a lot better.
In addition to the three methods mentioned above, there are also a few other types of intermittent fasting utilized by today’s dieters. These include:
Remember that when you’re on any type of fasting diet, you should drink a lot of water so that you don’t get dehydrated. You should also remember to eat healthy during the nonfasting phases of your diet. In addition, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have any pre-existing medical condition, you should always ask your physician before starting on one of these fasting plans.
If you’re new to IF, you can start by skipping just one meal and see how you feel. If you feel fine, you can start with something like the 16/8 method, and work your way up from there to another type of plan. All of these plans will not work for everyone, so you can experiment and find the method that works best for you.
Remember, start slowly if you’re unsure about the IF plan because this is the only way to make sure you can participate in one of these plans without being too uncomfortable.
Even if you’re sure you want to give IF a try, you may still be a little apprehensive. After all, most of us aren’t used to going too long without the intake of food, so it’s normal to be a little nervous. However, if you keep in mind some helpful tips that will make the diet a lot easier, you should be more anxious to try out this unique way of dieting.
You might even want to consider writing in a journal for the first few weeks or longer. It’ll record how you feel both physically and emotionally throughout the experience, and it can make you feel good when you read the journal a few weeks later and see how far you’ve come.
In addition, you should also keep in mind these other tips:
What does all this mean? It means that above all else, you have to be prepared for your intermittent fasting. This takes different amounts of time for different people, so don’t worry how long it ends up taking you to get started. The important thing is to give it all you’ve got the minute you get started, and don’t cheat because even cheating a tiny bit can ruin the plan.
Intermittent fasting can be rough on the body in some ways, especially if you do it for too long. When research the "IF", the one thing you’ll learn is that different “experts” recommend staying with the plan for different amounts of time. Most people, however, recommend that you stick with IF for only six weeks to six months at a time.
Why up to six months and no more? Well, although many people stay with IF for a year or maybe even forever, the truth is that for most people, the diet is just too difficult and strict to stay with for many years at a time. Eventually, most people get tired of the fasting and tired of the side effects, so giving yourself a break after six weeks or six months can rejuvenate you into starting up again soon.
The good news is, you’ll likely see results from IF in a matter of about two weeks, regardless of the particular method you end up choosing. These fast results mean you’ll be more motivated to continue with the plan, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to stick with it until your goals are fulfilled.
There are also easy ways to tell if the diet is working in the meantime. If your goal is to lose weight, all you need is a scale. If your aim is to lose body fat, buy yourself one of those electronic body fat estimators, which look like regular scales, but estimate your body fat so that you can see for yourself that the number is going down.
Intermittent fasting is not as difficult as you might think, especially because there are plans that suit everyone’s lifestyle and preferences. Losing weight is a lot easier with one of these plans, and because there are many different types of intermittent fasting, it is good to know there is a method out there with your name on it.