Posted on Mar 02, 2023, 6 p.m.
Intermittent fasting has been around since the 1800s but really came around again in the 200s. Studies have taken a closer look at the weight-loss approach and have come up with a number of benefits.
There are a lot of different approaches to intermittent fasting, including the times you can and cannot eat and what you put in your body. While there are a lot of modification options, it’s important for newcomers to understand the basics and set themselves up for success.
How It Works
Intermittent fasting is when you give yourself a window during the day where you can consume food. Outside of that window, you will fast. The most common approach for fasting techniques is the 16/8, which is commonly referred to as the Leangains fast. In this scenario, you fast for 16 hours and eat within an eight-hour window.
This naturally promotes reduced calorie intake and helps control your blood sugar levels. When you are fasting, your body goes into a fat-burning state because it technically believes you are starving. It uses that fat to keep the body running.
Let’s look at it from a technical standpoint.
- Your Human Growth Hormones skyrocket. HGH is responsible for helping fat loss as well as gaining muscle.
- Your insulin levels drop, which makes fat more accessible.
- Your cells go into repair mode, which speeds up the regenerative process.
- Through gene change and function, fasting can help prevent disease. This is especially true with heart disease as LDL, “the bad” cholesterol, is lowered.
All of the above can be referred to as fasting for autophagy. By stimulating autophagy, you can take advantage of these benefits with the new cells and get rid of unwanted proteins that contribute to disease.
But you can only reap these benefits when you do a successful fast. This means following some general guidelines.
Best Practices For A Successful Fast
Here are the best practices in order to have a successful fast and lose weight. Keep in mind that it’s not just about the window of time in which you eat, but it’s about what you do during that window of time.
During the window that you can eat, it’s important that you don’t go haywire. Remaining vigilant to a healthy balanced diet helps your metabolism. If you don’t reduce your calorie intake, you likely won’t see results.
This also includes staying well-hydrated. Dehydrated fasters find themselves with slower metabolisms. Drinking water also keeps us full.
Don’t Drink Calories
Speaking of drinking, stick to water or other zero-calorie options. When you drink your calories, you are consuming a lot of sugar that adds up quickly. Stick to black coffee. But not too much of it because tea and coffee are dehydrating.
Don’t Go Extreme
If you go on an extreme fast like a bone-broth diet, you may find yourself crash-dieting. This leads to serious weight gain after rapid weight loss. Pacing yourself and starting with a moderate intermittent fasting schedule is key for long-term success.
Our metabolism works better in the morning than it does late at night. That’s why keeping your eating window from morning to middle to late afternoon can make a big difference in your digestive system. Many fasters report using the 16/8 between 8 A.M. and 4 P.M. or starting at 10 A.M. and finishing around 6 P.M.
Watch Your Workouts
Working out is a great way to supplement your fast, but understanding your body, and its relationship to food is important. In order to exercise, your body needs proper fuel and energy. If you are working and restricting your calories to extreme levels, you run the risk of injury or a medical issue.
When you work out rigorously, you can add more calories to your daily intake within your window than you may normally have. As long as they are healthy sources of food, this will not hurt your fasting.
Giving It a Try
At first, fasting can be incredibly difficult for people who have never tried it. It takes discipline. Even with the most modest fast schedules it requires a level of preparation and consideration. But the benefits as studied are well worth it.
Even though the main idea is to eat during a window of time, it’s important to focus on what you are fueling your body with. This can be the make or break of your diet and determine whether you are losing weight.
By giving it a try (it may take some trial and error), you may find yourself having no issue with the lifestyle choice after a few days or weeks. And then you can put your own modifications or try something a little more challenging.
This article was written for WHN by Nicole McCray who is a free-spirited creative content word ninja, who has been obsessed with beauty and fashion since she was a young girl. She’s a former wedding makeup artist who still loves spending her free time testing products and staying up to date on new fashion trends. On top of that, she’s a self-proclaimed health nut who loves to explore and write about holistic, healthy living.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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