With so many different diet plans to choose from, how do you know which one is the best suited for you? On this page, we’ll take a look at intermittent fasting and the research behind it. Can it help you lose that unwanted weight? Find out below.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Most people stick to a standard eating schedule of three square meals per day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Others like to eat four to six smaller meals spread out every to two to three hours throughout the day. With both of these meal plans, you’ll always find yourself full and satiated.
Intermittent fasting is nothing like the above-mentioned eating schedules. On this diet plan, you go through a cycle of periods of fasting (where you have either no food or drastically reduce your calorie intake) and then periods of unrestricted eating. The derives from traditional fasting that was done for spiritual and health reasons, dating back to the days of philosophers like Socrates and Plato, as well as various religious groups.
The Science Behind It
This nutrition schedule is meant to promote the loss of weight through both fat loss and muscle mass reduction, as well as improve body metrics such as cholesterol and blood pressure. The reasoning behind it is this: when you go on a consistent low-calorie diet, your body adjusts to that caloric intake. At a certain point, it becomes the new norm for your body and you stop losing weight. When you fast and eat intermittently, you are shocking your system, preventing this adaptation to a consistent daily intake.
Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan
There are a few different schedules suggested by Harvard School of Public Health when following intermittent fasting:
- Time-Restricted: This is the easiest to abide by as it is the least extreme, as compared to a normal diet. With this one, you determine a certain range of the day, for instance, 9 A.M. to 4 P.M., where you fast. You can eat outside of those hours. This is an easier one to follow as you can make yourself go hungry during the workday.
- Alternate Day: With this one, you’ll be going a bit hungrier than the previous method. It is just as it sounds, where you alternate days of fasting and days of eating. On your fasting day, you are allowed to eat one meal that amounts to approximately 25% of your recommended daily calorie intake, and that’s it. On the other day, you have no food restrictions.
- Whole Day: Pick 1 to 2 days of the week where you fast, eating either nothing or up to one meal of 25% of your calorie needs. On the other days, you can eat as you please. The common ratio for this is 5:2, where you have 5 eating days and 2 fasting days of around 400-500 calories.
For me, personally, I like going with the time-restricted method. I can’t go without my coffee when I start work, so it’s the last thing I have before going on my fast until dinner time. I find drinking coffee makes intermittent fasting easier.
Thoughts on Intermittent Fasting
It certainly is an interesting angle to take on dieting, but it can prove to be incredibly effective. It makes sense that you need to shock your body so it doesn’t adapt to a regular calorie intake. It’s similar to how you want to change up your workout routines so your muscles don’t get too accustomed to the exercises.
You will definitely take a little bit of time to adjust to this level of hunger, but it can be a great way to lose weight once it becomes the new normal. If you’ve been stuck trying to shed some unwanted pounds and want to try something new, this could be the answer.