Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
Contrary to common belief, intermittent fasting is not a diet. It does not lay out what foods a person should eat or avoid eating. It is more of a timed approach to eating and drinking. It consists of eating for one period of time and then fasting for another. It is not suitable for everyone, not least because many people struggle to get to grips with eating within a very strict period of time or eating on one day and fasting on the next.
Weight loss is not the only reason why people choose to embark on intermittent fasting. Some may wish to simplify their way of life and others may improve their general health and possibly to reduce the effects of aging. It should be noted that intermittent fasting may be inappropriate for people with existing medical conditions.
The first thing a person must consider when they have decided to start intermittent fasting is what goals they would like to achieve. Once a goal or goals have been established, it will be easier to determine which method will be most appropriate for them and what limit of daily calories and nutrients they will need to observe. The next step is to decide which method they will use in order to obtain their goals.
It is advised that the faster stick to the method they have chosen for at least one month to see if it works for them before trying a different one. They should also bear in mind that they are not required to eat a certain amount or given types of food, although it is recommended that relatively healthy options take precedence against unhealthy and snack foods in order to obtain weight loss and improvements in health.
There are four methods to choose from. Stop Eat was devised by Brad Pillon and consists of eating nothing at all for two days each week. Two key rules states that the two days should not be consecutive and that each fast day should be twenty-four hours in length. This method is generally considered unsuitable for people who are new to fasting.
The Warrior Diet is the brainchild of Ori Hofmekler and consists of eating very little for twenty hours and consumes the majority of their daily intake in the remaining four hours. This is generally considered the most extreme form of fasting as stomach complaints can often arise from eating so much in such a short period. Like Eat Stop Eat, it is not recommended for people who have never fasted before.
Leangains was created by Martin Berkhan and was originally intended for weightlifters, but has since gained a wider following. It is somewhat similar to the Warrior Diet, except that males will fast for sixteen hours, giving them the remaining eight to consume their daily intake and females will fast for fourteen hours. Another difference is that no food must be consumed during the fasting but there is no limit to the number of no-calorie beverages that can be drunk.
Finally, the Alternate Day Fasting method, also known as the 5:2 method, consists of a person consuming between five hundred and six hundred calories on two non-consecutive days and only eating the same number of calories they burn on the remainder of the days. As time progresses, a calorie deficit is developed and it is this which will aid weight loss.
The key to any weight loss program is to consume fewer calories than are burned. This means that people looking to try intermittent fasting should still be aware of their caloric needs and determine an exact number to be consumed each day in order to lose weight. Advice and support for this can be provided by dieticians and other healthcare providers. In addition to this, a person who wants to lose weight should consider making a plan of what they are going to eat and when. All that needs to be considered is calorie intake and the appropriate amount of nutrients.
Following a meal plan can aid in helping people to stick to their caloric limits and ensure that the food needed for cooking, meals and snacks is always at hand. Although fasting does not set restrictions on what can be eaten, someone seeking to lose weight should nonetheless choose food with an appropriate nutritional value. A balanced diet is still recommended and even though fatty foods should not be cut out entirely, moderation should still be observed.
Intermittent fasting can also affect hormones because body fat is how the body stores energy. When a person refrains from eating, the body goes through several alterations in order to make its supply of energy more accessible.
These include changes to the activities of the nervous system and two notable metabolic changes that the body undergoes is a lowering of insulin, which in turn facilities the burning of fat, and the sending of norepinephrine to the fat cells by the nervous system. The fat cells will then break down the body’s fat into free fatty acids which produce energy when burned. On the other hand, research shows that another hormone that is altered by fasting is the human growth hormone which may see its levels grow as much as fivefold. The research indicates that it may tell the brain to conserve the energy it has, which may make weight loss more difficult. Research is still ongoing into the long-term effects of intermittent fasting.
If you are thinking of trying intermittent fasting, you should consult a dietitian to help you determine whether it is appropriate for you and if it is, which method would be best suited to you. The benefits of intermittent fasting are not solely limited to weight loss. They can also include improvements to metabolic health and can even help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Alternatives to fasting methods are sugar free diets which can help to reduce sugar and hunger craving in a healthy and quick way.
This article is for educational and informational purposes only and must not be used or taken as a substitute in any form for any medical advice, medication you are currently taking or any alternative treatments without the prior advice, guidance and consent from your medical doctor. Please speak with your doctor fist before making any changes to your diet or medicine as a result of reading any information laid out on this website or in this or any other articles.
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