Fasting has taken on a new face as the latest weight loss fad that has become quite popular over the last few years.
Trends in dieting and weight loss change constantly but fasting has always been an essential component in achieving a healthy lifestyle.
Religious cultures have advocated fasting not just for spiritual but for health reasons as well. It is only now though that due credit is being given to the benefits of fasting as a part of a regular weight loss program.
24 hour fasting, more popularly known as Intermittent fasting is popular with people who have hit plateaus in their journey towards losing weight. At times, your weight loss programs may reach a point where you feel no progress is actually being made and it could be quite discouraging.
24 hour fasting or Intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of fasting and eating throughout the day. It doesn’t necessarily tell you which foods to eat or not eat, but rather when to eat them. There are several intermittent fasting methods but all of them require you to split the day into eating and fasting periods.
What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Our bodies are well equipped to handle periods of fasting. When we go to sleep at night, a minimum of 8 hours involves fasting during the period we are in slumber. Most people can handle extending the 8 hour period to about 12 hours or more of not taking in any food. This is the basic method of Intermittent fasting.
What benefits does this form of fasting provide us? Fasting in and of itself has many health benefits. Apart from helping you lose the weight, it also enhances your body’s resistance to stress. During the period of fasting, your body undergoes cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels.
Your insulin levels drop and growth hormones increases. It lowers your risk for type 2 Diabetes. Studies also show that intermittent fasting reduces your risk of a heart disease and may prevent cancer. Ultimately, it may prevent several other diseases allowing you to extend your lifespan.
How does it work?
The most popular method of Intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method. This is basically fasting for 16 hours a day and eating only during the remaining 8 hour period.
This can be easily achieved by scheduling your fasting around the time you are going to sleep. People who normally lack sleep will have difficulty with this. Until you realize that sleep is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Intermittent fasting might not be for you.
The normal 8 hours of sleep is ideal and you would only need to postpone your first meal of the day until almost noon time.
Try to engage yourself with activities that will keep you from boredom while in the period of fasting. There is nothing more difficult than trying to keep yourself from eating while being bored. Your mind will convince you that you are hungry and need to eat when you are inactive.
It is advisable to keep yourself hydrated during the fasting period by drinking lots of water. You may choose to have coffee or tea but skip the sugar. Water with a slice of lemon would be perfect as a low calorie replacement for the usual high calorie drinks one usually takes. It promotes fullness and boosts your metabolism.
During the 8 hour period when you are allowed to eat, be mindful of the amount of food you take in. Hunger is not just a physical occurrence. The mind also plays a major part in how we perceive hunger. Be careful not to overeat. Just because you are not restricted with what you can and cannot eat during the 8 hour period doesn’t mean you should binge.
Other methods include the 5:2 Diet where you restrict your diet to 500-600 calories per day for 2 days of the week. There is also the alternate day fasting where you would need to fast every other day. You may choose which one works best for you.
Is it safe?
Intermittent fasting is safe so long as you do not overeat during the times you need to. It is best to consult your doctor if you have any health conditions such as diabetes, endocrinological issues or cardiac disease before starting an Intermittent fasting program.
Fasting can cause drops in blood pressure so make sure that you are capable of handling the fasting period.
The fat burning process brought about by intermittent fasting can be different for each person. Try to avoid entering starvation mode by choosing the best intermittent fasting method for you.
Fasting has been around for ages. It is not something new but we look at fasting in a new light. It always pays to be well informed regarding the benefits and risks of undergoing a weight reduction program. Intermittent fasting might just be the perfect one for you.
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