What Is Intermittent Fasting? (and why you should be doing it)

You’ve probably heard the term “intermittent fasting” before, right? Maybe a friend has bragged about dropping some weight with intermittent fasting or you’ve watched a tv doctor rave about its benefits, but when you start researching you get overwhelmed and confused on where to start. Stress no more! I have been a fan of intermittent fasting for so long and am here to walk you through the basics of this revolutionary way of eating.

What Is Intermittent Fasting? (and why you should be doing it)

What I love about intermittent fasting is that it can fit any type of lifestyle. Keto? No problem! Vegan? You got it! Carnivore? Heck, yes! Standard American diet? Yes, it even works for that! This way of eating can literally fit into anybody’s lifestyle. How cool is that?!

So what is it?

Simply put, intermittent fasting is making a conscious decision to refrain from eating for a set period of time followed by a set window of time for eating. The specific amount of time for each window varies (we’ll talk about that later in this article) but it is important to emphasize that intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather an intentional way of eating.

Benefits

Intermittent fasting has been proven as an effective weight-loss tool for many and has countless other benefits as well. Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation in the body, balances sugar and insulin levels, cleans and removes waste from your cells, and even enhances your immune system.

You might think that your body would be starving during intermittent fasting, but in reality, intermittent fasting has been found to reduce your appetite and make you feel fuller sooner. Mental clarity and more energy are also side effects of this way of eating.

Some long-term benefits of intermittent fasting include increasing lifespan, preventing certain cancers and Alzheimer's disease, and improving cellular repair. Who wouldn’t want amazing benefits like these?

What Is Intermittent Fasting? (and why you should be doing it)

Methods

There are so many different methods and time schedules that you could choose from when intermittent fasting. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, try out a few and see which one your body responds best to. I promise you, one of these methods will work for you.

16/8 Method

This is by far the most popular of the intermittent fasting methods. In this method, you fast for 16 hours of your day and have an eight-hour window to eat your meals. Since you’re not eating while you’re sleeping, that’s really only eight hours out of waking hours that you fast. Easy, right?

20:4 Method

You can probably guess what this method entails. Out of your 24 hour day, you refrain from eating for 20 of them and fit your calories for the day into a four-hour window.

What Is Intermittent Fasting? (and why you should be doing it)

5:2 Method

With this method, you eat regularly for five days out of the week, then restrict yourself to only 500 calories for two days. During your five days of typical eating, you don’t have to stress about calories or anything. On your reduced-calorie days, it is suggested that you spread your calories out throughout the day and eat low-calorie foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

24 Hour Fast

As the name implies, this method involves fasting for 24 hours and is most effective when done once or twice a week. During your 24 hour break from food, only calorie-free drinks can be consumed. Water and tea are excellent options during this time.

What Is Intermittent Fasting? (and why you should be doing it)

Like I mentioned above, intermittent fasting is not a diet so there is less focus on what you eat and more on when you eat. That being said, the goal of intermittent fasting is to improve health, and many times weight, so you should still focus on keeping your diet clean and healthy.

Since intermittent fasting involves restricting calories it can have an effect on your hormones. If you have any kind of health condition, for example, diabetes, pregnancy/breastfeeding, or an eating disorder, intermittent fasting may not be for you. It is best to discuss it with your doctor before you begin following any of the intermittent fasting methods.

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