Intermittent fasting. What’s all of the fuss?
I’ll explain and give you some tips for intermittent fasting along the way!
Intermittent fasting seems to becoming even more popular than ever. I have to admit, when I first starting seeing articles on intermittent fasting, I thought it was crazy to try.
All I could think was how modern society believes that when you don’t eat your body starts to think in terms of starvation and goes into slow metabolism mode.
But then I started see articles all over the place on the topic and I finally gave in and read about intermittent fasting and how it works. I was surprised to learn that I have fasted without even knowing I was fasting because it wasn’t at all what it sounds like.
Stay with me here and I’ll explain, and give a few tips and suggestions about fasting intermittently. I bet you’ll be surprised too.
What is the Benefit of Intermittent Fasting?
The benefits of intermittent fasting go beyond just losing weight. There are many benefits these are just a few main ones.
Yes, losing weight is one benefit – but how? Okay here’s the thing about weight loss and intermittent fasting. We need sugar for energy, however, our cells can not directly absorb sugar from the food we eat. It is insulin’s job is to attach itself to the sugar and move it into our cells. Sugar not used by our cells is stored in, or as, fat cells.
When insulin goes down, fat cells release sugar for energy – thus we experience weight loss by burning off the fat. Intermittent fasting promotes the decrease of the insulin levels to burn help cells release sugar from fat cells and results in ta da – weight loss. Read more about insulin promoting weight loss from the article Intermittent Fasting:Surprise Update published on the Harvard Health Blog.
Continuing with the insulin logic, it is thought that intermittent fasting my help thwart off diabetes if you’re already pre-diabetic. This is because the body produces less insulin due to fasting. In a state of pre-diabetes, the insulin levels remain high in the blood. When it is produced less often because of fasting it appears to help the body restore those insulin levels back to “normal.”
Moving right along the health spectrum, intermittent fasting may help promote a healthy heart. A study found that with intermittent fasting, women saw in increase in HDL – the “good” cholesterol. Men did not see an increase in HDL, but they did see a lowering of the “bad” fat or the triglycerides. The study can not explain why these findings were male and female based but hey I’ll take it!
This next benefit is a real surprise for me because I just wrote a blog about it and did not discover it during my research this little tidbit! Intermittent fasting may help you sleep better by helping to harmonize the circadian rhythm. Read all about the circadian rhythm and sleep problems from my article: Tick Tock Body Clock – How Are You Sleeping.
The body clock is also known as the circadian rhythm. When the circadian rhythm is off, sleep is off. Intermittent fasting helps get the circadian rhythm back in line. It is believed that the circadian body clock can be reset with intermittent fasting.
So how long does it take to see results from intermittent fasting?
How Long Do You Intermittent Fast?
How long do you fast for? There are different types of fasting programs and below I’ll explain them and how they work. There are many types of fasting. I am only going to on describe the most popular ones.
The first type I’ll explain is the most common type of intermittent fasting. It is the 16:8 method. Many say it’s the easiest to follow, but I’m not sure I could start with this method. With this method, you’ll fast for 16 hours and eat normally for 8 hours.
The 5:2 method is another type, but it’s not a true fast. This method allows you to limit calorie intake to 500 – 600 calories per day for 2 days a week. The other 5 you eat normally. This is the type of fast I would be most comfortable with because I don’t do well when I don’t eat. 16 hours of not eating in no way appeals to me.
The third type is the eat-stop-eat method. Similar to the 5:2 method but you don’t eat at all for 24 hours once or twice during the week. You are only to have coffee, water or no calorie drinks.
The last one I am going to touch on is the alternate day fasting. It is more restrictive than the other types of intermittent fasting. This method promotes eating 500 calories every for fasting every other day, and usually isn’t one that is recommended for those just starting the intermittent fasting regime.
Easing into fasting is the best route to success. Perhaps starting with the 5:2 and moving to the alternate day method. However, If you do well already with going without solid food, feel free to start with another method.
I am going to start intermittent fasting with my own method because I don’t do well when I go without solid food. I am going to start with only 1 day a week of 500 – 600 calories. Once I successfully complete several weeks, I’ll move on to 2 days of limited calories. Once I accomplish the 5:2 method, I post an update and let everyone know how it worked and the progress made.
So let’s look at how long until you see results with these methods of fasting.
How Long to See Results from Intermittent Fasting?
So the answer to how long until you see results from intermittent fasting is one you probably don’t want to read – it depends.
I know, I know. I wish I could give you a happy, simple answer but how long to see results will depend on the type of fasting you choose and your method, metabolism, determination and so on.
However, the good news is all methods seem to lead to the same result of weight loss generally in approximately 8-10 weeks. The most important thing to remember is that fasting has many health benefits and weight loss is one of them. Stay committed, don’t give up too soon because weight loss may be a delayed result by other benefits are usually seen quicker such as better sleep and less stomach bloating.
How Long Do You Intermittent Fast?
If you’re in good health, intermittent fasting can be a weekly practice for you and will provide more noticeable benefits than trying to fast once a month.
Think of intermittent fasting the same as you think about the type of food you eat to be healthy – it’s a lifestyle. There is no rule about how long you can or can not fast. If you want to see results, the intermittent fasting will need to be consistently followed for a minimum of 8 weeks.
Intermittent Fasting Meals
Guess what? With intermittent fasting you have NO planning of meals. No planned grocery shopping other than your typical lists because it isn’t another weight loss diet. However, you need to make sure you are eating healthy meals to benefit the most from your fasting.
You really don’t want to put yourself through the process of intermittent fasting only to not eat healthy when you are eating do you? Of course not.
Summary of Intermittent Fasting
Okay so the benefits of intermittent fasting include heart health, insulin health and sleeping better. The biggest benefit by far is going to be weight loss.
There are no special foods to eat because it isn’t a diet plan – yeah!
There are different methods to fasting and researching them and knowing yourself to pick the best fitting method will help you be successful.
Most importantly, please, please check with your Doctor to make sure there are no risks to your health following a fasting method.
Good luck and leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts about fasting.