Intermittent Fasting 101
Intermittent fasting refers to a diet program recommended by leading nutrition experts, which mimics the eating habits of early humans who did not have the luxury of consuming three meals a day.
Before we got used to grocery stores, humans had to hunt and farm for food, which was often scarce. Resulting in most people only eating once a day. Whenever hunters had a successful day, they immediately had a massive feast. When their crops were harvested, it was consumed by everybody in the community immediately since they had no way to preserve the produce. For the most part, early humans spent days between their meals.
What the Experts say
Health experts have theorized that humans evolved to fast for extended periods of time between their meals. The abundance of food and quick access to it in modern society is the leading reason behind the obesity epidemic. An intermittent fasting diet that mimics the eating habits of our ancestors from just 100 years ago may help people lose excess weight, improve their health, and lengthen their lifespans.
Intermittent fasting isn’t just another diet – it requires people to change their lifestyles radically. While people remain doubtful regarding the benefits of intermittent fasting, many are painfully unaware of how it works and what facets of your life it can improve significantly.
Intermittent Fasting Mechanism
Most people come across intermittent fasting in their quest for a sustainable weight loss program. Intermittent fasting seeks to force your body to burn its fat stores instead of relying on carbohydrates for energy. It targets subcutaneous fat reserves and promotes weight loss in this manner. Some people even follow this method to build lean muscle. How? Using the body’s fat-burning mechanisms to develop muscles and maintain their blood sugar at stable levels.
Critics claim that not eating anything for sixteen hours will cause people on an intermittent fasting diet to overeat when they finally get the chance, thus negating the benefits.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are three main types of intermittent fasting. You can even mix and match them to suit your preferences. In the first program, you follow your regular eating habits for 5 days a week . Thus, restricting your food intake to a 500-calorie meal on two non-consecutive days of the week. In the next program, you finish your meals for the day by 6 PM and only break your fast in the afternoon of the succeeding day. This routine is followed every day of the week. The third program allows you to eat to your heart’s content for 4 hours every day (generally between 3 PM – 7 PM) and fast for the remaining hours.
The goal is to ensure the body switches to burning its fat reserves for energy by depleting the amount of carbohydrates it has access to in the liver and the muscles. This generally takes around 15 hours to happen. For instance, when you finish your meals for the day by 6 PM. So the body enters fat-burning mode by 9 AM on the succeeding day. If you consume your first meal of the day at noon and restrict the calories consumed to less than 1500 for men and 1200 for women, what means your body will be burning its fat stores for three hours daily.
By restricting your meals to a 4-hour eating window, your body will have 5 hours where it’s in pure fat-burning mode. If you schedule your workouts during the time your body is in fat-burning mode. It will result in increased fat-burn, muscle growth, and weight loss.
Combinations and Conclusion
It’s completely fine to combine various intermittent fasting programs to create a schedule that doesn’t affect your lifestyle too much. You can also break your fast with lunch on five days of the week and follow a 24-hour fast on two non-consecutive days of the week.
Your body will eventually learn to adjust to your new eating habits over time. While it’s normal to feel hungry during the first few days after making the switch to an intermittent fasting lifestyle. Your body will acclimatize to it in no time. Do you remember how you felt when you had to change your meal times due to work or some other reason? The first few days were full of cravings, but then you got used to it. Intermittent fasting will hit your body in the same way as well.
Getting your body to rely on its fat stores for energy to aid weight loss is well worth missing a few meals or desserts – we assure you that!