If you’ve never heard of intermittent fasting (IF), it’s time to get up to speed. This health craze is spreading like wildfire, and it’s health benefits are busting common myths. Have you ever been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or that it’s imperative for reving up your metabolism? Yeah, us too. But IF challenges those ideologies and so much more. Here’s what you need to know -- in a nutshell.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a health and fitness regimen that involves calculated periods of fasting and eating. While the word “fasting” may have a negative connotation when it comes to one’s health, studies show that IF can actually result in weight loss and improved metabolism. It can also actually help people live longer and prevent disease.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Improve Health?
The interesting thing about IF is that, contrary to the typical diet, it’s less about the foods you eat and more about when you eat them. There are several different methods, which we’ll be getting into in another post. Generally speaking, though, they all break up a day or week into periods of eating and periods of fasting. For example, one of the most popular IF methods, the 16/8 method, includes 16 hours of fasting in a day and an 8-hour eating window. Since you technically fast while you sleep, a great way to abide by this rule is to eat your first meal at noon at your last at 8PM.
Is Practicing IF Safe?
Many people who practice intermittent fasting have reported feeling healthier and more energized during their periods of fasting. Just like any diet, though, it can take some time to get used to. Although food is not typically allowed during the fasting period, beverages like water, coffee and tea are. Some non-caloric supplements are allowed as well. They key is to remember that this is not a starvation method. In fact, eating is encouraged, it’s just limited to certain periods of time.
How Can I Get Started?
To start, do your research. Figure out which plan, if any, would work best with your schedule and lifestyle. Then, accept that you’re not going to be perfect, especially not in the beginning. Do your best, but don’t beat yourself up if/when you get off track. The good news is that there can be cheat days involved, so you don’t have to go without. And if you do fall off track, be honest with yourself and lift yourself back up. Living a healthier, happier life is a marathon, not a sprint.
As mentioned, we’ll be breaking down the different IF methods in another post, so stay tuned!