Most people are fed up with what seems to be an infinite number of diets. Each of them promises weight loss through a different dietary approach. The one thing that all of them have in common is that they forbid eating a certain type of foods. In the long term, your body is going to ask you to get back to the eliminated foods through cravings, bad moods, and feelings of faint. However, intermittent fasting seems avoid them all.
It is important to understand that this practice is not a diet, but a diet schedule. You can eat almost anything you want. However, the trick here is that you can indulge yourself only after a period of up to 24 hours of fasting. This is only the basic concept, though. In this article, we are going to understand the concept of intermittent fasting better and how to do it the right way.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
As previously stated, intermittent fasting is not a diet since it doesn’t cut down on certain categories of food. The rules are strictly concerning the time of your meals.
It is good to know that intermittent fasting is not a new concept. On the contrary, people have kept this eating habit alive throughout history. Most of the reasons were and still are religious. Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism are cultures that promote spiritual and material fasting so that we can connect easier with divinity. No matter your personal beliefs, they were right to a certain extent.
Moreover, back in the day, people saw food as only a means to an end, to keep their bodies functional. The limited options restricted access to rich meals for most people, so the food was consumed only when needed.
However, the era of supermarkets appeared, and now you have access to tons of it. There are too many options for meals, snacks, desserts, and they are everywhere, on your way to work, at the office, next to the bank, in parks, and on airplanes. The taste of food has improved drastically, and it was easy to change the concept of food from utility to pleasure.
Now, most people feed their bodies not when they need, but when they want. With so much noise about food, it is hard to listen to our system and understand how many calories we actually need.
This is where intermittent fasting comes in. By giving your body enough time to readjust after a period of food surplus, it will find its inner balance again. At that point, you will use food more as a vital substance and less as a source of daily celebration.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting impacts our system in several ways. First of all, your hormone levels will change in such a way that your body will provide better access to the stored fats. This means that it will start consuming the calories that are already inside you instead of waiting for ingestion of new calories.
Other changes affect insulin sensitivity which experiences a considerable improvement, while the level of insulin goes down. This accelerates the oxidation of fat, which is that calorie burning machine effect we all want.
Furthermore, fasting stimulates cellular repair. This is a sort of destructive mechanism where the cells are eliminating unnecessary components from their structure. Thus, the surplus of proteins is eliminated while the amino acids are turning only into vital types of proteins. The result will leave the body strictly with essential substances.
If we take a look at the bigger picture, we will understand that intermittent fasting offers chances for a longer life. It was for a long time now proven that calorie restriction extends the quality of life. This is a direct result of the fact the process of ingestion and turning calories into energy does not overcharge our metabolism. All organs will carry out their functions when needed which will avoid early signs of degradation.
Furthermore, it is easy to relate intermittent fasting with a certain level of nutritious commodity. Most diets fail because they require a sudden change of habits, like eating only certain kinds of meals that people were not used to before.
However, intermittent fasting not only encourages you to keep the same categories of foods in your nutrition but also diminish these time-consuming habits. It is easier to stick with the meals you like and respect a schedule than trying to accommodate yourself with a diet you’ve never heard before, not to mention tasting it.
In conclusion, Intermittent Fasting will help you lose weight, raise the level of health, and maintain the lifestyle you are familiar with.
This type of intermittent fasting requires 16 hours of no calorie intake followed by 8 hours of feeding. However, the rules are not so strict after all. You can consume foods such as black coffee, tea, and calorie-free sweeteners and gum. This requires an ongoing process, but it gives you the freedom to choose your own fasting time throughout the day.
This means that you have two options. Either nominate the night and morning as your 16 hours of fasting, and this is the most popular choice, or if your body can’t work properly without breakfast, you can eat from 8 am to 4 pm.
However, you are not expected to eat for the entire time of your feeding window. Set a calorie intake that works for you, and stick to it with products you like and are healthy. The number of meals or the way you combine nutrient classes is not important.
This is a weekly schedule for your Intermittent Fasting routine. It involves one or two days a week of 24 hours of no calorie intake. While you have the freedom to choose your own days, it is recommended for health reasons to avoid consecutive fasting days.
When exactly you start the fasting window also plays little meaning. What matters is to consume next to zero calories on the appointed period of time. This might seem daunting and not for everyone. However, in fact, the real hunger appears after 72 hours of starvation. What we experience on a daily basis is the result of our habit to feed the body with too much food.
It is important to stay calm and do what it is best for you. Our bodies are super machines that can adapt to any circumstance. You don’t have to go all in from the beginning. You can start your fasting day for as long as you can resist, and then gradually increase the duration until you hit 24 hours. Once you send the right message through repetitive actions in this direction, the body will comply and will find other protocols of survival. These include consuming the fat deposits in our body and slowing down the metabolism.
The Warrior Diet
The standard Warrior Diet refers to 20 hours of fasting and one large meal in the evening. However, you can move that one meal per day in the morning as well if it suits you better. Most sociologists categorized humans as night eating beings, and this is why it is advised to take the meal when during the evening. The name of the diet also refers to the times when warriors were busy during the day and only ate their hunting at night.
During the 20 hours of fasting, you aren’t though forbidden from food entirely. You can eat fruits, vegetables, and small quantities of proteins such as eggs, poultry, sashimi, and yogurt. Of course, constant hydration is a must with zero calorie beverages, so drink as many liquids as you need, like black coffee, tea, and even smoothies. The enzymes from these wholesome foods will help you reload your system. This phase is supposed to energize your body, keep it alert and sharp, and induce the fat burning effect.
On the other hand, the four-hour feeding window has as its main goal the promotion of calmness, digestion, relaxation. This is the time when your body uses the received nutrients to repair itself. The father of Warrior Diet, Hofmeker, states that the order in which you consume the foods is also important. You should start off with veggies, then continue with protein, and end with fats. If the meal wasn’t consistent enough and you do not feel replenished, only then you can opt for some carbohydrates.
Exercises and Intermittent Fasting
If you are willing to combine one of the above diet types with physical training, you should adapt your routine to the chosen lifestyle. Any kind of intermittent fasting will have loss of energy as a side effect, but that’s only in the beginning. After two or three weeks of fasting, your body will adjust to the new changes in your habits.
To ensure a maximum capacity during workouts, it is important to consume vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates during the days you are exercising. The rest of the days, it is recommended to replace carbs with healthy fats.
Also, exercises on a growling stomach won’t do you much good. You should schedule your workouts 30 minutes after you have one high-protein meal, as this is a paramount step to building lean muscles. Also, check if your type of intermittent fasting allows you to take a snack before starting your physical training.
Keep the cardio low-intensity as this type of exercise engages all your body. Listen to your mood, and cancel the workout if you are feeling dizzy. Don’t avoid whole-body training as together with your eating habits, it will accelerate the oxidation process of calorie burning.
Intermittent fasting is a type of program that knows how hard it is to say goodbye to your habits. After all, our character is the sum of our decisions, and too many diets ask us to change overnight. By monitoring your caloric intake and allowing your body to regenerate and rediscover its feeding limits, you will achieve great health results. All it takes is a schedule adjustment!
Mark Fendelman is a passionate writer with a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Evansville, Indiana, with a great interest in everything related to nutrition and lifestyle. He believes that we are what we eat, and our bodies should be our temples. Mark is a regular contributor at Best 10 Anything – a blog dedicated to finding the best alternative for every necessity.