Struggling with weight loss? You have probably heard a thousand pieces of advice from all and sundry. From weight-loss dietary supplements to unconventional techniques like carb cycling, everything possesses an opinion about weight loss. All thanks to our digital nutritionists!
How can I lose weight?
No matter how you slice it, weight loss is no ‘quick fix’ and requires strenuous effort. Undoubtedly, weight loss struggle is unique to everyone. Some people can shed weight by putting extra effort in the gym, for others, changing lifestyle habits can work better. Irrespective of the weight loss technique you follow, weight loss is a long-term journey with many ups and downs.
How to decide on a weight-loss strategy?
Among different weight-loss strategies, intermittent fasting is one of the most talked-about ones. Just like many of you, the beginning of my weight loss journey was accompanied by some biggest mistakes. Initially, I started with making absurd food decisions believing popular claims on health and nutrition.
All this continued for months and I ended up damaging my metabolism by following bizarre weight loss methods. Suffering from fatigue and other side effects, I finally headed to a nutritionist in Lahore where I came to know about intermittent fasting.
Looking back, now I realize how ignorant I was towards gentle nutrition and realms of health. I’m sharing my personal experience, hoping that it will help you to understand the science behind intermittent fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most popular diet trends. This ‘feast or famine’ strategy is proposed as an effective weight loss technique accompanied by periods of eating and fasting. Intermittent fasting is based on fasting that is a centuries-old practice. This eating pattern is considered as a sustainable weight loss method with other health benefits.
How can I do intermittent fasting?
Some of the popular ways to do intermittent fasting are
1- 12- hours fasting
In intermittent fasting, duration of eating and fasting windows can vary. The rule for 12- hours intermittent fasting is that you have a 12 hours eating window followed by another 12 hours fasting. This is especially beneficial for beginners due to short fasting windows.
2- 16 hours fasting
In this method of intermittent fasting, you are allowed to eat for 8 hours and not indulge yourself into an eating habit for the next 16 hours. Prolonged fasting periods help to regulate your body metabolism and can significantly lower the risk of disease development.
3- 2 days fasting
This 5:2 intermittent fasting is also known as the ‘fast diet’. In this approach, people take calories according to their calorie budget for 5 days and in other 2 days; they generally reduce their calorie intake. In two days fasting, the calorie intake is kept at a minimum and nearly 500-600 calories are consumed.
4- Alternate fasting
As the name indicates, alternate fasting is basically a fasting plan I which one day of eating is followed by one-day fasting. It is difficult to maintain this diet for long-term, however, several studies reported the benefits of alternate-day fasting.
Another modified form of intermittent fasting in which people don’t eat for 1-2 days in a week and follow their normal pattern on all days. However, fasting for a day or two can make you fatigued and it is advisable to practice easy forms of intermittent fasting before doing this.
6- Skipping meals
Spontaneously skipping your meals is another flexible form of intermittent fasting. Randomly skipping your meals sounds the most flexible form of intermittent fasting because you can implement it according to your own convenience.
A few years back, when I was literally starving myself following bizarre diets, I was taken to emergency at Life Line Hospital Lahore. Later, I was diagnosed with severe mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
7- Warrior diet
Lastly, the warrior diet is the most extreme form of intermittent fasting. This is basically a 20:4 fasting style in which the feeding window only consists of 4 hours.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Limited studies revealed the benefits of intermittent fasting in both mice and humans. Besides weight loss, there are several other health benefits of intermittent fasting including;
1- As already said, intermittent fasting reduces the calories intake of a person. Fewer calories ultimately reduce the weight without monitoring your calories daily.
2- Studies reveal that intermittent fasting can help to regulate a person’s blood sugar levels. Regulated blood sugar levels help to protect a person against diabetes.
3- Intermittent fasting can also reduce the bad cholesterol in our body that is good for a person’s heart health.
4-Besides this, intermittent fasting is also good for your brain health as well as can prevent several cancers in the human body.
5- It also reduces inflammation in the body and is known to increase the life-span of a person in general.
The bottom line!
If you are a serial-dieter and have tried every single diet but unable to get the required result, intermittent fasting can be for you. Apart from weight loss, it offers several other benefits. But one thing you should always keep in your mind is that weight loss is no quick fix and one strategy isn’t workable for all. So, if you are looking to lose weight, start with making a weight loss plan because a goal without a plan is just a wish.