Intermittent Fasting | 5 Ways to Get Started
Intermittent fasting is the new trend of town. This routine has proved to be a golden mean for many individuals who have followed it to the T. Be it weight loss, improve metabolism, or fat loss, Intermittent Fasting can help you with all.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Fasting is a process where an individual gives up all or certain kinds of food for a specific period of time for health benefits. Intermittent fasting (IF) is no different. It is just an organized fasting pattern that focuses on when you eat rather than what you eat. Of course, what you eat also matters but the time when you choose to eat matters more. For IF, you don’t have to cut carb intake, increase proteins, etc., all you have to do is follow a pattern of eating and fasting. It is also important to eat good quality food when it is eating time because if you go all out and serve your craving the best of junk foods then no point in considering any kind of fasting.
Also, fasting changes your body every minute which affects the mind too. At the beginning you might get cranky, have headaches, be uncomfortable, but once you get have practiced fasting for a while then you mind and body will know how to deal with these tricky situations.
There are various ways of taking up IF and following are 5 ways to get you started.
This method involves splitting your 24-hour day into 16 hours of fasting and all the eating in the remaining 8 hours. On a daily basis you’ll get only an 8-hour window when you can eat and drink. In this eating window you can eat 2 – 3 meals. In your 16-hour of fasting you can have water or any non-caloric drinks to get your mind out of hunger feels.
Your Normal routine
Rise – 8 a.m. Breakfast at 9 a.m., Lunch at 1 p.m., munchies between 5 and 7 p.m., dinner at 9 p.m, and Sleep at 12 a.m.
To follow IF you’ll have to re-structure the pattern to –
- Rise – 8 a.m.
- First Meal at 1 p.m.
- Second Meal between 4 and 5 p.m.
- Last meal before 9 p.m.
This re-structure results in to a 16-hour fast and an 8-hour eating window. For humans who skip breakfast every morning, this method can give them a good kick start. On the other hand, this method may be difficult for those who don’t.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet
As the name suggests, the 5:2 Diet is about fasting twice a week. For 5 days a week you eat and drink normally but two days you restrict your meals. You begin with choosing two fasting days out of your week but make sure there is at least one normal eating day between the two. So, if you choose Tuesday and Friday as your fasting day then on these days you have to restrict your meals to two and in a tight time frame.
There is no clock for this diet but it to organize it have both meals in an 8 – 10-hour window. Also, these fasting meals should be very low on calories. Meals of your normal eating days should also have to be under a calorie check. Binge eating on the normal days will screw up this intermittent fasting method and you shall see no results.
Alternate Day Fasting
This one’s a toughie. But you got to do things to get things done. Alternate Day Fasting requires you not restrict your meals to less or nothing every alternate day. One day you have a normal meal and the next day you have 1 – 2 low calorie meals or no meals at all. This IF method will surely give you sleepless nights every alternate day till you get a hang of it.
It is similar to the 5:2 Diet but with a difficulty level a notch higher. While the 5:2 diet gives you two days of the week with at-least some meals, The Eat-Stop-Eat method keeps you away from solid food for 24 hours, twice a week. To begin with, choose two days in a week when you think will be comfortable fasting days. Keep at least one non-fasting day between then. Note down the time of the last meal of the previous day and fast till the same time of the next day. If you had your dinner at 9 p.m. on Tuesday eve then you do not eat anything till 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
This method is not recommended for beginners as 24 hours of no solid food can cause a lot of discomfort.
The Warrior Diet
Similar to the 16/8 method, the Warrior diet is about small (very) low calorie meals through out the day and a full-size meal in the night. You start the day with small meals (1 or 2) consisting of raw fruits and vegetables. Don’t overdo the small meals. And at the night you have a normal dinner but within a 3 or 4-hour window. You can have your proteins, calories, and carbs but all in limited quantity.
- Before starting any fasting it is important for you to know your capabilities.
- Start small. At the beginning, try fasting for 4 hours, then 8 hours, then 16 hours, and once you can do these without affecting your body and mind then go for the superior plans.
- Fasting is not No Eating. It is a way to organize your eating patterns. Understand the difference between fasting and starving.
- Drink good amount of water and natural health drinks. These help you while you are fasting. They keep you full and take your mind away from the discomfort.
- Do not exploit your body with junk food and high calorie meals on your normal eating days. A high cal meal will reverse your fasting results.
- For those who hit the gym and exercise, you need energy to smash those sets so group your meals accordingly so that you have enough pre-workout and post-workout essentials.
- Eat good quality food.
- Prepare food at home.
- Consistency is the key.