Fasting is not a new concept.
Ancient humans would fast for preventative health and to strengthen their spirits.
Some religions still using fasting today. But it’s taken on a different meaning for dieters of the world.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular program for people looking to lose weight. Unlike religious fasts, you don’t need to go days or weeks without eating when you’re doing IF. Instead, you’ll have a small window every day in which to eat.
Are the intermittent fasting results you see online legitimate, though? We’re about to reveal everything you need to know about IF and how to get results following this protocol.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. Unlike other diets, IF followers are not told what to eat. The focus is instead on when to eat.
Whether you believe it or not, our bodies are well equipped to handle periods of no food. When we fast, some of our body processes change to allow us to still thrive.
What Are the Intermittent Fasting Methods?
There are many different fasting methods to choose from. Some split the day into eating/fasting periods, while others focus on breaking up the week. Let’s take a look at the most common IF methods.
The 5:2 method allows for regular eating five days of the week. The remaining two days are the fasting days where you’ll ingest only around 600 calories.
The Eat-Stop-Eat method is a little more difficult. Followers of this plan will stop eating for 24-hours one or two days a week.
The 16/8 method is another popular IF option where followers fast for 16 hours of the day. They can then eat during the remaining eight hours of the day.
Those following the Alternate Day method eat as usual for one day and then fast the next.
What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
You can use intermittent fasting to lose weight. But many people choose IF because of the associated health benefits.
Studies have shown that IF can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Research with rats has shown IF can even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Fasting can also act as a detox. This is especially true when you’re eating vegetables and fruits during your fast. In focusing on healthy foods, you’re already helping your body detox in a natural way.
Detoxing helps your body get rid of built-up toxins. Fasting for extended periods can do more harm than good, though. This is why fasting intermittently is so popular.
Some may find that certain herbs can enhance the effects of their detox. Learn more at MicrobeFormulas.com.
Fasting can provide a level of convenience for people sick of hours of meal prepping. The fewer meals you have to eat, the simpler life becomes.
Who Should (And Shouldn’t) Try Intermittent Fasting?
People with a fair amount of flexibility in their life tend to love intermittent fasting. Single folks can eat on their own time without worrying about traditional meal times. Those who are married or have children may find it challenging to skip meals to stay on their IF plan.
If you’re an athlete, you might find following IF protocols challenging. Athletes need to eat a specific diet that’s timed right with their training. This may be difficult to do if you’re trying to fast.
Intermittent fasting is not an excuse to eat whatever you want. You shouldn’t fast for 16 hours and then stuff McDonald’s down your throat for the remaining eight.
If you’re under a lot of stress or not sleeping well, your body needs nurturing, not fasting. Address the stress and sleep problems and then come back to IF when you’re healthier.
People who have a history with disordered eating shouldn’t consider IF. The periods of fasting may trigger you and cause more problems.
Why Am I Not Seeing Intermittent Fasting Results?
The keys to any successful dieting program are patience and determination. You won’t see results from intermittent fasting overnight. Though some IF proponents report seeing changes in as few as ten days.
Let’s take a look at common reasons you do not see IF results.
You’ve Chosen the Wrong Eating Window
As you’ve already learned, there are several different IF methods. If you’re not seeing results after a reasonable amount of time, those eating windows may not work for you.
One method may work great for a while before you notice your progress stalling. If this plateau persists, try switching up your eating windows or a different approach altogether.
You’re Not Eating Enough
Regardless of which diet protocol you’re following, not eating enough calories is harmful. You’ll need to make sure you’re taking in the proper amount of calories during the eating phases.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest 1,600 to 2,400 calories for adult women per day. Meanwhile, men can take in anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000. These numbers are estimates, and you may need more or less depending on your activity levels.
You’re Not Eating the Right Foods
As we’ve already mentioned, fasting doesn’t give you a free pass to eating an all junk food diet. You should choose nutritious foods to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs.
Eat lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats during your eating windows. These are the major macronutrients that your body needs to operate optimally.
Lean protein is essential for keeping you satiated between meals. Carbs give you the energy you need to get through your day. Fats help protect your vital organs and help with metabolism.
Find the Right Protocol For You
The best healthy diet is one that you can stick with. If you see intermittent fasting results and find the program sustainable, stick with it. If you’re struggling, it’s ok to consider a different nutritional protocol.
Be sure to check out our Health section. Here you’ll find more articles to help you get into the best shape of your life.