While food is good for the body, learning to stay without food sometimes has several benefits. Most people think they cannot stay without food for some time because it’s a new and challenging concept. So they keep eating, making some of them glutton and get obese. Most are unaware that fasting can help lose weight, improve insulin, repair cells, reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, enhance the heart, etc.
On the other hand, some people are compelled to fast according to their beliefs. For instance, certain religions like Christianity and Islam usually practice intermittent fasting in a particular period. They have made it a tradition passed down from previous generations to now.
Now, if you are curious about what fasting entails, know that just as Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can’t just jump into fasting and become a pro. It takes time and some conditions that should considered.
Intermittent Fasting And How To Get Started
In simpler terms, intermittent fasting, or IF, is how you schedule when and not to eat. It’s like disciplining yourself to stop or reduce your obsession with food. The fasting could go on for hours or days if you wish.
There are various intermittent fasting methods to consider if you desire.
We have the 16/8 method, which means you can go without eating for 16 hours and only eat for 8 hours daily. Most people prefer to eat from noon/2 p.m. and stop at 10 p.m. to stay hungry till the next day at 2 p.m., making it 16 hours. However, they can still take non-caloric beverages like water, black coffee, and tea without adding sugar or milk. This will help them maintain the fasting and reduce their calorie intake.
The 5:2 diet intermittent fasting method is ideal for people who want a flexible fasting pattern and cannot do without food for longer hours. It includes eating for the whole week; however, five days are for consuming any food you prefer, and the remaining two days are for reducing calorie foods to 500-600 calories daily. The two days can be any day you choose; it doesn’t have to be consecutive.
If you’re the type that believes you can try to fast for 24 hours, then the Eat-Stop-Eat method is for you. For example, you can eat dinner at 7 pm and go hungry till 7 pm the next day. However, you can take proper hydration without calories so your body can still function correctly, and you won’t feel dizzy and hungry.
Lastly, the alternate-day fasting method is the most flexible. You can decide what days to fast and when not to fast. However, during the fasting days, you can eat any food, including those with high calories. On the no-fasting days, you can decide to eat foods with low calories or avoid eating.
Conditions To Consider Before Intermittent Fasting
If you’re thinking of intermittent fasting, think of the following before getting started:
1. Health Conditions:
If you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, or other metabolic disorders, then know that intermittent fasting is not for you. However, if you still want to try it, then consult your doctor for advice and to avoid issues like low blood sugar levels.
2. History of Eating Disorders:
If you have anorexia nervosa or bulimia, which are eating disorders, strictly avoid intermittent fasting because it can result in overeating as a coping mechanism for the body to regain the food lost during fasting.
3. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:
Pregnant women should avoid intermittent fasting because the fetus and the mother need to be developed with enough nourish food. Moreover, the breastmilk must be rich in nutrients so the newborn can grow well.
4. Medication and Supplements:
Some intermittent fasting, like the Eat-Stop-Eat method, isn’t ideal for people taking certain medications and supplements that require enough food to function properly. Therefore, consult your doctor for guidance if fasting can have side effects with your medication and supplements.
While intermittent fasting has several benefits, you should consider the type that works best for you. Moreover, before you get started, ensure you are medically fit, you’re not pregnant or a nursing mother, you don’t have a history of eating disorders, etc. Remember to consult your doctor to know if intermittent fasting can still be useful or not.