Intermittent Fasting – What it is & Why You Should Consider It

Intermittent fasting has become a trendy topic over recent years, but many individuals do not fully understand what it is. Contrary to what many believe, intermittent fasting is not a diet. It is a pattern of eating, a way to schedule your meals so that you get the most out of them. It does not require starving yourself for long periods of time but instead trains your body to adjust to a very specific eating pattern. After consuming a meal, it takes your body nearly 12 hours to enter the so-called “fasted state,” which simply refers to lower insulin levels in your body allowing for maximized fat burning. 

Intermittent fasting is great to burn fat (while keeping your lean muscle mass), as many could guess, but it also is known to provide significant other benefits, including:

  • Extended lifespan
  • Reduced risk of cancer
  • Improved metabolic health
  • Simply easier than dieting!

Two popular methods for intermittent fasting:

The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 Hours Each Day

Popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan, the 16/8 method involves fasting for 14-16 hours each day, thus restricting your daily eating window to 8-10 hours. During your “eating window,” you can have 2-3 meals, depending on your calorie intake goals and portion size of each meal.

The most popular strategy for the 16/8 method looks like this: You eat your last meal around 8 pm each night, you don’t eat anything else before bed, and you skip breakfast, meaning you will eat around 12pm the following day. During your fasting period, you can drink water, coffee, and other non-caloric beverages to help reduce hunger levels. Many people find that this implementation of the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting is actually very easy to adjust to. Others, particularly those who get very hungry in the mornings, have a tougher time adapting to this method. 

The 5:2 Method: Fast for 2 Days per Week

The 5:2 method involves eating normally for 5 days of the week while restricting your calorie intake to 600 calories (recommended 500 calories for women) for 2 days of the week. Known as the Fast Diet, this method allows you to eat normally for the majority of the week, which many people find appealing. In practice, you may fast on Mondays and Thursdays, restricting your calorie intake to, let’s say, 600 calories split between two small meals on those days. Then every other day of the week, you eat as you normally would. 

There is no one-size-fits-all technique for intermittent fasting, so try various methods on your own to see which one may work best for you. As mentioned, the benefits of intermittent fasting extend far beyond simply burning fat. Schedule your meals through intermittent fasting and you can reap the benefits that have led so many people to try this pattern of eating.

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