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Intermittent Fasting Benefits: Not Only Weight Loss

by Maggie Quinn 07 Aug 2019

What is intermittent fasting?  

Intermittent fasting is not a diet. It doesn't require you to change what you eat, instead, when you eat. It centers around scheduling a specific time for eating and fasting/not eating. This pattern is designed to make the most of your meals.

For people who are used to eating breakfast-the most commonly cut out meal depending on the type of fasting you're doing - it can seem very challenging at the start. That's why it's important to adjust your eating schedule gradually. At first glance, it may seem preposterous to intentionally submit yourself to hunger.

intermittent fasting

Why would anyone want to do that?

First of all, it's not the dramatic experience that people assume. Read further to discover the intermittent fasting benefits.


Why should I do it? What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

There are a variety of reasons to insert intermittent fasting into your daily life. The most common benefit is to lose that extra fat literally weighing you down. Most diets require intense discipline or completely ridding the body of some of your favorite treats. This can be very hard to keep up and is why most diet plans fail.

Intermittent fasting can be a much easier path to the same destination. It's simple enough to follow. You won't feel like you have to maintain dramatic shifts in behavior that aren't sustainable.

Intermittent fasting benefits are simple and are so obvious you might miss them. By spending less time eating each day, you'll also spend less time cooking and worrying about what or when you are going to eat. This is particularly true first thing in the morning when the rush is on to eat healthy before arriving at work on time.

intermittent fasting benefits

Some scientific studies have linked intermittent fasting to a longer lifespan. The fasting portion reduces caloric intake putting the body in a “starved” state. The body reacts to this by working to survive longer.

Uncomfortably starving yourself in the hopes that you'll live a longer life is like switching quality of life for quantity. Not a logical trade-off. Fortunately, intermittent fasting doesn't need to be taken to an extreme to make a difference in your lifespan.  

Intermittent fasting indirectly reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Less eating often translates to heighten food awareness. By paying greater attention to how you eat, it may rub off onto what you eat. This could result in eating fewer calories and potentially choosing healthier options. Since these two health conditions are heavily connected to diet, a change in eating schedule could lead to a change in nutrition, one might hope.

Intermittent fasting is much easier to adhere to than a diet.

To lose fat, the answer is obvious, eat less and exercise more. This is easy to understand, but it's not so simple to execute. Exercising more and eating less requires fundamental changes in behavior. Most notably, a strong will as we brush up against constant temptation.

Intermittent fasting narrows your focus to when and for how long you eat, instead of getting lost in all the specifics of what to eat, and how many calories to have.

When people first hear of it, it seems dramatic and maybe even dangerous. The thought of intentionally not eating for more than half of the day can be challenging to chew on, but once you wrap your head around it, it can be quite simple to implement, and completely safe. Especially in comparison to diets dictated by hard and fast rules like six servings of vegetables per day, or no eggs, meat or dairy allowed. Those kinds of diets are loaded with resistance.


How to make an intermittent fasting schedule?

Different types of fasting-why choosing one over another?

The following paragraphs intend to provide you with the knowledge necessary to choose the appropriate fasting method that aligns with your health goals and desired lifestyle.

As mentioned before, intermittent fasting is not about what to eat. The quality of our food may be a key indicator of your health, but intermittent fasting isn't changing what your diet consists of. It's changing your nutritional schedule. With that said, most professionals would agree that the greatest benefits to your health come from limiting processed foods and eating a diet rich in vegetables, and high in fiber.

Given our bodies consist of approximately 70% water, hydrate often. Especially during periods of fasting. Any zero-calorie beverages are permitted during fasting times.

make meal plan


Four examples of intermittent fasting methods:

1. Leangains

Created for weightlifters by Martin Berkhan, Leangains is a fasting schedule that is quickly gaining popularity among the general public and health-focused communities. It recommends 16 hours of fasting for men and 14 hours for women each day, with the remaining time available for eating.

2. Eat Stop Eat

If you are brand new to fasting, don't start with this technique. It's intense and will leave you feeling famished. If you want to take your fasting game to a level, this method will leave you feeling confident that you will be just fine without eating for a day.

Its directions are to eat normally for five days of the week and pick any two non-consecutive days to fast for a full 24 hours. It's worth repeating, adequate hydration is imperative for our bodies to manage waste, flush out toxins, and function optimally. Drink lots of water!  

3. Alternate day fasting, 5:2 method

This method of fasting on alternate days is known to improve weight loss, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. This is the only fasting method where calories are counted, therefore requiring slightly more diligence.

For two non-consecutive days of the week, a person should eat 500-600 calories. For the remaining days, they're prescribed to eat fewer calories than they burn each day. This results in a caloric deficit. Many health professionals stand by the statement, “calories in must be less than calories out to lose weight.” It is not an exact science, but it implies you'll begin burning excess fat stores because you will have already burned all the calories you've eaten.

4. Warrior Diet 

Like the Eat Stop Eat method, the warrior diet is a shock to the body. Created by Ori Hofmekler, it entails consuming all your typical food amount in four hours of the day while only eating very little for the other 20. Eating that much in such a short period can be difficult on your stomach. It's dramatic when compared to your typical three meals a day diet, and only for those with fasting experience.


FAQ and concerns about intermittent fasting: 

1. Will intermittent fasting result in malnutrition?

The most challenging thing for people to wrap their heads around is getting past the idea they'll die without food for a day or multiple hours. Chances are, you've fasted already in your life without even noticing it and were just fine. You may have had an early dinner one night and skipped breakfast the next day without even realizing you fasted for 14 hours.

Fasting dates back thousands of years when food was scarce and the body was required to adapt. It's only now that we can easily and often get food that makes us feel like we must have as much as we do.

Many companies profit from your purchases of their food and supplement products. They don't benefit from telling you not to buy something. The companies that make sugar infested beverages would be just fine with growing their wallets in conjunction with your waist which may be why you don't see it advertised, not because it will result in malnutrition.

Fasting as been done in varying religious practices like Ramadan or Christianity, and they are doing just fine. It's important to remind you that fasting is a choice. It's not forcing yourself to starve. You can stop and eat if you feel you need to.

Once you get past this imagined mental barrier, you'll discover the intermittent fasting benefits and the ease of its implementation. Pending any medical conditions, you will avoid malnutrition.

2. Will intermittent fasting result in muscle loss?

Losing muscle mass is an understandable concern during intermittent fasting. Given the caloric deficit, it's natural to worry that your muscles will begin wasting, and you'll lose that instead of the fat. As long as you maintain a high protein diet during your eating times, and continue with your resistance training regiment, you can expect to keep your hard-earned muscle. Your body relies on fat stores as energy in the absence of food. The whole point of intermittent fasting is that you'll benefit by losing fat and maintaining muscle.

3. Will my weight come back after quitting intermittent fasting?

The answer simple, no. After fasting, the body is keen on replenishing its energy source of glycogen to the muscles and liver. It's only when we overdo this eating that the body begins to store fat. This goes hand in hand with the caloric deficit or surplus conversation.

Intermittent fasting makes its mark as a simple way to manage your health. Like anything in life, if you overdo it, meaning your feeding becomes more like feasting, the weight will come back. Part of the weight loss that comes with intermittent fasting is the high metabolism that results from that break in eating.

A high metabolism burns more calories faster so if you decide to end your practice of intermittent fasting, the beautiful efficient machine of your body will adapt. Just don't start living the same way you did that put the weight on in the first place.

4. Is there any side effect during intermittent fasting?

Side effects of fasting are dependent upon a person's overall health when they begin.

For an active and apparently healthy individual, intermittent fasting results in very little side effects. When you start intermittent fasting there will be an adjustment period of feeling sluggish mentally and physically during the times you are used to eating. Your body should bounce back quickly to its normal functioning state as it gets accustomed to its new routine.

You may want to count the initial fear that your body won't handle it, and possibly the judgments and questions from others, as side effects. Some people may think your nuts. If that happens, lean not the science and countless success stories as your back up.

5. Who are not suitable for intermittent fasting?

If you have ANY medical conditions or find yourself in the following positions, please consult your health care provider before starting intermittent fasting:

-Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant

-People who are trying to conceive, have difficulty regulating sugar or are underweight

-People with low blood pressure, diabetes or eating disorders

-Or if you are currently taking any medications


You still may be a good fit for an intermittent fasting plan, but before you start, get the green light from a health professional before making any big shifts in your eating pattern.


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