Intermittent Fasting- Practicing for Ramadan
If you are moderately active on social media, then you may have heard about the ‘intermittent fasting’ trend. One of the reasons it has gained so much attention in Pakistan, is of course due to the ‘look-we-always-knew-fasting-is-good-for-us’ perspective. Now with Ramadan just round the corner, intermittent fasting seems like a good option to set the pace for our bodies before plunging headfirst into this expectedly tough month of Ramadan.
What is intermittent fasting?
First things first, this is not a traditional fast- you can drink water and other non-caloric beverages during this fast. Intermittent fasting primarily applies to your food intake. It does not focus on the types of food you consume, rather it looks at when you are consuming them- it alters your regular eating pattern.
There are a few popular methods of intermittent fasting:
- 16:8 hour ratio (most similar to a roza)
This is the most popular method as it can be simply added to your everyday lifestyle without compromising too much on your regular eating habits. This comprises of 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. Usually the fasting hours include the night’s sleep. This means that you end up skipping breakfast and continuing with your regular meal plans for the next 8 hours.
- Twice a week, 24 hours
Another option is to fast for a complete 24 hours but limit it to just twice a week. This is no doubt a more difficult approach but it may be more convenient for those who do not want to fast every day.
- Low calorie plan
Specifically 500 calories. You will eat no more than 500 calories on any 2 non-consecutive days of the week and maintain your regular diet plan on the rest of the days.
Effective for weight loss without crash diets or rigorous exercise plans
One of the major reasons why people opt for intermittent fasting is for weight loss. It’s a plan, in a sea of fad diets and major lifestyle changes, that is not so daunting and consists of the familiarity of Ramadan.
Intermittent fasts limit your food intake which naturally leads to fewer calories consumed. However, it also effects the way your body metabolizes the foods you do consume, leading to significant weight loss.
One of the most important points to remember here is that if you eat too much- or overeat- during consumption hours, then the fast may lose its purpose. The same reason we shouldn’t binge eat during iftar.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
- Weight loss
- Cell repair- old proteins that have built up in your system are removed through a repair process
- Insulin resistance goes down which in effect reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Potentially good for lowering cholesterol and in effect, bettering heart health
- It is said to have anti-aging benefits
- Simplifies your life by not consistently having to worry about meal plans
What can you eat during non-fasting hours?
The best thing about fasting intermittently is that you do not have to follow a customized meal plan- there is no limitation of what you should eat. HOWEVER, binge eating will reverse the effects of the fast. Try to eat normal sized portions of what you would normally eat if you weren’t fasting.
Important information to note:
- If you have any preexisting medical condition then you must consult your doctor before adopting this lifestyle change.
- Women must also be cautious as it may cause hormonal changes