All You Need to Know about Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
You’ve probably read the term intermittent fasting all over the internet these days. Some ladies from your kitty parties are probably raving about this new ‘diet’ they’ve started that’s helped them shed some pounds. And you might be wondering what in the world is this new trend that’s suddenly become so famous.
The benefits of fasting has been known to us for centuries. Fasting also holds a significance in numerous cultures and religions as a way of learning self control and learning to be thankful to God. It is just now that science has caught up to the various health benefits associated with fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a type of lifestyle where you assign a couple of hours a day to eating and fast the rest of the day with only water. Initially you can fast for as long as 7 hours and eat the rest of the day. Eventually you can increase your fasting hours to 10 and then 12 hours going as high as 16. This can be done every day or alternate day. Another way to this is, to fast for two entire days throughout the week. Although this method is not recommended and quite frankly is not as effective.
Intermittent fasting has many advantages besides weight loss. It is the kind of stress that makes the body function better, much like exercise. It puts your body under distress that invokes it to elevate its functions like increasing metabolism, blood flow and your digestive activity. It also helps clear your bowels of all the carbs fatty foods that we consume daily and is like a detox for our digestive system. Think of it as a way of giving your digestive tract a break from all that digestive work and letting it fine tune it’s functions. Intermittent fasting also helps regulate your hormones. Some important hormones it affects are:
Insulin: Insulin helps store glucose that is obtained by breaking down the food we eat. Storing this glucose is important as it forms our body’s energy store. If we consume a lot food, the excess storage is down in the form of the fat under our skin. Fasting means that the amount of insulin in the body decrease which gives the body time to burn the fat stores.
Growth Hormone: As the name suggests, this hormone is essential for our growth. It’s helps increase muscle, bone growth, height etc. When the body is under the state of a fast. Growth hormone increases exponentially which causes all the fat stores to be used up to compensate for the increase energy required to help the body grow.
Norepinephrine: In the state of fast our body burns down glucose and fat stores to meet the energy requirements of our day to day life.
By fasting intermittently you tend to consume less calories. If you think about it, if you’re fasting you’re naturally consuming less food. Unless you’re taking excessive calories when you break your fast, this is a great way to keep your calorie intake restricted. And because you’ve assigned a specific number of hours a day to eating, it means less meals to prepare and spend money on and so you can afford to eat healthier and plan your meals beforehand.
A huge misconception about intermittent fasting is that it’s a form of starvation, which is simply untrue. Starving would be when your body has gone through all of its fat reserves and is now forced to break down muscle for energy. But with this diet, unless you are not meeting your daily calorie requirements, you are replenishing your body without going overboard. Think of it this way, when we sleep we are also in a state of fast. It is important to remember, however, that a good and healthy diet is a requirement. You can’t fast for as long as 16 hours and then end up eating junk. It just doesn’t work that way. Keep your diet healthy with a good workout and you will see a noticeable change.