If you are even a tiny bit into fitness or health then you might have heard of this crazy concept, intermittent fasting. The first thing I think when I hear about new trends like these is people trying their hardest to starve themselves to fit into the “Instagram standards”. Like for real, why aren’t people happy with just a normal balanced healthy diet? But just like every other trend everyone blindly jumps into the trend. As a fitness and health enthusiast I also wanted to try this out and see what this craze is all about, but first I did my research to find out a bit more of this way of eating. What I found was a pretty surprising.
THE HISTORY OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
Even though intermittent fasting is the new craze and trend it isn’t anything new. Humans have been fasting for most of their history. You know back then when we weren’t so privileged and couldn’t consume anything we laid our eyes on? Yes, I am talking about those times. Humans have been fasting for a long time for different reasons like food scarcity and religious reasons. Fasting has been seen as one of the most effective ancient healing traditions in human history. The ancient Greeks believed that fasting improved overall health. I am not sure to what extent this is the most effective way of healing, but if the ancient Greeks said it, it must be true.
This form of healing has been practiced by a lot of cultures and religions on earth. Aside from fasting for health reasons a lot of religions and cultures fasted for a spiritual purpose. Fasting until this day still remains a big part of some religions. Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammed all believed that fasting had amazing healing powers. They called it cleansing or purification. Fasting then slowly started to become a known practice in different religions. Fasting was trending a long time ago. We are way behind on this one.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but an eating pattern. Fasting is when you don’t consume any food. Intermittent fasting is when you go a period of time without consuming any type of food and then break that fast by eating. Intermittent fasting is a way to schedule when you are eating. This eating pattern does not change what you eat. Your diet basically stays the same. Usually, people try to eat as many calories as they were consuming before they started this eating pattern. So, if you were having 20 chicken nuggets you can still have them but just at a different time, right?
Intermittent fasting is used by many fitness people to get lean and to keep muscle without going on any crazy diet or restricting your calories. A lot of people use this method to lose fat. Even though it might sound simple. If you are eating 20 chicken nuggets when you’re supposed to be eating, I doubt you’ll lose any fat. Most people eat bigger meal portions during a shorter period of time. This will make you feel a lot more satisfied. This will only work if you are eating a balanced diet. Intermittent fasting is one of the simplest ways to keep the bad weight off. It is that simple that you can actually do it with little effort because honestly nobody really likes putting that much effort.
INTERMITTENT FASTING METHODS
There are a lot of different methods of intermittent fasting. There are different ways to schedule when you are going to eat to what is most convenient for you. Even though there are a lot of ways of intermittent fasting there are two that are most known.
16/8 Daily intermittent fasting:
This way of intermittent fasting is the most known in the fitness community. The trendy name for this way of intermittent fasting is “the leangains protocol”. This way of intermittent fasting is when you fast for 16 hours followed by an 8-hour eating period. You can choose whenever you start your 8 hour eating period, but most people choose to skip breakfast because this is the most convenient. This also allows you to be more social because usually, you have lunch or dinner with family or friends. If you actually have any friends.
This is the easiest way of intermittent fasting to get into a habit if you do it long enough because it is a daily practice. There are a few con’s that comes with this way of intermittent fasting. Because you are skipping breakfast or whatever meal you are skipping it becomes a lot harder to get the number of calories you’re supposed to be getting. This means you’ll have to eat bigger meals. This will be really hard in the begging especially if you’re someone who is not used to eating big portions.
24-hour weekly intermittent fasting:
This way of intermittent fasting is when you go 24 hours without eating any food. This means you eat a whole day of what you normally would eat and then finishing off with dinner at for example 8 PM and then you fast the next day the entire day until 8 PM. It is commonly done once a week but can be also done twice a week or even once a month. After you did this fast you go back to your regular diet. This way of intermittent fasting is the least effective one when it comes to weight loss because you are only skipping two meals per week. Even though it might not help with weight loss it can have a lot of health benefits. This can also be the hardest way of intermittent fasting because a lot of people are not used to going through an extended period of time without any food. This can come with various side effects especially when you’re first starting off. This is basically a foodie’s worst nightmare.
BENEFITS FROM INTERMITTENT FASTING
Even though skipping breakfast and meals seems unhealthy there a lot of health benefits that come with intermittent fasting. Even though there isn’t a lot of evidence or studies to back these ups. The difference between men and women is also pretty big. So, these are just very broad benefits.
I was debating if I should even put weight loss as a benefit. Even though losing weight might be a benefit for a lot of people it can also be a negative. When you are doing intermittent fasting, it can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake, because you are eating fewer meals. Intermittent fasting can also change hormone levels that will make losing weight a lot easier. This will help you burn a lot more calories.
There are a lot of hormone changes that come with intermittent fasting. This might have been also the reason why I was so hangry all the time. My hormones were probably going insane.The levels of your growth hormones will increase. This will help with fat loss and muscle gain. It also increases the release of the fat burning hormone (norepinephrine). This helps access stubborn fat.
More about hormones: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC329619/
Healthy blood sugar levels:
By following intermittent fasting, it can help by reducing insulin resistance. This helps lowering blood sugar. This can help to protect you against type 2 diabetes.
Intermittent fasting also helps to reduce LDL cholesterol. Because intermittent fasting helps with healthy blood sugar levels this also decreases all risks for heart diseases.
INTERMITTENT FASTING, CONVENIENT OR NOT?
You can see intermittent fasting in two different ways. It can either be very convenient or very inconvenient. This all depends on who you are and the type of schedule that you have.
What makes intermittent fasting so convenient is that you don’t have to think about breakfast or in other cases the meal that you are skipping. This means you have a lot more time to think about your daily tasks. This can also be convenient because you don’t have to be cooking all the time you only have to eat bigger portion meals.
Intermittent fasting can also be pretty inconvenient, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t really have a set schedule. In my case, I can’t always choose what time I eat. It also depends on what type of person you are. In my case, I am someone who really loves food and gets pretty hangry really fast.
Intermittent fasting is not everyone. Everybody is different and you have to see if it fits your lifestyle. The most important is that you listen to your body. I personally like to eat whenever my body wants and restricting myself to a certain number of hours to eat does not really work for me. If you are someone who has a set schedule and that doesn’t mind eating at one certain time intermittent fasting is perfect for you.
Check out my experiment with intermittent fasting: