SCARLETT Johansson, Jennifer Aniston, Gisele Bündchen and Vanessa Hudgens. What do these celebrities have in common with each other? They have all swore by intermittent fasting as a secret to weight loss.
Intermittent fasting — or simply known as IF — is probably one of the trendiest methods to shed weight and improve health in recent times.
As its name suggests, it is a timed approach between fasting and eating. When done right, intermittent fasting has been shown to provide a range of benefits for our overall health.
If you do decide to take up intermittent fasting, remember to check with your doctor first and get all the relevant advice that fits your personal condition. With that out of the way, let’s take a deeper look at this health trend.
Do I need to starve myself?
Fasting should not be equated to starvation. With fasting, you are in control. To put it simply, fasting is the absence of eating for a period of time. And once you have reached a time goal, you will break the fast and eat again.
How does intermittent fasting help with weight loss?
Intermittent fasting’s goal is to deplete excess energy that is stored by our body. It does this by burning off excess body fat. When you stop eating, the body will have to “consume” fat for energy. To lose weight, you will need to maximise the time spent burning food energy — and that is where intermittent fasting comes in.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
The most obvious perk is weight loss. But intermittent fasting has also been credited with other possible advantages. These include: lower blood insulin and sugar levels; reversal of type 2 diabetes; reduction of inflammation; better mental clarity and concentration; cellular cleansing and a longer life.
Who should NOT fast?
Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, underweight (BMI < 18.5) or under 18 years old.
The different types of intermittent fasting
The great thing about intermittent fasting is there’s plenty of flexibility. You can opt to fast for either short or long periods. Longer fasts last well above 24 hours. Since this is a beginner’s guide, check out these two short fast methods.
16:8 — This is the most common method, and one that is easy to follow. You will be fasting for 16 hours (including sleep time) and have a 8-hour eating window. For example, stop eating by 8pm and start eating again at noon the next day. Typically, this involves skipping breakfast and only eating two meals a day: lunch and dinner.
20:4 — This involves a 4-hour eating window and a 20-hour fast. With this, you will only be eating one meal a day or several smaller meals.
I’m sold, how do I get started?
Seek advice from a certified medical practitioner first. You can also reach out to a nutritionist or healthcare provider to find out your caloric needs. Then figure out a meal plan for what you’re going to eat when you are not fasting. While there is no restriction on what you can eat, remember that the key to success is moderation. Instead of sugary desserts, go for healthier options.