Intermittent fasting or dieting sporadically simply means you take a break from eating one to two times per week (meaning a full 24- to 32-hour fast), while the rest of the time you follow some basic eating guidelines that you probably already know but unfortunately seldom follow. These guidelines include taking the time to enjoy the foods you eat, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, utilizing herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor food, and eating less overall. The beauty of intermittent fasting is that it’s not a diet in the traditional sense. Rather it’s a lifestyle change and a sustainable one at that. After you under- stand how to do it and begin successfully completing fasts, intermittent fasting will get and keep you on the right track to a lean and healthy life.
By its very nature, you’ll eat less when you abstain from eating one or two times a week with intermittent fasting. Fasting really isn’t new to you, although you may not be aware of it. You normally fast on a typical day (most people fast between six and ten hours when they’re asleep each night). Just by fasting twice a week and eating as you normally would the rest of the time, you could be cutting your weekly caloric intake by nearly 29 percent, which is a reduction of nearly 600 calories each day of the week. The rest of the time you eat as you normally would, focusing on healthful options, such as the Paleo Diet (see Chapter 8 for more specifics). Even more so, with intermittent fasting, you stop stressing so much about the foods that you do eat.
With so much conflicting health and diet advice all around, the act of eating, which traditionally is one of celebration and community, becomes a stressful occasion. Just take a look at the magazine covers in the checkout line at the grocery store; headline after headline promises the best diets for fast weight loss. One diet espouses the benefits of low fat foods, another advises cycling your carbohydrate intake. Yet another prescribes severe caloric restriction. Often, these diets’ principles conflict with one another, making it impossible to figure out which one is going to work the best. And even more detrimental, they act as quick fixes diets that you only have to follow for a short amount of time and that aren’t sustainable in the long run, setting you up for another weight loss and healthy living failure.
While you take a break from eating with intermittent fasting, you also give yourself a break from scouring through health and fitness magazines and websites trying to find the next new, guaranteed diet plan that gives fast results. And perhaps most importantly, you begin to put a stop to the over abundance that may well be present in your own life.
Pros and Cons to Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting carries a unique set of pros and cons. In these sections, we examine the upsides and downsides, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not fasting intermittently is the best approach for you. In brief, we look at why intermittent fasting might be the best fit if you’re looking for the most flexible approach to fasting, and why it may not be a good fit if you’re new to fasting or not yet ready to tackle a full 24-hour fast.
Intermittent fasting provides many benefits and can help you realize your weight loss goals. However, remember that it’s not magic. Just because you fast once or twice a week doesn’t mean you can gorge on junk food to make up for the calories that you didn’t eat while fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a very beneficial practice, is easy to follow, and allows you the flexibility you need for when life happens. By getting to choose and flex your fasting days and selecting when you start your fasting periods, intermittent fasting really can work for you, and you never need to go to bed hungry. It doesn’t have any complicated formulas, diet plans, pricey supple- ments, or special foods that you need to buy.
Intermittent fasting is simple and it’s effective. Some of the other benefits to intermittent fasting include the following:
- The ability and flexibility to set and change your fasting schedule as time goes on: You don’t need to keep your fast on the same day each Really, it doesn’t matter when you do it, so long as you do it. You can choose the best time or day to fast. Some people prefer weekends, and others prefer weekdays. Just stop eating for 24 hours, one day a week. The day doesn’t matter.
- One full day of fasting is plenty. Fasting for 24 hours allows you to reap the full benefits of fasting. Just don’t take the more-is-more approach and fast any longer than 24 hours.
- The freedom from continuously planning your day around your next meal: When you first take a break from eating, you’ll likely be astonished by the sheer amount of time that is free in a You don’t have to plan or prepare meals, at least for one day out of the week. For many people, it’s very liberating.
- A reduction in weekly food costs: Not eating for a full day once a week means a lower weekly grocery bill.
- An uncomplicated diet plan with no tricky formulas, equations, or costly meal plans: Intermittent fasting is so You just don’t eat for a day. That’s it! No counting calories, carbs, or anything of that sort. You don’t eat. Period.
We can’t stress the benefits of intermittent fasting enough. Scientific studies have also proven time and again its efficacy in terms of weight loss, muscle gain, and insulin sensitivity. Chapter 2 addresses the science behind fasting and how fasting can help improve brain function and immunity to common illnesses, and increase energy levels, muscle growth, and a loss in body fat.
Unlike some of the other fasting systems the intermittent fasting approach does require at least a full 24-hour fast, which can be difficult, especially if you’ve never tried fasting before. That’s certainly not to say that you won’t become accustomed to it. Just be aware that there will be challenges, such as staving off hunger and feeling low energy levels, particularly at first. (Chapters 14 and 15 provide some helpful tips.)
Don’t be discouraged by the idea of fasting for 24 straight hours. You can reach many of the benefits of your fast prior to the 24-hour mark. Although you should always strive to complete the full fast when following the intermittent fasting protocol, if on a given day you just feel like you need to end your fast early at, say, 22 hours, that’s okay, too.