Fasting has existed for so long, and I think it has existed as long as human life. In the ancient days, people used to fast because food was not enough. Eating was extended so that the food could last for more days. As some people are fasting to lose weight, the religious use it as a way of seeking and showing repentance to their God.
Apart from fasting to lose weight, fasting is also often used as a tool to make political statements, to protest, or to bring awareness to a cause. A hunger strike, for example, can be a non-violent resistance where people participate fast as an act of political protest to achieve a goal such as a policy change.
The 5 different ways of fasting to lose weight include; spontaneous meal skipping, 16:8 method, warrior diet, alternate-day fasting and fasting 2days a week (5:2 )
Let’s answer some of the most popular questions about fasting.
What is fasting?
According to Wikipedia, fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction of some or all food, or both, for a period of time.
What is dry fasting?
Dry fasting, on the other hand, is abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period. For the other forms of fasting, as we shall discuss ahead in this article, are limiting only particular foods or substances.
Can you lose weight while fasting?
As a matter of fact, you might already know that when calorie intake is reduced, you will definitely lose weight. This initial weight loss is mostly water weight instead of fat. Further, fasting will create a deficiency of calories in the body since the body relies on energy to do most of its work. As a result, the body will burn fat stores for the required energy. This will eventually lead to weight loss.
How should you fast for weight loss?
Fasting to lose weight can be looked at as a regimen for the promotion or restoration of health. And in this case the promotion of a healthy weight. This may involve either cutting calorie intake for a specific number of days a week or for a specific number of hours a day. Unlike other regimens, fasting does not restrict an individual from any food choice but rather it is specific on when to actually eat. This periodic eating or cycling between periods of eating and fasting is referred to as intermittent fasting. Thus said, one could always choose one of the methods or types of fasting described below, in order to get started.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting simply means alternating in and out periods of fasting and eating, all intended at burning body fat in order to lose weight. Most of these regimens aim at limiting the eating pattern or your calorie intake to specific time periods. For example, eating 12 hours a day. Under this kind of arrangement, the individual only eats during day and rests at night. Another regimen can be eating 5 days a week and fasting two days a week. Before looking at the various forms of intermittent fasting, let us first find out how intermittent fasting works to lose weight.
How to kick start intermittent fasting?
Just like any change over of any kind, starting requires a lot of commitment and willingness or else you may fail to start. Since intermittent fasting requires you to adopt a no-calorie intake for specific hours, adjusting to this kind of mode may not automatically be easy.
Below are some of the key steps that will help you kick start intermittent fasting for weight loss.
1. Clearly identify your purpose for intermittent fasting
In most cases, it is very easy to lose focus if you have no reason for a specific undertaking. Know what you want and keep your eyes on the goal. This will keep you moving however hard the journey may be.
2. Begin by skipping a meal a day.
You may begin by skipping dinner or breakfast. The meal you choose to skip must be your favourite. Keep this consistently all through. This will quicken the change over to this specific diet plan.
3. Don’t snack too much
Snacking will pile up the calories. The idea of intermittent fasting is to reduce the calories as much as we can. Having a strict restriction on your calorie intake is a good start.
4. Increase fasting time gradually
It is advisable that you start small or start with a few hours of fasting that you can manage and upgrade later on. This will help you to cope with intermittent fasting.
Does intermittent fasting work for weight loss?
A series of research have proven that intermittent fasting may enhance weight loss through the following mechanisms.
Since the amount of time during which an individual does eat is reduced, it implies that calorie intake informs of snacks and fast foods are also reduced. The reduction of calories implies weight loss.
Fasting kick-starts ketosis
During fasting, the amount of glucose intake is reducing, and therefore the body has less energy. As a result, the fat stores are burnt instead to release the energy rather than rely on carbohydrates. This leads to weight loss.
Fasting lowers insulin levels
When insulin levels are reduced, the body will burn fat stores straight away instead of glucose for energy. This, in turn, leads to weight loss. The body’s sensitivity to insulin is also increased during fasting time.
Fasting boosts metabolism
Fasting increases adrenaline hormones to help the body free up more stored energy. Boosting the resting metabolism helps the body to burn more calories in the form of body fat throughout the while at rest.
What are the various forms of intermittent fasting?
Over time, several unique methods or ways to intermittent fasting have been sought. As a matter of fact, every mode of fasting can be effective, you just have to figure out what is best for you. Different individuals can adopt different modes of fasting depending on their ability. Let us look at some of the modes of intermittent fasting below.
The 16:8 methods s
Under this kind of arrangement, you fast for every 14 to 16 hours of the day and restricting the daily eating window to 8 to 10 hours. During the eating window, one can have 3 or more meals. In order to reduce the feelings of hunger; one can take non-calorie drinks, water and coffee. If you happen to have your last meal at 7:00 pm, do not eat until 1:00 pm the next day. This kind of arrangement suggests that women should do 14 to 15 hours because they happen to do better with shorter fasts.
Fast for two days a week (5:2)
This arrangement also called the fast diet was popularized by British journalist Michael Mosley. This diet involves eating normally for five days a week and restricting calories to 500(women) and 600(men) for two days a week.
Alternate day fasting
Under this arrangement, when you eat today, you have to fast the other day, meaning you fast the next 24 hours, alternating this arrangement all through the week. I assure you that under this type of fasting, you will have to sleep very hungry on some days.
Warrior diet (fasting during the day and eating at night)
The warrior diet involves eating fruits or vegetables of small amounts during the day and eating large chunks in the night. This diet was popularized by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler where you fast during day and feast at night in the 4-hour window.
Spontaneous meal skipping
Under this kind of arrangement, one simply skips a meal at any time or any day when they don’t feel hungry or they are too busy to prepare a meal. Always focus on having a healthy meal when you next eat.
What can you eat during fasting?
An image of healthy foods
During intermittent fasting, choosing a healthy meal may be difficult. This is because some individuals mistake intermittent fasting to be a diet plan yet in actual sense it is not. Intermittent fasting tells you when to eat but does not talk about the foods you must eat or include in your diet. As a matter of fact, intermittent fasting is a mere eating pattern, not a diet plan. Therefore a healthy meal or a balanced diet is essential even during intermittent fasting.
Here is a list of what you should eat during intermittent fasting in order to lose weight.
Food rich in proteins
Proteins get you filled and boost metabolism. Combining protein intake with strength training helps to build muscles which burn more calories compared to fats. Foods rich in proteins include; eggs, seafood’s, fish, poultry, seeds and nuts and beans.
Carbohydrates such as sugar, fibre and starch are a major source of energy in our bodies. During fasting, choose foods that are high in fibre and starch but low in sugar. This will help to lose weight, improve sugar level and lower blood pressure. Foods rich in carbohydrates include; oats, sweet potatoes, bananas, beetroot, peas, avocado, barriers, apples and many others.
Unsaturated fats are a good way to go during intermittent fasting. Unsaturated fats help to reduce the risk of heart diseases and lower blood pressure. Sources of unsaturated fats include; soya beans, nuts, olive oil, sunflower oil, cheese, whole egg, chia seeds and avocados.
For gut health
The gut is the home to billions of bacteria. These bacteria affect the gut health, digestion and other body metabolic processes. There a healthy gut is key to healthy weight loss. Foods for healthy gut include; vegetables, fermented vegetables
A hydrated body throughout intermittent fasting is very important to your health. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, headaches and weak body. Dehydration, therefore, can make the effects of fasting worse. Drinks to make you hydrated include; water, black coffee, watermelon, cucumber, oranges, lettuce and peaches.
What foods should I avoid during intermittent fasting?
Since fasting is an effort to reduce weight through burning more fats and reducing calorie intake, it is important that we avoid the foods which instead cause fats to pile up in our bodies. Foods to avoid include; refined grains, trans-fat, processed foods, processed meat, and alcohol.
Can you work out when fasting to lose weight?
As a matter of fact, most fitness trainers advice to fill up before working out, as this can help to have an optimal performance during a workout. Some trainers go ahead to suggest pre-workout meals for their trainees.
However, there are enormous benefits to gain from working out during fasting. These include;
The body becomes more sensitive to insulin and allows human growth hormones to burn fat and build muscles. Eating before working out instead increases the insulin levels yet our goal is to avoid the rise of insulin.
Working on a fasted state improves your overall work out and performance. Working out on a fasted state helps to boost your testosterone. This increases libido, muscle mass and energy levels allowing you the best environment to burn fat and build muscles.
We have written an article about the best workouts to help you lose weight fast.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting to lose weight?
Intermittent fasting to lose weight may not be just to lose weight. There is a variety of other health benefits that come along with intermittent fasting. Let us look at other benefits that come along with fasting for weight loss.
Intermittent fasting for heart health
This kind of regimen is seen to improve cholesterol, blood pressure and reduces cardiovascular risk. This is because, during the fasting period, the body burns fat stores for energy rather than the calories.
Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation
According to the research published in the cell, Mount Sinai, researchers discovered that fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases without affecting the immune system’s response to acute infections.
Fasting helps to get rid of cellular waste
Since the body uses energy to digest food, this energy becomes available for other uses during the fasting period. During fasting, the body scours for dead cells, damaged tissues, fatty deposits and tumours. All this is burned up for fuel or disposed of as waste. This elimination of these obstructions rekindles the metabolic process and immune system functionality.
Fasting for health ageing
Intermittent fasting is said to slow ageing as well as age-related illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart-related diseases.
What are the dangers of intermittent fasting to lose weight?
when you reduce your calorie in taking, you definitely will lose weight. This, however, comes with a lot of health consequences as listed below.
- Low blood sugar
- Muscle loss
- Muscle aches
- A weakened immune system
- Prolonged fasting may lead to anaemia
- Liver and kidney problems
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency
- Risk of fluid imbalance
How low long is it safe to fast?
As a matter of fact, there is no set time that fasting is supposed to stop. Although fasting has significant benefits, it should be noted that when fasting is done for so long may cause damage to your body. If you are planning to fast longer than 24 hours, seek a doctor’s advice before you get started on that fasting journey.
Nutritionists say that fasting is dangerous and is not the best way to lose weight. They further suggest that having a sustainable healthy eating plan including; fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins coupled with regular physical activity is the best way to handle weight loss.