If you check the Wikipedia definition of Intermittent fasting for weight loss, it suggests that fasting is a deliberate act. It is a deliberate act to reduce the intake of food or drink or both for some period of time.
But on a more personal reason, fasting is a lifestyle. It is a choice which we make to live a deliberate lifestyle of restricting ourselves from eating and/or drinking for a continuous period of time.
Fasting is not, however, starving and as various intermittent fasting times indicate, one can fast from a minimum of 5 hours to 72 hours or more if you can sustain it.
Fasting for religious purposes is probably as old as mankind is but the latest research on fasting and trends indicate enormous health and psychological benefits of fasting.
Whether you want to fast for religious purposes or for health and psychological reasons, here are some important and critical rules for you to follow :
Fast 1 day after every 3rd Day
You might have heard about the 16:8 diet or 5:2 diet trends but the optimal fasting window is to fast every third day.
In a research study conducted on rats, the optimum fasting amount was highlighted as 1 in 3 from the perspective of longevity.
This fasting span appears to increase the lifespan of the male rats by 20% and female rates by 15% indicating a potential benefit of life extension due to fasting.
Alternative day fasting is another popular protocol which is being followed. In alternative day fasting, one can fast for one day and eat on the next day.
This protocol, however, may not be sustainable in the long run.
Most optimal fasting protocol according to research is doing intermittent fasting every third day.
It provides sustainable results.
Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss can cause a drop in Energy
Fasting is not easy and especially in the beginning, you will feel irritability and a significant drop in your energy.
Whether you are following 16:8 fasting protocol or doing intermittent fasting keto, initial time would be a challenge.
The lack of energy, mental fatigue as well as hunger will signal your mind to go for food. However, if you can persist, all these symptoms ultimately start to subside after 24 hours.
It is also quite possible that if you alter your sleep patterns during fasting like Muslims do during Ramzan that
You Should balance the macronutrients during non-fasting times
This is probably a myth or popularized by the social media that if you are doing IF, you should also adopt the low carbohydrate-high fat eating lifestyle.
In today’s buzzword, this LCHF lifestyle is called Keto and it is claimed that combined with IF, LCHF can do wonders.
This lifestyle might have been good for some but there is very little scientific support for this.
In a study conducted in Denmark, research participants were specifically asked to continue to use their normal meals and macronutrient combinations during non-fasting times.
This study highlighted the impact of fasting on insulin resistance and suggested that despite following the same meal plans, participants were able to improve their insulin resistance.
16:8 is not ideal Fasting Protocol
A large number of people actually follow 16:8 protocol for fasting. 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol simply means that one fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 hours window available.
However, research suggests that fasting for 19 hours is the ideal time if one wants to get the true health benefits of fasting.
19 hours fast reduces inflammation in the body and also significantly improves the insulin resistance thus giving the body an optimal time to regenerate new cells.
So if you are already following 16:8 fasting program, try to increase your fasting period to 19 hours a day for optimal health benefits.
Intermittent Fasting and Calorie Restriction are not the same
A lot of people think that intermittent fasting is the same as calorie restriction. In reality, it is not.
Intermittent fasting is a deliberate act of not eating or drinking and when you break your fast, you are technically allowed to eat as much as you want.
But in calorie restriction, you also limit your caloric intake whether you are eating normally or fasting.
Though calorie restriction and IF can go hand to hand, however, there is no conclusive research which can confirm the extent of weight loss with IF and calorie restriction combined.
So if you are doing IF and also following calorie restriction, you can get weight loss benefits but the actual extent of weight loss may not be known.
Intermittent fasting for Weight loss with liquid meals is more effective
Obese people are often unable to measure their portion size. This inability makes them overeat when dieting and they put on more weight than the previous.
What is more effective with intermittent fasting is to use liquid meals instead of solid food.
The weight loss results with liquid meals and IF are much better as compared to IF and eating solid food.
If you can, try to replace your solid food with the liquid meals if you are following any of the IF protocol.
One Month is the minimum time to get maximum results from Intermittent fasting
A very common question is how long one should do the intermittent fasting to get the desired benefits such as weight loss, blood pressure control and improved cardio health?
Studies conducted on rodents suggest that 1 month is the minimum time required to get maximal results.
If you are not getting the results before 30 days, just continue to do intermittent fasting and results will eventually come.
The body takes its time to adjust to new changes. IF and caloric restriction will provide you benefits provided you persist and carry on.
Intermittent fasting for weight loss can offer you enormous benefits. The key is to sustainably do this over a considerable period of time to gain real benefits.
Persistence is the key to success here.