What is Intermittent Fasting?

What is Intermittent Fasting? | Meal Scheduling Tips for Weight Loss

Intermittent fasting is often described as an eating pattern where you have periods of eating and fasting. The fasting process does not stipulate ‘what’ you should eat, but ‘when’ you should eat during the day.

Here we look at the process of intermittent fasting, types of fasting, and why people use this method to maintain a healthy weight.

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The basics of intermittent fasting

On a basic level, you already do some type of fasting each day, and that’s when you sleep. With intermittent fasting, this process typically lasts longer than eight hours. Some people carry it over, so technically skipping breakfast.

The most common aspect of this process is that you generally have an eight-hour window where you eat, and the rest is fasting. In the beginning, people have said to find it challenging as the body gets used to the new routine. However, hunger is said to subside once you get used to the new process.

During fasting periods, no food is to be eaten but drinks such as tea, coffee, and water as long as they have no calories (milk in your drink is out!).

Types of intermittent fasting

There are several types of intermittent fasting, and some have grown into popular trends over the past few years. Take a look at some of the typical examples below:

  • 5:2 Diet – this involves reducing calories for two days a week to around 500-600 a day.
  • The 16/8 Method - this method involves fasting for 16 hours a day and restricting food intake to 8 hours. You can also change up the eight hours to suit your lifestyle.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat Diet – this diet involves not eating for a 24-hour period, for example, from lunch until lunch the next day. This typically happens once or twice a week.

Why do people fast?

Intermittent fasting has been happening for many years, and in history, it occurred out of necessity. While there are some questions regarding the methods used, studies suggest that fasting has some benefits for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.

Some people prefer the convenience that fasting brings, as busy lifestyles can get in the way of preparing healthy meals. So this can lead to improving what you eat when you are in the non-fasting period.

Others fast for weight loss, and studies suggest that this technique may work as a simple and effective solution alongside exercise. Research has also highlighted that fasting may help protect against diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, plus many others.

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Is intermittent fasting challenging to sustain?

There is not a definitive answer to this as everyone is different. Many people highlight the beginning is challenging as the body gets used to not eating for more extended periods. While others have suggested hunger pangs diminish as time goes on, making it easier to maintain. With any diet, trying something that works for you and your lifestyle is essential, as this is the only way to sustain a balanced and healthy body and mind.