Familiar with intermittent fasting (IF) terms in the health and dieting industry?
To those who are still not certain, intermittent fasting is a dieting strategy telling when you should eat, instead of what you should eat. There is a specific time and diet schedule to follow when going into this ‘IF’ program.
As a beginner, you must be wondering about this health trend such as what are the health benefits, what is the best intermittent fasting weight loss plan, and what can you eat during or after intermittent fasting?
This is why we will get more insights here.
What Are The Intermittent Fasting Main Benefits?
Numerous researches had shown that intermittent fasting gives a lot of health benefits to your body in long term:
1. Improving and controlling blood sugar levels in the body by up to 6%, and may potentially avoid the risk of diabetes diseases(1).
2. Heart rates beat better and improve blood pressure which gives overall excellent heart health.
3. Preventing obesity and aiding weight loss among obese adults.
4. Boost up your metabolism rates and thus help in losing weight.
Does intermittent fasting consider a bad practice and harmful? Is it safe?
Not indirectly to say ‘IF’ diet plan is a bad practice or harmful to those who are seeking this method to lose weight.
However, any action relating to our body’s health does come with certain circumstances. Take into consideration these factors:
1. If you are having some sort of eating disorder diagnosis such as bulimia or anorexia, kindly refrain from taking part in this diet plan.
2. Avoid intermittent fasting if you are experiencing low-calorie levels in the body.
Younger people who are below 18 years old, underweight individuals, and pregnant or breastfeeding women should not attempt to as they don’t have the daily required healthy blood sugar or calories needed to fast in such a way!
3. Anyone who is not ready to experience a diet change, eating habits, don’t want their stomach to starve this way, easily feeling tired or get irritated, should reconsider for other better option to lose weight, perhaps by exercising and proper diet plan.
How Should A Beginner Start With Intermittent Fasting?
There are indeed plenty of intermittent fasting diet patterns to fits into your daily or weekly ‘IF’ schedule.
It is just how you will reschedule your meals, choosing the suitable regular periods to eat and fast.
After a certain period of hours without food, your body is slowly low in sugar levels and this is when the fat starts to burn.
One of the most popular types of intermittent fasting is the 1) 16/8 fasting plan which controls your calorie content in food and beverage. Skyrocketed and widely claimed to be an absolute sustainable, easy-to-follow guide and effective fasting method to lose weight.
There are also other popular diet plans such as:
2) eat stop eat.
3) alternate day fasting.
4) 5 – 2 diet.
5) warrior diet.
6) meal skipping.
Which Is The Best Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Program?
As just mentioned above, depending on a person’s age, weight, and health condition factors, the below are worth considering and I will personally choose the daily 16/8 diet plan.
1. Is the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan right for you?
Depending on your preference, you start as a daily plan, fast for 16 hours straight, then limit your eating phase to 8 hours during the day. It is less restrictive and could work for you in a long term to achieve your weight loss success.
For example, try to eat from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm when you have your normal breakfast, lunch, and early dinner, and, then fast for the rest of the night until the next morning. Keep experimenting with the suitable time frame that fits into your busy schedule.
Do not worry about skipping your favorite meal of the day – breakfast. Your body will eventually slowly adapt and learn to this newly eating adjustment period of short-term fasting.
2. Eat-stop-eat fasting plan is to get you to fast for full 24 hrs at least once or twice a week. Not really for the faint-hearted devotee! The idea is to have the same amount of that one meal on the next day after breaking the fast cycle.
You can fast from breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it doesn’t matter as long you are eating the same amount of food after fasting.
3. Alternate-day fasting is giving you a longer fasted state where you are in full fast on the other day, then back to the non-fast state on the next day, and repeat the same method continuously.
This pattern is not so sustainable and not suitable for beginners as they go to bed feeling hungry during the fasting week.
4. This 5 – 2 fasting plan is where you will eat normally for 5 days and then eat lesser (by reducing calorie intake) for the remaining 2 days of the week. This fast diet plan required you to restrict the calorie intake to 500 for women and 600 for men on that 2 days.
5. Warrior diet plan is to get you to eat fresh fruits and vegetables during the day and then a big feast for dinner! It is like fasting during the day and eating big at dinner time.
6. Meal skipping can be spontaneous and doesn’t have to follow the intermittent fasting method. I do believe many of us including myself tend to skip meals from time to time for any reason!
If you are not hungry on a certain day, too busy to go for lunch, or lazy to cook dinner at home, just skip it.
Don’t worry, it is still healthy to skip a meal or two as short fast. Depending on the individual, our bodies sometimes can handle this hunger, so as long be sure to have a balanced healthy diet after the fasting periods.
How Long Does It Take For 16/8 Intermittent Fasting To Work?
According to dietician experts, it normally takes around 8 -10 weeks to see some positive results.
You may see an average of about 8 – 10 pounds lost during the ‘IF’ fasting periods although it varies from individual to individual. It can be a longer period as it also depends on each metabolic health.
There is also a possibility that you are doing the wrong way in terms of calorie intake if you do get the waistline down faster than usual.
Note: Get advice from your dietician or healthcare expert if you are planning to approach 24, 36, or longer hours of fasting periods with the 16/8 IF plan. This could be dangerous for some individuals, both men and, women, and might even end more fat storage inside your body due to extreme starvation.
What Food To Eat During or After Intermittent Fasting?
You can eat normally during your eating periods after fasting. However, it doesn’t mean you can eat like never eaten before!
Eat balanced nutritious foods with carbohydrates, protein, and, healthy fats; NOT junk foods, processed foods, fried foods, or snacks! If you do not follow correctly, it is a total waste of your time and effort. Absolutely NO to pizzas, French fries, burgers, or other fattening foods!
When the time you are in fasting mode, you can still consume beverages such as plain water, black coffee, and brewed tea. Noting that coffee or brewed tea should not be adding milk, sugar, or creamer into it.
Also, avoid alcohol and soda drinks as both contain sources of calories. Drinking alcohol when you are in fasting mode can trigger your appetite to crave more food.
Can you take any supplements during intermittent fasting?
In general, vitamins and minerals supplements are better absorbed and effective to take with food.
Depending on many factors, you may or may not necessarily take supplements.
If you are devoting to intermittent fasting for a specific few days in a week for example the 5 – 2 IF plan, then it is still ok to consume these supplements daily as extra nutrients for the body.
Also, if you are eating healthy nutritious meals during the feasting window, you may not need the supplements. Vegans or vegetarians may need the intake of the supplement as they might be lacking some essential nutrients here.
When your current diet pattern is already low in important nutrients such as protein, magnesium, potassium, and carbohydrates, you may need to speak with your dietician to find out what type of supplements you can take before starting any IF diet plan.
Take note, that not all supplements can be taken with food after fasting. Some supplements containing calories will break your fasting rule and should be avoided.
Supplements with magnesium, protein, zinc, turmeric, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, vitamin A, D, and K are great choices to be taken with food.
On the other side, some supplements that can be taken on an empty stomach like probiotics, vitamin B, C, tyrosine, and folic acid are all great options during a fasting period.
Can You Lose Weight In A Month With Intermittent Fasting?
How fast can you lose weight with an ‘IF’ diet plan?
Well, provided you practice it correctly and stay within the simple easy-to-follow rules, you can lose probably around 8 -10 pounds, depending on the individual’s age, weight, gender, medical history if any, physical activity and, current calorie meal plan.
In general, you need to shed 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. So, just to lose a pound in 7 days, you need to get rid of 500 calories a day! You do the simple math calculation here.
Don’t forget, that a combination of a proper healthy meal plan and exercise are effective ways to burn more calories.
In terms of smart choices of food, suggested aiming for 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day for males, while for females with 1,200 to 1,500 calories intakes. The rule here is, to lose weight, you need to shed off more calories than you consume per day.
Noting that the US CDC (Central Disease and Control) does advise aiming for a steady loss (rather than rapid weight loss) weight plan which is 1 – 2 pounds lost a week as this is more sustainable and healthier in long term.
Can You Gain More Weight While On Intermittent Fasting?
That is quite possible as you may have done it wrong in some ways. Take these measure steps to prevent weight gain and loss of your time and effort!
1. Don’t restrict too much on your ‘IF’ diet plan. Intermittent fasting plans such as 5 -2 or 16 -8 plan is good as they are less restrictive in terms of eating during feasting windows.
2. Be sure to have enough calories and protein when you break for your feast. Don’t eat too much and then later eat lesser. This can interrupt your ‘IF’ plan as it makes you more hungry to eat more.
3. Avoid taking food high in sugar content as this will lead to weight gain. Sugary foods are very tempting and make you crave more. It’ll elevate the insulin levels, block the leptin hormones and fail to send the right signal to your brain, making you think you are not full.
4. You are eating too much during the feasting window and don’t restrict yourself to the correct amount of calorie intake. This uncontrollable way will not make the ‘IF’ plan a success.
5. When on an ‘IF’ plan, try to restrict yourself from eating too much after a particular workout. Not knowing how many calories you had burned after a workout and then overeating during the eating phase, will lead to consuming more calories than required.
Remember, be mindful when you are in the eating window as you will only lose weight when you burn more calories than you can consume per day.
Is It Still OK To Exercise While On Intermittent Fasting?
You can still do your regular exercise when you are on an ‘IF’ plan.
But, do consider what type of ‘IF’ plan you are getting into. If you are not sure which one suits you, get help from your dietician for guidelines.
Depending on your current physical and mental level, a stricter ‘IF’ plan such as the alternate day plan may not be suitable for beginners as it may lead to dizziness, fatigue, and, possibly muscle soreness.
The intensity of your exercise should be at a low-medium resistance and try to drink plenty of water (not drink excessively as this will decrease fast the electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium) during this time to stay hydrated all time.
Just as long your liver has good sufficient storage of glucose (sugar) to burn energy during this time, it should be safe to exercise moderately.
Why Do You Pee A Lot During An Intermittent Fasting?
You will normally urinate quite a lot during the first few days when you first start your ‘IF’ diet plan.
If you have never gone into a fasted mode, being a first-timer devotee to intermittent fasting, your liver tends to create new energy called ketones that get flushed out as waste by the cells body.
However, once your body is slowly accepting and getting adapted to fasting mode, the ketones are burning as energy instead and expelled out like water.
Anyway, it is a good thing to drink more fluid such as plain water, black coffee, or brewed tea during intermittent fasting which leads to peeing a lot.
Will Intermittent Fasting Help You Getting Into Ketosis?
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is defined as when your body uses ketones as an alternative energy source that produces from fatty acids instead of glucose. This is a metabolic shift where the blood is high in these ketones as a result of fasting, starvation or a diet that is low in carbs.
Intermittent fasting for longer hours (24 hrs or more) can help to reach the state of ketosis. This is when the glycogen reserve in your body becomes lower than normal. At this stage, the fat cells will take charge by releasing fatty acids into the blood and then into the liver which will convert the fats into energy.
Incorporating a (#Ad)keto diet into your fasting pattern will help to achieve a ketosis state faster.
In general, a keto diet consists of low-carb food not more than 50 grams of carbs (or even 20 grams) a day. This pushes the body to burn more fat and reach a ketosis state faster.
Note: Please get advice from your dietician or nutritionist before attempting any fasting period longer than 24 hours. Not everyone is capable to handle this state of fasting especially newbies.
My Conclusion: What Is The Best Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Plan
Overall, I would say that intermittent fasting is a natural concept to practice if you are following the guidelines correctly. However, this popular diet plan may or may not be suitable for everyone.
You need a daily stable and sufficient calorie level in your body to see good progress with this diet plan.
I.F diet plan could be a lifestyle change as it does offers a wide range of health benefits such as a leaner body, sharper mind and memory, and possibly a ‘longer lifespan’ (not scientifically proven or tested on the human). It is beneficial for your health or weight loss success.
Importantly, when eating your food during the ‘IF’ feasting window, all the food and beverage riches in nutrients must be taken in your meal to ensure to reap the maximum health benefits. Eating here should be effortless for you, not like a craving state eating like crazy.
Please speak with your healthcare expert again if you are experiencing dizziness, headaches, dehydration, nausea, feeling tired and other symptoms after intermittent fasting.
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To Your Healthy Home Workout Success!
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