Intermittent Fasting
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A Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting involves low calorie meals just twice a week

Date Published Saturday, August 1, 2015 Lose weight the healthy way by watching your calories for two days a week - Tried and tested weight management technique called intermittent fasting Author: Norah

Have you been trying to lose weight but keep hitting walls with those diets? Intermittent fasting might just be the thing for you. What makes it unique is the fact that it's not a diet, but instead a pattern of eating, which seeks to control the amount of cholesterol entering the body. So intermittent fasting doesn't change the food you eat, it changes the time you eat.

Why use this formula to lose weight?

The most obvious advantage is the fact that you're able to lose weight gradually by reducing the amount of calories you consume in a day, and in so doing, most people are able to avoid the dangers associated with cutting down calories to zero. Typically, people tend to consume the same amount of calories when starting out on intermittent fasting - large servings of food over a short period of time: but the whole point of it is to lose fat, and the process works.

This is how it works:

In order to get a clear picture of how intermittent fasting works, one needs to understand how the body's metabolism works; and there's a major difference between the fed state and the fasted state. The fed state describes the period after you begin feeding and lasts up to five hours. Insulin levels tend to rise during this time, and that hampers the body's ability to burn fat.

After this period, your body enters into the post-absorptive state, at which time no meal is processed and insulin levels are low, and more fat is burned as a result. The unfortunate thing is, we don't enter the fasted state until about 12 hours after the last meal, which rarely happens with a conventional eating pattern.

Fasting allows the body to burn fat without necessarily changing your diet, and that facilitates weight loss as a result.

What are the main benefits of intermittent fasting?

  1. It's a lot easier than dieting

    A majority of the people who start out on a diet in the hopes of losing weight will end up disappointed, and in some cases end up gaining more weight in the long run. Now this doesn't happen because people eat the wrong foods or because diets are wrong; it's the inability to stick to the diet long term. Intermittent fasting allows for people to burn fat without the hassles of a typical diet, and this is achieved when you get over the notion that you have to eat constantly.

  2. Promotes healthy living

    Since the concept of effective weight loss leans more towards behavioral change more than anything else (and we've established most people fail at this), fasting makes for a simple, stress-reducing solution that only requires you to skip one meal. When compared to dieting, it's a lot easier in execution because you only have to cook two meals in a day, and that's one less meal to stress about.

  3. You are likely to live longer

    Let's look at it from a health standpoint: health experts have for a long time maintained that a build-up in calories can lead to a myriad of health problems. When you fast, the body uses the extra fat reserves to keep things moving, and in so doing extends your life.

    For the average person, dieting and starving are painful ways to keep the weight off, but that's what makes intermittent fasting a unique solution; it works pretty much the same as calorie restriction, and it keeps you healthy without a hassle.

  4. It may help reduce cancer risk

    To be fair, research is still being conducted on the effects of fasting, but early reports suggest a positive relation between fasting and chemotherapy. One study involving ten cancer patients showed a reduction in side effects associated with chemotherapy when patients fasted before treatment began. There's yet another study supporting this finding, and it involved alternate day fasting whereby cancer patients fasted before chemotherapy, and the results were undeniable- higher cure rates and fewer deaths.

Thinking about fasting?

Here are examples of good fasting schedules:

Different schedules exist for intermittent fasting, and you should choose whatever is most effective for your situation. The Leangains model is a good example; 16 hours of fasting followed by an eating period of 8 hours. A good number of people prefer to skip breakfast and eat lunch and dinner instead. This way, you can share your meals with friends and family.

It's a good strategy if you normally eat breakfast alone, but that doesn't have to work for you. Lunch can be skipped as well, as long as it's convenient. Daily intermittent fasting has been known to be easier to incorporate into the day-to-day routine, but the occasional fast has also been shown to have great benefits in the long run.

For those looking to switch things up, alternate day intermittent fasting allows for longer fasting periods, during which time you can fast on alternating days throughout the week.

Make it count: Build muscle too

When the stomach is empty, there is a change in the body's hormones: there is a natural increase in the growth hormone, and the body becomes more sensitive to insulin. This state is highly conducive to burning fat and building muscle. In fact, a lot of times, this is the whole reason why people do intermittent fasting; they get their body into this state, and then they workout. It is also a good way for males to increase testosterone levels. However, you shouldn't wait until you are completely starving as you wouldn't have the energy or mental capacity to carryout a good exercise routine. When you do exercise in the fasted state, it is important that you have a well-rounded meal afterwards, which contains an adequate serving of protein.

In conclusion, intermittent fasting is the practice of eating a well-balanced meal and then going for a longer than normal period without eating. Sometimes, water and tea are allowed. Those observing fasts for religious reasons can also practice intermittent fasting. So if you'd like a new approach to weight loss, try forming a new eating pattern, and see what happens.


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What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is when a person alternates between periods of non-fasting and fasting. It can take many forms. The 5:2 diet plan is an example of intermittent fasting.

The 5:2 Diet Plan

Many people think that it is impossible to eat the foods that they like and still lose weight. However, it is very possible to enjoy your favorite foods and still lose weight if you follow the 5:2 diet plan. This is a plan where a person eats normally five days per week and then drastically cut their calorie intake two days out of the week. Women need to eat 500 calories a day while men need to eat 600 calories a day on fasting days.

It is recommended that women consume 2,000 calories on their non-fasting days and men consume 2,400 calories. Therefore, a person cuts their calorie intake by 75% on fasting days.

The 5:2 diet plan originated in the United Kingdom. It quickly grew in popularity and spread to other parts of Europe and the United States.

Foods To Eat On Your Fasting Days

It is best for you to avoid foods that are high in refined carbs on fasting days. This includes things such as rice, potatoes, baked goods and pasta. You should include more protein-rich foods in your diet instead. Foods that are rich in protein and fiber are more filling. Vegetables, fish and meat are examples of some of the things that you should eat on your fasting days.

You should consume beverages that are low in calories on your fasting days. Avoid beverages that are high in sugar. You may also want to avoid alcohol on your fasting days. Many alcoholic beverages are high in calories.

You have the option of eating all of your calories at one meal or spreading them out during the day. Some people prefer to have one large meal during the day. Others prefer to eat a few small meals throughout the day. You should choose what you believe works best for you.

Benefits of following the 5:2 Diet Plan

One of the many great things about the 5:2 plan is that everyone can follow it. All it takes is a little willpower to follow the 5:2 diet plan. Many other diet plans require that a person spend money on expensive supplements. You will not have to worry about purchasing any supplements if you follow the 5:2 plan. Below is a list of some of the additional benefits that can be reaped from following the 5:2 diet plan:

Very Effective For Promoting Weight Loss

Losing weight is not easy at all. However, people who follow the 5:2 diet plan will have an easier time losing weight. In fact, there have been studies done to confirm the effectiveness of the 5:2 diet plan for promoting weight loss. There was a study done that compared women who followed the 5:2 diet plan to women who followed a conventional diet plan. The results of the study showed that the women who followed the 5:2 diet plan were able to lose more fat.

Everybody is different, so weight loss results can vary from person to person. However, the average women is able to lose one pound per week. Men can expect to lose a little more than that. Keep in mind that it is better to lose weight at a slow, steady pace. People who lose weight too quickly are often unable to maintain that weight loss.

Lower Blood Pressure

Most people follow the 5:2 diet plan because they want to lose weight. However, weight loss is not the only benefit you can reap from intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can help lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a serious health problem that can lead to heart disease.

On the other hand, keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range can protect your heart. It can also lower your risk of heart disease.

Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol is another health problem that puts people at risk for heart disease. Following the 5:2 diet plan can help lower your cholesterol level. Keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range can also protect your heart.

Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin helps regulate blood sugar. Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Keep in mind that improving insulin sensitivity can also make it easier for you to lose weight.