“Intermittent fasting is a weight loss or weight control strategy where you’re cycling between periods of eating and fasting,” says Sarah Adler, PhD.
Intermittent fasting is super popular these days. Even celebrities swear by it since they use this eating lifestyle as a way to lose weight. It is not a fad diet or a drop-weight-quick type of regimen. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern backed up by science. Hugh Jackman said that for his role as Wolverine in XMEN, he had to trim down the fats and get lean. The actor had to do an extensive gym program. He also used intermittent fasting, and his observation on himself was a slimmer body, effective fat loss, and better sleep.
But what is intermittent fasting? This eating pattern uses the 16:8 ratio which means that you have to fast on food for 16 hours straight and then, you can eat for the remaining 8 hours as you see fit on schedule. You can also decide on which time you want to follow. For some, they feed by noon up to 8 in the evening. Others start early like 9 AM and then, the last meal of the day is before 5 PM. You can decide whatever you want to do with the 8-hour eating schedule as long as you don’t go beyond the limit.
As for the food you need to eat, of course, a balanced meal is always the best approach. You have to eat whole grains, lean meat, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. As much as possible, you have to resist processed meals, fast food, and sugared food or drinks. These are not healthy for you.
If You Don’t Eat For 16 Hours, Does That Mean You’re Going Anorexic?
Anorexia or being anorexic is an eating disorder. Following the intermittent fasting, an eating pattern is not an eating disorder. It doesn’t lessen the function of a person’s metabolism, in fact, it can even lower the blood pressure to a stable state. This was proven by Krista Varady from the University of Illinois in Chicago. She facilitated a study on a group of obese people who practiced intermittent fasting. They lost a bit of weight in three months’ time, lowered their blood pressure, and didn’t have any hunger pangs.
Other experts disagree on the purpose of IF – Intermittent Fasting. “If you’re narrowing the timeframe in which you’re allowed to eat and completely ignoring your hunger cues outside of that timeframe, it could be an unsafe approach, especially for those in eating disorder recovery,” says Samantha DeCaro, PsyD.
But a counselor who handles people for nutrition and wellness counseling says that “What makes IF different from disordered eating is the intent and rationale for following it,” – Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, LDN, CEDRD-S, CSSD.
Will Intermittent Fasting Work For You?
If you are an adult with hopes to lose excess weight and fats, intermittent fasting will work for you. But before anything else, you need to take note of the following:
- You have to check with your physician first if you are physically able to start with intermittent fasting. People with diabetes one are not allowed to follow this regimen. Those who are pregnant and breastfeeding are also restricted from following the eating pattern. (Some people who have the binge eating disorder are not permitted to use intermittent fasting because they will overeat during their 8-hour eating window.)
- You can choose from 3 intermittent fasting plans – the 16:8 pattern, the alternate day fasting, and the 5:2 plan.
The 16:8 pattern is wherein you fast for 16 hours in a day and eat within the 8-hour window. Specialists suggest that it is better to start your meals early, say, 10 in the morning so that you will end the eating day soon as well. Sugar is metabolized slowly at night when the body is at rest.
The alternate day fasting is wherein you eat at most 500 calories today, and then, you can eat anything for the next day. This will then become the cycle. 500 calories today, and free day on the next, and so on.
The 5:2 plan is wherein you usually eat for five days in a week, and then, you fast for the two days. You can eat foods for up to 500 calories only.
For all the plans stated here, there are no food restrictions or limits. So it’s not a fad diet or eating craze of some sort. These eating patterns are more of a lifestyle.
How To Beat Hunger During Intermittent Fasting Without Feeling Deprived
The best solution for this is to eat healthy foods during your feeding time that can make you feel full longer. For example, it would be best to eat food with high fiber content like nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruits, lean meat, eggs, and high fiber gummy. (According to Varady)
You must also drink lots of water. If you want coffee, go for black without cream and sugar. As for herbal tea, cinnamon or licorice works best to suppress hunger.