Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that is set on a specific schedule, with the most common methods being 16-hour fasts twice a week. Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is not a diet, as it does not restrict what types of food you eat. Instead, it restricts the time frame where you are allowed to eat.
This type of eating pattern is actually not new to humans. In ancient times, hunters did not have easy access to food resources and would sometimes go for hours or days without eating. As a result, humans have evolved to be able to function without food for an extended period. However, despite this evolutionary advantage, if you want to try this eating method, here are some things to know before you start:
There are different methods to intermittent fasting, but these ones are the most popular:
- 16/8 - this method will restrict your daily eating period to eight hours, and you fast for 16 hours. If you’re a breakfast person, this probably isn’t the method for you, as you’re likely to start eating sometime in the afternoon.
- 5:2 - this method requires the consumption of food limited to 500-600 calories twice a week. On the other days, you are allowed to eat normally and in your usual time frame.
- 24 hours - this method involves not eating for the entire day at least once or twice a week.
A lot of people find the 16/8 method to be the simplest and thus, the easiest. If you’re new to intermittent fasting, you should consider the 16/8 method to begin.
One thing to keep in mind is that fasting is not for everyone. Intermittent fasting is safe for most healthy people, but if you have any underlying medical conditions, it’s important that you talk to your doctor first before you start on a new eating pattern.
If you are ready to start with your fasting, here are some tips to help you:
- Set personal goals - it’s important to have a goal in mind when you do intermittent fasting. Your goal will motivate you to complete what’s needed and stay within your chosen eating pattern.
- Choose the right method - as mentioned above, there are three popular methods to choose from today. However, there are other less popular methods that you might want to explore as well. The key here is to be realistic. Choose which method will work best for you and don’t put too much pressure on yourself when choosing. After all, you’re still starting out, so you’re allowed to make mistakes or change your mind.
- Identify your caloric needs - calories still count in intermittent fasting. For one, if your aim is weight loss, you need to create a calorie deficit to follow. On the other hand, if you aim to gain more weight, you need to know the additional calories needed to reach your weight goal.
- Have a meal plan in place - you don’t need to be highly restrictive when it comes to your meals. When planning your meals in advance, consider your calorie intake and make sure that you are consuming the proper nutrients.
Intermittent fasting has been proven to be beneficial for one’s overall health, which is why more and more people are trying it out. However, most who try intermittent fasting for weight loss do so because of the significant weight changes that it brings. If you’re only starting out with intermittent fasting, follow the tips we’ve written above to help kick start your intermittent fasting the right way.
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