Guide to Safe, Effective Fasting

A key element when it comes to dieting, and playing a significant role in weight loss, is fasting. It is important to know that when faced with fasting, it really all depends on the person, on how you should fast. There are different ways to fast, between short term fasting lasting anywhere up to 24 hours, or long term fasting, which can go to 48 hours and beyond. Fasting does not mean to starve yourself, but much more about self control over the intake of food for health, religious or other reasons.


WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting during a defined period. is something humans have always done and it is programmed in us. Since the beginning of humanity, through traveling and at times food scarcity, humans would cycle between eating at some points and fasting in order to conserve energy and food sources.

Well, today we have an abundance of food, and too much of something can sometimes be unhealthy. In order to help regulate a healthy lifestyle, intermittent fasting is a useful way to promote weight loss, conserve energy and give your body the correct nourishments it needs. Intermittent fasting can be done in different ways, as we do it anyway when we sleep as we eat dinner, and then don’t eat again until breakfast.   

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS

The benefits of intermittent fasting can vary from not wasting money on a meal you don’t necessarily need to even saving you time on daily productivity. Most of the time, we have a heavy meal that fills us and our body spends all the energy breaking the food down, in turn making us sleepy. With holding off on having meals and fasting, we take the energy we need and it helps us push through our daily routines. 

Since the body is unable to get its energy from food during fasting, it dips into glucose that is stored in the liver and muscles. This begins around 8 hours after the last meal is consumed. As well as aiding weight loss, Dr. Razeen Mahroof, of the University of Oxford in the UK, explains that the use of fat for energy can help preserve muscle and reduce cholesterol levels.


When the stored glucose has been used up, the body then begins to burn fat as a source of energy, which can result in weight loss. Fasting has many more benefits that include: 

  •  Promoting Blood Sugar Control by Reducing Insulin Resistance
    •    Better Health by Fighting Inflammation
    •    Enhance Heart Health by Improving Blood Pressure, Triglycerides and Cholesterol Levels
    •    Boost Brain Function and Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorder
    •    Aids Weight Loss by Limiting Calorie Intake and Boosting Metabolism
    •    Increases Growth Hormone Secretion, Which Is Vital for Growth, Metabolism, Weight Loss and Muscle Strength
    •    Delay Aging and Extend Longevity
    •    May Aid in Cancer Prevention and Increase the Effectiveness of Chemotherapy

 WAYS OF FASTING

There are many different ways of fasting yet commonly, fasting involves a 24-hour period. Some people breakdown their fasting into a span of 36 hours, but that extended period is typically impractical. Ways to fast can be fasting for 16 hours of the day, and the other 8 hours can be broken down into one meal and then the other after 4 hours. Even so, you can have 1 meal in 24 hours (fasting for 20 hours of a certain  time in the day).  We recommended a 16/8 Hour cycle, but here are a few ways to IF; 


  •  The 16/8 method: Also called the Lean-gains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 12–8 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
    •    Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
    •    The 5:2 diet: With this methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days

REGULATING HUNGER

When it comes to regulating your hunger, some people believe you will be starving yourself by fasting when in reality, you just make your metabolism faster. During fasting, your body will be burning fat and converting that fat into energy. Regulating your hunger by fasting will make your body become accustomed to the reformation of your stomach, and you will soon enough need less amount of food to fill yourself with. Although it is important to note that when your fasting is done, you shouldn’t eat a large meal because it can lead to bloating and cause stomach pains.  

SAFETY TIPS ON FASTING

Fasting can be effective in losing weight, but to ensure your body functions normally, don’t take fasting to the extreme. Here are some safety tips to remember while fasting:

  • Drink plenty of water – It is imperative to do so in order for you to stay hydrated. Most people get 20%-30% of their water intake from food, so if you drastically decrease your food intake and fast for a long period, it’s easy to be dehydrated. Mild dehydration during fasts can lead to headaches and a dry mouth. As a rule of thumb, drink more than what you drink when you’re on a standard diet (follow 8.5-13 cups every day).

    Stock up on mineral water, too. Constipation as well as some headaches can be possible, if this happens, some mineral water can be used to subsidize the feeling.
  • Follow a low-carb diet – Following a low-carb diet between fasting periods can be useful in order to avoid shocking your metabolic system. Remember that your body is going to make you believe you are starving and that’s okay, it will pass, embrace the fast.
  • Stick to a Mild Exercise Routine – If you’re new to fasting, keep your exercise mild. Your body is still transitioning to the fast, so it’s best to let it adjust to its new metabolic schedule before subjecting it to high-level physical stress. Gradually increase the intensity of your workout, when you’re able to handle a strenuous routine
  • Stop fasting if you get sick – People respond differently to fasting, so listen to your body closely. It is normal to feel slightly hungrier, more tired, and irritable. If, however, you feel unwell — especially if you can no longer carry out your daily tasks — stop fasting straight away and see a doctor. You can ask what type of fasting you can do that won’t put your health at risk.

All in all, happy fasting.