6 Popular Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is not just your usual diet. It is a time-based eating plan which can help you regulate your weight along with numerous other health benefits. Intermittent Fasting has become quite the latest trend, and most people are loving it. Because why not! Unlike your usual diets that restrict what you eat, Intermittent Fasting does exactly the opposite.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is a daily routine that you follow to schedule your meals. It does not decide WHAT you eat, but it controls WHEN you eat. Intermittent Fasting is the newest trend to improve your health rather than the usual multiple meal times.
How to do Intermittent Fasting?
There are many ways to do Intermittent Fasting based on time preference and different styles. While every method is equally effective, you need to decide which one works best for you. Here is a list of the 6 popular ways that you can do Intermittent Fasting.
6 popular ways to do Intermittent Fasting
- 16/8 Method
The 16/8 method usually involves you fasting for 14-16 hours daily and keeping your eating window to only 8-10 hours every day. You can eat all you want during your eating window. Incorporate two or three meals during your eating window and you are good to go.
Also known as the Leangains protocol, the 16/8 method is considered being one of the easiest ways to do Intermittent Fasting. If you choose this style of Intermittent Fasting, then you could just finish your last meal before 8 pm and then not eat until the next noon, which is lunch the next day.
Eating an early dinner and skipping your breakfast the next day amounts to you fasting for 16 hours. But, if you are someone who cannot skip your breakfast, then this meal plan is not for you. You can drink water, spice-infused water like fennel, cinnamon, during the fasting windows to control your hunger pangs.
If you wish to succeed with this type of Intermittent Fasting, then you need to eat healthy during the eating window without really bingeing on those extra calories and excessive junk food.
- 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet is your go-to diet if you wish to eat normally through most days of the week. In this diet, you can eat normally as per your usual routine, 5 days of the week and restrict your calorie intake for the remaining 2 days of the week.
The calorie restriction is up to 500-600 calories on each of these two days. The 5:2 Diet is also known as the Fast Diet and is known to help reduce insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity. You can choose your two days of the week when you wish to fast.
Bear in mind, you cannot club the two days together. You need to have at least 1 non-fasting day in between your fasting days. You are allowed to consume 500-600 calories on your fasting days. This means that you could either eat two big meals with 250-300 calories per meal or you could eat three small meals with 175-200 calories per meal.
The Eat-Stop-Eat Diet allows you to eat 5 days a week and requires you to do a 24-hour fast once or twice a week.
You are required to fast from after dinner tonight until dinner tomorrow night. This is your 24-hour fast for one day. You could also choose to fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch. The key is to fast for24 hours.
During the fasting window, water, tea, coffee, is allowed. But you must not eat any kind of solid food. On the other days, you need to return to normal eating patterns. This diet reduces your weekly calorie intake but does not restrict the type of foods that you can eat. This type of diet can be challenging for people who tend to develop a headache, become irritable or complain of fatigue due to fasting for 24 hours at a stretch. If you are new to the Intermittent Fasting game, try the 16/8 method or the 5:2 diet first before you jump on to the eat-stop-eat diet.
- Alternate-Day Fasting
There are many variations in the alternate-day fasting plan. This plan usually allows you to fast and eat every alternate day.
The fasting days may involve complete fasting throughout the day or limiting calories to a bare minimum on these days. You can choose to avoid solid foods entirely on fasting days. Or you could also opt to eat up to 500 calories on your fasting days.
Alternate-day fasting is an extreme type of fasting and may not suit every individual. When you choose to follow this style of Intermittent Fasting, you end up going to bed hungry on most days of the week. That is an unpleasant feeling and not many can endure it. If you have certain health conditions, you must not try the alternate-day fasting method.
- Warrior Diet
The warrior diet is a rather extreme form of Intermittent Fasting. It involves very little eating. You are permitted to eat small amounts of raw vegetables and fruits during the day time of the 20-hour fasting window. You are also allowed to eat one last meal at night.
Technically, you end up fasting all day and eat a huge portion at night within a 4-hour eating window. This style of Intermittent Fasting works best for people who have tried all other types of fasting already. This type of Intermittent Fasting usually helps nocturnal eaters to make the best of it.
Natural nocturnal eaters can eat during the four-hour eating window while letting their body to gain all the nutrients as per the circadian rhythm. Some people tend to struggle with what to eat and how much to eat too close to bedtime. It is essential that you make sure to eat plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats during the eating window.
Lack of intake of essential nutrients can have an adverse effect on your digestive health and immunity.
- Spontaneous Meal Skipping
The spontaneous meal skipping plan allows you a more flexible approach to Intermittent Fasting. This is usually advised for beginners where they are given the leeway to choose which meals to be skipped.
You get to decide which meal you wish to skip based on your level of hunger and/or time constraints. This type of Intermittent Fasting comes more naturally to most people rather than fasting for more hours or an entire day. It is essential to eat healthy wholesome foods at other meal times.
This form of Intermittent Fasting is likely to be more successful because it depends on your body’s hunger signals. If you are too busy to cook and eat, or if you don’t feel hungry, you could skip a meal under this plan. If you are running late for work, try skipping breakfast one day and eat a healthy lunch and dinner. If you know you are going to be out the entire day, eat a wholesome breakfast and fast the whole day. Get home and eat a nutrient-dense dinner.
What to eat during Intermittent Fasting?
You can choose to eat from the variety of foods that are allowed during your eating window. Remember, consuming a balanced meal is essential in order to make the most of all the nutrients.
- Vegetables: Green leafy veggies, roots & tubers, vegetables like cauliflower, tomatoes, okra, pumpkin, green peas, and salads.
- Fruits: Bananas, pears, watermelons, berries, oranges, apples, peach.
- Liquids: Keep yourself hydrated with water, tea, coffee, fruit juices, vegetable soups, broths.
- Fats: Nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, cold-pressed vegetable oils.
- Proteins: Meat, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds.
- Carbohydrates: Whole grains like rice, oats, dahlia, buckwheat, barley.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Intermittent Fasting has numerous benefits on your health. Here are 10 major benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
- Promotes weight loss
- Improves cellular repair
- Decreases levels of bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Helps lose belly fat
- Lowers oxidative stress
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Boosts heart health
- Promotes better sleep
- Increases lifespan
Tips to stick to your Intermittent Fasting plan
It may seem simple, but Intermittent Fasting is not as easy as it looks. The idea is to focus on your chosen plan and stick to it. Here are a few tips to stay on track and make the most of Intermittent Fasting.
- Keep hydrating yourself. Drink plenty of liquids like water, herbal teas, broths, soups, low-calorie fruit juices.
- Do not keep thinking about food or your eating window. Go through the day as per usual routine and eat at the dedicated time. Keep yourself occupied and immerse yourself in work.
- Avoid too many activities on your fasting days. You could include some light exercise like yoga or meditation on your fasting days to get you going through the day.
- Include a nutrient-dense meal during your eating windows. If the plan that you have chosen lets you eat some calories during your fasting window, plan to eat a nutrient-dense snack to make the most of it.
- Add taste, texture and flavour to your meals without adding calories. Season your meals with herbs, spices, garlic or vinegar. This will give you a burst of flavour and reduce your hunger pangs while also being low in calories.
Intermittent Fasting is to be used as a healthcare tool to boost your weight loss and promote healthier lifestyle.
While it works for most people, Intermittent Fasting may not work for everyone. Consult your physician and discuss your health conditions before you start Intermittent Fasting.
If you are someone who wishes to eat everything and not restrict what you eat, then Intermittent Fasting is for you. Eat healthy and eat right during your eating windows while focusing on those extra tips to stick to the diet. Jump on the Intermittent Fasting wagon and get started now to make the most of it.