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Would you be willing to go without food for brief periods to improve your health?

Some people say they have increased their fitness after embracing the concept of intermittent fasting.

How Do You Perform an Intermittent Fast?

Intermittent fasting is an eating cycle that deliberately alternates between periods during which you are allowed to eat and periods during which you’re not allowed.

intermitten fast only drinking water
Image via Cosmopolitan

There are numerous ways to conduct an intermittent fast including the following four popular fasting diets.

1. Your Intermittent Fast Can Last 24 Hours

No food is allowed, but simple beverages like water and tea are okay. Stay away from drinks such as smoothies or beer.

You perform a 24-hour fast only one or two days a week and never on back-to-back days.

Conveniently, you can begin the fast at whatever time of the day that you prefer.

The trick to making this fast work is not to overeat on your non-fasting days. You may feel that desire, but giving in to it will undermine all your hard work.

2. Your Intermittent Fast Can Last 16 Hours on the 16/8 Plan

If you think that you couldn’t do this, think again. If you’ve ever gone to bed without dinner and then skipped breakfast, you’ve probably gone at least 16 hours without food.

If you’re a woman, you will want to reduce your fasting time to 14 or 15 hours.

Make sure that during the time that you can eat, you choose healthy options in reasonable portions.

3. Your Intermittent Fast Can Include Eating with the 5:2 Strategy

If you dread the idea of going 24 or even 16 hours without food, the 5:2 approach might be best for you. It allows you to eat each day.

On two non-consecutive days, you would eat a highly-reduced number of calories. Then you would consume your usual amount of calories on the other five days.

During the fasting days, men would eat 600 calories and women 500 calories.

4. Your Intermittent Fast Can Include a Feast with the Warrior Diet

Like the 5:2 eating plan, the Warrior Diet permits food throughout the day. The difference lies in what you can eat and when you eat.

On the Warrior Diet nightly, you eat one large meal. During the day, you restrict yourself to fruits and vegetables in small amounts.

What are the Effects of Intermittent Fasting

You probably need a compelling reason to skip meals, so consider a few possible benefits.

The most apparent effect of intermittent fasting is weight loss.

weight loss from intermittent fasting
Image via India Today

Your body begins to turn to your stored body fat as a source of fuel rather than glucose. That happens thanks to your insulin level dropping and your human growth hormone (HGH) level increasing.

Not only does a rise in HGH make it easier for you to lose weight but it also makes it simpler to add definition to your muscles.

Predictably, losing weight means that you’re also losing muscle mass. The advantage of intermittent fasting over other weight-loss programs is that you lose less muscle on a fast.

Additionally, your rate of metabolism may increase.

You can begin to see why intermittent fasting for weight loss is effective. First, you’re taking in fewer calories than regularly and then you’re training your body to burn more calories than usual.

Intermittent fasting spurs activity at the genetic level that is favorable to increasing longevity.

Your cells also perform a little housecleaning. They get rid of unused and unneeded cellular proteins cluttering the cells.

Skin cells can become stronger making the skin less prone to wrinkling.

The brain tends to benefit as well from fasting. The lack of calories prompts the brain to create specific proteins that strengthen neural connections. The result is clearer thinking and a better mood.

Your bad cholesterol tends to drop which is good for your heart.

Is Intermittent Fasting for Everyone?

Intermittent fasting is not a primary requirement for good health. It’s not in the same category as eating healthy, exercising correctly and sleeping properly. It’s an option that some people have found to be a valuable addition to their fitness program.

Like any eating plan, intermittent fasting will deliver varying results to different people. Some people may experience weight loss and a sense of rejuvenation while others may see less improvement.

Intermittent fasting for women requires more fine-tuning that it does for men.

There are also inherent risks to consider for anyone with a history of eating disorders.

It’s wise for anyone struggling with health issues related to blood pressure and blood sugar to talk with a doctor before fasting. The same is true for anyone pregnant or trying to conceive.

Is There an Intermittent Fast in Your Future?

Like most of us, you may have a deep-seated fear of going without food even for a relatively short time.

Therefore, it may not be as straightforward for you to try an intermittent fast as it was for you to try other fitness programs.

Feel free to tweak an established fasting regimen to fit your needs. For example, you could alter the length of the fasting periods and the eating periods. You could also adjust your caloric intake.

Make intermittent fasting work for you.

Be imaginative.

Be healthier.


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