It may sound a bit surprising that sometimes missing meals is the key to weight loss, healthier body composition, and a more positive mood than any diet plan could possibly be. While the emphasis of most diets is on what to eat, intermittent fasting is only concerned with when to eat. You can encourage your body to burn fat by fasting for a set period each day or by eating only one meal a few days a week. By alternating periods of fasting and eating, intermittent fasting aims to improve health and wellness. Scroll down to get your hands of 7 ways to do intermittent fasting, along with some quick tips to make the most of them.
What are the Different Methods of Intermittent Fasting?
There are several plans out there to practice intermittent fasting, each of which comes with different benefits and bring out different results for everyone. However, the 7 most common methods include:
- The 5:2 Plan
- The 16:8 Method
- Overnight Fasting
- Alternate Day Fasting
- Whole-Day Fasting
- Choose Your Day Fasting
- Eat-Stop-Eat Method
7 Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting
One of the most significant aspects of your lifestyle is your diet and eating routines, and what exactly suits your body largely differs from one individual to another. Here are the detailed descriptions and working principles of the 7 different ways to do intermittent fasting listed above. Each of the methods comes with its own set of guidelines when it comes to how long to fast, as well as what all can you eat when following the specific method.
The 5:2 Plan
This is the most similar to a standard diet, although it’s still significantly different. It suggests eating regularly for five days each week and cutting down on between 600 and 800 calories during the other two. While you’re not strictly fasting for those two days, eating just 600-800 calories over the course of three meals will significantly reduce your calorie intake.
There is, once again, no need for extreme calorie restriction. Maintaining the necessary range is easy with the help of a basic calorie tracking app and by eating a diet rich in low-calorie vegetables and fruits for the two fasting days. The hardest part about this diet is trying to spread the restricted calorie intake over three meals a day.
That’s a very low average of 200 calories per meal. On fasting days, some people consume mostly plant-based foods while avoiding all sources of protein. It’s true that two days may not seem like enough food, but with a little planning and innovation, you can eat rather well.
The 16:8 Method
By following this schedule, you’ll skip meals for 16 hours each day and instead eat within an 8-hour window. Fasting experts advise starting your fast after supper, at 8 or 9 at night, and breaking it the following day at midday or 1 pm. You can see how this solution is optimal. After a satisfying meal, your appetite is less likely to return during the 7 or 8 hours you spend sleeping.
If you break your fast at about noon or 1 p.m. The following day, you will feel like you are just enjoying a brunch. After your fasting window ends with a healthy supper, you may have a small meal or snack before starting the cycle again.
You may drink water, black or green tea without sugar, or any other kind of herbal tea throughout your fast. This strategy may seem complicated if you’re just getting started. If you do decide to fast, however, you may ease into the whole 16-hour fast by starting with only 10 or 12 hours.
This method, which entails daily fasting for 12 hours, is the easiest of the lot. You may, for instance, decide to stop eating at 7 in the evening after supper and then start eating again at 7 in the morning with breakfast. Despite the reduced intensity of cellular benefits, autophagy continues to occur after 12 hours. This is the least amount of time you should go without food.
This strategy’s straightforward implementation is a plus. In addition, you won’t have to go hungry; all you’ll be doing is removing any night snack you would have had. However, this approach does not optimise the benefits of fasting. If you’re trying to lose weight by fasting, reducing your fasting window will give you extra time to eat, which may not be beneficial.
Alternate Day Fasting
On non-fasting days, people would eat normally, and on fasting days, they would consume just 25% of their daily calorie intake. A lot of people use this strategy to shed extra pounds. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that alternate day fasting dramatically reduces body weight, fat percentage, and cholesterol in people who are overweight.
In this method of fasting, you abstain from food for a whole day every other day. On fasting days, you may consume as little as 500 calories on certain variations of intermittent fasting. Some restrict you to water or other calorie-free drinks exclusively. If you’re new to intermittent fasting, this isn’t the greatest plan since it might cause you to feel hungry at bedtime many times a week.
Long-term success here is unlikely. While some individuals choose to consume no solid food on fasting days, others choose to consume as much as 500 calories. Many individuals save their heaviest eating for feeding days.
There is a strict once-a-day eating policy in place. Some folks eat supper and then skip breakfast and lunch the following day. Fasting times under whole-day schedules are typically 24 hours, from supper to dinner or lunch to lunch, but those during the 5:2 schedule are really 36 long hours. You may, for instance, start your fast on Sunday night, reduce your calorie intake to 500 or 600 on Monday, and then have breakfast on Tuesday to break your fast.
If you’re trying to lose weight, skipping meals throughout the day might be helpful since it’s not impossible to consume a full day’s calories in a single sitting. One downside to this strategy is that it might be challenging to receive all the nourishment your body requires in a single meal. And it’s not easy to maintain this method.
If you haven’t eaten all day, you may be too hungry to make healthy decisions when dinnertime comes around. When you’re starving, the last thing you want is a serving of broccoli. To combat hunger, many individuals consume large amounts of coffee, which might have a severe impact on their quality of sleep. Without food, you may also have daylong mental fogginess.
This version of IF is more like a pick-your-own-adventure kind of story. Fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 might be done once a week, or even once every other day. That may mean that you eat normally on Sunday, stopping at 8 p.m., and then starting your diet back up again at midday on Monday. That’s the same as giving up breakfast a couple times a week.
There is conflicting evidence on whether or not skipping breakfast aids in weight loss. Skipping breakfast does not seem to have a significant impact on body weight. In contrast, several studies have shown that having breakfast may have a small but significant effect on weight loss. Studies have also shown that people who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to get heart disease.
As this method is more flexible, you may find it simple to include it into your routine, even if your week-to-week plans are unpredictable. But a more relaxed approach may only provide modest gains.
Eat Stop Eat
Author Brad Pilon devised this strategy in his book Eat Stop Eat. His strategy is distinct from others since it prioritises adaptability. It stresses, in a nutshell, that fasting is nothing more than a temporary hiatus from eating. You devote yourself to a resistance exercise routine and execute either one or two 24-hour fasts every week. Just forget about the fast and eat healthily after it’s finished.
After a period of fasting, it is important to return to a regular eating pattern that does not include binge eating or starvation. To get rid of excess fat, it is preferable to mix intermittent fasting with regular weight training.
The extra calories you consume on the five or six non fasting days of the week are countered by the caloric restriction imposed by the fasting days. Because of this, you might be able to reach a calorie deficit by the weekend without feeling deprived. This makes losing weight easier and more fun.
Keep the following tips in mind while sticking to your intermittent fasting routine and get its full benefits:
- On fasting days, it’s best to stick to gentle exercises like yoga rather than more intensive ones.
- Keeping blood sugar levels constant and avoiding nutritional shortages may be achieved by eating meals abundant in fibre, minerals, nutrients, and other vitamins. Losing weight and improving health are both aided by eating a well-rounded diet.
- Foods like popcorn, fresh vegetables, and fruits rich in water content, including grapes and melon, are satisfying and low in calories.
- Garlic, herbs, spices, and vinegar should all be used liberally while preparing meals. Due to their low calorie count and high taste, these meals may help curb cravings.
- If your fasting plan allows you any calories at all, choose high-protein, high-fiber, and healthy-fat meals. Beans, lentils, eggs, salmon, almonds, and avocados are all good examples.
- Keep hydrated throughout the day with water and other low-calorie beverages like herbal teas.
- Fasting may be difficult, so it’s important to have lots of activities planned to get your mind off of eating.
7 ways to do intermittent fasting: Best methods and quick tips
Remember that some individuals may respond differently to intermittent fasting than others. Do not hesitate to see a medical professional if, after beginning intermittent fasting, you have any out-of-the-ordinary feelings of worry, headaches, nausea, or other symptoms. If you decide to give fasting a try, you should prepare yourself to be quiet introspective during that time. It’s totally OK if it’s not sitting well with you or if you require a quick snack in case you become hungry. In order for our bodies to readjust, we need time, and some people need more time than others.