Everyone loves a new weight-loss “solution” but it’s important to know what a diet’s all about before you jump right in.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a just a fancy name for splitting up your day into a period of eating time and fasting time. The IF diet focuses less on what you eat and more on when you’re eating it.
There are several different ways to approach the diet – the most common being an 8-hour eating window during the day. Commonly called the 16/8 method, it involves skipping a meal (usually breakfast) to give yourself a 16-hour break from dinner the night before. There are alternatives to this that involve different time periods, eg not eating for 24 hours one day a week, or the 5:2 diet (consuming only 500-600 calories two days per week), so you can choose a method that fits into your lifestyle.
During your non-fasting periods, the general rule of thumb is that you can eat what you like, making it not so much a diet as a guideline for scheduling your meals, which is specifically appealing to people who aren’t fans of heavily restrictive eating plans.
What are the benefits?
Reducing your intake of calories via intermittent fasting has been shown to create a number of benefits including:
- Increasing your body’s ability to burn stored fat
- Increasing insulin sensitivity which can help in the prevention of chronic diseases
- Reducing inflammation in the body
- Helping speed up weight loss
Should I do it?
As with everything, IF isn’t a quick fix or a one-stop-shop when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. For me personally, I think it can be a great tool to give your body a break and speed up weight loss, if that’s your goal, but that’s only if it’s done correctly.
If you’re not consistent with your eating windows or disciplined when you fast, you won’t get great results. Similarly if, when you do eat, you fill your body with unhealthy, processed foods you’re defeating the purpose.
So, IF is definitely worth a try, but make sure you’re up to speed on how it works and be organised and motivated to stick to the plan. It’s not for everyone, so listen to your body and make the decision that’s right for you.