Benefits For Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

There was a time when we were told that breakfast is the main meal of our day, and no one should skip it. But, now studies have shown that skipping breakfast might do some good. Intermittent fasting is essentially about skipping meals, and this lifestyle has lots of benefits.

IN THIS ARTICLE

What is Intermittent Fasting?

A type of fasting where there is a fasting period and then an eating period alternately is called intermittent fasting. It is a fasting method with good weight loss and overall health benefits which is growing popular day by day.

Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle with lots of benefits apart from health benefits.

Types Of Intermittent Fasting

Through the ages, people have been doing fasts for a day or several days. Many only drink water during the fasting period, while others have known to take just tea or not have anything at all.

Below are the different types of Intermittent fasting methods:

  1. The 5:2 Diet:

    This style of intermittent fasting requires a regular diet for five days and two days of caloric restriction of 600-500 calories per day.

    It is a proven method for weight loss where the fat burn occurs on the calorie-restricted days.

  2. Alternate day fasting:

    People also do alternating days of fasting and eating. A period of 24 hours of fasting, followed by 24 hours of a regular diet.

  3. 16/8 intermittent fasting:

    In this method, the fasting period is 16 hours, and the eating window is of 8 hours. 

    This fasting, in my opinion, is the easiest one to follow.

People tend to think about how can someone fast for such long durations.

Well, the time we are sleeping is also the time when we are not eating which adds to the fasting period.

My Experience On Intermittent Fasting

I followed this method and was able to stick with it. 

In the beginning, I tried not to have breakfast. I would get hungry, but I would take the first meal at a later time. 

I was able to push my breakfast from the morning to the afternoon until I was able to skip breakfast totally and have lunch as my first meal. 

My lunch would be at 2 pm, and I would have my last meal before 8 pm.

Now, I have my first meal of the day at 5 pm and the last meal before 9 pm. Now, I have moved to a 20/4 intermittent fasting. 

The results are even better. I try to eat as much as I can, but I eat healthy food.

My body has lost a lot of fat and gained lean muscle mass.

I have more energy for the whole day and have become more focused. The feel of energy in the body and mind is better than it was ever before. I think I can go on forever like this.

Benefits For Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Who knew that not doing something for some time can bring so many positive changes in health.

Intermittent fasting comes with a bundle of benefits.

1. Weight Loss

In intermittent fasting, you will be having a limited window for eating. Hence, lesser calorie intake automatically decreases your weight.

The amount of weight loss in a short duration of time is tremendous. You will be able to witness the change within 6-7 days.

2. Increase In Fat Burn

During the fasting period, the level of insulin remains low. As a result, the body taps into the reserve energy stored in the form of fat.

On average, an adult human being has 4.5 to 5.5 litres of blood in the body, and the pancreas tries to maintain a blood sugar of 70-100mg/dl.

Meaning at any given time for a healthy individual, the optimal level of glucose maintained by the pancreas with the help of insulin is 3.5-5.0 gms.

When glucose exceeds the optimal level, the excess glucose gets stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen.

So when we are fasting, due to the deficit of glucose in the blood, the pancreas releases glucagon.

The glucagon converts the glycogen into glucose and delivers into the bloodstream. Consequently, lipid metabolism occurs, which burns the stored fat for energy.

Thus, we burn fat while we are on intermittent fasting and lose weight in the process.

3. Muscle Preservation And Growth

We have a perception that intermittent fasting may cause muscle loss. Muscle loss is possible when we don’t consume the required amount of protein, or we severely restrict our calorie intake.

My inclination towards intermittent fasting lifestyle is due to the exceptional benefit of muscle preservation.

A moderate amount of protein will help maintain muscle mass while the body sheds fat. Moreover, it is also possible to build muscle while you are on intermittent fasting. A little bit more of protein and correct exercise will yield muscle growth.

4. Less Prone to Diseases

Intermittent fasting helps in reducing body fat. Most of the diseases are related to being overweight and obese.

As intermittent fasting aids weight loss, it averts many diseases like diabetes, liver-related problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. Overall, inflammation decreases.

During the fasting period, the insulin in the blood is under control as there is no excess sugar in circulation.

The body obtains the necessary glucose from the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles. The release of glucose from fat renders us healthy. We are less prone to diseases related to the cardiovascular system and liver.

5. Increase In Brain Function

Increase in brain performance is one of the significant benefits that you can have due to intermittent fasting.

Fasting stimulates the production of BDNF(brain-derived neurotrophic factor). It helps in the generation of new brain cells as well as enhancing the functionality of the old brain cells.

Overall, intermittent fasting increases our cognitive, memory, and learning functions.

6. Unleashing Autophagy

The starvation mode during the intermittent fasting sets off autophagy. To clarify, the term autophagy is derived from the Ancient Greek word autóphagos, meaning “self-devouring”. 

Autophagy is a process where the damaged cells are removed and regenerated. In this mode, the body is self-preservative and allocates the resources for optimum performance under adversities.

This process protects our bodies from various infections and diseases. Many studies suggest that fasting can reduce the chances of cancer, tumour, Parkinson’s disease, etc.

7. Increase in Savings

Benefits do not limit themselves to the body, intermittent fasting has financial benefits also. Certainly, the amount of the fasted period is also more or less equivalent to the amount of money we save.

Eating in a small window of time means that our expenses behind consumption are less. The more the fasted duration, the more the savings.

In my own experience, I have seen that the savings you can have are tremendous.

The savings can be far more by having a healthier diet. That is to say, a healthier diet always costs less because it means natural whole food and home-cooked

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Side effects Of Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Everything has a good side and a bad side. While intermittent fasting is not recommended for everyone, it still has some side effects.

  • Dizzyness: Initially, getting used to intermittent fasting can give many people a feeling of dizziness sometimes.
  • Headaches: Headaches: As you do not have food at the time, your body has accustomed for a long time, pains in the head are not uncommon.
  • Low Energy: Not having food for some time can decrease your energy level when you start with intermittent fasting.

    Your body usually makes use of the glucose available from the food you eat. So, no glucose supply will make you less energetic for the period of adaptation.

  • More Hunger: Staying without food for a long time can make you more hungry. As a result, you might overeat and, intermittent fasting may not work well for you.
  • Heartburn: When you do intermittent fasting, you do not have food according to your past eating schedule. As a result, your stomach releases acid in a previous lifestyle pattern which causes heartburn.

    Heartburn will subside after a few days or a week or two. Having water at regular intervals helps a lot.

Who Should Not Do Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting has many advantages, but it is not suitable for everybody. 

The people who should not follow this practice is mainly due to their physical state, age and health conditions. 

Here are some of the people who will not benefit from intermittent fasting lifestyle:

  • Pregnant women should not do intermittent fasting because both the mother and the unborn child need a lot of nutrition.

    Any type of fasting during this period may be hazardous for both. Having a healthy baby requires good food and extra calories.
  • Young children should avoid intermittent fasting because, during this stage, the children do not reach their full physical maturity, which again needs a lot of nutrition.

    Without proper nutrition, children’s growth is hampered.
  • People with neurological problems should never try intermittent fasting. Fasting may deteriorate their condition.
  • Thin underweight individuals should never consider doing intermittent fasting.

    Nutrition is highly necessary and, restriction on food is not required.
  • People with an eating disorder are in no way fit for intermittent fasting.

    An eating disorder is due to psychological disbalance due to which an individual might eat less or more.

    The people who eat less and think that they are growing fat have a disorder called anorexia. Binge eating to an extreme extent and countering the effect by vomiting and or other means is the disorder called bulimia.

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting is not just a fasting method but a lifestyle with many benefits. Although it is difficult and not an option for many people, it is a beneficial means for regaining health.

Including exercise into your fasting routine will enhance the health benefits of intermittent fasting. At the same time, you gain better health and save money.

It is a win-win scenario for everyone. Overall, intermittent fasting helps you to feel better, work smarter and make savings.

For me, this lifestyle has benefitted me in every sense.

For those people who are like me, who can’t sleep on an empty stomach, set the eating window such that you can have the last meal 2 hours before you go to sleep.

Try this, see how you feel, and let us know in the comments.

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