Intermittent fasting is a recent health trend that’s been embraced by health-conscious individuals. It entails voluntarily going for 12–36 hours without eating or with minimal caloric intake on an intermittent schedule. This practice may be beneficial in the longrun since it could help you to: improve your metabolic health, lose weight, become fitter, detoxify your body, and regulate your sleep cycle.
But, to make sure you get the intended benefits of intermittent fasting, you need to observe certain practices. Otherwise, this practice might have the opposite effect to what you hadintended. Here’s a guide on the best intermittent fasting practices to observe to ensure you achieve your overall objectives:
1. The 16/8 Technique
This method involves fasting for 16 hours and eating two, three, or more meals within an eight-hour eating period. It’s also referred to as the Leangains diet and is an effective fasting strategy if you’ve tried fasting for 12 hours without substantial effects. For women, 14 hours is the recommended fasting period, while men can go for 16 hours. The reason for this is because women are a lot better suited to shorter fasts. This routine should be carried out daily or most of the days in the week, and it promotes autophagy, hence its popularity.
During the fasting period, you can drink coffee, water, and other zero-calorie drinks to lower your feelings of hunger. But upon breaking the fast, you should only eat healthy meals since consuming junk food with high-calorie amounts makes this technique less effective.
2. Alternate Day Fasting
This fasting technique involves completely not eating on alternate days. You should only drink calorie-free drinks,such as water and tea,during the fasting days. Alternative day fasting is very restrictive, so it’s best not to implement it if you’re still new to fasting. Otherwise, you risk killing your motivation in the long-run. This is because you might have to sleep hungry during certain days of the week. Likewise, it isn’t recommended if you’re suffering from a medical condition.
3. Eat Stop Eat
For this fasting method, you should fast for a total of 24 hours, meaning from one dinner to the next. You should do this twice each week, and you can take calorie-free drinks while you’re at it, including coffee, tea, and water. If your goal for doing this form of fasting is to lose weight, make sure to eat as you usually do after breaking the fast.
One challenge with this intermittent fasting method is that it’s fairly hard to achieve. Therefore, you should be easy with yourself and can start with fasting for between 14–16 hours and increase the time as you get more accustomed to it.
4. The 5:2 Diet
This diet is also referred to as the Fast diet, and it involves sticking to a normal eating routine for five days. For the two fasting days, you should limit your calorie intake to between 500 to 600 calories. You can choose to eat the calories at different points throughout the day or take it as a single meal at a specific time.
5. Meal Skipping
If you’re new to fasting, meal skipping is the perfect way to achieve your intermittent fasting goals. This technique involves skipping certain meals, and it’s up to you to decide the meals you want to skip. You’ll gauge the right meal to skip by assessing how hungry you feel or the time restraints.
This intermittent fasting method feels a lot more natural than other fasting techniques because you only skip meals whenever you aren’t hungry. Therefore, you won’t have a hard time sticking to the diet and making sure to fast safely. You also don’t need to worry about losing muscle or hitting starvation mode if you stick to this fasting technique.
6. The Warrior Diet
For this fasting technique, you have a four-hour window in the evening for eating a huge meal. During the day, you should only eat small quantities of raw fruits and vegetables. For some, this might appear to be an extreme form of intermittent fasting, but it is actually one of the most common fasting practices. But, due to its rather extreme nature, this fasting technique is only advised if you’ve tried other kinds of intermittent fasting in the past.
When breaking the fast, you need to eat lots of proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, and some carbs. However, this diet can have some possible adverse effects in the long-run, such as issues with your immune and digestive health. Therefore, you need to closely examine yourself to see whether this fasting technique is suitable for you in helping you achieve your goals.
Many people are embracing intermittent fasting as a way to help them lead a healthier life. With that said, it’s still important to ensure you observe the ideal practices to prevent adverse health effects. If you didn’t know the safe practices to follow, this post has highlighted several intermittent fasting forms to incorporate into your routine to achieve your desired goal.