By, Dt. Narendra Babu, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Fasting has been followed for thousands of years for weight loss and other purposes. It is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to lose one’s fat, but fasting can be unhealthy and can make people sick. This is where intermittent fasting is followed. It has been extremely popular among people in recent years. The 246000 searches on this subject on Google last month prove how convenient it is nowadays.
Intermittent fasting is a term that refers to a cycle of short term fasts and non-fasts. It does not restrict calorie intake completely but still reduces weight fast and improves metabolism. There are two categories of this fasting.
- Whole day fasting: This is basically alternate day fasting which involves a whole day fast followed by a whole day non fast. Most popular is 5 days of non fast followed by 2 days of fast that allows 500-600 calories consumption.
- Time-restricted fasting: It involves a certain number of hours to eat each day. It may be 16 hours fast and 8 hours non fast or 12 hours fast followed by 12 hours non fast, but it has to be on the same time every day. The strictest form is having one meal and fast for 23 hours.
How It works:
One has to start fasting with any of the protocols mentioned above. Doing a fast like this cuts off the calorie intake of our body. If we cut off some meals and only take one or two meals, then, even if the meals are heavy, still less calories are consumed. Normally, our body burns fat from the food we eat. But some fats do not get burnt and get stored in our body. When we fast and our body wants to burn fat, it has no other option but to burn the calories that are stored. This is how we lose weight with intermittent fasting.
There are some rules that should be followed while intermittent fasting. If one wants to fast, he has to follow these-
- There should be prolonged periods of no eating to maintain calorie deficit.
- Self-control is necessary. Several hours of fasting does not mean that one can eat whatever he wants in whatever quantity after fasting. Eating during non fasting period must be normal as if there was no fast.
- Consistency is a must. If someone fasts for a few days and switches to some diet after that and again starts fasting after a couple of days, then it won’t be effective. The fasting has to be followed consistently.
Tips for Faster Effects:
- During the fast, plenty of water should be consumed with a little lemon or lime juice.
- A little caffeine can be taken in the morning and afternoon.
- Artificially flavored drinks should be avoided.
While following all the rules and tips, one can lose 2-3 pounds every week. With a proper amount of food during the non fast period, the fast is highly effective.