The early years of the century started with a surge in the number of people engaging in intermittent fasting to aid weight loss. And it is becoming increasingly popular each day with various participants coming forth with positive results. If you’ve been hearing about intermittent fasting and wondering if it is the right for you then you picked up the right book to get your answer. Intermittent fasting is simply switching between fasting and eating. It is regarded as one of the most popular weight-loss trends and is fairly easy to engage in. You may not know this, but some people already engage in intermittent fasting instinctively. There are several ways people engage in intermittent fasting and they include;16:8: Involves eating within an 8-hour window and fasting for 16 hours. This type of fast is popular as it is easy to maintain and produces immense results in overall health. An example would be skipping breakfast and having your first meal at noon instead. Then you stop to eat at 8pm and resume by 12pm the next day. Following this would mean you have fasted for a total of 16 hours.5:2: Here you have 2 days in a week to fast, usually separate and not consecutively. You fast for 24 hours and can consume water or fruits during the fast.Eat-stop-eat: Here you have a full day fast once a week (absolute fast), and feast the rest days of the week.Alternate day fasting: This involves fasting every other day. But unlike the Eat-Stop-Eat method, your fast days are not restrictive so you can decide to consume fruits or foods with little or no calories.12 hours daily fast: This simple means fasting every 12 hours daily. It is quite easy to monitor and can be achieved if you include your fast during your sleep time e.g. from 8pm to 8am. Most individuals already engage in this type of fast or at least once in their lives.Meal skipping: Here, you can skip one meal of your choice each day as opposed to eating 3 times a day. However, your two meals have to be healthy and packed with nutrients.Warrior diet: This diet is the strictest form of intermittent fasting and involves eating a large meal within a 4-hour window and fasting the remaining 20 hours. You can decide to take a small portion of fruits and vegetables devoid of calories during your 20 hours fast. Also, your large meal should be packed with all nutrients as it is easy to become deficient of certain foods such as fibre with this diet. It should also be engaged with caution and should be only done after engaging in other forms of intermittent fasting.2.2 Benefits of intermittent fastingWhy should one engage in intermittent fast? Being an advocate for intermittent fast means people come to me with different questions on the topic. Intermittent fasting is a fairly new practice and is still gaining recognition in the weight loss field. It is thus not uncommon to hear people say why don’t I just stick to my regular dieting, are you sure this system works? What I always say is that IF is a lifestyle and not just dieting. This means it requires certain levels of commitment to succeed. It is, however, a fairly easy lifestyle to ease in and begin and I listed below some of its amazing advantages.It is an easy lifestyle to achieve and maintainOne of the most exciting thing about IF is that is easier than regular dieting. Studies have shown that …% of people who diet are prone to give up along the line as opposed to people who engage in IF. Intermittent fasting is a simple approach that does not limit the type of food but rather the time to eat it, yet produces amazing results. Instead of having to restrain yourself from eating certain foods you like because you want to lose weight, simply engage in IF. As James Clear simply put in his article … “This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of simple enough that you’ll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.”Studies have shown it helps increase the total lifespanEngaging in a fast allows your body to release certain … that increases longevity. Ever wondered why people of old lived longer? May reduce the risk of cancer and related diseases via autophagyAlthough not fully backed by science, early studies have shown that cancer patients who engage in a fast respond better to chemotherapy treatment than others. Cancer occurs due to the abnormal growth of cells in the body (cancerous cells). Fasting thus comes into play via Autophagy.Autophagy is a natural process in which the body eliminates damaged cells. It is basically your cells eating their self to produce energy when deprived. Autophagy occurs when insulin levels are low, and insulin is usually low when you fast thus triggering autophagy. 2.3 Who can fast?Now you may wonder if fasting is ideal for you. If you’re someone who eats at least four times a day you may find it unconventional and hard to implement. In fact, some people outrightly refuse to try it out as it is different from what they are used to. A close friend of mine would say if I don’t eat for 24 hours, surely I’ll die. But the reality is your digestive system needs the rest from time to time and most of us have the ability to fast at least 24hours fast and even more.However, there are some people who should are restricted from fasting. They include;Pregnant women and nursing mothers: Pregnant women are advised against fasting to prevent harming the fetus as they need all the nutrients they can get while growing. The same applies to nurse mothers who still breastfeed their children. Infants and Toddlers: Children between 0 – 13 are also not advised to fast as they need all the nutrients from their meals to grow healthy and strong. However, children between 9 years – 13years who insist on a fast should be monitored by their parents and doctors.People with eating disorders: Anyone with an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia are also advised against fastingPost-surgery patients and convalescents: Anyone who just had a surgery or major illness is also not advised to engage in any form of fasting as they need full and healthy meals to recover properly.Anemic, diabetes patients, and other related medical conditions: People with this type of illness are also not advised to partake in a fast as it can affect certain parts on their systems negatively and their systems are already weak. However, some doctors recommend fasting as a type of treatment and it should only be carried out under strict supervision.Generally, it is best to listen to your body to know how much fast you can take. Some people even after being enlightened of the benefits of fast still have anxiety towards it. If you still do not feel comfortable about fasting, it is best you refrain from it. All forms of fast should be done without external pressure and willingness as the body requires positive emotions to function properly during a fast.
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