Who hasn’t tried dieting? Cutting calories. Cutting certain foods. Cutting out carbs. Regularly dieting is very hard to maintain. You may lose the weight but when you stop doing whatever you are doing, the weight comes back. Recently, a new way of dieting is gaining coverage fast. The intermittent diet.
Since this is a relatively new way of considering the use of fasting as a weight loss, few studies have been done. However, those that have been conducted, find not only a weight loss (similar to a calorie counting diet) but a reduction in both insulin levels and blood pressure.
So, how does fasting as a diet work? The key is something called ketosis. This is the same as what makes a low carb or ketogenic diet work. Medical News Today describes ketosis as “a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body.” When you fast, and your cells have used all the glucose your body has, your body then switches to fat for energy. The longer you fast for, the more fat your body eats.
There are two ways to do the intermittent fasting:
In this version, you will eat as normal for 5 days of the week and the other 2 days you restrict your intake to a quarter of the necessary calories of your daily need (approximately 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men). You can choose whichever 2 days you want, but do not make them consecutive.
On the two days you fast, think about eating foods that maximize the calories and health benefits. Try to focus on high protein, high fiber foods. These will make you feel full without consuming too many calories. Some examples would be:
- Natural yogurt (with berries)
- Boiled eggs
- Cauliflower rice
- Low calorie soups
- Black coffee
In this version, you are fasting every day for 16 hours and eating for 8. At first glance, one might balk about not being able to eat for 16 hours. But looking at it systematically, it may make more sense than the 5/2 intermittent diet. If you like breakfast, hold off for a couple hours and make your 8 hours of eating from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. If you tend to skip breakfast or just grab a protein bar, try holding off so your eating hours are 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm. During your fasting hours, you are able to drink water or calorie-free drinks. Eating a high protein snack just before starting your fasting hours might help to alleviate hunger pains when you first wake up.
Do not binge/eat junk food on the days/hours you can eat. Just eat as you normally would. If you overeat, you will not lose weight and in fact may gain some pounds. If you have a lot of willpower and really want to lose those extra pounds, try 18/6 or 20/4 windows.