Before marriage, most of couples want to lose weight and turn to do exercise and diet plans. There are many diets so it is not always easy to know all the details or know well what their benefits and risks are. One of the trends most discussed lately is intermittent fasting, also known as “interval fasting.” This type of diet is very popular among athletes and for many people who want to lose weight it turns out to be the definitive method. But what is intermittent fasting really? How does it work? Is it dangerous to fast like this?
We analyze the key points of intermittent fasting :
What is intermittent fasting?
How does it affect the body?
Does intermittent fasting help you lose weight?
How to combine exercise with fasting
Is intermittent fasting fit for everyone?
Fasting and the social aspect
What to do when you get hungry?
Intermittent fasting: 8 tips to get started:
A woman preparing food
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
As the name implies, intermittent fasting is a model of feeding that goes through cycles, with periods of fasting and eating. Strictly speaking, it is not a diet, but rather a meal program. It’s not about thinking precisely what you have to eat, but about focusing on when you eat.
There are several methods of intermittent fasting. The most popular are:
The 16/8 method: it is known as the “Leangains” method. With it, you can eat for 8 hours and you have to fast for 16. In a nutshell, the normal fasting period includes sleep and a few more hours. You can skip breakfast, for example, and make the first meal at noon and continue eating until 8.
5: 2 diet: the idea is that for two days a week you reduce your calorie intake to a maximum of 500-600 calories a day. The days do not have to be consecutive. The other five days you can eat whatever you want.
Eat, stop, eat: this type of intermittent fasting alternates fasting days with days of eating. You eat whatever you want for 24 hours and then you take a total break from food the next day. You have to repeat this pattern once or twice a week. Calorie-free drinks (such as coffee alone, unsweetened tea, etc.) are allowed.
How Does It Affect The Body?
Intermittent fasting does much more than just restrict calorie intake. It also changes the body’s hormones so they can make better use of your fat stores. The following changes occur:
Intermittent fasting improves insulin sensitivity, especially in combination with exercise. This is very important for people who have weight problems because low insulin levels are related to better fat burning.
The opposite is insulin resistance. Some studies have shown that weight gain can interfere with the ability of insulin to reduce blood sugar levels, resulting in more insulin. This helps fat storage.
Growth hormone secretion increases, accelerating protein synthesis and making fat available as an energy source. This means, in a nutshell, that you burn fat and build muscle faster. That is why growth hormone is taken in large quantities in bodybuilding as a doping agent.
In addition, according to studies, fasting activates autophagy, which eliminates damaged cells, contributes to repair and helps the body’s regeneration process.
Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?
If you skip meals and create a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. Unless you compensate for fasting periods with foods that are full of fat and sugar. It can happen: this type of eating pattern does not necessarily tell you what foods you can eat or not. Some studies have found that intermittent fasting (if done well) can be effective both to prevent type 2 diabetes and to reduce calories. In addition, the body learns to process the food consumed during the period of eating better and more efficiently.
Other studies have found that a combination of the 16/8 method and strength training (both with one’s own weight and with weights) can reduce more fat than strength training alone.
Note: this type of diet is not necessarily effective for those with diabetes or high blood pressure or for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Remember that you should consult a doctor or a professional nutritionist before changing your eating habits.
How To Combine Exercise With Fasting
There are certain points that you should keep in mind if you want to combine fasting (such as intermittent fasting) with physical exercise :
If you are trying to lose weight, for example, it is very important that the caloric deficit is moderate and that you only try to lose 0.5-1% of weight per week.
Include strength sessions in your training routine and increase your protein intake (it must represent 25% or more of your total energy intake) to maintain muscle mass.
Also, you should train just before the biggest meal you make per day. If, on the contrary, your intention is to combine high intensity workouts with periods of fasting, we recommend that you consult beforehand with a doctor or specialist in nutrition and sports.
Is Intermittent Fasting Fit For Everyone?
If you are in good health, you may try to fast intermittently according to your goals. However, it is not advisable for certain people.
People with any of these conditions should avoid intermittent fasting:
Diabetes and other metabolic disorders
In addition, this type of fasting is not appropriate for:
People who have had eating disorders
Fasting And The Social Aspect
Intermittent fasting can be a good way to lose weight, but have you stopped to think about the social aspect?
Imagine: some friends invite you to a birthday. At the table you find all kinds of food and your friends serve a generous portion. And you? Do you sit next to and drink water? And what if you have also stayed for dinner? If you want to plan your fasting well, you have to be able to enjoy the meal with your friends and family. But in general terms, this type of pattern does not leave you much freedom to improvise, so remember not to isolate yourself: the social aspect is also part of a healthy life!
Intermittent fasting is definitely not for everyone, but it can be a good method to lose body fat. As it is not a flexible and spontaneous feeding style, if your lifestyle needs that margin of flexibility, it is more advisable to try other techniques, such as those that focus more on macronutrients, in which you can eat whatever you want as long as you stay within the parameters of macronutrients that you have marked.
What To Do When You Get Hungry?
Many people who try intermittent fasting complain about attacks of hunger, fatigue, and cravings, which makes sense if you skip food. But others say that hunger is gone once you have passed the critical phase (about two days). If you are very hungry in between, you can try drinking green tea or coffee to help you get to the next meal.
Intermittent Fasting: 8 Tips To Get Started:
If you want to try intermittent fasting, you should keep in mind the following tips:
- Don’t overdo it with the proportions of food after you have fasted.
- It is not about making an open bar after fasting: adopt proper eating habits following a healthy and balanced diet. For this, it is best to follow the mantra of “Eat real food!”. Opt for fiber-rich foods (fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grain cereals), quality protein (fish, soy, eggs, legumes) and good fats (vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocado).
- Drink lots of water or sugar-free infusions. This tool can help you calculate your water needs.
- Be patient. It may be difficult for you to get used to fasting in this way, but you can drink coffee or unsweetened teas when you feel hungry.
- Do strength training regularly and make sure you eat enough protein so you don’t lose muscle mass.
- Remember that the most substantial food should be after workouts.
- The rest is very important! The lack of sleep can cause weight gain. Spend the time you deserve to rest
- Intermittent fasting is not advisable for everyone. Before starting it should be consulted with a doctor or nutritionist.
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, but it can be a good method to reduce body fat. You should keep an eye on the food you eat when you eat since you cannot fill yourself with hamburgers, fried foods, and pizza. Remember that fasting is only a tool to do from time to time (and being aware of what is done!). It’s not about stopping eating: the important thing is to follow a healthy and balanced diet. For more information on other types of diets, you can consult this article in which we analyze the aspects to be taken into account.
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