Benefits of Fasting That Nobody Talks About
Benefits of Fasting That Nobody Talks About
Maybe you are considering a new approach to your goals. If you have spent any time in the fitness community, chances are high you have heard about intermittent fasting (IF) once or twice. In fact, you probably have a friend or two practicing IF already.
While magazines and fitness gurus boast about the quick results IF brings, most fail to take that further. What method really works? What are the results of fasting? How do you make the results last?
Let us be frank with you. We get it. The thought of cutting out your 3:00 pm pick me up or your late-night visit to the fridge is less than appealing.
Anytime you are striving for better health, compromises happen. Intermittent fasting does not necessarily require that compromise. This is largely why this method is so praised.
While the initial adjustment to your regular routine may be uncomfortable. Overall, people find intermittent fasting far more sustainable than many other calorie-reducing, food-eliminating options.
With intermittent fasting, no food is off the table as your eating is just restricted to a specific period of time. This allows the dinner with friends or coffee with a coworker to move on, just as it were.
Many find IF to be far more freeing than other methods of dieting. The various options and methods of IF allow you to choose what works best for your day-to-day life.
Many find that ultimately, IF reduces the amount of interference many experiences when making a lifestyle change.
Why? Not only do the various forms of IF allow for a beginner to ease into the practice while a seasoned IF veteran continues to feel benefits. This customization, combined with the dietary flexibility of IF, accommodates an extensive range of lifestyles.
Rather than switching all your food to specific, hard-to-find items, IF allows you the ability to eat and drink your favorite things, with no restrictions to calorie intake.
What Is IF Really?
Fasting is not a new concept. It has existed for centuries. While prior uses of fasting were primarily for religious or medical treatments, the practice is nothing new.
Today, athletes and dieters alike are gravitating towards fasting to reach their physical goals.
Intermittent fasting interrupts the normal schedule and eating routines many fall into. When we eat throughout the day, we consume far more than we need.
Our eating habits are no longer built on mindful eating and awareness but our schedules. It is not uncommon to eat and snack throughout the day into the evening. When eating habits turn into true habits rather than mindfulness, far more calories are consumed.
Through intermittent fasting, you interrupt that cycle and limit your eating hours. When eating hours are limited, the body can feed on fat storage rather than the constant stream of sugar habitual snacking leads to.
Different People Means Different Methods
One of the most spoken of methods is time-restricted eating. While this takes on many forms, the method requires you to reduce your eating hours. The first method requires fasting for 16 hours of the day, while eating for only eight.
This method requires daily intentionality and scheduling. However, many find it comes more naturally than you may realize, mainly because it does not require calorie restriction during your eating period. While you should still anticipate an initial adjustment period, many find this a simple change.
Also known as alternate-day fasting, this method calls for fasting or eating under 500 calories for select days of the week. This is either done by alternating every other day or selecting two nonconsecutive days of the week.
This approach requires near-complete abstinence from food a few days out of the week.
Those new to IF may find this more challenging than the first method. Yet, if a daily alteration to your schedule sounds more challenging or is not possible, this approach may be the best for you.
Choose the method that feels most reasonable to you.
If you are the type of person who has to have breakfast the minute they wake up, opt to fast later. If you have a lot of control over your meals a few days of the week, while the others remain restricted, maybe the reduced meals twice a week is your best friend.
Remember, a benefit of IF is its ability to fit all lifestyles. If you choose a method that feels unnatural, you are far more likely to quit before you start experiencing any of IF’s benefits.
Maximizing the Benefits
There may be many health benefits of fasting that can vary from person to person. IF has been connected to supporting healthy weight loss, improving weight-related challenges like blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, supporting the reduction of chronic inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, and even contributing to a healthier metabolism.
Many have found that IF’s impact on the scale is only a small part of its charm. Supporting these long-term benefits other diets lack make IF a true lasting lifestyle change, rather than another short-term fix.
Eating habits can only change so much on their own. To truly maximize your use of IF, combine it with regular exercise and a nutrient-rich diet full of proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and complex carbs.
Getting in some physical activity can help you maximize the health benefits of intermittent fasting. The consistency of your workout has a large influence on the benefits experienced from practicing IF. The more time spent in the gym, the more your body can burn the sugar produced by your food and begin using fat storage.
If you find your workout routine difficult or stagnant, look into some new workouts. There are endless amounts of options. Mix up your time at the gym to keep things interesting.
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While flexibility and dietary freedom appeal to many, this freedom does come at a cost. Regardless of what some may claim, what you eat does matter. While reducing calories and eating frivolously may be how IF is marketed, food has a very large impact on the benefits you are able to enjoy, and a healthy diet paired with intermittent fasting may help lower blood pressure and ward off heart disease and stroke.
You may see weight loss through the “anything goes'' mindset. Yet, these results are limited. Cutting calories and measuring the pounds is part of eating healthier, but not everything.
To get true lasting change, your fridge and daily snacking may need a makeover. When you are focused more on your health than a specific number of calories, you are more attuned to what your body truly needs.
Your plate should remain balanced with the proper amount of iron, carbs, and fat needed to perform at your best.
Focus on whole foods instead of packaged snacks and sugary beverages, and opt for black coffee as opposed to energy drinks or coffee drinks that are full of sugar and dairy.
A diet packed with whole foods can help support your brain health and function, fighting the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even headaches.
Do not get us wrong, we get it. Losing weight is nice, but that feeling is far less rewarding than the full-healthy future you have ahead.
While IF does not suit everyone, many are being surprised by the benefits outside of weight loss. IF’s sustainability, flexibility, and long-term support of a healthy system have left many to sing its praises.
Even short-term fasting can have benefits, but continuing this practice long-term just might change your life. Fasting can help prevent chronic conditions while working hard to burn fat and boost heart health.
If you are seeking a lifestyle that will support healthy weight loss and reduce your chances of long-term setbacks, consider IF.