Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends, used to lose weight, improve health, and simplify their healthy lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting—more a dieting pattern than a diet, science says it can help you lose weight—but even better, research has linked it to improved blood sugar levels, decreased risk of heart disease and even cancer.
During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all. These are the most popular methods:
The 16/8 Method. Also called Leangains Protocol, involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 1 pm to 9 pm. Then you “fast” for 16 hours in between.
Eat-Stop-Eat. This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
The 5:2 Diet. On two non-consecutive days of the week, only eat 500-600 calories. Eat normally the other 5 days.
Now that you know the most common types of intermittent fasting, you can get on and start doing it yourself! Here are some simple ways to do it.
Assuming you’ve decided what type of fast you want to do, you can start deciding the length of time you want to fast.
Start fasting. If you don’t feel well, or if you have any concerns, then stop and seek help. There is some evidence that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men.
If it works, however, continue all your usual activities outside of eating. Stay busy and live normally. Imagine you’re having full meals. Then gently break the fast.
When you’ve done this the right way, you can go ahead and repeat the cycle.
Of course, fasting (regardless of the method) isn’t for everyone. If you have any medical conditions or special dietary requirements, it’s smart to consult a doctor before giving intermittent fasting a shot.