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Intermittent Fasting 101


Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of intermittent fasting. This is being mentioned everywhere, from social media sites to health TV shows like Dr. Oz. If you read a weight loss, fitness, or health blog, you will most likely see it mentioned often there as well.
Intermittent fasting is a new way of eating that promotes weight loss, fat burning, muscle building, and many other health benefits through a very simple eating pattern. Here is more information about intermittent fasting so that you can decide if it is a good option for you.


IF is a Pattern of Eating

Many people call intermittent fasting a diet, but it is rather a pattern of eating or dieting for optimal success. It teaches you a lot, including how to listen to your body’s hunger signals, and to follow a healthy pattern of eating. You are following a specific pattern each day, where you only eat during a shorter block of time, fasting for the rest of the day, except for having coffee, tea, and water. This pattern helps your body to burn food more quickly, so that there is more time for burning fat.


There are Different Protocols

The next thing you will learn about intermittent fasting is that there isn’t just one way to do it, but several methods or protocols to choose from. It is very flexible, so you can look at the different methods and choose which one works best for your schedule and your lifestyle. Here are some popular IF protocols people like to turn to:

16:8 – This is a popular option, allowing you to eat for 8 hours, then fast for 16 hours. You try to do it as often as possible. It can be done every day of the week.

5:2 – The 5:2 diet requires you to eat how you normally would 5 days out of the week, then have 2 alternating days of the week where you fast for 24 hours. You can often have a low amount of calories on fasted days, up to 500-600 calories.

Warrior Diet – With the warrior diet, you go 24 hours between eating, having just one large meal at the end of every fasted day.

24-Hour – This is similar to 5:2, except you may only go 24 hours once a week. You also don’t have the calories, but a full fasting day with only water, coffee, or tea.


Tips for Starting Intermittent Fasting

Here are a few quick tips that can make this transition easier for you:
Pick your protocol first, then do plenty of planning. You want to make sure you know when you will eat, what to eat, and how much.
Don’t go extreme on the first day. It is best to start with the lesser protocols, like a 12-2 or 16-8 where you still have a pretty lengthy window of eating. Wait a bit before you go to the 24-hour fasting protocols.
Listen to your body. The intermittent fasting method you are using might not work good for you, so if you notice bad side effects, go back to your normal way of eating.

Next post in Intermittent Fasting series: Four Types of Intermittent Fasting (IF) Protocols