Among many kinds, intermittent fasting (IF) has proven to be an effective approach to maintain and improve a healthy lifestyle. Fasting can be done to lose weight, detoxify the body, or for religious reasons. Scientifically, there has been a large amount of research that supports health benefits driven by fasting. Even though it has been largely tested only on animals, the results are still promising. Fasting reduces oxidative stress, improves memory function, preserves learning, and enhances biomarkers of disease.
History of Intermittent Fasting
The concept of fasting is not new. Humans have fasted under different practices; be it for overnight period, religious reasons, or due to food scarcity. Fasting is considered as one of the most ancient healing traditions in the world. The Greek scientist, Hippocrates of Cos, prescribed the practice of fasting. Other Greek thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle also staunchly supported fasting. The ancient Greeks believed that fasting is a universal instinct to several kinds of illnesses. They were also of the view that it increases cognitive abilities. Think about a day where you had a stomach full of food. Did you feel mentally active and energetic afterwards or did you feel lethargic and sleepy?
Fasting is practiced in many religions (Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism) as a way to cleanse or purify a human’s soul. However, it practically translates into the same benefits endorsed by the Greek researchers.
Modern intermittent fasting is all about incorporating fasting gradually into your dietary routine. It implies to eat sensibly most of the time and then, nothing for a prolonged period every once in a while. There can be cheat days as well, say once a week, where you can indulge in a limited amount of bingeing.
Shorten the Eating Window
Research suggests that the timing of intermittent fasting is of significance. Our eating window usually starts at 7:00 am when we have breakfast and closes at 8:00 pm with our last meal/snack. The idea behind IF is simply to reduce that eating window and not necessarily eat less every time but often. Most dieticians agree that a person can start to see the benefits of IF by incorporating an 8-hour eating window that is, fasting for sixteen hours. This means, you can have your lunch at noon and your last snack at 8:00 pm and that is all you need to do for IF.
Now it must make you think about all the negative impacts on your health for skipping breakfast. We have heard for decades that breakfast is the most important meal of your day. And that is true. For IF to be effective, you need to do clean eating. And once your body is accustomed to it, you will no longer be overeating even if your eating window opens.
The best part about IF is that it costs nothing. All you need to do is adapt to a different approach to eating and that is it. There is no need to indulge in buying a guide, gear, or supplements. In case, you plan to take on supplements, you should check out Zanesville Medical Center for detailed reviews for health-boosting formulas and supplements.
Delay, Don’t Deny
The best thing about IF is that you do not bar yourself from eating anything, you only delay it. You can have a slice of pizza (not the whole box) or a scoop of ice-cream when your eating window opens. While you still have to be reasonable even during your eating window, there are no exclusions and that feels incredibly exciting. The idea of fasting seems difficult but the execution of it is easier than diets.
IF brings a cut in your spending too. When you bring your eating habits to one or two meals per day, you start saving for other expenses, say, a down payment of your new car, a mini trip to the countryside, or pepping up your home interior.
How to Get Started
There are two common schools of thought for IF. One calls for 5:2 in which you have your normal eating routine for 5 days and fast for 2 days. And the other approach is what we defined above i.e. 16:8 structure. The most important aspect of IF is not to just fast but to keep it clean. The objective is to deprive your body of any sugars, carbs, or fats that could trigger insulin production in your body. You can only have tea, water, and coffee with no added fat or sweeteners. It is initially tough but the results are worth it.
If previously, diets did not work for you, we urge you to adopt IF to improve your overall health. It is worth a try as it costs nothing and in fact, can save you money.