This Is The Only Cheat Sheet You Need To Be Great At Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting truly is the diet of the decade. With multiple celebrities swearing by it, more and more people are getting on it every day. Though most of them just know the basic diet where you fast all night and eat by 11 am. We are here to tell you that isn’t just it, there are so many more variations that you can pick and choose from. For those you are late to the party, Intermittent fasting or IF is a kind of an eating plan that has periods of eating and fasting.
The reason that so many people are taking to it is not only because it leads to weight loss a lot quicker but also it has multiple other health benefits like- increased energy, improved cellular function, boosted memory, lower cholesterol, etc. Pick and choose the IF schedule that is suited for you to follow.
The best one? TBH is the one you can stick to!
The 16:8 Diet
This is one of the most widely followed IF schedules. Basically, it means that you fast for 16 hours and restrict yourself to an 8-hour feeding window. You can adapt this to your lifestyle, but most people prefer to fast between dinner and lunch which only means skipping breakfast. Which most of us do anyway. The only catch here is, to see effective results you must be consistent with this schedule. Pro tip: If you are working out, do it within the fasting hours to burn off more calories.
The 5:2 Diet A.K.A The Fast Diet
The 5:2 diet lets you eat normally for 5 days a week, restricting your calorie intake to up to 500-600 on the two fasting days. It sounds relatively easy but be prepared it is challenging too. Studies show that this method of IF has resulted in more fat loss than day-to-day calorie restriction. You must be careful though, on the feeding days to eat well avoiding carbs and whole fats as much as you can.
The Eat-Stop-Eat Diet
This one is particularly challenging but effective. Indulging in this means fasting for a full 24-hours two times a week (not in a row!). This means only consuming water, and non-caloric beverages like black coffee or black tea. The good part? You get to pick your timings! So, you could probably eat your last meal on Monday at 6 pm and then start eating on Tuesday at 6 pm. Doing this twice a week will increase your chances of weight loss but do keep in mind- only take this on if you think you can handle fasting two days a week. If you are a beginner, I would recommend you start with something simpler like the 16:8 diet and work your way onto the eat-stop-eat diet.
Alternate Day Fasting
Just like the name implies, this diet involves fasting every alternate day. You eat normally one day then fast the next day and so on. There are many versions of this but the one that is widely followed is the version that allows you to eat up to 500 calories on fasting days. The only catch here is that you can’t include any sugary or starchy foods to get your 500 calories. Other versions encourage people to fewer, even closer to zero calories, i.e. only drinking water. If you are choosing to eat nothing, I would recommend the eat-stop-eat diet.
The 20:4 Diet A.K.A The Warrior Diet
This diet was formulated by a former member of the Israeli Special Forces. It is designed to mimic the diet warriors used to follow in ancient times. Don’t let that scare you, it isn’t that bad. All you have to do is eat very little throughout the day and have one wholesome meal at night. Maybe this is how ancient warriors kept so fit back in the day! Try it out and see if this diet fits you perfectly, it is a little easier to do than the rest of them.
The 14:10 Diet
This diet is your stepping-stone into IF. Very similar to the 16:8 diet, here you fast for 14 hours and keep a 10-hour feeding window. Once your body is comfortable with an irregular eating pattern, move to an advance IF level since this one isn’t that effective for weight loss. It is just an easier pathway for your body rather than diving head-first into something your body isn’t used to. Especially, if you haven’t ever fasted before.
That Fat Fast
The most complicated of them all! The Fat Fast is a diet that focuses on burning off your fat storage in a good way- by turning it into fuel for your body. So what is fat fasting exactly? It is eating 1000-1200 calories a day ensuring that 80-90% of those calories come from fatty foods. Usually, this is broken up into eating 500-600 calories per meal. You are probably wondering how eating fat can lead you to weight loss right? Let me clear that for you- when you consume just fat, the lack of carbs and protein force your body to dip into your fat reserves turning them into energy. But only do these 2 or 3 times a week. If you fat fast longer it will drive your body into starvation mode, metabolizing your muscle mass into energy. That is the total opposite of the outcome we want. Warning: Speak to a professional before setting off on this diet!
Guidelines for Intermittent Fasting
No matter what diet suits you, the “rules” for IF are pretty much the same!
1) During the fasting-period, try only drinking water. This will not only help you stay hydrated but will also keep you feeling full and thus reducing food cravings. Though you can have non-caloric beverages like black-tea and black-coffee, avoid it as much as possible
2)There is a large misconception that you can eat whatever you want during your feeding-window, I would like to bust that. You must eat only healthy and mindfully! Just because you are fasting for long hours doesn’t not mean you can gorge on desserts, junk food or anything else you know is bad for you. Otherwise, you just be negating all your fasting. Eat veggies, fruits, sandwiches etc that will provide you with the nourishment you need.