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Intermittent fasting- a guide for beginners

Scientists have researched many methods to help you control your weight, lose it and have a healthier body. Intermittent fasting is also one of the most popular methods because of the effectiveness it brings! 

So, what is intermittent fasting? How do you do it? And is it safe? Let take a closer look at that to see if it suits you.

What is intermittent fasting? 

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a systematic method of eating, and fasting is a weight loss method that involves complete fasting or limiting the amount of food consumed over a certain period. 

Unlike other weight loss methods, which focus on what you eat, Intermittent Fasting focuses on when you eat. You won't have to abstain from or limit to any foods. The only thing to look out for is when to eat and when to fast. 

According to Medical News Today, the advantage of this diet is that its food limitation is minimal, and the diet length is more flexible than the others. As a result, anyone can adapt to it.

With this regime, you can only eat during the time allowed. It can be fasting for a certain number of hours a day or just being allowed to eat a few meals a week, letting the body use up its stored energy to burn fat.

Many studies have shown that this weight loss method can help you control your weight and prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Overall, the method is easy-to-follow, flexible, and sustainable for a long time. It also helps to cut down on the time and money spent cooking and preparing food every week.

Some of the basic intermittent fasting plans

Intermittent fasting follows the "Calories deficit" norm- fewer calories consumed than necessary to help people lose weight.

There are different kinds of intermittent fasting regimens, including the 8 to 24 hours. The most common types to mention are Model 16:8, Model 5:2, and Eat Stop Eat.

The 16:8 pattern isthe most common model. It is known as the Leangains method. 

16:8 means fasting for 16 hours (including the amount of time you go to bed) and eating within the remaining 8 hours (e.g., from 10 am to 6 pm). 

This method is suitable for most beginners. You can repeat this cycle as much as you like, maybe once or twice a week, even daily, depending on your personal goals. 

In recent years, the 16:8 intermittent fasting is popular because it is easy to implement, does not set strict rules, and has high efficiency.

The 5:2 pattern is also popular with many people. 

To make this easier to understand, the 5:2 means you can generally eat for five days per week. Then during the week, you will have to eat less (500-600 calories) for two non-consecutive days. For example: eat less on Tuesday and Friday, then eat normally on other days of the week.  

Eat Stop Eat pattern- a more "harsher" fasting regimen.

As simple as it sounds, you will be allowed to eat for a day and fast for the next day. For example, you would fast from Tuesday dinner to Wednesday dinner, then eating as usual from Thursday to Friday. You can repeat this cycle until you get used to it. The method might be harsh to start, but it would get better over time.

Can I eat everything I want with intermittent fasting?

Although this method does not say which kinds of foods we should or should not eat, you should balance your meals with healthy foods include:

  • Whole grains: oats, brown rice, quinoa
  • Healthy fat: olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fishes
  • Lean meat
  • Fresh fruits and veggies

Then there are foods you should avoid: processed food, carbs, junk food, and sugar. 

Overuse and combining this diet with unhealthy food will lessen the weight loss effect and harm your health! 

Is intermittent fasting right for you? 

Although there are many benefits that IF brings us, there are also limitations to this diet. 

Intermittent fasting can cause some side effects in the early stages, such as fatigue, hypoglycemia affecting the digestive system, and stomach pain. You might even be prone to weight gain if you are not paying attention (cravings and overeating when you are allowed to eat). 

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, even though it is safe for most healthy people. When you want to do this diet, be sure to consult an expert before starting. Pregnant women, lactating women, people suffering from gastrointestinal diseases, and people who have problems with diabetes should take extra caution to stay safe.

Safe intermittent fasting tips for weight loss

A few tips to consider as follow:

  • To reduce the amount of food gradually for your body to get used to the shock caused by the lack of energy during the diet.
  • When you fast, your body will be very dehydrated (because 20 - 30% of water comes from food). Remember to stay hydrated! 
  • You need to eat enough protein! It does not only help to build your body but also helps you to overcome your cravings! 
  • It would be best if you stopped when you feel unwell to keep yourself safe. 

Hopefully, this article about the intermittent fasting diet has provided you with helpful information. Have you chosen for yourself an appropriate weight-loss method? We wish you success and always be healthy! Good luck! 

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