Different Types Of Intermittent Fasting And How To Find The Right One For You
Heard of intermittent fasting? It’s a great way of maintaining a healthy body weight while keeping your system clean. But did you know there are different types of intermittent fasting that are suited to different people?
Many doctors who are focused on diet will surely recommend intermittent fasting. The studies have already shown that this kind of fasting helps people to lose weight, reduces inflammation, and even lowers their risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer.
However, finding the right plan is a bit of a thankless task.
For example, let’s imagine that a 40-year-old woman named Jennifer has decided to give intermittent fasting a go. She’s heard that her colleague has already tried it, lost lots of weight and is now maintaining a very healthy body weight. She looks great!
Her method was to eat like a normal person for six days, before fasting for one whole day. Jennifer, who has had her own fluctuating weight issues for years, was so impressed that she decided to give it a go herself.
She ate like she normally would for six days, before fasting for a whole day.
However, it didn’t go so well! Not only did she not manage to shed many pounds, but she was also moody – something which her family attested to!
The truth is that, though the foundation of intermittent fasting is the same whichever plan you go for, there are a number of subtle variations. Not all of them will work for all of us.
Let’s take a look at the different types of intermittent fasting and how you can find the right one for you.
The Twelve-Hour Fast
This ones sounds tough, right? Fasting for twelve hours? Dare you really dare?!
It does sound tricky. But what if we told you that you’d be sleeping for eight of those twelve hours? That sounds a lot better!
For the twelve-hour plan, you’d probably wake up to eat breakfast at 7 in the morning, before finishing the day off with dinner at 7 in the evening.
And, yes, you can sleep for eight of those twelve hours. It will certainly make the hours go by a lot faster.
This variation of intermittent fasting works really well, too, and has been tested on mice. In the test, mice were divided into 4 groups. Each group was fed the same amount of calories. But although one group of mice were allowed to eat whenever they wanted, the other 3 groups could only eat during windows of differing lengths.
One of the groups could only eat during a twelve-hour window, and fasted for the other twelve hours. They were the group of mice that stayed the leanest.
And as you might have guessed, the group of mice who could eat whenever they wanted to gained the most weight.
We recommend the twelve-hour plan to newbies. It’s a great way to ease yourself into intermittent fasting, though the key is that you don’t eat more calories than you normally would during your twelve hour window.
And in case you want to know the science behind how it works: Basically, when we don’t eat anything for at least 12 hours, our body dips into our fat stores for its energy.
The Eight Hour Window
Not sure you that a twelve-hour window is enough for you to lose weight? The eight-hour window might be for you.
Arguably a bit tougher than the 12-hour fast, the 8-hour window is for anyone who needs more than “just” twelve hours to achieve their desired results.
The plan is to create a sixteen-hour daily fast window.
For example, you might finish eating at 8 in the evening, before resuming the following day at noon.
At first, it’s tough. But like with anything in life, you eventually get used to it and your body adapts.
It works, too. Studies have shown that this type of intermittent fasting can prevent liver disease, diabetes and obesity.
The 5:2 Plan
The 5:2 Plan is a variation of alternate-day fasting, which we will take a closer look at in a moment. It’s an easier version, too.
Essentially, the 5:2 Plan lets you eat like you usually do for 5 days, before dropping your calories to 600 at the most over the next 2 days.
These two days can be really gruelling, and they will test your character and resolve. Especially if you’ve never found it easy to control what you eat, they will be tough.
Worse still, calories vary, and you will need to keep a close eye on the types of calories you’re consuming. In other words, don’t simply focus on the number of calories. Focus on eating vegetables, good fats, and protein.
It’s worth it all. The 5:2 Plan, for example, has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Alternate-day fasting is like a harder version of the 5:2 Plan. You blitz it with a “fast day,” in which you consume around twenty-five percent of your usual caloric intake, before following it with what we call a “feed day.”
You fast, you feed. You fast, you feed.
There are restrictions, too, and you can’t eat anything you want on your fast days. To reap the benefits, you need to get your 25% of calories from vegetables, protein, and good fats.
You can’t eat starches or sugar.
Alternate-day fasting has been proven to be an effective way of losing weight and reducing our risk of developing chronic disease. It’s not an easy plan, because the whole feed/fast feed/fast can get exhausting and you need a tremendous amount of discipline to stick at it.
But if you can keep going, the alternate-day fasting plan is a great way to achieve your desire weight loss goals.
Whichever plan you choose, make sure that it’s a) one that works for you and b) one that won’t make you feel miserable. It’s so important that you stay cheerful as you fast.
Stay happy and healthy!