Open Accessibility Menu

Fasting for Lasting Results

Fasting for Lasting Results

Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. Research shows that intermittent fasting is a way to manage your weight and prevent — or even reverse — some forms of disease. But how do you do it? And is it safe?

What is intermittent fasting?

Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat. With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time. Fasting for a certain number of hours each day or eating just one meal a couple days a week, can help your body burn fat. And scientific evidence points to some health benefits, as well.

How does intermittent fasting work?

There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules. After hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.

Intermittent Fasting Plans

It is important to check with your doctor before starting intermittent fasting. Once you get his or her go-ahead, the actual practice is simple. You can pick a daily approach, which restricts daily eating to one six- to eight-hour period each day. For instance, you may choose to try 16/8 fasting: eating for eight hours and fasting for 16. Another, known as the 5:2 approach, involves eating regularly five days a week. For the other two days, you limit yourself to one 500–600 calorie meal. An example would be if you chose to eat normally on every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays, which would be your one-meal days.

Please note, it can take two to four weeks before the body becomes accustomed to intermittent fasting. You might feel hungry or cranky while you are getting used to the new routine. But, if you make it through the adjustment period, things will get easier as you begin to feel better.

What can I eat while intermittent fasting?

During the times when you are not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted. And during your eating periods, “eating normally” does not mean going crazy. You are not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food and treats. But what is great about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten — and enjoyed.

Is intermittent fasting safe?

Some people try intermittent fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, or arthritis. But intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Before you try intermittent fasting (or any diet), you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.

There are many different ways to do intermittent fasting, and there is no single plan that will work for everyone. Individuals will experience the best results if they try out the various styles to see what suits their lifestyle and preferences. For some people, fasting can lead to lasting results.