Hi friends, happy Friday!
Have you managed to find some time out of your hectic schedules for your own health and fitness while taking care of the rest of the world? I sincerely hope you have. It is important and you know it already!
In my last post I stressed on taking out 15-20 minutes a day for basic stretching at least, if there is nothing else that you are able to do these days. And a cup of tea/coffee with yourself whenever you have 5 minutes! Alone.
When we talk about health or fitness, the first thing that comes to our mind is an ideal weight and most of us struggle with weight management issues. On my Instagram, the most frequent DMs I get are for weight loss.
I feel just weight loss is not the right criteria to define health. One can easily lose weight through a sickness but would that person be counted healthy? Clearly no.
Health is much more than weight loss though many of us start our fitness journey with the primary motive of weight loss. Nothing wrong with that. And what if there is a way to retain your health, even boost it and lose weight also?
A Great Tool For Weight Management
Before we start, please note that this is a diet pattern and it does not mean starving yourself. The key point here is control. You are not starving but controlling yourself for a specific period of time.
Whatever you eat in the eating window needs to be healthy and balanced as well. Also, it does not mean that once you eat, you eat too much to make up for the lost time.
What is This Great Tool?
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a lifestyle strategy, more than anything and yes, I have done it personally.
It is a diet pattern which mostly tells us about when we should eat rather than what. Let’s say it involves us cycling between fasting and eating.
If you ask me, it is best to combine this great tool for weight loss with a moderate and healthy, balanced diet. And of course a basic fitness regime…to turn it into a healthy and sustainable lifestyle routine.
It can be useful for a lot of health concerns and not just weight loss/management. We Indians anyways are quite familiar with the concept of fasting, for religious purposes. This is similar, just a little more systematic.
The most common method is a daily 16-hour fasting and eating within the 8-hour window left, during 24 hours, night included. This is also known as 16/8 method. If 16-hour fasting is a lot for you, begin with 14 or even 12.
One can also fast for 24 hours, once/twice in a week. The third method is to consume less calories for two days in a week. Just make sure these two days are non-consecutive.
How Does It Work
Long story short, our body uses the carbohydrates from food as it is readily available. Rest of the carbs are stored in liver as fat or in other fat deposits in the body. When we fast, the insulin level in blood drops signaling the body to pull the stored glucose/fat and burn it for energy.
In IF, we just increase the time when our body burns stored glucose/fat for all the functions rather than using incoming food energy.
Benefits of IF
The benefits are multi-fold even if one starts with the primary goal of weight loss such as
- Weight loss, of course
- Lowered blood sugar/insulin levels
- Benefits fat loss due to increase in levels of growth hormones (HGH) in body (at least in short term)
- Aids in repair work in body at cellular level
- Boosts metabolism
- Longer life and protection against disease, due to genetic modifications
- Reduces inflammation
- Good for cardiac health
IF is also easy as it simplifies the life by saving on efforts and money. No need to look for specific (and expensive) products!
Do remember that IF works for weight loss primarily because you reduce your calorie intake overall. It is more sustainable than a continuous calorie restriction all the time which can be demotivating. If you still binge eat during your eating windows, there might be no benefits for you at all.
What Is Allowed While You Are in IF Period
- Kuttu poori, yummy fasting dishes, saboodana khichdi etc might be allowed during religious fasting but in IF, the only things allowed are water and tea/coffee without sugar and milk. Try to stay under 50-60 calories if at all you consume these
- One can take their regular supplements etc. If on any medication, do check with your doctor first
- One can and should stick to their regular way of life (including workouts) etc while fasting. No need to sleep through the entire fasting period 🙂
- Eat healthy balanced meals during the eating windows
- Keep up with your regular fitness regime and include protein in your diet
- Stay hydrated and keep your diet high on fibre, fruits, nuts, veggies etc when you eat in your eating window
In The End
Intermittent Fasting is generally safe and a widely accepted weight management tool. However if you have any medical issues related to fasting, blood sugar levels or any eating disorders etc, do consult your nutritionist or doctor. Also, if you are underweight or trying to conceive/pregnant/breastfeeding, avoid IF. It is also not advisable for people under 18.
Initially, there might be hunger pangs and you might feel a bit fatigued but soon the body adapts. Remember, it’s all in the mind!
Hope IF works for you. Lot of things work for us if we just start, isn’t it?
Till next Friday
Love, Health and Peace