The intermittent fasting method is one of the most popular fitness trends. This method is not a diet plan but rather an eating plan that you can fit into your lifestyle. In fact, people follow various intermittent fasting methods to become healthier, lose weight, and simplify their lifestyles. Imagine not having to prepare meals throughout the day and eating simply.
Now that the holidays are over, I’m sure a lot of people gained pounds, myself included. When I mentioned that I am going to do intermittent fasting, my youngest son’s reaction was, “Oh no!” That means that they would have to do with leftovers for dinner because I am not going to cook dinner haha! I just reminded them that a lot of people do intermittent fasting not just because to lose weight but for a number of health benefits, such as having a more alert mind. He just shrugged me off. Oh well, he is old enough to prepare his meals.
Which Intermittent Fasting Method is Best For You?
There are various intermittent fasting methods that you can choose from depending on your lifestyle and how long you can go without food. Read on and determine which is best for you:
- The 16/8 method or Leangains protocol – This intermittent fasting method was popularized by Martin Berkhan, a fitness expert. This method means that you can eat 2 to 3 full meals in an 8-hour period then fast for 14-16 hours. However, this doesn’t mean that you can binge on junk food during the 8-hour period. It is best to stay away from calories and unhealthy food during the 8-hour period and hydrate yourself during the fasting period.
- Eat Stop Eat method – Brad Pilon, a fitness expert, popularized this method and requires that you fast for a 24-hour period at least once or twice a week. This is a bit challenging because, for example, you eat dinner at 7 PM then don’t take any solids for 24 hours. Your next meal would be at 7 PM the next day. However, it is ok to drink zero calorie beverages such as water, black coffee, and tea. If you have an active lifestyle, this may not be for you as you need food to keep you energized.
- Alternate Day Fasting – There are 2 versions to this method. First, you fast every other day for a 24-hour period. Second, you eat less than 500 calories every other day. 24-hour fasting can be difficult if done every other day so this method is definitely not for beginners or those who have active lifestyles.
- The Warrior Diet – This intermittent fasting method was created by Ori Hofmekler who was a former member of the Israeli Special Forces, which is how the name came to be. He started it in 2001 when he transitioned to the health and fitness field. The main belief in this method is to trigger “survival instincts” because the body is stressed through reduced food intake. Thus, he believes that this method improves how one eats, feels, performs, and looks. The method can be a unhealthy because you can binge on food for 4 hours a day then eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables in a 20-hour period. In the 4-hour period, you can eat anything but stay away from processed food and junk food. In the 20-hour fasting period, you can eat small amounts of hardboiled egg, raw veggies, and fruits. The food choices in the Warrior Diet can be likened to the Paleo Diet where you are required to eat only whole and unprocessed food.
- 5:2 Diet – Also called the Fast Diet and is popularized by Michael Mosley, a British journalist. This intermittent fasting method is one of the easiest because you are required to restrict your diet to 500 calories (women) to 600 calories (men) for 2 non-consecutive days in a week. You can then eat normally the rest of the week.
- Spontaneous Meal Skipping – This method is probably the easiest as you get to decide when your fast day is. Instead of having a “cheat day” you fast any time of the day and any day of the week whenever you feel like it.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is not only beneficial in weight loss but in your over-all health. Here are some of the benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Helps us lose weight and belly fat by reducing calorie intake.
- Helps reduce insulin resistance by lowering blood sugar.
- Helps reduce inflammation.
- Helps prevent cancer because the cells initiate faster repair processes.
- Helps reduce LDL or bad cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and insulin resistance. Thus, intermittent fasting helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Helps increase brain health because it increases the brain hormone BDNF and may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Helps increase longevity and anti-ageing effects due to gene expression.
Choose Which Intermittent Fasting Method is Best for You
Now that you have learned about the different intermittent fasting methods, make sure to choose which suits your lifestyle and health. If you have underlying medical conditions, consult with your doctor first. Also, if you have eating disorders, intermittent fasting may not be for you as it will cause unhealthy eating habits.
In addition, make sure you also exercise to tone your muscles and have a healthy body. Dieting alone will not help you lose weight, especially if you are in your 30s when metabolism goes down.
For other diet plans, you may also refer to our Plant-based Diet guide on what healthy food you can eat.
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Good luck on your weight loss journey!