Whenever I mention to people that they can use intermittent fasting as an alternative method of weight loss, I always get asked the same question such as:
Does intermittent fasting actually work? Or, how do I do a fast, and what can I eat?
Before I get to the how to part of intermittent fasting, I thought I'd explain exactly how fasting can have the same effects as exercise when it comes to weight loss by observing the effects both have on the body's chemicals.
If you've ever exercised, believe it or not, you'll know what it's like to have been on a fast. This is because they share very similar metabolisms.
We can understand this by observing the impacts both of these methods has on the chemicals in the body that affect weight loss. Beginning with insulin, when you exercise your insulin levels will drop. Similarly, when you fast your insulin levels will also drip.
As your insulin levels drop, your muscle growth hormones begin to increase. So when you exercise at the proper intensity for the right amount of time, your growth hormones will increase. The same thing applies when you fast for the right period of time.
When insulin levels drop to a low percentage and growth hormones increase to a higher percentage, free fatty acids will begin to be released from your body fat and into your blood. This then means that the more you exercise, the more free fatty acids are released into the blood stream. The very same thing applies in the case of fasting for the purpose of weight losing weight.
When the situation occurs with high growth hormones in the blood with an increase in free fatty acids in your blood, you will have increased fat burning. This occurs when you exercise for the right periods of time, and it also occurs when you are fasting for the right length of time for weight loss.
When you exercise you have an increase in amino acids moving into and out of your muscles which is an increase in muscle metabolism. This happens when you exercise and it also happens when you are fasting.
This illustrates how exercise and fasting are very similar methods that can be applied in a weight loss program. More importantly, they are best if used together in an intelligent way.
How to Intermittent Fast?
One of the simplest ways to accomplish this type of weight loss method is to approach it from the mindset that less is more. It also requires a bit of will power to make it through and stick with it because since you'll be fasting, you obviously won't be eating.
A simple approach is to take one or two non-obtrusive days out of the week and fast for a twenty-four hour period on those separate days. For example, let's say you chose Tuesday and Thursday as your two fasting days. You would eat in the evening at about 6:00PM on Monday, and you would not eat again until Tuesday at 6:00PM. Then when Wednesday came along, you would eat at 6:00PM in the evening and you would not eat again until Thursday evening at 6:00PM.
Depending on your schedule you can change the times at which you have your last meal of the day. For example, it can be at 6:00PM, 7:00PM, or 8:00PM. Since each person will have a different schedule it's best to choose the fasting days and times that will work best for you.
It's best to combine this with a workout routine of some kind that involves resistance training with weights for best results. Of course, this kind of diet doesn't require a drastic change in the way you eat on the normal days you can eat, but do not try and "catch up" on your eating by eating more on those days. Follow the simple rule that less is more. Enjoy your meals, eat slowly, eat more fruits and vegetables, and exercise. It's not rocket science!
You can actually shave off about two pounds each week by following this simple weight loss method. But you must be able to remain with the program until you see the results that you want.
What Can I Eat?
Well, nothing obviously. But you can drink. In fact you must drink, a lot. Make sure to get plenty of liquids such as water, teas (I stick with green and herbals), and black coffee. Diet colas are also okay to drink. Remember to start your day with a glass of water and to keep hydrated throughout your day.
Tips & Precautions
Obviously if you are on any medication you should consult with your doctor before trying any new change in diet. The same applies for pregnant mothers and people with special dietary needs.