The Intermittent Fasting Guide Every Beginner | Shaves2U

A Rookie’s Intermittent Fasting Guide

In the journey to achieve the perfect body shape, we often put ourselves through extreme diet and lifestyle changes. Some diet trends encourage us to have six low-calorie meals a day, others like the ketogenic diet ask us to remove carbohydrate from our menu. No matter how bizarre these diets are, you can bet there are people out there that are willing to try it.

In recent years, a new trend popped up and caught the attention of many dieters. Instead of specifying what you should eat, this particular diet focuses on when you should eat. For those who aren't familiar, intermittent fasting (IF) is the name of this new trend.

What is intermittent fasting?

Technically, intermittent fasting is not a diet, but more accurately described as an eating pattern. While other diets ask you to abstain from certain types of food, intermittent fasting is the way of scheduling your meals, limiting yourself from eating for hours at a time.

The logic behind intermittent fasting is that our ancestors used to fast while hunting and gathering food. 24-hour convenience stores and refrigerators didn't exist back then, so it's common for them not to eat anything for hours or even days. This feat seems incredible if you compare it to this modern age. We have so many conveniences such as delivery and subscription services, even for things such as personal grooming. While we’re on that point, have you met our trial kit? Get razors delivered straight to your doorstep.

How does intermittent fasting work?

When we eat, our body releases the insulin hormone that converts the glucose in food into energy. While we go about our day, we use as much energy as we need from the food we consume. As long as we eat, the body’s primary energy source is glucose from our food.

However, most of us tend to eat more than our body needs and don’t exercise as much as we should. Consuming more than our body needs will lead to excess glucose that turns into fat. More fat stored in our body means an increase in weight.

On the other hand, things are different when you decide to fast. When we go without food for extended periods, there's nothing to convert glucose into energy. With no other choices, our body then switches from glucose to fat as a primary energy source. This intermittent fasting process will eventually lead to weight loss and improved health.

What are the methods of intermittent fasting?

There are several ways to practise intermittent fasting such as the 16/8 method and the 24-hour method. With the 16/8 method, you are expected to fast for 16 hours and eat within an eight-hour window. For example, if you start eating at 8 AM, you should begin to fast from 4 PM until 8 AM the next day. A common practice with this method is to skip breakfast, only eating from noon to 8 PM.

For the 24-hour method, you occasionally pick a day or two in a week to fast. For example, once you finish your Monday dinner at 8 PM, don't eat until 8 PM the following day. Then, continue eating on a regular schedule until Thursday where you fast from 8 PM again.

During eating periods, it's crucial to remember not to binge more than your usual intake of food. If you overeat to compensate for the skipped meal, you may not lose any weight at all. It is also encouraged to eat a balanced diet with a variety of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein while practising intermittent fasting. While fasting, you can still drink water, coffee or tea.

Are there any risks to intermittent fasting?

Since we were young, we were taught never to skip our meals, which is possibly why many people have concerns over intermittent fasting. You may feel weak and drained in the beginning, but the side effects are only temporary as your body adapts to this new routine.

Intermittent fasting is more often safe than not, as long as you are well-nourished and not starving for prolonged periods. That said, not everyone is suitable for intermittent fasting. People with diabetes, a history of eating disorders or pregnant women should always consult with their doctors before trying out this practice.

What are the pros of intermittent fasting?<

Many people try intermittent fasting to lose weight, but the fasting practice is also believed to improve overall health. Case reports by the University of California showed daily short-term fasts slow down symptoms of Alzheimer's. Meanwhile, Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center shows promising evidence of intermittent fasting preventing cancer from their animal studies.

Intermittent fasting is also much less complicated than dieting. While some diets ask us to cook our meals or remove a particular food group from our lives, intermittent fasting only asks us to not eat. Skipping a meal also means one less thing to worry about, and more time to focus on things that matter.

Should you try intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting isn't just a method of losing body fat; it is also a lifestyle change. If you are interested in giving it a go, always be aware of what and when you're eating. Who knows, by reducing your meal times, perhaps you could increase the quality of your life.