Intermittent fasting is all the rage these days. From celebrities such as Terry Crews to Jimmy Kimmel to Halle Berry, all have publicly spoken about the benefits of this method of dieting. Studies have also proven that this form of dieting not only benefits the body in a multitude of ways, but also improves longevity.
One of the most significant benefits of intermittent fasting is its ability to aid in healthy weight loss and the improvement of muscle tone. This makes it a viable form of dieting based on the outcome that is intended. Her are six time-tested methods or plans of intermittent fasting that you can try based on your convenience and threshold:
As the name suggests, it is literally fasting every alternate day. In principle, to follow this plan, you eat only on alternate days. However, some people give themselves a 500 to 600 calorie limit on fasting days as a complete denial of calories may lead to weakness and discomfort, and not feasible on a long-term basis. A benefit of this plan is that an individual is permitted to eat anything they want on the feeding days, and still lose weight.
The 5:2 Diet
This is a plan where one eats normally for 5 days of the week and fasts on two non-consecutive days. It is a relatively easy method to begin with, as it helps in developing the capacity to fast systematically.
On fasting days, one is permitted to consume 500 to 600 calories, much like the alternate-day method. Picking two non-consecutive days within the week, and consuming two small meals that add up to 500-600 calories, can serve as a stepping stone towards other stricter forms of intermittent fasting.
The 16/8 Method
It is one of the most common methods of intermittent fasting. The feeding cycle during a day is split into two parts: A sixteen-hour fasting period and an 8 hour feeding period. During the fasting period, only water or zero-calorie beverages such as unsweetened green tea of black coffee is permitted. When the 8 hour feeding period arrives, the entire calorie intake for the day must be consumed within this period.
When one chooses this plan, they fast for 24 hours at a stretch, from meal to meal. This means, if one has dinner at 8 PM on Tuesday, they do not consume food till 8 PM on Wednesday. This can also be done from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch.
Much like the 16/8 method, solid food is not permitted during the fasting period, and only water and zero-calorie beverages are permitted. It is also advisable to follow this plan only twice a week. The sheer idea of a 24 hour fast can be intimidating, to begin with, and following it can be equally difficult. Beginning with the 16/8 method can ease one to follow this gradually.
Spontaneous Meal Skipping
Following a strict plan may not always be necessary to achieve desired results, and this method of intermittent fasting is an example of that philosophy. Here, one simply skips a meal when they are not hungry or not inclined to whip up a meal for themselves.
Skipping meals may not cause any severe outcomes as the human body is equipped to handle a long duration of starvation. Therefore, a few meals are just an afterthought for the sophistication of human design.
The Warrior's Diet Plan
"Fast and feast" is the underlying principle of this method. When one follows this plan, he or she is permitted small quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables during the fasting period. Following this, they have one big meal at the end of the fast. The feeding period is often a four-hour window within which the calorific requirements for the day are consumed.
Another accompanying principle is the stress on a paleo-style diet where the emphasis is on the consumption of whole grains and unprocessed food—forms of food that are closest to how they are found in nature.
Just fasting may not give you all the desired results. A nutritional diet enriched with all the vital nutrients that the body requires such as proteins, vitamins, and healthy carbohydrates and fats, among others, should form the core of the diet plan. Regular exercise coupled with a good diet, along with the intermittent fasting plan of choice, is the ideal way to derive the intended benefits for the body.