Fasting As A Healthy Part Of Your Diet

Fasting has always had spiritual significance. It is believed that the renunciation of attachment to the primal human need for nourishment has manifold spiritual benefits that make us better people. Modern research indicates that moderate fasting, if inculcated as a regular practice in one’s diet and lifestyle, does indeed present health benefits. If you’re looking to lose weight in a healthy way, intermittent fasting is generally considered the best solution for most people. But fasting is not anti-food. Intermittent fasting is a dietary practice that calls for alternating between two windows of eating: some hours of regular consumption of food, followed by some hours of avoiding caloric intake (food). 

For example, you can have breakfast from 8 am to 11 am and skip lunch. Then you wait till evening to eat again. Repeat this pattern for a couple of days throughout the week, and you could see some weight loss because you’re taking in fewer calories than you are burning. 

Let’s face it, we love food, and often tend to overdo it. It’s an insidious habit that we can easily lose track of. When practiced regularly, fasting is proven to help people lose weight, increase energy levels, and improve blood sugar levels. Many people have successfully used intermittent fasting to lose those extra, unwanted curves and even combat type 2 diabetes. The premise is simple: based on the calculated intake of calories, you eat for a specific number of hours and then you consume nothing for a specific number of hours, before resuming eating again. Simple, but not easy. 

The 4–5-hour window before your next meal makes your body go into “starvation mode” because it thinks no nutrients are being received. The intent is to prolong the period when your body burns through the calories consumed during your last meal, and then begins burning fat. This can help you drop excess pounds because your body is going into “survival mode” to conserve energy. Studies show that fasting can help you lose weight, build muscle, and improve your insulin sensitivity and metabolism using this survival mode. A 2017 European Journal of Endocrinology review showed that people who fasted twice per day for two weeks increased their metabolism by 4.2 percent. A 2018 review in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics showed that overweight people who ate less than 6.5 hours per day were more likely to lose weight and lower their blood pressure than people who ate for longer durations. Eating less than 2 hours per day was far more helpful for weight loss and blood pressure control than eating for 4 or 5 hours per day. 

The quick, easy guide to intermittent fasting

Find your fasting window: you will need to first find your fasting window by keeping a journal or using a fasting calendar. Make note of the hours when you’re not eating in order to help you stay in “survival mode” longer. 

Make a meal plan: Meal prep is the secret to healthy eating. You will need to pick a meal plan and stick to it. This is needed as you might get bored of eating the same food every day. You can pick out some meals packed with essential nutrients for your body and mind that you can eat through the day. Take care that you’re not having excessively rich and oily food as that can throw a wrench in your weight loss plans. 

Tips for success in intermittent fasting

  • Eat a healthy breakfast: Make sure you have a healthy breakfast daily. This keeps your metabolism high and helps you to burn more calories throughout the day. 
  • Water is your friend: Drink lots of water because it flushes out toxins from your body, keeps you hydrated, and also serves as a cheat code when hunger pangs kick in. 
  • Be active and exercise: Get active and exercise regularly because it helps you burn more calories and keeps your metabolism high. 

For new mothers: You can do intermittent fasting while breastfeeding, but it’s important that you don’t do it too often. Intermittent fasting can have health benefits but it can also hamper you from feeding your baby well throughout the day. It would be a good idea to check with a health professional before you fast intermittently.

Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective health and food hacks. If you want to try intermittent fasting, make sure you find a diet plan that works for you. It must include the right number of calories for your metabolism. It is also a great way to learn to appreciate food for what it is: nourishment that enriches our senses and life.