Intermittent Fasting – The Beginners Guide with all Methods & Benefits

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The intermittent or IF fasting ( Intermittent Fasting ) is a nutritional model, a way of feeding, which is mainly based on periods of fasting and food ingestion periods. It would not be appropriate to refer to Intermittent fasting as a diet, rather, it is a dietary pattern. In simplest terms: It is consciously deciding to skip certain meals.

Fasting and then eating deliberately, intermittent fasting means eating the calories for a specific time of day and choosing not to eat foods outside of that specific time.

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Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting benefits for our body are numerous. Let’s look at some of them thus:

  • It helps reduce mortality and delays aging, both physically and at the level of our body.
  • Reduce inflammation indicators.
  • Intermittent fasting helps to improve our lipid profile, that is, our cholesterol, in addition to reducing triglycerides.
  • They have a positive effect on our brain functions.
  • They even help limit cancer cell growth.
  • As far as body composition is concerned, intermittent fasting for weight loss help to retain lean mass while losing fat.
  • They also help improve the use of glucose as an energy substrate and insulin sensitivity.
  • It improves the capacity for self-control:in many occasions, we think that we are hungry, but it is not real hunger, it is a rather false hunger, so if we can “overcome” it, we are sure to improve our capacity for self-control.

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Intermittent Fasting for Beginners

It is not a prolonged fast but to interrupt the frequency of intakes and thus mobilize, and burn accumulated fats.

It consists of dividing the 24 hours of a day into two strips: one in which nothing is eaten (but you do drink liquids) and another in which all the food of the day is consumed.

Preparations befor Fasting

If a person is used to a high number of meals a day, four, five or even six, trying to perform a fast is probably a complex task and perhaps even generate some anxiety.

It is recommended that you, first of all, reduce the number of meals to three (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). When you manage to adapt to three meals, then, the next step is to reduce the calories of breakfast, to such an extent that it does not cost us not to have breakfast.

When this point has been reached, it will be quite simple to make only two meals a day and the step to try to make a fast 24 hours will also be easy.

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Methods of Intermittent Fasting

If a person is used to a high number of meals a day, four, five or even six, trying to perform a fast is probably a complex task and perhaps even generate some anxiety.

It is recommended that you, first of all, reduce the number of meals to three (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). When you manage to adapt to three meals, then, the next step is to reduce the calories of breakfast, to such an extent that it does not cost us not to have breakfast.

When this point has been reached, it will be quite simple to make only two meals a day and the step to try to make a fast 24 hours will also be easy.

Short fasts (less than 24 hours)

Fasting provides unlimited flexibility. You can fast for as long as you want, but here are some popular plans. Usually, the shortest fasts are done more frequently.

16 and 8 - Method

There is a daily fast of 16 hours. Sometimes it is also referred to as the 8-hour feeding interval. All meals are made during a period of 8 hours and fasted for the remaining 16 hours. It is usually done daily or almost daily.

For example, you can make all meals between 11 in the morning and 7 in the evening. Normally this means skipping breakfast. It is usually eaten two or three times during this 8-hour interval.

20 and 4 - Method

It is a feeding interval of 4 hours and a fast of 20 hours. For example, you can eat between 2 and 6 pm each day and fast for the remaining 20 hours. Normally this entails making one or two small meals during this time interval.

Long fasts (24 or more hours)

24-hour fasts

Here, you have to fast from dinner to dinner (or lunch to lunch). Dinner the first day, you skip breakfast and lunch the next day and return to dinner the second day. This means that you eat daily, but only once during that day. It is usually done two or three times a week.

Fasting 5 and 2

It involves eating normally for 5 days and fasting for 2 days. However, during the fasting days, it is allowed to eat 500 calories. These calories can be consumed at any time, whether they are distributed during the day or in a single meal.

36-hour fasts

This involves a whole day fasts. For example, if you dine the first day, fasting during the second day and do not eat again until breakfast on the third day. This is normally a fast of 36 hours. It has more advantages to lose weight. The other great benefit is that it avoids the temptation to dine too much on the second day.

Long time fast

You can fast almost indefinitely. Normally, in fasts of more than 48 hours, I recommend a general multivitamin to avoid micronutrient deficiencies. The fasting world record is 382 days, so there is no doubt that it is possible to do one of 7-14 days.

It is recommended that you DON’T fast for more than 14 days due to the high risk of suffering from the refeeding syndrome.

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Who Should be avoid of Fasting?

Stay mostly with healthy and minimally processed foods, such as lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and many fruits and vegetables. As for the portions? Eat until you are satisfied, not full.

You should not fast in the following cases:

  • If you are below the appropriate weight (BMI <18.5)
  • If you are pregnant: you need more nutrients for the baby.
  • If you are breastfeeding: you need more nutrients for the baby.
  • If you are under 18: you need more nutrients to grow.

You can fast, but you may need supervision in these situations:

  • If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • If you take drugs that have been prescribed for you.
  • If you have gout or high uric acid.
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Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting

There can be several annoying side effects. What to do if you suffer one:

Constipation is frequent

If you enter less, you leave less. No medication is necessary unless you feel discomfort. You can take normal laxatives to help.

Headache

Headaches are common and usually disappear after the first fasts. Often, consuming more salt helps mitigate them. Mineral water can be of help in case your stomach rumbles. Other possible side effects are heartburn, dizziness, and muscle cramps.

Refeeding syndrome

Refeeding syndrome is a serious side effect. Fortunately, it is uncommon and usually only occurs during prolonged fasting (5-10 days or more), when you are malnourished.

Should you try Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting can have some very positive benefits for someone trying to lose weight or increase lean body mass. Men and women tend to have different results, just as each person will obtain different results. The only way to find out is with the experimentation itself. Intermittent fasting for weight loss comes with lots of benefits.

If this seems like something you’d like to try, try it! If it sounds crazy to you, ask yourself why you think it sounds crazy, and do your own research and experimentation before condemning it.

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