There are so many different types of diets. Some cut out carbs, others limit sugar, some focus on eating clean, while others just focus on calorie counting. Intermittent fasting is a diet that doesn’t focus on what you eat or how much, but when.
With intermittent fasting, a person has larger windows of time that they don’t eat anything at all. When they can eat, there really aren’t any fast rules to follow, just stop eating when your fasting hour comes.
There are several different types of intermittent fasting protocols that are used, and we’ll go over each but first let’s talk about why one would want to use intermittent fasting in the first place.
6 Reasons Why Intermittent Fasting Works
- Promotes fat loss – The idea of fasting to burn fat works in two ways, one is talked about in bullet 4. The other all has to do with insulin sensitivity. When our body is in a fasted state, it is more insulin sensitive. This means that when we do finally eat, our body is more likely to use that food for energy, not store it as food. Also, when we are in a fasted state, our body has no choice but to draw from stored fat in our body to use for energy.
- Promotes muscle maintenance – Intermittent fasting increases the growth hormone production in your body that keeps your muscles nice and strong. Many times, dieting will not only decrease fat content in the body, but you will also experience muscle waste. This will in turn decrease your metabolism and you’ll have to eat less and less to continue to lose weight.
- It simplifies your day – Taking the time to come up with three meals a day is hard enough, let alone the prepping, cooking, and cleanup. Most people who use intermittent fasting only eat two times a day. This helps to simplify the whole eating process, cutting out one meal that needs to be figured out, prepped, cooked, and cleanup after.
- It helps you eat less – Intermittent fasting will translate into less food eaten merely on the time factor. When you limit the time that eating is allowed, you will undoubtedly eat less. We can only fit so much food into our body at one time. If you use a little bit of restraint, you’ll see that the number of calories you consume in a week while intermittent fasting versus a regular eating schedule will help you lose weight.
- It can save you time and money – You save time because you have less time dedicated to food, pure and simple. You save money because you only need to pay for the ingredients for two meals instead of one. And when you follow the idea that time is money, boom, you just now combined the two.
- It keeps your brain healthy – Intermittent fasting has been proven to help keep your brain young even as you age. This was talked about by a John Hopkins University Professor, Mark Mattson. He says that there are real scientific studies have proven the ability of intermittent fasting has to protect the brain from dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease.
Two Different Intermittent Fasting Protocols
When it comes to fasting, there are a few different schedules that one could keep. Below are two of the most popular because they are the most doable.
16/8 Protocol – With this method, you would eat only during an 8-hour window of the day. That means that for 16 hours you wouldn’t eat. Of those hours, 8 are usually spent sleeping so it’s relatively easy to fit your schedule around this method.
Some people will take things a bit further and reduce the time window to 6 or even 4 hours but that not necessary. You can adapt this protocol to your own lifestyle. For example, if you are a morning eater, you can start eating at 7 am but then you will have to stop eating by 3 pm. If you are more of a night owl, you can start eating 2 pm and stop at 10. The most popular schedule is more balanced like starting to eat at 11am and stopping at 7pm.
24 Hour Protocol – This method is a little more difficult to follow but some people still prefer it. This method uses a whole day of fasting instead of blocks of time. This is usually done every three days.
For example, Monday and Tuesday you would eat normally having your last meal Tuesday night around 7 pm. Then you wouldn’t eat until 7 pm Wednesday evening. Then you would start all over again.
Intermittent fasting is used by celebrities and trainers alike because it works, but what works for others might not work for you. Make sure you get your doctors ok before starting this type of diet if you have any health conditions.