The concept of getting hydrated and feeding our body with requisite nutrients at intervals has been a subject of intense debate within public health, dietician, academic and lifestyle discussion, then came Intermittent Fasting, which threw the ancient rule book of eating at specified times out of the door.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) involves alternating between times you want to eat and drink with ones where you strictly abstain from it, hence, the fasting. Dieticians and Fitness enthusiasts categorised IF as dietary plan but some sources claim it is not.
However, a general consensus on IF described it as a popular method used for weight loss and improving one’s overall health and well-being. But many people have been going about the IF plan wrongly, hence the reason for guidance on how you can do IF in the right way.
IDENTIFY PERSONAL GOALS
Intermittent fasting is different from having anorexia condition, this one is a deliberate attempt to cut back on eating, so you need to identify an end goal for you deciding to fast or reduce caloric intake through the better part of a day.
The benefits of IF are numerous as detailed in this healthy eating blog, but identifying whether you want to use IF to improve your general well-being or extra pounds you just added is important as it will help you make the right decision on the method that will make you achieve this ultimate goal.
HAVE A MEAL PLAN AND COMPOSITION
For the fasting to work, you need to have a meal plan that will complement it. Meal planning for IF is not restrictive, you only need to watch out for calorie intake and adding requisite nutrients to it. In fact, it is advisable to have an IF meal recipe in order to stay the course of the journey.
Also, your drink intakes during the period should be restricted to mineral water, coffee, tea, apple cider vinegar and stevia, not fruit infused water or other liquid that is high in sugar, fructose or protein, you can get a comprehensive list at 21DayHero.com.
PICK THE METHOD
There are different methods used to implement IF, ranging from the mild one to severe, here are some popular IF methods.
This is the Leangains method which was made popular by Martin Berkhan. For this method under IF, you have three options — 16/8 fasting, 19/5 fasting and One meal a day.
Under the 16/8 fasting, it means you have to fast for sixteen (16) hours and eat during the eight-hour window, for this one, you are allowed to eat twice or thrice within the eating window.
For the 19/5 fasting, the same thing applies, but within the five-hour eating window, you are allowed only two meals. As the name implies, one meal a day means you get to eat once after fasting for over twenty hours or more.
Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)
This means within a week you have to fast for 24–36 hours, and the only window for eating is within 24 hours. People that want to improve their blood sugar level usually do this.
5:2 Eating Pattern
Here, you eat unrestrictedly for five (5) days in a week while the remaining two, your calorie intake is restricted between 500 to 600 calories.
Periodic or Longer Term Fast
For this method, you become religious about your calorie intake for a long stretch of time, usually a month with a five-day fasting period in between.
MAP OUT YOUR CALORIC NEEDS
To achieve your ultimate IF goal, you need a caloric deficit chat. Calorie count must be adhered to in order to know how to add or switch up certain nutrients that will help you achieve that healthy lifestyle or lose the extra pounds.
MAKE EVERY CALORIE INTAKE COUNT
More importantly, make every calorie intake count, do not go overboard by infusing junk foods that are high in calories simply because you are making up for lost days, they may end up being counterproductive to your IF goal. Make sure you have healthy calorie intake options that will be beneficial to your general well-being.
Intermittent fasting is an essential plan to achieve good and healthy living, however you need to do it the right way, to get the best result for the decision to starve yourself of favourite dishes or getting the occasional takeout pizza with the trimmings.