Intermittent Fasting – A Complete Guide for Beginners
Intermittent Fasting is one of the best and most advanced diets that is trending in today’s world. Many health experts, doctors, dieticians are recommending regular fasting for people having Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and other serious diseases. Many global celebrities are also trying and telling us the importance of have fasting regularly.
So, let us know why we need to fast, its benefits, the correct method of fasting, precautions during fasting, and everything thing you need to know about intermittent fasting.
Fasting…!! After hearing this word, most of us started imagining a boring day without tasty food. In fact, many ‘Modern’ people also find it superstitious and completely illogical to live a few days without food, just for religious sake.
But Do you know there is a deep science behind fasting? After much researches & studies, it has been proved that fasting has a miraculous impact on our health.
The interesting part is that our ancestors used to practice fasting thousands of years ago. They already knew its benefits and hence to make it possible for every person, they associated fasting with a religious purpose. Now I am confused that who are actually modern ‘We’ Or ‘Our Ancestors’.
Every religion be it Hinduism (Weekly Fast), Islam (Roja), Jainism (10 days fast), Christianity (Good Friday), or even Buddhism. All have given huge importance to fasting and practice it regularly. It is one of the rare things on which all religions have the same views.
According to the Modern Science view, “Fasting is willful refrainment of some or all kinds of food or drink for a period of time especially for religious observance and also for medical or experimental reasons.”
In simple words, Fasting means taking a break from eating for some time so that our body gets enough time for digestion, heal, making it clean and prepare us for the next meal intake.
I am pretty sure some of you will wonder to know that how it is normal to stay away from food for some period to be healthy. But let me tell you fasting is more natural and normal for humans rather than eating all time.
In ancient times, people didn’t have refrigerators, microwaves, or supermarkets to preserve food. There were the days when they had nothing to eat. Hence human has inbuilt adaptability to not eat food for a longer time.
What is ‘Intermittent Fasting’?
Intermittent Fasting is basically an eating pattern that rounds between the eating period and the fasting period. During the eating period, you can eat or fuel your body whereas, During the fasting period, you give your body enough time to digest the food and after that to cleanse out, repair itself, and make you energetic and healthy.
The best part about intermittent fasting is that rather than focuses on what to eat, it makes us focus on when to eat. Also, it respects the two important cycles of our body i.e. the elimination phase (Fasting) & the building phase (eating period).
Intermittent Fasting helps to remove toxins from the body and clean it out from the inside, which will automatically make you disease-free, lightweight & more energetic than before.
Here a question arises that there are many diets available by which we can reduce our weight so why we choose to fast instead?
Importance of Intermittent Fasting
I am assuming that now all of you got some idea that how fasting helps us to clean the body. Now if I tell you that you can also repair, rejuvenate and in fact heal your body through fasting, then it should be no wonder.
You must have been observed that whenever you got some wound, your body will heal it by itself. Even when you have fractured bones, then the doctor usually covers it with plaster, Now the plaster doesn’t have any medicine. It is just there to give rest so that your bones will get proper time to rejoin again.
Your body is your own doctor which doesn’t require any medicine or injections other than some time to heal. Our body has its own Healing Power, the same power which digests your food, it also repairs and reforms your body cells every second.
The Healing Power is no doubt a huge wonderful power of mother nature. If it can re-join your broken bone then removing Stones, Cyst, and any other Improvement is super easy for it. ‘Healing Power’ fixes everything.
But Whenever we tend to eat every time, then to digest it becomes the first priority of the healing power & it starts works for digestion and gets no time to do the job of repairing & healing, and Sadly, we eat constantly.
Through Intermittent Fasting, you let the power to do its work. It gives a break from digestion to the body so that it can heal your body from diseases.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting-
Intermittent fasting is mostly of daily fasting means Out of 24 hrs. a day; you need to fix the time to take a break from eating for certain hours.
The interval in which you fast or not eating is called the ‘Fasting Window’ and the interval in which you eat is called the ‘Eating Window’.
It is suggested that out of 24 hrs., the fasting window must be 14 hrs. or more and the Eating window should be less than or exactly 10 hrs. Though, the recommended window is 16:8 i.e. 16 hrs. fasting window & 8 hrs. eating window.
This is completely up to you which span of the day you want to fast. For example,
· If you are the type of person who usually eats dinner by 9 PM. Then you can choose the fasting window at Night 7 can skip the breakfast So, your format is like.
9 pm – Dinner.
9 pm – 1 pm (next day) – 16 hrs. fasting window.
1 pm – 9 pm – 8hrs Eating window.
But if you usually take your dinner early, probably by 7 pm in the evening, then you format be like-
7 pm – Dinner
7 pm – 10 am (next day) – 16 hrs. fasting window
10 am – 7 pm – 8hrs Eating window
According to the above format, you can choose your time accordingly. Don’t worry, it is not at all difficult at it is looking. Your body will get used to it. And after a few days, the changes you will see in your body will definitely motivate you to continue the fasting.
You can start with the 14:10 window (14 hrs. fast & 10 hrs.) & then gradually stretch up to the 16:8 window.
Apart from the 16:8 method, there are many more methods that people follow.
It involves 24 hrs. of fasting window and the next 24 hrs. of eating window.
5:2 diet Method
In this method, you need to consume some 400-600 calories for 2 days. And eat normally in the next 5 days.
But many people find the 16:8 method is simpler and easy to follow.
What to Eat or Not to Eat
In fasting window, you are not supposed to eat any solid meals. But you can have light liquids like coconut water or vegetable juices. Fruit Juices, Tea & coffee are not recommended. Though initially herbal tea, black tea or black coffee (without sugar) can be consumed.
In Eating Window, you can eat anything but try to keep it healthier. Also, break your fast with fruits, do not take heavy meal just after fast.
Benefitsof Intermittent Fasting
1. Decrease Insulin Level:
When you do not eat for 16 hrs., your body will get energy from existing fats present in the body. It drops your insulin level.
2. Enhances Cellular Repair:
Due to fasting, the healing power gets enough time to remove dead cells and build up new cells in the body.
3. Increases HGH (Human Growth Hormone):
Research says that Fasting increases the HGH in the body that helps in increasing metabolism, so the fat loss.
Along with these benefits, it also removes the Heart diseases, diabetes, Kidney Stones, and Even cancer from the root.
Points to remember
There are also some points that you need to keep in mind before start fasting.
1. Your Body is ready or not
Before starting any long fasting, please understand & observe your body if it is actually ready for it. Try fasting for a few days and then decide to keep it continue.
2. Less Caffeine
Because of a long time of no eating, people tend to drink more tea or coffee. It results in less hunger or no sleep. Please do not take much caffeine.
3. No Overeating
Please don’t think that because you are fasting for a long time, you can eat as much as you can during the eating window. Eat Normally.
Do not let your kids, pregnant women, elders keep fasting. Consult the doctor for fasting if you have some disease or disorders.
Intermittent Fasting is not a diet but a lifestyle that changes you from inside out. If you like it and please try and feel the amazing experiences with yourself.