- Intermittent fasting can help in restoring muscles
- It can help you have good night's sleep
- It can aid weight loss, when combined with regular exercise
Intermittent fasting has gained quite some popularity, thanks to its weight loss benefits. It is essentially an eating pattern that includes both eating and fasting phases. Lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho says that intermittent fasting is a "getting back to your roots" kinds of lifestyle, which involves eating early dinners. Intermittent fasting benefits include weight loss, improved digestion and a much-needed detox from junk food and binge drinking, etc. Intermittent fasting plan can help in restoring good health and inculcating discipline in your life.
How to do intermittent fasting?
The most commonly followed pattern is one where you eat early dinners, around 7 or 8 pm, and then have your next meal in a gap of 10, 12, 14 or 16 hours, whichever suits you. According to Luke, the fasting period can last for the as much time as it suits you. You don't need to follow a strict pattern and starve yourself just because some website on the internet says so.
Another common way of intermittent fasting diet plan is 16/8 method in which you are allowed to eat for 8 hours in a day and you need to fast for 16 hours.
If you want to sustain good health and restore digestion, you should eat wholesome meals during the eating phase. This is the phase for providing energy to your body in order to go through the day and not feel starved during the fasting phase. You can opt for eating frequent meals like eating 3 to 4 times within the 8 hours of eating.
Your meals during eating phase in intermittent fasting should include all major food groups like fats, carbs, protein, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids to name a few. Drink plenty of water during eating phase. You can also opt for hydrating drinks like lemon juice, buttermilk and coconut water to keep yourself hydrated.
If you are aspiring for weight loss on intermittent fasting, you can also opt for 5:2 method. It involves fasting with minimal calories for 2 days of fasting, and following normal eating pattern for the rest of the 5 days. Fasting on alternate days allows you a normal eating window in set gaps.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
1. Intermittent fasting benefits include loss of body fat and increase in muscle mass. Effective results with intermittent fasting can be achieved regular exercise as well. While intermittent fasting is a diet plan which is not restrictive in nature during the eating phase, you should avoid overeating. Also, intake of junk, processed, deep fried, sugary foods and drinks, and packaged food should be avoided.
2. For a detox (from junk food binge or binge drinking), intermittent fasting is the eating pattern you should follow.
3. While most weight loss diets are known to cause loss of muscles as well, intermittent fasting is quite the opposite. It can help in retaining muscles as it allows you to eat all major food groups like proteins, carbs, fibre and fat - during the eating phase.
4. Healthy eating becomes simpler with this style of eating. The trick of the trade is self-control. Initially, the diet plan may seem difficult to follow. But eventually, intermittent fasting results have been surprising for weight loss, better digestion, reduces constipation, acidity, bloating etc.
5. It can help you have a good night's sleep. Eating early dinners helps your body come in sync with circadian rhythm, helping you sleep better. You are likely to experience much less tired and lethargic after doing intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting: drawbacks you must know
As mentioned above, the eating pattern is all about self-control. You are likely to feel hungry, tired and irritated in the beginning. During the fasting phase, you are supposed to have only water - coffee and tea are off the table. This fasting pattern can lead to overeating and may increase cravings. Portion control is the key to weight loss with intermittent fasting. It is also challenging to practice after having fasted for over 10 or 12 hours.
(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach - Integrative Medicine)
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