Decoding Intermittent Fasting: A Magical Way To Lose Weight?
Balivada Sravan Kumar
If you’ve gone online and searched for “Most Popular Diets”, chances are that you’ve already come across something known as Intermittent Fasting. It’s become very popular with loads of celebrities claiming that it helped them get fit and transform their bodies. But how much truth is there to this claim? Let’s find out. THE BASICS First things first: you need to know that Intermittent Fasting is not a diet but rather, a dieting strategy. Intermittent Fasting or IF involves splitting each day into two sections or windows: a Fasting Window and a Feeding Window. Fasting Window means that portion of the day when you don’t consume any calories/food. In other words, you stay in a fasted state. Feeding Window is the remaining portion of the day when you are supposed to consume your daily required calories/food. IF STRATEGIES There are a number of different ways in which IF can be done. It basically involves adjusting the fasting and feeding windows. Let’s see a few different ways in which we can follow Intermittent Fasting: A)16:8 Fasting: 16:8 fasting is by far the most popular and most followed pattern of Intermittent Fasting. In this method, the fasting window lasts 16 hours, and the feeding window lasts 8 hours. What this means is that for 16 hours, you do not consume any calories at all! All your meals need to be consumed during the remaining period of 8 hours. A preferred and common method is to fast from 8 PM of the previous night to 12 noon of the next day. This way, your fasting window coincides with your sleep pattern, thus making it easy to follow. This is not an inflexible rule, of course. Some people follow a 12:12 method of IF while some others may follow a 14:10 fasting method. Go ahead and vary the timings and fasting/feeding periods based on your comfort. B)5:2 Fasting: 5:2 fasting is another well-known strategy. In this method, we need to calculate the weekly average calories and distribute them between 5 days and 2 days. We consume higher calories for five days and keep them as minimal as possible (close to 500 or less) on the remaining two days. Eg. If your weekly average calories are 14,000 kcal (per day average: 2000 kcal), then you can plan to consume 2,600 kcal for five days and 500 calories each for two days. An important point to note is that ideally, you should not do two consecutive days of low-calories. Leave a gap of at least one day in between. C)Alternate Day Fasting: Just like the 5:2 method, you need to first calculate your weekly average calories. Then, simply alternate between higher and lower calories throughout the week. Eg. If your weekly average is 14,000 kcal, then you can consume 3125 kcal for four days and 500 kcal for the remaining three days. Since it’s an alternate day fast, Monday could be 3125 kcal followed by 500 kcal on Tuesday. Go back to 3125 kcal on Wednesday and so on throughout the week. Just ensure that on lower calories day, try to restrict your calories to around 500 kcal or lower. D) 12 Hours Fast: Following a 12 Hours Fast is one of the easiest methods of implementing IF. If you start your feeding window at 8 AM, you will complete it by 8 PM and then fast from 8 PM to 8 AM. For a beginner, this is the simplest way to follow IF. IS INTERMITTENT FASTING MAGIC? Now that we’ve seen different ways of doing IF, let’s ask the really important question: will this method magically help us lose weight? The straight answer is no. Weight loss happens when you create a caloric deficit. Period. If you aren’t able to create this energy deficit during the feeding window, then no matter what, you are not going to lose any weight. If you’re wondering how your friend managed to lose weight by following IF, the answer is simple: restricting the feeding period helped your friend limit their calories and create an energy deficit. So, how do you know if Intermittent Fasting is for you? If you are someone who has a habitual binge-eater or who loves snacking on the go, then this strategy can help you break this habit and enable you to cut down the calories. What do you think? Is Intermittent Fasting something you’d like to try out? Has this article raised any questions or doubts in your mind? Do let me know in the comments section.