What is Intermittent Fasting?
Essentially in this context, Fasting can be described as intentional pause in the consumption of food for health benefits such as weight loss and improved metabolism.
Intermittent fasting is a popular form of dieting that allows you to switch between controlled periods of fasting and eating at set times. A typical intermittent fasting plan consists of eating all meals within a certain window of time or day and fasting for the rest of the day, or on the following day. This type of diet has been linked to physical benefits including weight loss, reduce inflammation, as well as improved overall health.
It is important to highlight that the information in this article should not be treated as medical advice and is provided for information purposes only. For those who are healthy enough to fast asa means of encouraging controlled weight loss and improved health, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with fasting. It is best to consult with a doctor prior to fasting to make sure that fasting is safe and appropriate. It is also important to re-evaluate periodically during a fast to ensure that any potential health risks are avoided.
In general, periodic fasting from food and complete pauses in calorie intake, especially prolonged fasting is not recommended for anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding, underweight, under the age of 18, has a chronic medical condition, is taking certain medications, or is in any other way immunocompromised.
Fasting from food can cause nutrient deficiencies, resulting in fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and other health problems. Fasting is also not recommended for people who have experienced an eating disorder, or any mental health issues, as it may trigger relapses into unhealthy behaviours. For this reason, those who have any history of substance abuse should not fast, as it could increase the risk of relapse.
The Steps to Begin Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has increased in mainstream popularity in the last few years, and has featured in a number of clinical trial studies. The alternating periods of fasting and eating usually take place around specific times of the day or week, in the case of Alternate Day Fasting. Intermittent fasting has been linked to a number of health benefits, including weight loss, improved metabolic health, and even a lower risk of certain diseases. While intermittent fasting can be a safe and effective way to improve your health, it’s important to understand the potential risks of reduced food consumption and calorie intake and make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure your safety.
1. Choose the right type of intermittent fasting: The first step in intermittent fasting safely is to choose the right type of fasting. There are several different types of intermittent fasting, such as the 16:8 method, the 5:2 diet, and alternate day fasting. Each type has its own set of rules and protocols, so it’s important to read up on the different types and decide which one is right for you and your body.
2. Consult your doctor: Before you start any new weight loss dietary plan, including intermittent fasting, it’s important to speak to your doctor and make sure it’s safe for you to do so. This is of utmost importance, especially if you have any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, or if you’re taking any medications. Intermittent fasting involves calorie restriction, therefore your doctor can advise you on the best type of intermittent fasting for you based on your body weight and body composition and will be able to monitor your progress.
3. Start slowly: If you’re new to intermittent fasting, it’s important to start slowly. Begin by fasting for 12 hours and gradually work your way up to longer fasts over time. This will help your body adjust to the new eating routine, the daily calorie restriction experienced whilst you are fasting, and avoid any potential side effects.
4. Stop immediately if you feel unwell: If at any time you begin to feel unwell it may be because your body is not yet adjusted to the reduced food and fewer calories of your new eating routine, if so it is best to stop fasting and speak to a medical professional before seeking to continue.
5. Eat a balanced diet when not fasting, such as on your non fasting days: During your eating window, it’s important to focus on eating a balanced diet that’s rich in whole foods like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid processed and sugary foods as much as possible.
6. Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is essential when fasting. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout your fasting day to avoid dehydration and other potential side effects.
7. Get enough sleep: Sleep is one of the most important factors for good health. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night to ensure your body is able to function properly and recover from each fasting period.
8. Exercise: Exercise is important for your overall health and wellbeing in addition to contributing to fat loss. Try to incorporate some form of exercise into your routine, such as walking, running, or weight training.
9. Take supplements: Depending on your diet, you may need to take certain supplements as an additional health benefit while fasting to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist to determine which supplements are right for you.
10. Track your progress: Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated and see the results of your hard work. Keep a journal of your fasting schedule, meals, and any side effects you experience.
Following these steps can help you safely and effectively undertake intermittent fasting. Remember to be consistent, stay hydrated, and listen to your body. With patience and dedication, you can see great results from intermittent fasting.
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