Complete Intermittent Fasting For Beginners Guide
Intermittent fasting has become so popular nowadays that everyone wants to try it! I’m not gonna lie, when I heard about it, I couldn’t quite understand what it meant or how it’s done until I actually tried it! So here is my take on intermittent fasting for beginners and how you can start losing weight and improving your health with this amazing diet plan.
Probably one of the most effective diet plans to lose weight lately aside from keto is intermittent fasting. People are going crazy about this new weight-loss method because it actually gets the job done! With that being said though, not everyone succeeds with intermittent fasting because of all the different rules.
I highly recommend going about intermittent fasting as a new lifestyle instead of a fast weight loss method because it has a lot of benefits and impacts your overall health positively. Read on to learn more about intermittent fasting and decide if it’s for you.
Intermittent Fasting For Beginners
So what is intermittent fasting? Well, it is when you are allowed to eat during a certain timeframe followed by a period of fasting. There are actually 5 types of intermittent fasting methods and each works well in reducing appetite, weight loss, and improving your overall health.
Intermittent fasting also involves counting calories along with strict rules that must be followed in order to get results. Although this diet plan may seem difficult to follow in the beginning, it does get easier gradually when done long-term.
Types Of Intermittent Fasting
There are 5 main types of intermittent fasting methods that you can choose from to fit your lifestyle of schedule. Read through each one and see choose which one works for you. Note that all the following methods are considered intermittent fasting so they all work.
1. Time-Restricted Eating (16/8)
So the time-restricted method is the most common type of intermittent fasting because it is the easiest among the 5. It is also known as the 16/8 method which simply means eating restricted calories for 8 hours and fasting for 16. During the 16-hour fast, you are allowed to drink water, coffee without sugar, or non-sweetened tea.
The amount of calories you are allowed to eat during the 8-hour eating window actually depends on your gender, age, and height. Therefore, checking your BMI (body mass index) is necessary when planning out your calorie intake even on the intermittent fasting diet. Just know that you must not consume less than 1200 calories daily.
Finally, you need to choose the right time window to eat that fits your schedule on the 16/8 but the most popular or common times are between:
- 7 a.m. to 3 p.m
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
- 12 p.m. to 8 p.m
- 2 p.m. to 10 p.m
2. Alternate Day Fasting
The alternate day fasting is actually quite easy to understand and follow. It is when you fast for one day and consume a low-calorie diet or a high-fat diet on the next. During the fasting days though, you are allowed to consume up to 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.
You are also allowed to drink water, non-sweetened coffee, and tea, plus other zero-calorie drinks. This ADF diet is more beneficial to people who are overweight, obese, have heart problems, or type 2 diabetes. It is well tolerated because you do not have to do a full blast fast.
3. The Warrior Diet
The warrior diet is a little different from both intermittent fasting methods above, this one requires that you fast for 20 hours straight and binge-eat during a 4-hour window at night. You are allowed to consume little amounts of food and unsweetened drinks during the fast though. Foods allowed are fruits and vegetables only.
So you fast all day and eat at night. What’s interesting though, is that you are allowed to eat anything you wish and any amount you want. There are no restrictions on which types of foods are allowed during the 4-hour window but it is advised to stay away from processed foods and choose healthy options instead.
4. The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet is the easiest intermittent fasting method among the 5 and is simple to understand. It is when you eat for 5 days without restricting your calories and fasting for 2 days. On the fasting days though, you are allowed to consume 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.
There is another rule though, the fasting days cannot be back to back, there must be a non-fast day or two in between. So if you fast on Monday, your next fast day could be Wednesday or Thursday. Note that during your free-to-eat days, you do not restrict your calorie intake but rather choose healthy foods instead.
5. The Eat Stop Eat
Similar to the 5:2 diet, the eat-to-stop diet involves consuming foods for 5 -6 days and then fasting for 1-2 days. The fasting days must consist of a 24-hour fast but you are still allowed to drink enough water and unsweetened drinks. So if you start a fast on Monday morning at 10 am, you will break your fast on Tuesday at 10 am.
Now, there is another important rule, right before starting your fast, you must eat a complete meal, so your last meal will be anytime before 10 am Monday morning. Finally, during non-fast days, you do not restrict or count calories, instead, you refrain from eating junk, processed, and high-fat foods.
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Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
So after doing a lot of research, studies show that intermittent fasting has a lot of amazing health benefits and is one of the best ways to lose weight effectively. Although initially slow when it comes to losing weight, choosing a form of intermittent fasting and sticking to it can get you results long-term.
Some of the most important health benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- Improves Cellular Repair
- Promotes Weight Loss
- Improves Heart Health
- Reduces Inflammation And Oxidative Stress
- Prevents Cancer And Alzheimer’s Disease
- Protects Against Brain Damage
- Increase Lifespan
Side Effects Of Intermittent Fasting
As you can see above, there are so many amazing health benefits of intermittent fasting but it does come with side effects as well. You see, intermittent fasting is not for everyone, restricting calories can affect estrogen hormones in women which may cause problems with fertility.
Also, diabetics, pregnant and breastfeeding moms, and people with eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia should not do intermittent fasting due to the restriction of calories. Diabetics can discuss the different types of intermittent fasting with a doctor to choose what’s right for their condition.
What To Eat When Doing Intermittent Fasting
So we’ve covered what intermittent fasting is, the different types of intermittent fasting, and the benefits and side effects. Now, it’s time to go over the different foods you can eat while doing intermittent fasting. Please note that you are not restricted to eating these foods but adding them to your diet can boost weight loss and overall health.
1. Leafy Greens & Cruciferous Vegetables
Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such as spinach, kale, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are highly nutritious. They are extremely low in calories and are rich in antioxidants that help reduce free radicals in the body and protect against cancer, heart disease, and brain diseases.
Including fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel in your diet, 1-2 times per week is important due to its omega-3 content. Omega 3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and improve heart health by 36%. Please note that chronic inflammation leads to weight gain.
3. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts are rich in fiber, protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats and will keep you satiated while you’re on the intermittent fasting diet. The best types of nuts to add to your diet are almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, cashews, and pistachios.
4. Red & Purple Fruits & Veggies
Fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, beets, cabbage, radishes, red bell peppers, and berries contain natural pigments like lycopene and anthocyanin. Both enzymes help protect us from premature aging on the outside and the inside. So it’s very important to make them a part of your daily diet.
5. Plant-Based Protein Sources
Tofu, tempeh, lentils, chickpeas, hemp seeds, and beans are excellent plant-based protein sources. Most of these foods provide both fiber and protein, which makes them great for keeping you full longer during the day when you’re doing intermittent fasting.
6. Whole Grains
Adding quinoa and oats to your diet regularly will provide you with enough fiber and protein, both of which helps lower cholesterol levels and improve digestion. High-fiber foods are known to make you feel satiated longer during the day and prevent overeating. (leading to weight loss)
7. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, and pickles are rich in probiotics which help strengthen the immune system and improve gut health. Your overall health starts in your gut and loading on foods that provide healthy bacteria is definitely the way to do it.
Now you are equipped with everything you need to know about intermittent fasting for beginners. Intermittent fasting is the best way to lose weight but you will need to choose one that fits your schedule and is easy for you to follow. Making it a lifestyle change will get you long-term results.
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