Intermittent Fasting, Schedule, Benefits, and Success
- intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting benefits, what is intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting schedule, intermittent fasting meaning
While on a weight loss journey, you might have heard about intermittent fasting. Many people understand it but need to explain the basic science or agenda behind it. Some ask - what is intermittent fasting? While others ask for intermittent fasting meaning fasting or scheduling.
Intermittent fasting meaning refers to the eating plan and the switching of both actions- fasting, and eating. Though many diets focus on what to eat, intermittent fasting focus on fasting, what to eat and what should be the timings for eating, etc.
According to this, you may have one meal a couple of days or two days a week. There are various methods and techniques to have intermittent fasting benefits.
You need to choose a regular time for eating and fasting. This reminds the mind and body to eat or fast at standard times each day.
Table of Content
- What Is Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent Fasting Benefits
- The Role of Hormones and Metabolism
- How To Do Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent Fasting Plan (Diet)
- Intermittent Fasting Results
- Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
- Intermittent Fasting for Specific Health Conditions
- Customizing Intermittent Fasting for Different Lifestyles and Goals
- Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
- Frequently Asked Questions
Intermittent fasting meaning is cycling between eating and fasting. It has health benefits like weight loss, better metabolism, improved brain function, and longer life. If intermittent fasting success and schedule are maintained, you may get more than just fat burning.
Not only does metabolic rate and lean body happen during this fasting procedure, but various other reactions happen within the body. It may protect against chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, heart disease, cancers, and even inflammatory bowel disease.
Here are some countable and the most precious intermittent fasting benefits that may help any age person to coordinate with specific health issues:
Thinking and memory: Humans are social animals, so they need to boost energy every hour. It is where intermittent fasting helps such humans on their weight loss journey.
Heart health: Following a proper intermittent fasting schedule will help you maintain your heartbeat rate. It can improve your blood pressure, resting heart rate, and other heart-related measurements.
Physical performance: You might have heard about positive and negative reinforcements and the magic of being praised through awards, rewards or food. You might have also seen the impact of such things on mice in an experiment. Similarly, if you fast for nearly 16 hours daily, you may have extensive maintenance of muscle mass.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity: It is one of the experienced and experimented techniques that intermittent fasting benefits will help you fight obesity, overweight, type 2 diabetes, and maintain a considerable level of glucose in your body. The same results have been seen in the experiments on mice. Moreover, it can help people increase a certain level of hormones like adiponectin and decrease the level of leptin, a reverse arrangement in the body for insulin therapy, within the restricted supervision of the doctor. It can also help you retain or prepare your body for tissue damage from surgery and other injuries.
Intermittent fasting means not only sticking to the fasting schedules but is the procedure of various fat-burning hormones. Hormones are the messengers, helping you coordinate functions and growth, like metabolic rates. Hormones help you maintain the development of the body, regulate body weight, manage appetite and calorie intake, and burn fat stored in the body.
The Influence On Insulin Due to intermittent fasting:
Insulin is the hormone that supports fat metabolism. Indeed, it is the messenger of telling the body to store fat, stop breaking down fat, etc. Having a high level of insulin can lead to chronic health conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and various other issues. A high insulin level means you must work hard to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting benefits the human body by lowering the insulin level. Depending on your type or method, fasting can help you reduce the insulin level by 20-31%.
The Influence On Human Growth Hormone Due to Intermittent Fasting:
Fasting can help humans with the increase in blood levels of growth hormones. It creates an essential benefit of intermittent fasting that helps to promote fat loss. In men, growth hormones can be stimulated or influenced as fast as five times due to intermittent fasting. Now, if you are asked what is intermittent fasting, in simple words. You can explain that it is one of the various scientific techniques to proceed with fasting for around 8, 12, 16 or a whole day. It can preserve muscle mass and fat loss and other benefits. However, concerning the influence of intermittent fasting on men and women, women tend to have a lower impact than men. Moreover, it is still being determined whether they have an equal effect on equal levels of fasting, especially in concern with human growth hormones.
The Influence On Norepinephrine Due To Intermittent Fasting:
It is one of the various human hormones that alter alertness and attention. It will serve you with a flight or fight response and produce a variety of impacts on your body, telling you to release fatty acids. The increase in the Norepinephrine hormone will produce a large amount of fat. When you are fasting, the body increases the level of Norepinephrine in the bloodstream.
A Boost On Metabolism Due to Intermittent Fasting:
It is a common myth that if you skip meals, you will ultimately adapt to lowering your metabolic rate. But, the thing that is important to note here is what you eat after having long-hour fasting. Plus, it is a well-known fact that dropping food for hours can also decrease the metabolic rate in your body. Other stories state that fasting for a short period can ultimately increase your metabolic rate rather than slow it down. On the contrary, fasting for a minimum of 3 days can impressively increase your metabolism by 14%. It may happen because of the rise of the hormone norepinephrine, which promotes fat burning. Thus, a more precise and concise conceptual understanding is needed to determine the impact of intermittent fasting on metabolism.
An intermittent fasting schedule may work like fasting for a whole day or week and then having a period for eating. The focus is on eating too little or nothing at all. There are essential popular methods of intermittent fasting and may include-
The 16/8 Method (Leangains Protocol): It is also known as the Leangains protocol, where you will have to fast for 16 hours of the day, and for the rest of 8 hours, you may have what you want on your eating plates. You may skip breakfast and dinner if you want to do this procedure in simple and easy steps. It is one of the most challenging procedures because you may have to skip breakfast. Breakfast is one of the various meals that give you energy all day. Nevertheless, drinking more water and beverages like tea, coffee, coconut water, and juices is advisable. This way, you can maintain your hunger and stay on fewer calories simultaneously.
The 5:2 Method (Fast Diet): It is part of intermittent fasting schedule methods where you must restrict your daily calorie intake by 500-600 for two days a week. That is why it is named 5:2 and is called the fast dieting method. You can eat whatever you want on regular days except for fasting, where you can consume only 250 calories for women and 300 calories for men.
Eat Stop Eat (24-hour fasting): Here, you have the privilege of fasting for 24 hours of the day of the week. For instance, you can apply this method by fasting after 7 pm and may resume eating after 7 pm another day. Doing this will complete your 24 hours and skip your dinner on the first day, breakfast, and lunch on the next day. Are you thinking of the scenario, how the things will affect your body? You do not need to worry because you can sip fluids like tea, coffee, coconut water, plain water, and other beverages. These beverages will prevent dehydration in your body and will retain energy for a long time.
Alternate-Day Fasting (Every Other Day Approach): Going deeper into intermittent fasting meaning, you will find each of the methods of this fasting technique will urge you to fast for long hours. Moreover, it is evident that if you are fasting for long hours, your body will automatically reduce the urge to fast or junk food. Indeed, it will ask for healthy nuts, tasteful spoonfuls, flavours, etc.
In this type of fasting, you can eat whatever you want but will have to fast for a whole day. On the day of fasting, you can drink beverages to retain energy. The liquids may further include unsweetened coffee, tea and water.
The Warrior Diet (20-hour Fast with a 4-hour Feeding Window): According to this intermittent fasting schedule, you can eat for four hours of the day and may stay at rest while fasting for the remaining 20 hours. It is time-restricted fasting, where the focus is on what can or cannot be eaten. It is on the strict versions of the fasting schedule, where you limit yourself to water and other fluids or beverages. Moreover, specifically modified versions will allow you to eat small portions of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, boiled eggs, etc., during the remaining four hours of the day.
Here's a sample intermittent fasting plan, which is one of the most popular and straightforward methods:
- Choose your fasting window: Determine the 8-hour period during which you will eat your meals. For example, you might choose to eat between 12:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
- Set a start date: Decide when you'll begin your intermittent fasting plan. It's a good idea to start on a day when you don't have any special events or commitments that might disrupt your schedule.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the fasting period to stay hydrated. You can also have unsweetened tea or black coffee, but avoid adding sugar or milk as they may break the fast.
- Balanced meals: During your eating window, focus on well-balanced meals that provide essential nutrients. Include a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
- Avoid overeating: Even though you have an 8-hour window to eat, try not to overindulge. Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness signals and eat until you feel satisfied.
- Stick to the schedule: Consistency is key to success with intermittent fasting. Try to maintain the same fasting and eating window each day.
- Listen to your body: If you feel unwell or overly fatigued while fasting, consider adjusting your fasting window or trying a different method that suits you better.
- Combine with exercise: You can exercise during your fasting period, but some people prefer to work out during the eating window to have fuel for their workouts. Find what works best for you.
- Be patient: It may take some time for your body to adapt to the new eating pattern. Be patient and give yourself time to adjust.
Remember, intermittent fasting is not about strict calorie counting or deprivation; it's more about when you eat rather than what you eat. It's crucial to focus on nourishing your body with healthy foods during the eating window.
Indeed it is one of the most challenging or complex procedures to stick to any intermittent fasting program. You may have various intermittent fasting benefits which will help you stay on track, and the tips may follow as-
- It keeps you hydrated - since you are allowed to drink water, coffee, and other beverages while fasting, it will maintain the ratio of minerals in your body. The electrolytes, sodium-potassium ratio, and chloride levels will be held.
- It will keep you away from junk food - when fasting for long hours, you automatically think about the days you eat junk food or ingredients. But, again, when you finish your fasting, your body automatically demands healthy and kitchen-restricted food. It is how you learn the technique to correlate fast food, junk food, and healthy or kitchen food. Also, you should avoid thinking of junk food while you are fasting.
- Resting and relaxing - avoid strenuous or vigorous activities during fasting days. Exercising will ultimately pressurize your body to use more energy. Instead, you can do yoga to stay active, flexible and mindful throughout the day.
- Have the intake of high-volume foods - you may depend on low-calorie food with more rich and large fillings. It may include examples like raw vegetables, fruits, melons, grapes, etc.
- Increase the taste with less intake of calories - you may depend on seasonal meals and may use food like garlic, oregano, vinegar, etc. It will help you spice up your food content and retain the taste.
- Choose nutrient-rich food - indulge in happy and good eating habits with nutrients like minerals, water, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. It will maintain the blood sugar level of your body and will keep you away from deficiencies.
Several studies indicate that intermittent fasting has the potential to enhance weight loss through various mechanisms. Initially, by confining your meals and snacks to a specific time frame, intermittent fasting can naturally diminish your calorie intake, thereby facilitating weight loss. Intermittent fasting might also elevate norepinephrine levels, a hormone and neurotransmitter known to boost metabolism and enhance calorie burning throughout the day.
Moreover, this eating pattern can decrease insulin levels, a hormone that plays a role in managing blood sugar. Reduced insulin levels can promote fat burning and contribute to weight loss. In addition, certain studies suggest that intermittent fasting may be more effective than calorie restriction in preserving muscle mass, making it more appealing as a weight loss approach.
According to a review, intermittent fasting may lead to an 8% reduction in body weight and a 16% decrease in body fat over a period of 3 to 12 weeks.
Diabetes and Blood Sugar Regulation
What is intermittent fasting, concerning the health issues of a diabetic and cholesterol-rich personality? The general meaning of intermittent fasting is fasting with more than the expected number of hours. It makes the body addicted to not having “the bad quality or junk” food and thereby serves you with lots of benefits like-
- Promote weight loss
- Helps in increasing the sensitive behavior of hormones like insulin, making insulin lower its impact on glucose-making capacities
- Helps to normalize the fasting PP or blood sugar level.
- Normalize the hemoglobin level and reduce the amount of A1c level of hemoglobin in human blood.
- Helps to fight the impact of increased glucose levels or diabetes, like hypertension and painful events, and also improves the metabolic parameters.
Heart Health and Cholesterol Management: There is a mix of research on the benefits of intermittent fasting concerning cholesterol and heart health. Some studies show that this kind of fasting helps to reduce “bad” cholesterol and thereby improves the response to insulin. On the same side, bad cholesterol and increased blood sugar levels are the culprits for weight gain and diabetes— also the major risk factors for heart issues.
Other studies say that if you skip breakfast — one of the common methods of intermittent fasting— you will stay on the urge to increase heart disease. Therefore, more research is needed to be determined for this concept. There is less surety to say that intermittent fasting helps reduce the risk of heart issues and blood cholesterol levels.
Brain Health and Neurological Disorders: It is one of the various intermittent fasting benefits that help you cope with the decisions of your mind. You get to control your mind, the tactics to control your urge to eat junk food, and thereby work on stress. Furthermore, this can help you fight the impact of brain disorders and overall brain-impacting health issues. There are also suggestions that intermittent fasting helps promote new neurons in the regions of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory.
Athletes and High-Performance Individuals: Since athletics is the kind of sport where all people from different religions are free to participate. Before the concept of intermittent fasting was popularized, Muslim athletes all used to follow the same. During the month-long period of Ramadan– the fasting and praying period for Muslims - Muslim athletes would probably stay away from food. They would contribute only two or four hours to food eating and would do fasting for the rest of the day. It would help them maintain the holistic approach of fasting and avoid the one-day alterations and other fasting methods.
Vegans and Vegetarians: The general meaning of vegan is concise, i.e., food rich in plants and plant products. Moreover, it helps you reach the various health benefits like-
- Lowering the level of blood sugar
- Lowering the risk of cancer
- Managing the cholesterol level
- Helps to normalize the triglyceride level in the blood
- Reduce the risk of heart disease by 25%.
The combination of a vegan plus vegetarian diet can give you phenomenal results. But the same is true if you strictly follow the same with lots of energy-producing food. Furthermore, it is difficult to manage a strict vegetarian or vegan diet while you are doing intermittent fasting.
Age and Gender Considerations: Gender and biological pattern greatly impact how you are fasting and implementing the results. It affects the shape of the male or female and their metabolic rate with an effective response against exercise, carbohydrates, sleeping patterns, etc.
Since men are known to be hunter-gathering personalities, they can adapt to the scarcity of food for the periods. They tend to have larger physical sizes and tend to boost metabolic rates. They need essential fuels to boost their bodies and a kick to the metabolic rate that could affect them for hours. Furthermore, the genetic makeup of men asks for the things like “go and get food for everyone in the family…even if you have not eaten too much.”
This genetic adaptation still lives in men and today’s generation. When stayed on fasting, the metabolic rate of men population can increase by 14% (especially if the fasting is done for twenty to four hours of the day). Other various benefits of intermittent fasting for males include-
- An increase in the production of testosterone hormones and utilization.
- Improvement in blood lipid profile.
- Improvement and the growth of the hormones and their flow in the blood.
- A consecutive decrease in the level of cardiovascular diseases.
On the other hand, females do not quickly respond to fasting. When early man used to exist and there was a hunter-gathering society, women could not respond well to the scarcity of food that men did.
- Women tend to have conservative energy, and fat storage, ultimately leading them to survive long-term famine potentially.
- This means that earlier intermittent fasting was not a good option for females who used to survive on fat storage or deposits in the body.
- Moreover, more fat storage means more food, and more food means more energy— so that was the science behind the female’s body in earlier times.
The scenario is, however, different. The environment has changed, and the weather conditions have greatly impacted how humans used to live. Now, males or females do not survive without food but tend to have healthy food every three to four hours.
Also the same is true for children and teens under the age group of 18. They tend to have a high capacity for fasting, but that would greatly impact their metabolism and lead to a lean body with malnutrition. Thus, if you are above 18, you may practice intermittent fasting for a few hours. Remember to try with minimum hours instead of jumping directly to the major one due to significant effects.
In general, intermittent fasting meaning stays limited to the consumption of food, eating patterns, fasting schedule, and the right time to eat. In this type of fasting, you will have to take care of consuming calories. Plus, it can show you phenomenal results if taken complete care of. Moreover, you can manage intermittent fasting along with these benefits-
- Weight loss and management
- Decrease in the risk of heart issues
- Improvement in the insulin sensitivity
- Reduction in oxidative stress and the markings
- Improved level of blood sugar level
Now, after counting the various benefits of intermittent fasting, you might need clarification about when and how to follow it. Moreover, there might also be confusion regarding the use, potential risks, or side effects of such a kind of fasting. Yes, there are side effects, and they are risky for human health if not taken seriously. These types of risk factors include -
- Headaches and lightheadedness.
- Issues in digesting what you are eating through minimal.
- Irritability and mood swings.
- Bad breath and uncomfortable feelings.
- Dehydration if the water and good drinks are not taken.
- Low energy
- Sleep disturbances, etc
Now, you will have to think over it again if you are fasting for long hours. Also, if you are a beginner at intermittent fasting, you may work on skipping your food or meal time. This will first reduce your old habit of taking food on time and then will help you manage to fast and later get habitual of fasting at a particular time.
Intermittent fasting benefits are phenomenal, especially if you are considering dietary plans. If you are considering intermittent fasting for a weight loss journey, you may carry on with the procedure or method that may suit you well for two to three months. Although minimal side effects exist, once you get habitual, you will see great results in your body fat change. While you are on the path of losing weight due to intermittent fasting, you do not need any surgery or medical treatment. The same is true when you are practicing this for a long time and thereby require no medical treatment for any medical or health issues. As a result, your body automatically adapts to the nature of the fasting schedule and thereby gives you outstanding results.
Q: What is intermittent fasting?
A: Intermittent fasting meaning is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting. It does not prescribe specific foods to eat but focuses on when to eat them. The main idea behind intermittent fasting is to extend the fasting period, allowing the body to tap into its fat reserves for energy, which may lead to various health benefits.
Q: How to do intermittent fasting?
A: There are several methods of intermittent fasting, and you can choose the one that best suits your lifestyle and goals: 16/8 method, 5:2 method, Eat-Stop-Eat, Alternate-day fasting.
Q: Is intermittent fasting good?
A: Intermittent fasting has been studied for its potential health benefits. Some research suggests it may help with weight loss, improve metabolic health, reduce inflammation, and provide other health benefits. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, and individual results can vary.
Q: What to eat during intermittent fasting?
A: During the eating periods, it's essential to focus on nutritious, balanced meals that provide all the necessary nutrients. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive sugary or processed foods and opt for wholesome choices.
Q: Does intermittent fasting help lose weight?
A: Yes, intermittent fasting may help with weight loss for some people. By reducing the eating window, it can lead to a calorie deficit, which is crucial for losing weight. Additionally, intermittent fasting may improve insulin sensitivity and boost metabolism, aiding in weight loss efforts.
Q: Can we drink water during intermittent fasting?
A: Yes, staying hydrated is essential during intermittent fasting. Water, along with herbal teas and black coffee (without added sugars or creamers), is allowed and encouraged during fasting periods. These beverages have minimal to no calories and won't interfere with the fasting process.
Q: Is intermittent fasting safe?
A: Intermittent fasting can be safe for many people, but it might not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain medical conditions, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with a history of eating disorders should exercise caution and consult a healthcare professional before starting any fasting regimen. It's essential to listen to your body and discontinue fasting if you experience adverse effects.