The concept of intermittent fasting came to light when actress Alia Bhatt lost weight for her debut film. Also, actor-blogger Sameera Reddy took to Instagram to reveal that she is trying the new diet trend, Intermittent fasting to reach her weight goal.
For first timers, Intermittent fasting (IF) is a type of eating plan that calls for periods of eating and fasting (in which you can only consume water, coffee, and tea). During the time periods you can eat, you can generally eat what you like, which is why the plan works for a lot of people. It’s simple, and you can tweak the schedule to fit your needs.
Types of Intermittent Fating
16/8 method or Leangains protocol
This fasting diet is exactly what it sounds like: you refrain from eating for 14-16 hours of the day and eat all of your meals during the remaining eight hours. The idea of this plan from a weight loss perspective is the same as other plans: Theoretically, you’re creating a large enough caloric deficit during the fasting periods that you cannot get your calorie intake high enough to undo during your smaller eating window. Best for: Dedicated gym-goers who want to lose body fat and build muscle.
What and when you eat during the feeding window depends on when you work out. On days you exercise, carbs are more important than fat. On rest days, fat intake should be higher. Protein consumption should be fairly high every day, though it will vary based on goals, gender, age, body fat and activity levels. Regardless of your specific program, whole, unprocessed foods should make up the majority of your calorie intake. If there isn’t time for a meal, a protein shake or meal replacement bar is acceptable (in moderation).
This plan requires you to complete a 24-hour fast once or twice a week. The remaining days, you go back to eating as you normally do. Many people may find this plan difficult compared to the other variations on fasting because they’re going for a longer amount of time without food. One advantage is there are no “forbidden foods,” and no counting calories, weighing food or restricting your diet, which makes it a bit easier to follow. Best for: Healthy eaters looking for an extra boost.
Some women might find it difficult to go 24 hours without any calories — especially at first. Citing annoying symptoms including headaches, fatigue, or feeling cranky or anxious (though these side effects can dimish over time). The long fasting period can also make it more tempting to binge after a fast.
The 5:2 Diet is very similar to eat-stop-eat, except you eat food every single day. Instead of full days of fasting, this plan has you on very low calories—typically 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men—two days of the week. The other five days of the week, you eat normally. Technically, you can eat whatever you want to get those calories—but the 5:2 Diet Book recommends loading up on plenty of vegetables, as well as small portions of lean meat, fish, or eggs. And soups! Low-cal soups (which tend to be filling) are clutch. This diet is definately not considered safe for children (since they need fuel for their growing bodies) or pregnant women, who also need the calories. And while it’s okay to put your fast days back-to-back, you shouldn’t do anymore than two days in a row.
There are two variations of alternate-day fasting (ADF). For one, you fast completely on one day, and the next day you return to eating normally. The other version allows you to eat 500 calories on fasting days but, again, you return to your normal caloric intake the next day. Idle for Gym rats who love cheat days.
The Warrior Diet
Similar to the 16/8 method, but with longer daily fasting. On this fasting diet, you fast all day and eat one large meal—generally in the evening. During the 20-hour fast, you can eat a few servings of raw fruit or veggies, fresh juice, and a few servings of protein, if desired. This is supposed to maximize the Sympathetic Nervous System’s “fight or flight” response, which is intended to promote alertness, boost energy, and stimulate fat burning. Best for: People who like following rules. The devoted.
Disadvantage being that this strict schedule and meal plan may interfere with social gatherings. Additionally, eating one main meal at night — while following strict guidelines of what to eat, and in what order — can be tough. It’s especially hard for those who prefer not to eat large meals late in the day.
Spontaneous meal skipping
There’s some debate as to whether this counts as actual fasting. I’d say there’s little point in skipping a meal if the aim is to reap the health benefits of fasting if the gap you’re creating between meals is less than 12 hours. So it may make sense to skip breakfast, especially if you’re not hungry in the morning, but skipping lunch and having an afternoon snack may not create this 12-hour window.
Intermittent Fasting: Which One is Best for Me?
Try to follow the plan that is closest to your current lifestyle. If you’re someone who isn’t hungry in the mornings, then the 16/8 method may work well for you. You may even find that it’s easy to follow the alternate-day fasting plan because you’re not hungry until later. Like anything, you need to be consistent to see results and get the health benefits of any plan that you follow. If you lose weight following a fasting diet, but then go back to the non-fasting diet you were on before, you’re likely to gain all the weight back. Specifically, with the alternate-day fasting, ideally a person fasts for a day, feasts the next day, and continues this cycle for the rest of their lives.
Different styles of intermittent fasting can help people lose weight. But if you’re someone who likes to eat small meals every two or three hours, fasting likely isn’t for you, and there’s no evidence that people lose more weight fasting than they do on any other weight loss plan as long as the calorie restriction is the same.
Intermittent fasting plan is not safe for pregnant women, children, or seniors. No form of fasting is suggested for people with a history of eating disorders, either. Before trying any methods of intermittent fasting, consult a healthcare provider. Dosage for some medications, like those that help control blood sugar, may need to be altered. Any eating plan that decreases body weight may require changes to your medication regimen.
That being said, IF is definitely NOT for everyone.
intermittent fasting can be a tough diet to follow if you’re the type who likes to snack and feels like you’re starving when you can’t. It’s also not a good idea for anyone with a history of disordered eating.
There is some indication that fasting may help you hold onto more muscle and maximize fat loss, but that’s as a percentage of the weight you lose. Fasting doesn’t help you lose more weight than any other plan that lowers calorie intake.