What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is one of the most widespread fitness trends in the world. Like the name suggests, it consists of alternating phases of eating and fasting. What makes this phenomenon an interesting fitness choice for many?

While intermittent fasting involves eating in cycles and at specific times, it does not define what foods to eat. This makes it different from just a regular diet because you can eat whatever you want when you do eat. However, it is recommended that you stick to nutritious foods. Many people observe some type of intermittent fasting because we don’t eat while we sleep.

The most popular type of this fasting style is called the 16/8 method. It means that you’re only eating during an 8-hour period each day. This type of lifestyle just makes you wait to eat a bit longer after getting up, and you don’t eat close to bedtime. For example, you skip breakfast, have your first meal of the day around noon and consume your last meal of the day at 8 p.m. Of course that timetable is adjustable based on your schedule and what shift you work.

When you count your sleeping time, this means you’re fasting for 16 hours each day and only eat within an eight-hour window. This is just a guideline for this popular trend. As long as you cycle between periods of fasting and eating, you’re observing intermittent fasting.

Another type of intermittent fasting involves restricting caloric intake to 500 for women and to 600 for men on two days per week. You eat regularly on the other five days of the week. The warrior diet consists of eating only raw vegetables and fruit during daylight hours, and then consuming a large meal at the end of the day. This is similar to a paleo diet.

It might sound like hunger would be a problem, but that usually just happens when you’re starting this regimen. Once the body is used to it, many people who partake in intermittent fasting report that they have more energy and feel better. Not eating for prolonged stretches of time actually is a good fit with modern lifestyles of busy people.

While fasting, you can drink tea, coffee, water and other beverages without calories. Some intermittent fasting plans allow for small quantities of foods with minor calorie amounts. You can also take supplements, as long as they have no calories.

Since humans have been doing this for thousands of years, fasting is not a new discovery. People fasted out of necessity when food wasn’t obtainable. Additionally, major religions decree some type of fasting. These include Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Humans also tend to fast when sick, a trait they have in common with animals.

This shows that fasting is a natural event and that the human body comes equipped to handle time spans without food. Matter of fact, body processes change when we skip eating for a while. This allows people to withstand times of famine.