The science behind fasting is nothing new—just ask the Buddhist monks. People have been fasting for thousands of years for various reasons. Improved health, deeper meditation, and spiritual practice have all been cited as motives for this dietary exercise. In recent years, fasting has become popular once more as a way to lose weight. Intermittent fasting is the most recent development in the fasting trend, and you’ve probably seen the claims it makes to help you lose weight, shed inches, and reveal a slimmer, smoother body shape. Let’s look a bit closer at intermittent fasting, and at what it can and can’t do for you.
Fasting put simply, requires you to go without eating or drinking anything for a set period of time. Intermittent fasting means establishing regular periods of fasting throughout the day or week and encourages frequent intervals of fasting rather than prolonged periods of deprivation, which can be tough to stick to. There are several variations within intermittent fasting. Some plans recommend just drinking water, some allow for liquids such as juices throughout the fast, and some include low-calorie, easily digestible foods such as fruit and vegetables.
Though fasting might sound difficult and unnatural, it’s actually something you do already—while you’re sleeping. During those six to eight hours of sleep, your body goes into repair mode, flooding your system with restorative chemicals and hormones that boost your immune system, repair damage, and allow you to wake up refreshed. Fasting works similarly, giving your body a break so it can attend to other important work.
There are as many different ways to fast as there are ways to diet, but plans tend to fall into one of two categories: daily or weekly. In a daily plan, your intermittent fasting schedule would include periods of non-eating between meals, with regular intervals of 4-5 hours without food—so no snacking! In a weekly plan, you might choose to go a full day or two without a meal or eat only one meal per day for two or three days a week. It might take some trial and error before you find a plan that works for your lifestyle.
When it comes to weight loss, the key to intermittent fasting is that it gives your metabolism a break, triggering the same type of activity that your body does while asleep. However, when you’re fasting to lose weight, timing is everything: fast too long, and your body flips a switch and starts to preserve calories. For this reason, the short intervals of non-eating with intermittent fasting have shown to be effective for weight loss. Going without food gives your body gets the time it needs to burn calories before being loaded up with more.
Intermittent fasting has a few drawbacks. The most obvious of these is that it takes considerable discipline, planning, and attention in order to result in weight loss. Like dieting, most people find it difficult to stick to a plan that revolves around deprivation. Done right, intermittent fasting can help you lose a few pounds overall. What it can’t do, however, is help you shed weight from specific areas that tend to hold onto fatty tissue, like the abdomen, thighs, and other stubborn areas.
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Weight loss can be a long and difficult journey, fraught with emotional highs and lows. It’s unrealistic to expect that any one method, like intermittent fasting or fad diets, will give you the results you’re hoping for. Usually, it requires a combined strategy that includes diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. For the best chance of achieving the look you want, take advantage of the expert help and proven results of aesthetic treatments. These treatments use advanced technology to get you looking and feeling your best safely, quickly, and comfortably. If you’d like to learn more, use the search field below to find a certified provider near you.