Author: Renu Puri
This blog offers a deep dive into the world of Intermittent Fasting, what the diet entails, if it is the right diet for you, how it can benefit you, some insightful statistics, along with a fun client story that is sure to motivate you!
Since Intermittent fasting diet plans are flooding the online space, we wanted to write a blog from a nutritionist’s point of view to educate people on the reality of this diet. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Intermittent fasting.
“Intermittent Fasting” seems to be some sort of a buzzword nowadays. With celebrities and influencers boasting about the numerous benefits of the diet, it has become more of a trend than a traditional diet. Celebrities like Malaika Arora, Alia Bhatt, Bharti Singh, and Jacqueline Fernandez swear by this diet and have seen miraculous results by following it.
Weight loss is one topic of interest that does not seem to lose its charm. With our lifestyles and environmental conditions getting worse as days progress, it is inevitable for people to gain weight and be acquainted with lifestyle diseases. However widespread and famous the term ‘weight loss’ becomes, only a few have mastered the ways to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner.
A huge misconception about losing weight is that you can only lose weight if you starve yourself. This is absolutely false and very unhealthy! Weight loss does not in any way translate to starving yourself. It is about eating the right foods in the right quantities at the right time. Intermittent fasting for weight loss works to keep your eating hours to specific hours of the day, working on your metabolism and helping reduce weight.
Our 30 year old client Vanya had come to us 10 months back when she was at her lowest, had gone through a terrible breakup due to her weight, and had lost all the will to live a happy and fulfilling life. Vanya was always overweight, and being a victim of all the body shaming and unsolicited advice from aunties at weddings and in her neighbourhood, she had tried many different diets and exercise programs over the years but nothing really seemed to stick, and she always ended up gaining the weight back.
She was also in a very toxic relationship at the time where her partner used to ridicule her for her weight and make her feel inferior. This completely crushed her self-esteem and she had given up all hopes to live a respectful life. She started to feel like she was stuck in a vicious cycle and had no way out.
One fine day Vanya could not move out of her bed due to a sharp, stinging pain in her chest and was rushed to the ER by her parents. At just 30 years of age, Vanya had suffered a pre-stroke due to her weight. That was an eye-opener for her. With everything going on with her, she did not expect to be a heart patient at such a young age. Being shocked by how serious the consequences of being overweight could be, she decided that she needed to take control of her health, once and for all.
Vanya’s doctor recommended niwi.ai to her to help with weight loss and nutrition guidance. After evaluating her body type, we concluded that she was an ideal candidate for intermittent fasting and that this kind of weight loss diet would work with her schedule and her weight loss goals too.
We started with setting realistic goals and then working towards developing a 16:8 Intermittent Fasting eating plan that was in accordance with her schedule, activity levels, body type, genetic makeup, and even her taste buds. Yes, you heard that right. We believe that a balanced diet should never feel like a compromise, but rather a lifestyle that you can sustain, and that is why we recommended mouth-watering recipes to Vanya that would take care of any of her cravings and make her feel like she never left junk food.
She also enrolled in a gym, where she started taking a variety of light exercise classes and working with a personal trainer. At first, the journey was tough, any lifestyle modification is initially tough. But she was determined, and she stuck with it, day after day. Slowly but surely, the weight started to come off, and she started to feel better about herself.
As she got closer and closer to her goal weight, Vanya realized that she had learned to love her body and appreciate all that it could do. She had also learned to respect herself, and to take care of herself in ways she never had before.
Now, Vanya is a completely different person. She is confident, energetic, and happy, and she has inspired others around her to make changes in their own lives. She is proud of her journey, and she knows that the hard work was worth it.
A lot of diets focus on what you eat but intermittent fasting is one diet that just focuses on when you eat. It is a type of diet that involves alternating periods of eating with periods of fasting. The idea behind intermittent fasting is to limit the window of time during which you consume calories and not consume calories in the remaining time, to improve your overall health and achieve various health benefits.
Although certain liquid intake is allowed during the fast, solid foods are not permissible. So yes, you can have a cup of black coffee, water, teas (without milk), to quench your thirst as much as you’d like. Basically, the fast gets broken when there is a glucose spike in our system. With these fluids, the fast remains unbroken. In fact, it is important to hydrate oneself during the fasting window so as to be able to throw out the toxins from our body.
The 16:8 method of intermittent fasting is the most common one followed by people. It involves fasting every day for a 16-hour period and limiting your daily eating window to 8 hours. For example, this means not eating anything post 8 pm and having your first meal at 12 noon (or any other time period more suitable to your lifestyle).
You also need to understand that stuffing yourself in that 8-hour window or only eating junk foods will not help you lose weight. You need to ensure that you’re taking balanced, wholesome meals throughout your eating window to get the best results possible.
This type of intermittent fasting is best for people who do their workouts in the afternoon or evening.
The 5:2 method of intermittent fasting is not as common as the 16:8 method and also gives slower results compared to it but a lot of folks follow it to keep their health in check. If you are someone who is seeking weight maintenance or just wants to lose a couple of kilograms, this method could be ideal for you. It involves eating normally for five days a week and cutting back approximately 20% of your regular daily calorie intake for the other two.
This means that you can have your designated calories throughout the 5 days but on the 2 remaining days, you have to have 500 calories if you’re a woman and 600 calories if you’re a man.
Although this plan is very flexible, make sure to strike a balance so you don’t overeat after your fasting window gets over. We highly recommend not doing this without professional supervision.
Pretty self-explanatory, this diet involves fasting every alternate day. We personally do not recommend this diet to our clients or our supporters as we do not believe in the extremities associated with the diet but it indeed works for a lot of people.
There are many variations to this method – some tell you to eat up to 500 calories on the fasting day while some tell you to eat none. Nevertheless, we feel that such types of diets should only be done under the supervision of a medical expert or a registered dietitian as the implications could go south really quickly, especially if you suffer from any underlying diseases or conditions.
This method may allow you to lose some weight but is not sustainable in the long haul. On the contrary, not eating for an entire day may impose a lot of side effects on you like mood swings, hunger, irritability, and lesser energy levels.
This is similar to the 16:8 method of intermittent fasting but instead of a fasting window of 16 hours and an eating window of 8 hours, it allows for a more flexible eating window of 10 hours and a fasting window of 14 hours. This is an easier approach for people who would be intimidated by the idea of fasting every day.
Just because this allows more flexibility does not mean that weight loss is impossible. It may not yield as quick results as the 16:8 method but the 14:10 method will eventually encourage weight loss.
Just make sure that you eat clean and follow a calorie-deficit diet plan. This is an ideal intermittent fasting plan for someone who likes to work out in the morning.
This diet is very different than your traditional intermittent fasting plan. Herein, most of your eating is permissible during the night time. This diet was invented by fitness guru, political artist, and author Ori Hofmekler. The diet entails eating small portions of raw fruits and veggies during the day and having a wholesome meal during the night on a 4-hour eating window. It is directed towards having paleo-style meals throughout the day and a heavy nutritious meal at night.
Although there is not much evidence on the warrior diet, we do not recommend it without knowing more about you and your lifestyle. It may be practical and life-changing for some people but we feel that a diet should be sustainable.
The benefits of Intermittent Fasting have been experienced by a lot of folks around the globe. Some studies say it is a foolproof method for weight loss while others say that it helps you live longer. Let us find out some key benefits of the diet and how it can help you:
We are all well aware of the fact that the key benefit of Intermittent fasting is weight loss. That is how the diet became popular in the first place. To achieve proper weight loss though, you have to make sure that you consume lesser calories and be in a calorie deficit during your eating window.
This calorie deficit combined with intermittent fasting would increase hormone function to empower weight loss. It is also noticed that short-term fasting leads to an enhanced basal metabolic rate. Not just body weight, intermittent fasting also reduces visceral fat.
Intermittent fasting and weight loss combined can lead to improved insulin resistance by reducing blood glucose. Through lowering the production of Leptin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and increasing the production of Adiponectin, a hormone that regulates glucose, you can have your insulin levels in check.
Type-2 Diabetes has become very common in recent times. In fact, India has become the diabetes capital of the world. The main feature of high blood sugar levels is … *drumrolls* …. Insulin resistance. Intermittent fasting has shown great results in people with insulin resistance and a good reduction in blood sugar levels.
Intermittent fasting is said to reduce many types of inflammation. How you may ask? Well, it triggers a cellular clean-up process known as autophagy. Autophagy is a natural process that occurs in our bodies when we fast, and it helps to remove damaged cells and cellular waste that can mask itself as inflammation.
Intermittent fasting is also known for reducing levels of oxidative stress, which is another cause of inflammation. This occurs because fasting helps to increase the production of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage caused by free radicals so if you suffer from inflammation, you could give this diet a try, but only under supervision.
From the liver to the heart, Intermittent fasting can really improve organ health. Intermittent fasting helps the liver break down fat to reduce the build-up of harmful elements. It lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, and reduces toxins in the blood to ensure proper heart health.
If we talk about brain functioning, Intermittent fasting enhances the production of a protein called brain derived neurotrophic factor which is pivotal for cognitive health. It also improves kidney functioning by reducing oxidative stress as well as inflammation to safeguard our kidneys.
Intermittent fasting statistics that will blow your mind!
According to an article by HealthReporter,
That’s for you to decide. We believe the best way to find out if a fasting diet plan to lose weight works for you or not is by seeking professional guidance. Our registered dietitians at niwi.ai have guided a lot of aspiring intermittent fasters like you on a fulfilling journey. Any trendy diet, if not done under supervision, could have unfavourable consequences. So make sure to give it a try but in a safe, trusted environment with food options that are nutritious and good for you! :)
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At niwi.ai, we have helped thousands of clients transform their lives and feel stronger, more energetic, and definitely more confident in how they look and feel, by improving their relationship with food!