Intermittent fasting is a current popular trend among health enthusiasts. And the first thing to know about it is that intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It is more of a lifestyle habit, which has been followed by people around the world for a long time as part of many religious beliefs.
When compared to other diets, this fasting method does not change what you eat but it focuses on when you eat. The eating pattern in this method cycles between the fasting and eating periods and there are different ways to follow it. Some people forego food for 16 hours, while others for 24 hours twice a week.
Intermittent fasting is one of the trendiest eating patterns nowadays because it promises better health, better focus, better energy and helps to shed fat, without following any crazy diets or cutting down calories.
But before following an intermittent fasting meal plan, one must understand some key points regarding it:
It too has side-effects
Like any other eating trend, intermittent fasting also has some side-effects and people with certain health conditions are recommended to step away from it. Fasting for long hours may create adverse effects on expecting mothers and those suffering from diabetes and eating disorders. For pregnant women and diabetic patients, it is important to have food in a small interval. In such cases, it is important to consult with a dietitian before trying anything new.
Studies have further shown that intermittent fasting may create sleep disorders in some people, as it is difficult for some to sleep empty stomach. Loss of appetite, increased cravings, mood swings, slow metabolism and too much addiction towards caffeine are other few commonly seen drawbacks of this method.
When you eat, go for healthy options
To make intermittent fasting work, it is important to have healthy, filling and nutritious foods during the eating phase. Even though this method does not restrict any food group, it also does not give the freedom to overindulge or eat unhealthy foods.
Health experts recommend having food that is rich in fiber like nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables, and high protein foods, including meat, fish, tofu, eggs, whole grains, etc. One can see the result of following this eating pattern by consuming healthy foods during the eating window.
Do not overeat
After fasting for 16 or more hours it is quite natural for one to feel famished. So, when most people break their fast, they tend to overeat, which can not only destruct their weight loss and health goals but can also cause digestive issues and sleep disorders.
While following intermittent fasting one should always keep in mind not to overindulge and eat more calories. Also, do not break the fast with a heavy fat and carb-loaded meal. Keep it simple and take light food first when ending the fast.
Water is the basic necessity of life and you need to drink sufficient amounts of water while following any diet or meal pattern. So one should never forget to drink adequate water during their fasting window. In most cases, people forget to drink water when fasting.
Pay attention to this as dehydration can trouble you in several ways and cause headache, difficulty in concentration and you may feel more hungry. You can have water, unsweetened coffee or tea with 2 teaspoons of milk or diluted apple cider vinegar in the fasting window. Drinking water 30 minutes before the eating window can also help to control overeating.
Start slow and plan well
It is always recommended to take small steps if you are new to fasting. First, try to evaluate which pattern suits your lifestyle and fitness goal. For some people fasting for 16 hours might not be possible due to different reasons, like their health condition or lifestyle pattern, so it is better to start slow. One thing to remember is that your chances of sticking to any diet depend on how well you plan it.