We’ve all heard about intermittent fasting. It’s been a trend for the past couple of years.
We hear bloggers talking about it, fitness gurus, experts, and more. Nonetheless, so many of us don’t really know nor understand what intermittent fasting is. Consider this article as your basic guide on everything you need to know about beginner’s intermittent fasting.
Don’t be fooled though, this is not your typical intermittent fasting for beginners article/guide. I won’t tell you all about weight loss, the scientific details of intermittent fasting, and all that jibber-jabber.
I want to simplify beginner’s intermittent fasting: just the basics and a general idea of what it is and what you should know about it. After reading this article, the whole concept of intermittent fasting will be more clear and easier to understand.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Let’s get one thing out of the way: fasting has been around for centuries. It is a common practice in different religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc.) that holds different meanings in each.
Fasting is basically going a certain period of time without consuming any food. Now, beginner’s intermittent fasting can be put in a different way.
You’re used to having breakfast (or not), having snacks, lunch, more snacks, dinner all throughout your day. Let’s say you have a 9 to 5 job. You most probably start eating at 8 am and stop around 9 pm (or more, no judgment here!). The time you allow yourself to consume food is called your “eating window”. The time that you do not consume food throughout is the time you fast. I’ll go over the different fasting methods later on.
A commonly known benefit of Intermittent Fasting is weight-loss. But to make things clear: weight loss will happen when you’re in a caloric deficit. This means you’re eating less calories than what your body usually needs. Intermittent fasting allows you to control the portion and quantity of food you eat, since you technically have less time to eat.
That said, if you eat fried junk food during the few hours you can eat, and consume more calories than your body needs, you will gain weight.
On the other hand, when you fast, your stored fat is easier to access through hormonal adjustment. Since you change your habits and eating time, your body has more time to heal and adjust, and uses your stored fat to get energy.
Beginner’s intermittent fasting shouldn’t include scientific details. All you need to know is that through intermittent fasting, you might reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol, improve your insulin sensitivity, and basically improve your overall health.
How to do it?
Now that we know what Intermittent Fasting is, how do we do it?
Let’s start with different ways to apply it to your week. There are many different ways to fast, but I chose 4 popular ways that I find easy for beginner’s intermittent fasting.
The first and most popular one is the “16:8” method. This method calls for you to eat for 8 hours a day and fast for the 16 others. Usually, it’s common for people to choose to set an eating window from 12 pm to 8 pm.
It’s important to know that beginner’s intermittent fasting depends on your lifestyle and yourself. There’s no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” way to fast, especially when it’s a beginner’s intermittent fasting. You might prefer to set your eating window from 10 am till 6 pm, whatever suits you best!
The second method I chose to tell you about is the “Eat Stop Eat”. This method can be beginner-friendly in a way, depending on how much control you have over yourself. This method calls for you to fast one or two days per week while eating normally for the rest. This means that you will go for 24 hours without food (or have very little calories like having juices only).
The third is “Spontaneously skipping meals”. As its name explains, this means that instead of fasting for a specific time, you skip meals to add to the time you’re already fasting in (like skipping breakfast or dinner). This way is very beginner-friendly and you can adapt to it easily.
The fourth one is the “Alternate-Day Fasting”, or the “every other day” method. Through this method, you eat normally for a day and fast the other. If you find this difficult, you can go for eating normally for a day and having a very low amount of calories the other day (for example, eating normally on Monday, fasting Tuesday, so on and so forth).
Tips for Sustainability
Finally, I’d like to give you a few tips for sustainability when it comes to beginner’s intermittent fasting. These are personal ones, and thoughts that I found helpful for myself during my Intermittent Fasting journey.
The most important tip I wish someone told me when I had started is: don’t be too hard on yourself! Whenever you try anything new, it takes time and feels difficult at first. Intermittent fasting is a way for you to make your days and life easier and simpler.
When starting out in intermittent fasting, make sure to really understand why you started. Is it for weight-loss? Is it for structure? Better health? Knowing why you went on this journey in the first place will be your biggest motivation and help with dedication. Whenever your excitement to try a new thing dies down, what will help you most is clarity and dedication.
Knowing why you started with beginner’s intermittent fasting in the first place and keeping your end-goal in mind will always be your motivation. At the same time, remember, take baby steps!