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What is Intermittent Fasting? Here’s a Beginner’s Guide …

What if we told you that one of the answers to losing weight, improving body composition, and feeling better isn’t just about dieting, but instead leaving large gaps between eating every once in a while? For some, intermittent fasting, or going a longer periods of time without eating (usually between 14 and 36 hours) can be a lot easier than you may think. And the benefits may certainly be worth it.

Think about it.  We “fast” every single day, during our sleep. Intermittent fasting means extending the fasting period, and being more conscious of our overall eating schedule. But first you must determine whether it’s right for you, and BodyBlocks will help you do just that.
It’s important to note that IF is NOT suitable during pregnancy, breast-feeding or if you are on any sort of medication or are diabetic.  It is also not suitable for those with low or poor blood pressure or those dealing with any specific medical condition.  As with everything else, it is a must to consult with your doctor before trying out anything that may interfere with a medical condition.

First of all, let’s consider some possible benefits of IF (intermittent fasting):

  • Improved levels of the “Human Growth Hormone (HGH)”: The levels of growth hormone skyrocket, increasing as much as 5-fold. This may help to assist with fat loss and muscle gain.
  • Improved insulin sensitivity: Insulin sensitivity improves energy levels and makes stored body fat more accessible.
  • Weight loss: IF can help you lose weight and belly fat, without having to consciously restrict calories.
  • Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases.

How to get started?

A popular way to start is to fast for 16 hours (these include sleep time). It only requires trading breakfast for a cup of coffee (or some other non-caloric fluid) and having lunch as the first meal of the day. Fasting from 8 pm to 12 noon – for example – equals 16 hours of fasting.

Of course, there are many other styles of intermittent fasting, but this 16:8 method (16 hours of not eating, 8 hours of eating during a day) is the one we recommend as a first option. It’s effective, easy to do and doesn’t require counting calories.

You can do a 16:8 fast as often as you like. For example twice a week, or on weekdays only, or every single day. The more often you do it, the more chances it’ll be effective.

What should you eat when you break your fast?

First of all, it’s important to avoid sugar, alcohol and diet sodas on your fasting days as well as before. And remember, breaking your fast doesn’t mean you’re free to eat junk! Focus on lean proteins, low GI (glycemic index) whole wheat or wholegrain carbs, healthy fats and colorful vegetables and fruits. And make sure you’re drinking plenty of water during and after the fast.  Hydration is key!

Is it for you?

Intermittent fasting isn’t something that anyone needs to do. It’s just one of many lifestyle strategies that can improve your health. Eating real food, exercising and taking care of your sleep are still the most important factors to focus on.

If you don’t like the idea of fasting, then you can safely ignore all of this. Just continue to do what works for you. At the end of the day, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in nutrition. The best diet for you is the one you can stick to in the long run.

Intermittent fasting is great for some people, and not others. The only way to find out which group you belong to is to try it out. If you feel good when fasting and find it to be a sustainable way of eating, then it can be a very powerful tool to lose weight and improve your overall health.

We hope that you found this introduction to IF useful!