By Syed M. Fauzan Ali
Dieting just got better as a recent fitness craze took the social media by storm, and became a serious trend within the fitness community. With the entire Buzz surrounding this new trend called Intermittent Fasting this scientifically endorsed eating pattern has gained heaps of attention from celebrities and folks alike. The craze caught my attention too and piqued my curiosity to the extent that I decided to give this diet plan a shot. However, before we cut to the chase and talk about its amazing outcomes, we’ll discuss what intermittent fasting means and what are its popular protocols.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is actually a pattern of eating that usually cycles between specific periods of eating and fasting. This trend doesn’t focus on what you should eat but rather when you should be eating. Therefore, it can’t be said that intermittent fasting is a diet in a traditional sense, but an eating pattern to be more accurate. Now, the idea of fasting may seem foreign to some people, however, what’s amazing is that we all fast in one way or the other. For instance, the gap between our meals, or the time we spend sleeping is the time we’re fasting. Where do you think the word breakfast came from? Breakfast means breaking the fast (Genius Alert, Lel!). However, intermittent fasting takes it a step further and structures our eating and fasting windows in a way that they become more systematic. Hence, intermittent fasting is all about the benefits of going without.
What are the ‘IF’ Protocols?
Let us move towards the protocols of Intermittent Fasting. There are tons of variations to IF, however, choosing the one right for you is actually a matter of trial and error. Nonetheless, here are 3 popular protocols of IF:
The 16/8 ‘Leangains’ Protocol:
This method involves skipping breakfast and fasting for 16 hours straight. In this method, you maintain your daily eating during an 8-hour window. For instance, if you take your first meal at 11 am then your last meal should be taken at 7 pm, and then you fast for 16 hours straight. During this time, you can drink water to remain hydrated.
The Eat-Stop-Eat Protocol:
This protocol involves fasting for 24 hours straight once or twice a week depending upon your nutritional needs. If you follow this protocol, then you eat a fifth of your total caloric intake during the feasting days, and then you eat your full caloric intake during your fasting days.
The Warrior Protocol:
With this diet protocol, you fast for 20 hours straight every day and then eat a large meal at night. As the name implies, it’s a challenging protocol to follow because you’ll need to make sure that you fit all of your daily macro and micronutrients into one full meal.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Weight Loss is the most common reason why people try intermittent fasting. Eating a few meals with longer gaps in between leads you to a reduction in your total caloric intake. Consequently, when you work out, your body utilizes your fat stores for energy, Henceforth, bringing down your body fat percentage. Studies have proved that intermittent fasting is the most powerful tool for losing fat in the quickest and effective way possible. A recent study published in the translational research journal revealed that intermittent fasting can result in a 3-8% weight loss within 3-24 weeks, which is a significant level of fat loss as compared to other weight loss studies (Barnosky, et al., 2014). Another study Published in the Journal of Obesity Reviews claimed that intermittent fasting results in less amount of muscle loss as compared to other calories restricted weight loss schemes (Varady, 2011).
However, there is more to intermittent fasting than just weight loss. Intermittent fasting is found to have some significant positive effects on our growth hormones, cellular repairs, and gene expression. A study published in the journal of clinical investigations claimed that intermittent fasting increases the levels of our growth hormones that facilitate fat burning and muscle growth (Ho, et al., 1988). Another study published in the Free Radical Biology and Medicine Journal claimed that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation to a significant level which prevents aging and the development of several infections (Johnson, et al., 2007). Moreover, it is also found to prevent risks of heart diseases such as blood pressure, cholesterol issues and inflammation markers (Mattson, et al., 2017).
If you’re still not down with these countless blessings, let’s see what these famous celebrities have to say about intermittent fasting:
“I more or less follow a 16/8 fasting protocol, I fast during the morning and have my first sit – down Keto Style Bulletproof coffee at 2 pm”. She further claims that “before my workout, I have a green juice or a green shake that is low on calorie because this way I’m still on my 8 hours diet window, and I think intermittent fasting paves the way for a successful fitness journey, and you get a really cool feeling once you get used to it” – On her #PHITtalks series with personal trainer Peter Lee Thomas
The Wolverine has always been fierce when it comes to staying fit and strong. The actor claimed that “I have always relied on intermittent fasting to drop the weights that I acquire during my movie roles, and I feel so much better because I haven’t put on nearly the amount of fat I normally would” – Men’s Health
“I believe in intermittent fasting” the actress further claimed, “I eat well, I never compromise on the flavor, and I love to cook. But there is so much more science behind this new way of feeding our bodies, so I believe that intermittent fasting is the best part of my wellness routine” – Hollywood Life
With that said, now it’s time I relate to my personal experience of Intermittent Fasting. I started Intermittent fasting one month ago, and I have noticed a huge change in my overall health.
- My body burns fat faster
- I eat whatever I feel like eating in a smaller eating window
- I lost a significant amount of fat
- My muscles are more defined
- I feel energized and fresh all the time
The list goes on, and now with this new eating pattern, I can keep my body in shape. I eat salad, chicken and Red rice or cooked barley during my eating window, and I eat Pizza or a burger every Sunday without harming that waistline. Once you make it a life habit, it becomes a whole lot easier and fun. I normally fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window. However, the most important thing about intermittent fasting is that you eat fewer calories overall. If you go on a binge eating a massive amount of calories during your eating windows, then there is a chance that you may not lose any amount of fat at all. Moderation and Discipline is the key to success.
Until next time, take care of your body and stay blessed!
Barnosky, A.R., et al., 2014. Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Translational Research, 164(4), pp.302-311
Ho, K.Y., et al., 1988. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. The Journal of clinical investigation, 81(4), pp.968-975
Johnson, J.B., et al., 2007. Alternate day calorie restriction improves clinical findings and reduces markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight adults with moderate asthma. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 42(5), pp.665-674
Mattson, M.P., et al., 2017. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Aging research reviews, 39, pp.46-58
Varady, K.A., 2011. Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss?. Obesity Reviews, 12(7), pp.e593-e601
– Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali is an MBA/M. Phil specialized in Supply Chain Management and a Certified LSS (USA). The Author has worked in the past as a research analyst and a critical reviewer. He is the founder of The Health Sphere and a fitness and writing enthusiast. You can follow the author on Instagram @saiyedfauzan or visit his Linkedin Profile
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