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Intermittent Fasting- The beginner’s guide and my personal experience

Intermittent Fasting! Yes.. It’s talk of the town now a days.

I have been on Intermittent fasting for almost a year. I never felt more energetic, leaner, fitter and happier ever before in my life.

Intermittent fasting is not a diet plan it is an eating pattern. It helps me to be in ketosis where I am running on fat instead of glucose.

If you are wondering how? It’s very simple:

Let’s start with a little history of fasting with Indian tradition.

Fasting is our age old tradition. In India fasting has always been used either for religious purposes or to heal our body and rejuvenate the cells. It was never opted specifically as weight loss process. The practice of fasting always existed in India much before the term ‘fad diet’ or ‘crash diet’ came in the picture.

Indian ancient view point;

By doing fasts our digestive organs take rest and at the same time our body gets cleansed and takes the toxins out from our body.

In India fasting is common; like every month there are few days like Purnima (Full moon) and Ekadashi (11th day of the fortnight), other than this we do fast on festive occasions also like Navratri, Shiv Ratri, Karwa Chauth, Ganesh Chaturthi, Teej, Chhath and many more depending upon different religions and beliefs. In Navratri most of the Hindus fast either for nine days or first and last days of Durga Puja.

Mostly people avoid taking salts during fasts, it is commonly known that excess salt and sodium causes hypertension or elevation of blood pressure.

Mostly fruits and dairy products such as milk and curd are eaten in fasts. So overall if we notice the whole process, it is about eating once or light meals (consists no grains meal). By doing so unknowingly we bring goodness to our body, we give rest to our body organs and they get healed in our fasting period.

These days mostly people try intermittent fasting to lose weight and fat, but intermittent fasting is way more than a weight loss tool.

 

Intermittent fasting is way easier than dieting

Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle choice. You don’t need to make a whole day diet plan and don’t need to worry about wrong food choices. It is a super effective easy choice for weight loss.

The good thing about intermittent fasting is you have a set time to eat and not to eat without creating any fuss. It makes your life easier. It allows you to have lesser calories without much of the effort unless you forcefully stuff yourself and try to compensate the whole day calories deliberately in one go.

How does it work for weight loss?
When we fast, insulin level decreases and it facilitates fat burning because in that case body uses our stored fat for energy. If we let our insulin levels go down we will be losing weight, Intermittent fasting allows insulin level to go down long enough so that we burn off more fat.    

 

Different methods of Intermittent Fasting

18/6– 18 hours fasting time and remaining 6 hours eating time window.

16/8– 16 hours fasting time and remaining 8 hours eating time window.

Alternate day IF– fasting every alternate day.

Eat stop Eat– This method confuses the body by restricting food for 24 hours or more once or twice in a week.

The 5:2: In this method 5 days you eat normal but 2 days of the week you take between 500-600 calories.

My experience with Intermittent Fasting:

1. Simpler life

I keep all my carbs for my dinner. It makes my life easier because for 16 or 18 hours, I am not eating anything. Wherever I go I know very well what drink I need to order.

2. Easy food decisions and reduced sugar craving

I mostly eat once a day which works great for me as I can consume my whole day calories in a single meal which is quite fulfilling and satisfying as well. I make better and healthy food decisions now, I am not confused anymore, if I go out, I am very clear what I need to order. I don’t crave for sugar anymore.

3. Stronger:

I have got more energy and strength; I do my workout better and with ease.

4. No late night munching now:

I don’t eat after 8 PM, which keeps me safe from having late night junk munching and drinks. 

5. More focussed

I am more focussed now; I don’t need extra shots of Americano multiple times in the day to be alert. I still love coffee but the number of cups has reduced to 1 or 2 cups a day.

Challenges I have gone through

It was not easy for me to go on fasting for 16 or 18 hours straight. In the beginning it caused me stomach pain because of hunger, anxiety and weakness but eventually my body got accustomed to it and I became more energetic. I started gradually by skipping breakfast and then started stretching my fasting hours.

Another challenge is my meal timings; it is unusual and odd and absolutely doesn’t match with my social gathering. I avoid eating outside which is certainly a bonus for my fitness.

I am good with intermittent fasting; I don’t see these as challenges now. Any change in lifestyle needs some time to acclimatize with body and everyday routine, I believe it’s normal.

What worked best for me?

My personal favourite is 18/6 method and I stretch fasting window to 24 hours or more once or twice in a week.

I started with 14 hours fasting, shifted to 16 hours. Now, I love and live with 18 – 20 hours of fasting window. I make sure to drink plenty of water (5-6 litres) and my guiltfree on-the-go drinks during my fasting time are herbal teas, lemon water, green teas and sometimes buttermilk. I usually take my meal between 5pm to 8 pm. Sometimes if I am super hungry, I break my meals in two and arrange it accordingly.

I keep my workout time closer to my eating window so that I won’t feel fatigue after workout. Intermittent fasting can be little tricky when it comes to decide upon the calories in your shorter eating window. To track my calories and macro nutrients, I use My Fitness Pal app. This app is the best so far.

It is fine to eat when you are hungry, it’s fine to eat when you don’t feel like fasting, but don’t let your feelings overpower you and allow you to go into the comfort zone of eating.

Information in this article regarding Intermittent Fasting is based on many books and websites I have gone through so far and research I have done.  

Don’t get excited and jump into any kind of diet and fasting methods just because it has worked for other people. The intention is to have a healthy body, what is the point to be slim and not healthy. Take your time, do your own research, consult your doctor and then see what works best for you.

Make your goal and take it slow, always remember short cuts are short lived.

Have good vibes, be consistent and be patience.

Love & Gratitude

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