No word can produce more fear, emotion and misunderstanding in the world of diet and weight loss than fasting. The term conjures up visions of starving for days and weeks without a morsel of food, and drinking only fruit juices. A traditional fast is controversial and possibly even unhealthy for certain people, but intermittent fasting relies on the emerging weight loss science of calorie restriction.
According to Scientific American, weight loss is less about what you eat, and more about the timing of each meal. Effective weight loss is possible when you eat according to your genes, more along the lines of our evolutionary ancestors when food was scarce and people rarely ate more than once a day, and more often every few days.
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It's important to understand that eating stimulates many biological events in our body, most of which have evolved to store energy as fat. For this reason, the type of food we eat and the timing of meals are critically important to meet our weight loss goals.
Intermittent Fasting Fuels Fat Burn
Intermittent fasting does not involve starving for days on end, but rather works in harmony with the body's normal circadian rhythms. There are two types of intermittent fasting. The first involves a liquid diet for one day of the week, with normal eating on the remaining days.
The second method consists of non-caloric fluids only between 7 PM and 7AM each day, with 3 nutritionally fortified, reduced calorie meals balanced over the remaining 12 hours. This is the recommended method of intermittent fasting, and most people find this form easier to tolerate as you'll be sleeping for a good portion of the 12 hour fast cycle.
Fast for 12 Hours, Eat for 12 Hours
When the body is not busy with the complex process of digestion, it's free to perform many critical tasks which are vital to our long term health and weight loss goals. Eating large, highly refined meals several times a day forces our metabolism to stay in high gear processing the excess surge of calories.
Intermittent fasting for 12 hours a day, and especially curtailing meals or snacking after 7 PM will force our body to rely on fat stores for energy during the overnight hours. For many people, this is the boost they need to effectively and naturally drop their weight into a normal range.
Make Wise Food Choices
Technically, fasting doesn't require a special diet, but proper food choices are critical to hitting and maintain your weight loss target. The total amount of calories we eat, timing of meals and nutritional balance of our food all affect our metabolism and the way we store or release fat. In effect, we control our weight destiny through food and physical activity. Nothing impacts our weight, body shape and health more than the foods we eat.
Limit Calories and Make Them Count
Intermittent fasting is a tool which can be used as part of your weight loss arsenal, but reduced calories and nutritional balance are the foundation blocks to sustaining your target weight goal. You'll naturally reduce calories by restricting food to 12 hours each day, but you also need to limit total quantities and make them well balanced from all food groups. Men need to limit daily calories to 1800 and women to 1500, with slight adjustments being made for extremely active individuals.
Intermittent fasting is founded on the science of human metabolism, as it relies on the body's evolved responses to food to achieve improved health. Limit total calories and eat only during the morning, afternoon and early evening hours, allowing for a 12 hour fast each day. By working in harmony with the body's normal rhythms, you'll be rewarded with naturally sustainable weight loss for life.
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