Let's face it, our entire generation is permanently obsessed with losing weight. From various diet fads, gym and exercise routines, it seems that the internet is abuzz with the next new craze before you can say 'quinoa salad.'
As for me, I am a thirty something who is into yoga, fitness and eating well but also prone to butter chicken binges and 'anything that is carbs 'vacation diets. The result ? A constant battle to loose 3 to 5 kgs that I have been waging for the past year and a half while yo-yo ing from fit to 'could lose a few pounds to fit into her dresses.'
Sounds familiar? So will the next part. In my pursuit of the perfect weight and dress size I have tried it all, Keto, no carbs, GM (lasted 2 days), juice cleanses, eating every two hours and even famous dieticians. Some of these worked, until I got bored, frustrated or gave into cravings and ordered a cheese burger at 2 AM ( curse all you fabulous late night delivery options)
And so my struggle continued, till one day at a yoga workshop (sounds cliche?) a friend who was super fit mentioned to me that he follows a method called intermittent fasting, which simply put involves eating for eight hours and fasting for sixteen hours in a day. Coming from an' eat every two hours to lose weight' school of thought, I was skeptical and unimpressed when I heard his routine, and dismissed it to be just another fad.
On returning home however, I couldn't help but recall how fit and lean he was looking, so curiosity got the better of me and I took to the Internet, only to find out that this was indeed a thing. With nothing to loose except my flab, I decided to give it a shot, bought a guide of Amazon and was on my way.
Here's what I did :
I skipped breakfast each day and ate two meals, the first around 1pm and the second around 8pm. Then, I would fast for 16 hours until I start eating again the next day at 1pm. In between this I would allow myself tea and coffee without sugar and only a spot of milk if at all ( I use stevia) during fasting times. The idea is to keep it less then 50 calories to keep your body in a fasted state. I also ate 1-2 light and healthy low calorie snacks between meals. Apart from this i kept the carb content at dinner low , though i did eat some carbs to avoid getting hungry later, and kept my daily calorie intake between 1200-1500 calories .
You may be wondering…
How is this possible? Isn't skipping breakfast bad for you? Why would anyone fast for 16 hours every day? What are the benefits? Is there any science behind this or are you just crazy? Is it dangerous?
Slow down. I've been known to do some crazy things, but this is totally legit. It's easy to implement into your lifestyle and there are tons of health benefits. In this post, i have attempted to break down my understanding of intermittent fasting and everything that goes with it.
This is what happened :
When I stuck to my schedule which is usually 5-6 days out of seven, I ended up losing close to a kg a week.
SURPRISINGLY I did not experience hunger pangs at night after the first few days and the acidity that I was dreading by skipping breakfast. Initially the skipping breakfast part was hard to adjust to as we have been told to kickstart our metabolism first thing yada yada...
However, my day does start later then most so for those who wake up super early I suggest you tweak your timings to breakfast and late evening and skip dinner. It's completely up to you.
Another surprising thing was my energy levels. They did not suffer at all, even though I was working out on an empty stomach.
In other words, I'm stronger, leaner, and more explosive even though I go to the gym less and eat less.
So, How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.
Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it's very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.
After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isn't processing a meal. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.
When you're in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.
Because we don't enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it's rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.
The verdict :
I lost 2 KGs in a month , and this is with a smattering of cheat days thrown in (think drinks once a week ) I also found it pretty simple to implement and non restrictive diet wise, so my verdict is a BIG thumbs up . Try it out yourself and see if it works for you. As for me ? I'M SOLD!!!