Fasting may be done be done for a few hours to many days to months on end. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where we cycle between fasting and regular eating. Shorter fasts of 16-20 hours are generally done more frequently, even daily. Longer fasts, typically 24-36 hours, are done 2-3 times per week. As it happens, we all fast daily for a period of 12 hours or so between dinner and breakfast.
Fasting has been done by millions and millions of people for thousands of years. Fasting has shown to have numerous effects on ones health.
What Happens When We Fast?
The process of using and storing food energy that occurs when we eat goes in reverse when we fast. Insulin levels drop, prompting the body to start burning stored energy. Glycogen, the glucose that is stored in the liver, is first accessed and used. Then after that the body starts to break down stored body fat for energy.
Thus, the body basically exists in two states – the fed state with high insulin and the fasting state with low insulin. We are either storing food energy or we are burning food energy. If we spend the majority of the day eating and storing energy, there is a good chance that overtime we may end up gaining weight.
How To Prepare For Intermittent Fasting?
Start with a shorter fast of 16 hours, for example, from dinner (8 pm) until lunch (12 pm) the next day. You can eat normally between 12 pm and 8 pm, and you can eat either two or three meals. Once you feel comfortable with it, you can extend the fast to 18, 20 hours.
For shorter fasts, you can do it everyday, continuously. For more extended fasts, such as 24-36 hours, you can do it 1-3 times a week, alternating between fasting and normal eating days.
There is no single fasting regimen that is correct. The key is to choose one that works best for you. Some people achieve results with shorter fasts, others may need longer fasts. Some people do a classic water-only fast, others do a tea and coffee fast, still others a bone broth fast. No matter what you do, it is very important to stay hydrated and monitor yourself. If you feel ill at any point, you should stop immediately.
Here are the main 3 intermittent fasting for weight loss benefits that stand out the most:
- Detoxification – It is one of the most important fasting benefits of all. As you fast, undergoes a self cleaning process, when freed from constant food processing. This allows it to wipe out your body toxins accumulated during heavy lunches or quick fast-food meals. And after that, you feel just great!
- Developing patience – Most people tend to overlook this enormous fasting benefit. Unfortunately, most of us actually lack this important quality, not only during diets, but mostly in everyday life. You see, patience comes from self-control, and this one is like a muscle: the more you train it, the stronger it gets. In the long run you become mentally stronger.
- Effective weight loss – Nowadays it’s the main fasting benefit, and the key reason why most people get into intermittent fasting fasting is to lose weight loss. When we do eat, our livers and muscles store energy as glycogen. In the fasting days, our body uses the glycogen first for a few hours and then it starts burning off the fat.
These fasting benefits are just the general ones. The truth is, apart from these ones, every person experiences his own benefits from the process of fasting, because every one of us is unique. And definitely, each one of us deserves to be in the shape that he or she wants to be! Good luck!