Are you thinking about starting on an intermittent fasting program? Although this is a great way to knock off a few pounds, there are a few things you should know beforehand.
From knowing which foods to eat to sticking with the right fasting schedule, it’s important to know everything you can about intermittent fasting before starting. In this guide, we will be going over:
- What intermittent fasting is
- What foods you should be eating after intermittent fasting
- Benefits of intermittent fasting
- Different types of intermittent fasting
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a popular eating cycle where you change between fasting and eating periods to lose weight. Although there’s no specific rule for the foods you eat, instead, there are guidelines around when you eat. Additionally, there are a number of different types of fasting, which are usually split into days or weeks of fasting and eating periods.
You may start thinking that intermittent is incredibly hard to do. After all, what’s better than a “light” midnight snack of ice cream and cookies? However, it’s relatively easy to do, since everyone already fasts while they’re asleep. Participating in intermittent fasting is simply extending that period of not eating a little while longer.
Whether you choose to skip breakfast or dinner, the choice is completely up to you. Just make sure you stick to the fasting guidelines of only eating for eight hours if you’re participating in the 16/8 intermittent fasting method. Although it may feel like a huge sacrifice to give up binge eating during the day, most people feel relieved, healthier, and more fit while participating in the fast.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that during intermittent fasting periods, you can only drink water, tea, coffee, or non-caloric beverages. However, depending on the fasting method you’re using, you may be able to eat small portions of low-calorie foods. Also, taking supplements is allowed, but only if they contain no calories.
So, now that you know what intermittent fasting is let’s discover what you should focus on eating after your fast.
What to eat after intermittent fasting?
Following your fast, it’s often best to go with higher protein meals that will end up making you feel fuller for a longer period of time. However, keep in mind that protein-dense foods are high in calories, so make sure you don’t only eat foods consisting of protein.
Besides protein-filled foods, you should also consider eating foods that contain low-calorie vegetables. Not only will this type of food taste great, but they’ll also fill you up in the meantime. Also, you have a variety of ways you can eat them, such as steaming, oven roasting, or simply consuming them raw.
When it comes to fatty food, you should generally stay away from them. Although you shouldn’t avoid them altogether, you should focus on eating small amounts. Overeating fats can reverse the entire process intermittent fasting is doing to your body.
You should work on eating a minimum quantity of carbohydrates to a minimum. These types of foods are both high in calories and won’t make you feel full.
A few examples of these foods include parsnips, rice, bread, potatoes, syrups, corn-on-the-cob, and raisins.
On fasting days, women should consume around 500 calories and men should take in about 600 calories. This is just the recommended amount; you can consume more or less if you choose. When making your meals, be sure to measure at least the three highest calorie ingredients in your recipes to calculate an estimated calorie count.
You also have the option to eat ready-made meals instead of home-cooked ones. Just make sure you are choosing meals that are low in sugar and carbohydrates. The meals should also contain plenty of protein and vegetables.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Believe it or not, fasting isn’t a new concept that we just started using. In fact, human beings have been using fasting for thousands of years. The only difference now is that we’re doing it by choice. Before, most people fasted for religious belief or if there was a lack of food available. However, another reason why humans and animals fast is when we’re sick.
These examples should be able to explain that there’s nothing wrong with fasting and our bodies are capable of handling lengths of time not consuming food. In fact, fasting can actually benefit our bodies.
For example, fasting can:
- Reduce blood sugar and insulin levels
- Increase human growth hormone
- Burn fat and restrict calories
- Help you live longer
According to recent studies, rodents have shown to live longer when on a restricted calorie diet. Additional research also shows that fasting or restricting calories can help protect our bodies against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other deadly diseases.
However, besides promoting a healthier version of yourself, some people just like intermittent fasting because it’s convenient. Fasting can help you save money on food and promote a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
The different types of intermittent fasting
There are many different ways you can participate in intermittent fasting. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Eat-Stop-Eat: fast 1 to 2 times a week, involves not eating dinner one day until dinner the following day in a 24-hour period
- 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours a day
- 5:2 Diet: Only eat 500-600 calories 2 days a week, eat normal the rest of the time
Although you should generally stick to one of these three methods above, you can create your own intermittent fasting schedule depending on the schedule you have. After all, you don’t want to feel lightheaded driving your kids to school from not eating in the morning.
Eating healthier with intermittent fasting
Overall, intermittent fasting is an easy and effective way to eat less and lose weight at the same time. Although it does take a great deal of your time to do, it’s a great approach to improving your health.
Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you can identify what intermittent fasting is, the different types of fasting, what health benefits you should expect while doing it, and what foods you should eat following your fasting period.
Although this process may seem hard to keep yourself accountable with, once you’re a few days in, intermittent fasting will be your favorite approach to prevent overeating and keeping the pounds off, once and for all.