Who should engage in intermittent fasting
One of the major things that stands out on intermittent fasting is the importance of when to eat and not necessarily what or rather how much to eat. This concept is vital in defining the various forms of IF, which would revolve around how much one is able to adjust when to eat.
I would first like to put across a disclaimer before we all become overexcited on simplicity and on the flexibility of intermittent fasting. I am not a professional nutritionist, neither am I a physician. I only share with you on what is working on me, and what has worked on many others. However, intermittent fasting should never replace prescription of qualified medical personnel, neither should it be used by anyone with a medical history, lifestyle diseases, expectant ladies, or lactating mothers without seeking advice from their respective doctors. It is therefore recommended for healthy individuals, who would wish to shed off extra pounds, detox their bodies naturally without complications of unaffordable and unsustainable products.
So which are the various forms of intermittent fasting?
One Meal a Day (OMAD)
OMAD is the most popular form of intermittent fasting today. It generally means taking one meal in a day. One may decide either to take breakfast, lunch or supper every day. People who practice OMAD sometimes take long to obtain results in the form of weight shed off. Sometimes they may even put on weight, despite dieting and taking only one meal. I will give two reasons that may inhibit great results while undertaking OMAD.
Why One Meal A Day may not work
First of all, people on OMAD tend to snack in between their major meals. They rarely undertake what I call clean fast. This has a counterproductive result, in that a snack,(perhaps in the form of tea, a fruit, a bubble gum, sweet, etc) breaks their fast. Let me explain this a bit more.
How Snacking interferes with one meal a day fasting
In our previous post, we said that for the first 12 hours after taking a meal, the food is absorbed into the body, and it is only after 12 hours that the level of insulin produced by the liver in breaking down sugars and conversion to fats starts to drop in the body. When insulin decreases, the body starts to convert already stored fats into energy, so as to provide energy that will support the normal functions of the body.
It, therefore, means that, if on the 13th hour you take a snack, perhaps you take a fruit or a sweet in that matter, the body notices presence of food and releases insulin to breakdown the “foods” for absorption purposes. Increased levels of insulin, therefore, means that the body will no longer breakdown fats until after another 12 hours when the level of insulin will go down. In that case, the insulin level will not go down since the person will have already eaten during the eating window. If the same process is repeated, it becomes a vicious cycle where one only eats one meal in a day but does not lose weight.
The other reason why OMAD, is described as self-defeating, has been explained by nutritionists as the adaptation of the body. They assert that when one creates a certain eating pattern, the body gets used to the pattern and therefore adjusts itself. In short, they mean that the body senses that there is a period of starvation, of which food is only available at a certain time in a day. The body is said to be very efficient, and therefore it adjusts the absorption and use of energy. The food eaten is therefore broken down to provide energy that will sustain it to the next eating window. The fat reserves in the body, therefore, remain unbroken and as such no weight loss experienced.
How to ensure that one meal a day works
- Taking enough water
The above-stated reasons can be overcome by ensuring that one practices clean fast during the fasting window. One is only allowed to take water, and a lot of water is encouraged during the fasting window, to help with both hunger pangs as well as hydrate your body as water is used in fat metabolism. Coffee can also be taken during the fasting window, but it must be taken black coffee with no milk and without sugar, as sugar and milk would increase the insulin levels.
- Avoid creating a pattern
The other way to ensure that results are obtained from OMAD is to ensure that you avoid creating a pattern. If you eat supper today, make sure that the next meal would be lunch, then the other meal can be breakfast and so forth. The only thing to confirm is that there exist more than 12 hours, perhaps from 16 hours between your eating times.
Other forms of intermittent fasting
Time-restricted eating (</16.8 and 18.6>)
These are other forms of intermittent fasting, where one fasts for a period of 16 hours and eats for the other 8 hours. This is very achievable for people working in industries where so much energy is required. It would only mean that one can eat lunch at midday, do all other eatings you want up to 8.00pm. Then fast up to the following day midday for lunch. Each individual can design a program that would be sustainable according to your own unique needs. Similarly, 18.6 would mean fasting for 18 hours and having an eating window of 6 hours.
I personally recommend freestyle form of intermittent fasting, as one is left to develop own timetable according to your own program. It, therefore, means that one is in a position to decide when to fast and when to have eating windows. One can also practice occasional long fasts to reap the benefits of prolonged autophagy for fasts of more than 24 hours.