Its roots derive from traditional fasting, a universal ritual used for health or spiritual benefit. It may either require complete abstinence, or allow a reduced amount of food and beverages. Although it is still unclear whether intermittent fasting is superior to other weight loss methods in terms of amount of weight loss, bio markers of health, compliance rates and decreased appetite nevertheless it is an upcoming weight loss tool that works for many people, though it doesn’t work for everyone. Certain people who typically eat one or two meals a day or do not eat for long stretches of time may show better compliance with this type of regimen. There are some structured intermittent fasting plans and another option is to simply skip meals from time to time.
6 Popular Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting
1. The 16/8 method-This method is simplest form of fasting and can be as simple as not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast. For example, if you finish your last meal at 8 p.m. and don’t eat until noon the next day, you’re technically fasting for 16 hours. One can drink water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages during the fast, which can help reduce feelings of hunger.
2. The 5:2 Diet -involves restricting calorie intakes to 500–600 C for 2 days of the week and regular eating on other 5 days of the week. For example, eating normally every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays. For those two days, one can eat 2 small meals of 250 calories each for women and 300 calories each for men.
In term of meals that would mean eating 2 or 3 chapattis (25-30)g and 1 katori Dal (25g) or ½ plate (50 g cooked) brown rice and a katori of dal.
3. Eat Stop Eat– involves a 24-hour fast once or twice per week. For example, eating dinner at 7 p.m. on Monday and not eating until dinner at 7 p.m. the next day. One can also fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch — the end result is the same.
Water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages are allowed during the fast, but no solid foods are permitted.
4. Alternate-day fasting-as the name suggests, in alternate-day fasting, you fast every other day. There are several different versions of this method. Some eat about a few 100 calories during the fasting days and some recommend full fast every other day. Full fast is not recommended for beginners as it can be rather extreme.
5. The Warrior Diet– It involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and eating one full meal at night. In other words, one fasts all day and feast at night within a four-hour eating window. However while feasting mostly whole, unprocessed foods should be selected. A feasting meal could include whole grain chapatti, brown rice, Dalia, whole pulses, sprouts, Paneer, Egg, Chicken, Fish, vegetables, salad curd, Dahi vada, fruit dessert, Srikhand, Peanut Chikki etc.
6. Spontaneous meal skipping– is simply skipping meals from time to time, such as when you don’t feel hungry or are too busy to cook and eat. So, if you’re really not hungry during breakfast, just skip it and eat a healthy lunch and dinner.
Individuals with Diabetes, eating disorders, pregnant/breastfeeding women and those on medications that require food intake should abstain from intermittent fasting.
Also adolescents and children who are in active growth stage are not recommended to adopt such measures to attain weight loss.