Fasting has always played a significant role in the health and wellness world, but it can be a little intimidating if you are new to the concept. One of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of fasting is to use an intermittent fasting plan, which is where you alternate between periods of eating and not eating. Fasting in smaller increments can make the process less challenging and less daunting – and you’ll experience some incredible health benefits from making this small change in your lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting involves fasting for 12-16 hours per day, consuming the majority of your calories during an eight-hour window. For example, if your last meal were at 7 PM, you wouldn’t eat food again until 11 AM the following day. Ideally, you want to aim to fast for 16 hours, but to ease your way into the longevity of the fast, starting with 12 hours of not eating is a great start.
During your fasting period, you are training your body to use fat as energy and allowing your cells to “clean house,” getting rid of dead or sick cells and allowing for new and healthy cells to take over. It provides a break for your digestive system so your body can concentrate on its overall functioning and processes versus applying all of its energy into breaking down food. Here are a few benefits of intermittent fasting:
Intermittent fasting helps you lose weight.
One of the most notable benefits of intermittent fasting is that it helps you lose weight and tone up. This is because you’ll naturally be reducing your caloric intake, and during the periods where you aren’t eating, your body will be forced to tap into its fat stores for energy. It’s best to workout on an empty stomach, which allows your body to use fat for fuel instead of glucose.
Intermittent fasting lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Intermittent fasting also positively affects the way our bodies produce and maintain insulin, which can lower our risk for type 2 diabetes. In particular, intermittent fasting reduces our chances of developing insulin resistance and has been used in trials with type 2 diabetes patients and showed that it eliminated the need for insulin among these patients.
Intermittent fasting keeps your cells healthy.
Intermittent fasting can help prevent oxidative stress on our cells by giving your body a break from the constant break down of food. This practice increases our body’s ability to fight off free radicals, which can lead to cancer and a variety of other chronic diseases. Fasting also prevents inflammation, which can help both our brain and our muscles work more efficiently. Finally, this increased ability to fight off cell damage can also lead to healthier, clearer skin, and can even prevent the signs of aging from taking hold.
Intermittent fasting can improve your digestive system.
Intermittent fasting can also be beneficial for your digestive system when done correctly. Giving your body a break from digesting allows it to detox and balance out the flora in your stomach. Through intermittent fasting, your body will adjust to your new cycle, training your gut to detox over time and result in fewer cravings.
It’s important to remember that fasting isn’t for everyone and that everyone’s metabolism is different. While many athletes like fasting, it’s still essential to create a plan for your meals and workouts. If you already struggle to get enough nutrients or have a health condition that interferes with your body’s digestive system, you may also want to stay away from fasting. Always consult with a health professional before fasting if you have concerns. However, if you are looking to give your mind and body a detox, intermittent fasting is a great strategy to try.