Is intermittent fasting right for you?

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For some people, weight loss can be challenging, and they end up searching to find the best diet regimen. While cutting back on certain foods completely can be too tough of a task, fasting intermittently can be an option.

Normally, health insurance for young adults tends to be cheaper, but it may not be for those who struggle with healthy eating habits. A poor diet can lead to obesity, tooth decay, high blood pressure, cancer, and other health problems. 

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that comprises eating and fasting in cycles, making it easier to maintain a healthy relationship with food for a longer period of time. What you eat and when you eat are essential factors that play a role in your ability to lose weight. So for some, intermittent fasting is the best way to control their eating habits.

What exactly is intermittent fasting?

For starters, intermittent fasting is not a diet. It is a pattern of eating and a method of how you schedule your meals. People usually use specific periods at times to eat, which can fall within an eight- to 10-hour window. 

It is not considered a diet because it only notates the times that you should be eating and not what you should be eating. The fasting window can last from 16 hours to 24 hours or two times a week.

Fasting originates from at least the fifth century BCE with Greek Physician Hippocrates. According to Britannica, an online encyclopedia, these physicians “recommended abstinence from food or drinks for patients who exhibited certain symptoms of illness.”

Between then and now, fasting has been used for medical treatment, religious practices, and as a form of protest. However, using intermittent fasting to create a better relationship with food can be viewed as a form of medical treatment.

Why do people choose intermittent fasting?

People decide to take on intermittent fasting for several reasons, but they are usually conjoined with other lifestyle changes. Choosing to exercise, buying a standing desk for health benefits, or drinking more water are some lifestyle changes people pick up to help them lead a healthier life.

Aside from solely adopting a lifestyle change, here is a list of reasons people choose intermittent fasting:

  • Weight loss
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduce liver fat
  • Improve blood pressure
  • Improve glucose control
  • Increase endurance
  • Prevent cancer
  • Enhance motor coordination
  • Improve the quality of sleep

However, weight loss is the most common reason people fast intermittently. When you eat fewer meals, your calorie intake reduces and your hormone levels change to assist weight loss.

The decreased amount of food you eat over a certain amount of time with intermittent fasting increases your growth hormone levels and lowers insulin. Both instances cause the release of a fat-burning hormone called norepinephrine or noradrenaline.  

These changes in hormones increase your metabolic rate. Having high metabolism allows you to burn more calories than normal when you are at rest and when you are moving around. All of which makes intermittent fasting a good weight loss plan.

Maintaining a healthy weight can help you to live a better, happy life. Having a lower BMI can also affect your life insurance rates, which some people may not realize.

Different Types of Intermittent Fasting

There are a lot of different ways to do intermittent fasting, and that is what makes it a good option for people looking to change their eating habits. The abundance of intermittent fasting options gives you a chance to choose a pattern that works for your specific needs. Though there are more, here are five options:

#1 – Time-Restricted Fasting

This eating pattern option is when you choose an eating window every day. Outside of that eating window, you should have around 14 to 16 hours to fast. The amount of hours you choose fast depends on your sex. Women should stick to around 14 hours of fasting.

An example of this can be eating only between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. This type of window works best for those who work a 9-to-5 or who have a family with young children. Time-restricted fasting is not ideal for those who do not have a steady schedule.

#2 – Eat Stop Eat

Those who have a hectic schedule can benefit from this option because it is flexible and focuses on simply taking a break from food sometimes. You can choose to fast for 24 hours once or twice a week and then eat responsibly the rest of the week.

This type of fasting works great when paired with consistent weight training because you are fasting while not completely restricting your calorie intake. It also makes it easier to get through the week without quitting eating healthy.

#3 – 5:2 Fasting

This is probably the most popular route with intermittent fasting. It allows you to eat normally for five days without monitoring your calorie intake and then only eat 500 to 600 calories for the other two days within that week. You have the luxury of picking the two days you limit your caloric intake.

#4 – Alternate Day Fasting

Another popular option is choosing to eat about 500 calories one day and then eating normal, but responsibly, the next day. You simply alternate the day you fast and the day you do not fast, going back and forth between the two.

Though this is a popular choice, a common complaint with it is not feeling full throughout the week. 

#5 – Mix and Match Fasting

Choosing a different fasting option for every week or every other day gives you a way to be adventurous with this journey. This is great for those who are thrill-seekers or who get bored fast with doing the same thing over and over.

You can do time-restricted fasting for every other day, twice a week, every other week, or flip between this and 5:2 fasting every other week. How you choose to do so is up to you and your daily schedule.

How can I tell if the eating cycle is right for me?

If, after reading some options you have with intermittent fasting, you feel it can make your healthy lifestyle simpler, then it can be the right choice for you. You will never know for sure until you try. 

You may need to try various options with intermittent fasting before deciding if it is right for you, and after trial and error, you may even conclude that it is not best for you. Fitness and health apps may be useful in the beginning stages too.

If any of the benefits listed earlier can positively affect your quality of life, then giving this a try can be useful. However, if you are underweight or have a history of eating disorders, then you do not need to start this without speaking to your doctor first. 

You should also consult with your doctor if any of the following pertain to you:

  • Have low blood pressure
  • Take medications
  • Have diabetes
  • Are trying to conceive
  • Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea
  • Have problems with blood sugar regulation
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Last, you should keep in mind that an ordinary side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. Feeling hungry can lead to feeling weak or having slower intellectual performance. All of this may be temporary as your body takes time to adapt to your new eating habits.

Imani Francies writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, USInsuranceAgents.com. She earned a bachelor of arts in film and media and specializes in various forms of media marketing.

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