Among the more popular modern trends, intermittent fasting as a form of diet and weight loss strategy is not, in fact, a new concept. People have been fasting since ancient times, tracing back thousands of years at least. While some feel that fasting is the best approach, it should be noted that this highly depends on the person.
There are individual metabolic factors such as thyroid function and lifestyle factors to consider. For example, if you are overweight due to a hypothyroid condition, or if you generally consume pop and fast food, tobacco and alcohol, but fast intermittently in between, you must understand that fasting is not necessarily going to have much of an impact on your weight.
Always assess your overall state of health and diet/exercise routine before jumping into a fasting program. That being said, intermittent fasting is definitely a valid approach. American fitness author Mark Sisson’s book, The Primeval Blueprint, is an excellent resource to for intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting offers a myriad of varying styles and methods, but two approaches in particular work well:
The 16/8 Protocol
This method involves changing your eating habits. Obviously, for at least 8 hours overnight, you don’t generally consume food, but during the other 16 hours of the day you eat at least 3 meals and probably a few snacks or smoothies. However with the 16/8 Protocol, you would skip breakfast and go straight to lunch. Additionally, you would stop eating altogether around 9 o’clock at night.
The 24-Hour Fast
Popularized by Canadian fasting guru Brad Pilon (author of Eat, Stop, Eat) this is perhaps the simplest dietary and fasting method of all time: you only eat every second day, or just don’t eat for 2 days out of every week.
So which method is best for you? That again depends on your lifestyle, job, overall health, etc. Moreover, you need to remember to maintain your calorie intake in between fasting. Why? Because you are voluntarily depriving your body of food, which will have a huge impact on your strength and immune system if you don’t follow up with a healthy diet and take in the necessary nutrients for daily survival between fasts. Example: if you follow Brad Pilon’s strategy, you need to be taking in raw fruits and vegetables, legumes or meats, and other healthy foods such as milk, almond milk or soy, etc., on the days when you’re not fasting.
Vitamin supplements are another tool to consider, but do not be deceived into believing these alone will be sufficient to replace good foods. The human body doesn’t absorb vitamins from these supplements anywhere near as well as it does from food itself (one example is iron pills; you can get more iron from one tablespoon a day of black strap molasses than you ever could from a supplement, most of which are also difficult to digest).
Whatever you choose, be sure to do your research first and consult a medical or holistic practitioner for advice when needed.