In a world where people have access to food 24/7, fasting seems like a task that not everyone would like to do. It would be challenging for a person to cut down on eating food because they have hearty meals three times a day. Not to mention the quick bites everyone in between meals. However, constantly eating during the day may not be exceptionally good to maintain a healthy body. This is where the concept of intermittent fasting comes into light. Intermittent fasting- also called interval fasting- involves setting a specific time or day(s) to take in calories and not eating other than the specified time. There are many ways to fast intermittently, but this blog will focus specifically on 16/8 intermittent fasting.
What exactly is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
In simple words, 16/8 intermittent fasting is where you fast for 16 hours a day and eat food in an 8-hour period. It may sound difficult to follow- how can one fast for 16 hours? But most of the 16 hours will be spent while sleeping, so fasting for 16 hours is not overwhelming. During the eating period, there are no restrictions on how many calories one should take. That said, eating nutritious food that is low in fat content is recommended, without overeating. But during the fasting period, limiting yourself to plenty of water (or even black coffee) is necessary. Note that the beverages you consume during the fasting period should be unsweetened.
The Approach: How do you start 16/8 intermittent fasting?
As a good start, many prefer to follow an eating period between 9 am to 5 pm, and fast for the rest of the day. Following this routine gives you the comfort of having your usual three meals a day. Start with an early breakfast at 9 am, have lunch at around noon, and dinner at 4 pm. The 9 to 5 eating window is a convenient intermittent fasting plan for many. However, some prefer to skip breakfast. In that case, having an eating period from around 11 pm to 7 pm will help. In any case, eating a nutrient-rich breakfast and lunch and having light snacks for dinner is beneficial for your body during the eating period. During the fasting period, keeping yourself hydrated is extremely important. Having unsweetened beverages also works.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of 16/8 Intermittent fasting
If you aim to lose weight, 16/8 intermittent fasting might be the best start for you. It does not require you to starve yourself or follow a strict diet plan severely, it is considered a much easier way to lose weight. However, research is still in progress to prove that 16/8 intermittent fasting helps in significant weight loss. Nevertheless, it is an excellent start for your weight loss journey.
16/8 intermittent fasting also helps keep in check sugar levels and blood pressure and might help reduce the risks of getting diabetes. Moreover, many studies have shown that 16/8 intermittent fasting helps overall brain function and eliminates the possibility of getting a heart attack. Although there are benefits, 16/8 comes with its own drawbacks. Common symptom after one starts intermittently fasting is fatigue, nausea, and vomiting sensations. Since the body needs to get used to the new eating style, initial distress is common among beginners.
Can everyone start intermittent fasting?
Not everyone can follow 16/8 intermittent fasting. People with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or other eating disorders should try and refrain from intermittent fasting. Pregnant women should also not fast intermittently. It would deprive the baby of the required nutrients and hence is not recommended.
Ultimately, Fasting equals Fitness.
If followed correctly and consistently, 16/8 fasting can help boost metabolism and overall health. It is a safe way to lose weight and helps with maintaining a good eating lifestyle. Compared to other intermittent fasting plans, the 16/8 approach is the easiest way to start the fitness journey. Our ancestors have made our bodies evolve into fasting intermittently since they did not have access to food 24/7 and went hungry during the nights. If the same idea is replicated in our daily lives, it might help solve major and minor health problems. It provides a solution where everyone benefits for you and your body. Your body is not food-deprived, and you are happy with your body. If you plan to fast intermittently, talk to your healthcare provider beforehand.