7 Facts You Should Know About Intermittent Fasting

It’s recognised as one of the most effective diets for weight loss, but before you dive in head first, here are some facts you should know before you start an intermittent diet.

1. There are many variations of intermittent

There’s the popular 5:2 diet, where you eat normally for five days and restrict yourself to just 500 calories for the remaining two, which is great for socialites who can’t diet every day. 

There’s also the 16:8 diet, where you eat whatever you want for 8 hours of the day then fast for 16 hours, which sounds easier than it actually is. 

There are other variations like the 12:12 method and plans where you stop eating in the early afternoon, aiming to consume your kilojoules earlier in the day for better weight loss.

2. It works by calorie restriction, just like other diets

You’ll probably lose weight, but it will most likely be due to kilojoule restriction. 

Most of the emerging science has found that people who lost weight by fasting probably did so because they were eating less kilojoules overall, rather than because of the fasting itself.

3. Fasting earlier in the day makes it more effective

If you start your fast earlier in the evening you’ll be eating more during the day and less at night when your body doesn’t need as much energy. 

This is a bonus, as your metabolism slows in the evenings. 

Insulin production also increases at night, so if you eat late at night, your blood glucose is likely to be much higher and you won’t burn off kilojoules as effectively.

4. The store is shut

You’re giving yourself a cut-off time to stop eating. 

Think of it as “the store is closed” when you feel like reaching for those moreish peanut M&M’s while you watch TV. 

5. You’re going to get hangry

Get used to being hangry. Particularly with diets like the 5:2 where you can only eat 500 calories a day. 

This is the equivalent of two boiled eggs and a grilled tomato for breakfast, a can of tuna in spring water with lettuce leaves for lunch, 100g poached chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner and a small tub of yoghurt

6. You’ll want to binge

If you try the 16:8 approach and fast for a long period of time each day, your blood sugar levels might drop and you could find yourself wanting to binge on anything you set your sights on.

7. It can be hard to fit into your social life

Intermittent fasting diets are difficult to maintain, and time-restricted eating is hard to fit into a social life. Ask yourself if this diet is really going to fit into your social calendar.

If you’re wondering if intermittent fasting is right for you, consider what your goals are and what your lifestyle is like. Are you the kind of person who needs a solid brekkie, lunch and dinner plus snacks to keep you going? 

Would you be prepared to feel a bit off for a couple of days a week because your brain doesn’t have the fuel it’s used to having?  

Find out what works for you, but remember that getting ripped and sustaining a diet only works when you make a complete lifestyle change. 

You’ve got to make sure that whatever you sign up to do, it’s going to work for you in the long term. 

This article first appeared in Fitness First magazine.

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