Intermittent Fasting (IF) is not so much a diet as it is time management. Time-restricted food intake, that is. I eat a lot. I eat dangerously, too. Consuming sweets that are prohibited for a type 2 diabetic like me. I make sure that I eat only four hours a day. So far, so good. My 34-inch waistline is now 31. But my goal is to go down to 28 inches this 2019. Tough task ahead, I know.
The theory behind IF is to forgo calorie count and trigger instead the hunger hormone. By fasting, the body is suspended from doing its digestive work and does its other chores like healing some organs and tissues. To do this the body uses its reserve energy stored in your body fats.
There are many kinds of IF, which you might be able to follow. In the lingo of Intermittent Fasting, the thing I do is called the Warrior fast. They have this romantic notion that warriors, like Spartans, only ate for four hours a day. Of course, this could be no more than just conjecture. But it is fun and entertaining to think that you share some eating behavior with strong men from the past.
Here are popular types of IF:
1. Ground Zero (12-12). Simply put, you eat for 12 hours and not eat for 12 hours. This is supposed to be the norm. But we often violate it with midnight snacks and after-office drinking. This kind of fasting will not burn the fats you have, but it will keep you from gaining size and weight.
2. Starters (8-16). In this kind, you will eat for 8 hours and not eat for 16. Not as daunting if you think of it as a late breakfast and early dinner. On my part, I deemed it as no dinner. This is the basic intermittent fasting where your hunger hormones will be triggered. On the second day of this fast you will begin to differentiate hunger from craving. Craving is the bigger problem, the one that is harder to suppress. This is because of our acquired habits of eating. But stay on course and you will be able to control craving. As for real hunger, you would be surprised how your body easily adopts. Water is enough to keep hunger at bay.
3. Serious (6-18). This here is the fat burner. You will eat for 6 hours and fast for 18. This is the kind of fasting that will show results. Consider loose pants and funny waist flab in two months. How to get rid of the flab? Honestly, I don’t know. Still have a few rolls of it. Some suggest that you take up cardio activities. Swimming would be best I think as the water running against your movement will help shape your body. I am still looking for time to hit the pool though.
4. Warrior (4-20). This is my choice. In a day I eat for only 8 hours and then not eat for 20. (When I’m not so committed, I slip into 6-18 or, worse, 8-16.) This is time frame in the spectrum where you will get bursts of energy. Your stamina increases and move a bit quicker compared to your old self. Some claim to have mental clarity but I have not really quite experienced that. When you are in this IF time frame it would be good to coordinate with your doctor. Because if you are taking maintenance meds, the doctor might have to decrease dosage.
5. OMAD (One Meal a Day). Call this the Lifestyle fast. Many fitness gurus abide by this one. When I fall into starter frame I try to make up by doing OMAD the following Day. Going OMAD is my goal for the next two years. If you manage to do this, it’s certainly going to be good for your wallet, not to mention having extra time to sleep, work out, or socialize.
6. Five-Two (Or two 24-fasts a week). This is good for you if you need to bond with your loved ones during breakfast and dinner and then do a lot of working lunch with your boss. Or just choose one weekday for a full-day fast and another one during a weekend. At first it’s scary to think of 24-hour fasting, but soon you will realize that most of this thing called “hunger” is programmed by society in our minds.
7. Dry Fast (24 to 72 hours of no food, no imbibing of liquids, and no bath). Hardcore, this one. I have not tried it and don’t intend to in the near future. A quick look at YouTube will show many folks who hove tried and, well, are still alive (at least right after the fast). Total reboot is what the its practitioners call it. They think this is the process that takes away all the toxins from the body.
An important caution: Pregnant women and for growing children are firmly discouraged from Intermittent Fasting.