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Intermittent Fasting: A Woman's Diet Guide to Fat Loss

by Brenan Quirante(more info)

listed in weight loss, originally published in issue 233 - October 2016

Intermittent fasting is popular among people who want to lose some body fat. Intermittent fasting is not synonymous to ‘diet’, but rather, it’s a dieting pattern. Intermittent fasting is done when a person is consciously deciding to skip certain meals and resume eating again, and the pattern goes on. In simpler terms, intermittent fasting is all about ‘fasting then feasting’.

 

Intermittent Fasting 233 Brenan Quirante

 

It is natural for women to be conscious about their body. They go through different means to take care of their body; one of these is being very watchful with what they eat. Many women undergo different types of diet to stay healthy, and at the same time, feel good about their selves. In line with this thought, intermittent fasting is a must-try for women who keep an eyeful on their eating habits and with their intake of food. Intermittent fasting, being one of the most popular fitness and health trends as of today, is very useful for those who wants to improve their health, simplify their lifestyle, and could even have the bonus of getting or maintaining their ideal bodies. Read on and discover more about this trend, intermittent fasting and see if you can apply this in your lifestyle, too.

Intermittent Fasting Explained

So, what is Intermittent Fasting? As said earlier, it is an eating pattern which focuses on fasting then eating. Unlike dieting which is more focused on which foods you shouldn’t eat and should eat, intermittent fasting is more on when you should eat your food. You fast, and then after a few hours or so, you’ll feast on purpose. It’s like you’re eating your calories during a particular time of a day, and not eating any food during the rest of the day.

Some popular Intermittent Fasting Methods

  • 16/8 Method (also known as Lean gains Protocol), which is skipping breakfast then restricting the daily eating period to up to 8 hours. For example, 1 PM until 9 PM, then you’ll be fasting for 16 hours in between;
  • Eat-Stop-Eat, the most commonly used, involve fasting for full 24 hours, once or twice a week. For example, you will not be eating from dinner today until the next day’s dinner;
  • 5:2 Diet, which is all about eating only 500-600 calories on two days in a week (non-consecutive) and you’ll generally be eating for the other five days of the week.

How does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Usually, after eating a meal, your body will be spending a few hours in processing the food you just had. The food you just ate will make it easy for your body to burn energy. The energy from the food will be used instead of the fat you have stored. This is particularly the case if you just ate foods with carbohydrates and sugar in it. Your body will burn the sugar from the food and turn it into energy.

This is what happens when you are in the ‘fasting’ state: Your body doesn’t have any food to be processed and to be used as energy, so it will more likely use the stored fats in your body, instead of the glucose in your bloodstream, or the glycogen in your muscles or liver. Also, when you work out while you’re fasting, your body won’t have any available supply of glucose and glycogen since you haven’t had a meal yet. Your body will then be forced to find another source of energy, which is the stored fat in your cells.

Glycogen, the starch stored in the muscles and liver, which can also be burned as energy (if necessary), is depleted during the fasting or sleeping period where you have no intake of any food. Further depletion of glycogen happens during a workout, and will increase your insulin sensitivity. So when you have a meal immediately after a hard exercise, it will immediately and efficiently be stored as glycogen, and will also be burned as energy.

Your growth hormone also increases during fasting states (while sleeping and after a period of fasting). This increased growth hormone secretion combined with the decrease in insulin production (and increasing insulin sensitivity) will only mean that you’re making your body grow muscles and lose fat. And this is all thanks to intermittent fasting!

What Happens to my Body while Intermittent Fasting?

While you’re on intermittent fasting, there are many changes in your body, in particular on the cellular and molecular levels. Your hormone levels will change so that the stored body fats will be more accessible and ready for use since you have no food to be processed. Here are a few more of the changes that occur in your body while fasting:

  • The levels of your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) will skyrocket and increase a lot. This will be very beneficial for losing fat and gaining muscles;
  • Your insulin sensitivity will improve because your insulin levels will have a dramatic drop. Lower insulin levels mean making the stored body fats more accessible;
  • During fasting, your cells will do cellular repair processes. One example would be autophagy, where cells would digest and remove the old and dysfunctional proteins that have built up inside the cells;
  • There will also be changes in the function of genes which is related to longevity and protection against various diseases.

These changes in your hormonal levels, cell function, and gene expressions, are what make up the health benefits of having intermittent fasting.

Intermittent Fasting is Powerful for Weight Loss

The aim to lose weight is the most common reason why people try to do intermittent fasting. Eating fewer meals during intermittent fasting will automatically lead to the reduction of your calorie intake. Also, as said earlier, it changes the body’s hormone levels so that weight loss will be facilitated.

Aside from lower insulin levels and increased growth hormone levels, the release of a fat burning hormone called norepinephrine(also called as noradrenaline) is also drastically increased. Because of the many hormonal changes, fasting, even for just a short time, will increase your metabolic rate.

Intermittent fasting changes both sides of the so-called ‘calorie equation’. You eat less (which means lesser calories will get in your body), and you will burn more (which means that more calories will be out, and this will result in weight loss. 

The only thing that will most likely prevent someone from fully doing this intermittent fasting would be the mental barrier. This is the “I’d die if I can’t eat for 24 hours!” fears. Of course, not eating for long hours isn’t something that everyone is used to, so it will be hard at first.

What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Since intermittent fasting is very popular, it has garnered the curiosity of professionals, thus creating many studies on this topic. Conducted studies about intermittent fasting have shown that there are many powerful benefits for controlling your weight while maintaining the health of your body and brain. Listed below are the main health benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • Intermittent fasting will help you lose weight and belly fat without the need to be conscious with your calorie restriction;
  • Doing intermittent fasting can reduce your insulin resistance. It will also help lower your blood sugar and fasting insulin levels. All these will help you be protected against Type 2 Diabetes;
  • Some studies have shown significant reductions in the markers of inflammation (which are key drivers to many chronic diseases);
  • Intermittent fasting can improve heart health and reduce cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides and blood sugar. All of these are risk factors for developing heart diseases;
  • A few studies on animals regarding intermittent fasting showed that it might help in preventing cancer. As for humans’ case, there has been a study of cancer patients which has shown that fasting might reduce the side effects brought about by chemotherapy, especially when done before treatment. Another study has used alternate day fasting and concluded that doing so before chemotherapy may result in better cure rates and even fewer deaths;
  • Intermittent fasting improves brain health by increasing a brain hormone called Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It also aids in the growth of new nerve cells. It can also help protect you against the risks of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is also being currently studied as there is a ‘possible treatment’ with the use of Peak Nootropics Noopept. Supplements like Piracetam can also boost brain function;
  • A study on rats in line with intermittent fasting showed that it could extend lifespan. The rats involved in the study lived longer. Also, scientists have proven that calorie restriction is one way of lengthening life. So, by doing intermittent fasting, you can have the benefits of a longer life without starving yourself just to avoid calories;
  • Intermittent fasting will most likely make your day simpler. This is because when you’re fasting, for example, you decided to skip breakfast. You’ll wake up and not worry about breakfast anymore. Since intermittent fasting allows you to eat one less meal, that will be simpler for you: eat one less meal, plan one less meal, cook one less meal, and stress about one less meal. Simple!;
  • Intermittent fasting is so much easier that dieting. When you diet, there’s a possibility that it won’t be followed anymore over the long term. As for intermittent fasting, it’s very easy to implement since you’ll only have to think that you need to eat all the time (unlike in dieting where you’ll go very conscious of the amount and kind of food you eat);
  • Intermittent fasting requires less time, effort, and money. This is because you’d only have to prepare for fewer meals than what you’re used to.

These studies are still in the early stages, and there are only a few proven facts. Many of these are still in the process of being investigated and verified by scientists and the like. Although there are just limited anecdotes about intermittent fasting, be assured that it is safer than most weight loss plans and techniques.

What are the Disadvantages and Negative Effects?

Of course, where there are benefits, there would also be drawbacks to intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting will most likely lead to lower energy and focus. That “Ugh, I’m so hungry!” Feeling would always be there, too. Your body will probably get a shock in the transition of regular eating habits to intermittent fasting. But then again, once your body gets used to it, it can quickly adapt and start to function well despite the fact that you’ve eaten fewer meals than usual.

Intermittent fasting can also be difficult for some people who have problems with blood sugar regulation, hypoglycaemia, diabetes, etc. If you are planning to start on intermittent fasting and you happen to have some health problems, you should visit first your doctor or dietitian and discuss your plans.

Intermittent fasting is just perfect for women who want to maintain their healthy body while losing some unwanted fat, and getting leaner muscles at the same time. There are fewer risks when doing such fasting compared to actually engaging in diet plans. This is also very applicable to men, too.

Conclusion

So, when you finally decide to give intermittent fasting a go, just remember two things: research, and experiment. Research, in the sense that you’ll have to search up a few things about it, so you’ll know what to expect and not, and experiment by trying different fasting schedules and see for yourself which works best for you. Your body will give you the signals when it’s finally the right method that you’re using. Experiment and then follow what your body responds favourably to. You can also read forums and discussions about intermittent fasting. This will help you boost your confidence in what you’re about to do, and you’ll also be able to find answers as well as support from other people who’s also trying to do the same thing as you.

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About Brenan Quirante

Brenan Quirante is a publisher at Peak Nootropics, a blog dedicated to supplements that enhance brain function. Peak Nootropics supplement ensures benefits such as enhanced learning, improved  memory, increased motivation in workouts, and enhanced mood and much more. Connect with Peak Nootropics through  http://peaknootropics.com/     www.facebook.com/peaknootropics/;   https://twitter.com/peaknootropics

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