Losing weight without food restrictions seems almost too good to be true. Find out if intermittent fasting is really for you.
Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular weight loss method that makes use of eating and fasting periods to regulate your caloric intake – some people limit their eating period to just eight hours a day while others may fast two days a week for instance. Unlike other diets, intermittent fasting doesn’t tell you what to eat; instead, it emphasises on when you should eat. According to a study published in the Science Daily journal, fasting is an effective way to lose weight and lower blood pressure. But before you hop on the bandwagon, here are the side effects you should prepare yourself for.
(Also read: Is Intermittent Fasting A Good Way to Lose Weight?)
Many people choose to embark on intermittent fasting because the idea of being able to eat anything and still lose weight seems attractive. Before you start feasting to curb your hunger when your fast is over, bear in mind that the calories still matter. It’s important to still have a balanced diet if you do not want your fasting efforts to go down the drain.
Going for hours without food makes it harder to keep your mind off it. Chances are, you’ll be busy counting down the minutes before the next time you can eat and that can be a painful process. It’s also normal for your body to start craving for sugary and fatty foods.
(Also read: How Fasting Can Be Good For You)
When your body is used to eating regularly, starting on intermittent fasting might result in some serious hunger pangs. The hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for making us feel hungry will peak during the times you are used to eating. It gets especially tough if you have to push your breakfast back as your body will not be used to you running empty in the mornings. That’s when the hanger (hunger-anger) kicks in, increasing your irritability.
It’s common to feel a little sluggish at the start as your body is not getting its usual source of fuel. When that happens, try to stick to light activities and keep your day relaxed. But that doesn’t mean you have to abstain from workouts completely. Going for light exercises while your body is getting used to the fasting can actually help give you a boost in energy levels. Check out these low-impact exercises that will still torch those calories.
(Also read: 6 Crazy Diets That Do More Harm Than Good)
Restricting your diet can reduce your body’s overall core temperature, causing you to feel cold more easily than before. According to a study published in Aging journal, adults who were under a caloric restriction of around 1769 calories experienced a reduction in core body temperature compared to adults who consumed an average of 2300 calories.
How to stick to the diet
Like any type of diet, you shouldn’t expect to see results overnight. Exercise patience and you will start reaping its benefits. When you feel the urge to eat, try filling yourself up with water or a low-calorie snack instead. You can also keep yourself busy to distract yourself from the desire to eat. Alternatively, go on this diet with a friend so that you can keep each other in check. It’s also comforting to know that someone is going through the process with you.
And instead of diving head first into a 16 hour fast, ease your body into it by starting slow. For instance, go for a 12 hour fast between 9pm and 9am and slowly increase it by one hour each week. That being said, it’s important to know that intermittent fasting may not be for everyone. If you’re unsure of anything or have certain medical conditions, always check in with a doctor or dietician. And when intermittent fasting starts to get in the way of your everyday life, you may need to reduce your fasting hours or stop fasting altogether.
(Also read: Why Crash Diets Don’t Work)