It almost seems taboo to say but most Americans simply eat too much. With easy access to unhealthy fast food and rising costs of healthy, fresh food, it’s not hard to see how people regularly consume too many calories. Pair this with the fact that most people do not get the recommended amount of daily exercise needed to burn off excess calories, and it’s no wonder that we have an obesity problem.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a somewhat challenging habit that can assist someone looking to improve their overall health and lose weight. The concept is rather simple and there are several approaches one can take. The simplest method, and the one that has helped me, is the eating window approach: set a limited time frame for eating each day and stick to it. Ideally, you begin with an 8 hour window for eating, between noon and 8pm, for example. Your ultimate goal should be a 6 or 7 hour window in order to enjoy the full effects of IF. Outside of this time frame, only allow yourself to drink water, black coffee, or plain tea–that’s it. Intermittent fasting does not dictate that you eliminate specific kinds of foods, only that you limit the time span in which you ingest them. However, eating high-calorie foods within your eating window could defeat the purpose of fasting at all.
Trust the Process
This plan of attack works as a double-edged sword in your battle for better health. By reducing the waking hours that you allow yourself to eat, you not only lower your caloric intake but you also force yourself to be conscious of any food that you take in. Eating becomes a reward that is earned by patiently adhering to your fasting time frame. This process will likely lead you to a more acute awareness of the food you decide to eat. In other words, foods that leave you feeling empty soon after eating, will become less desirable. As in all aspects of life, intermittent fasting will only give back what you put into it. Similarly, the longer that you stick with it, the easier it becomes to maintain.
Method in the Madness
The science behind why intermittent fasting helps is rooted in the eating habits of our forerunners. Ancient man did not have the easy access to food that we do. As a result, their bodies were capable of weathering long periods with little to no caloric intake. Our physiology is still similar to theirs, meaning that our bodies are capable of the same thing. The benefits of this kind of fasting stretch beyond just weight loss and include: increased metabolism, better insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation and more.
This newer method for losing weight has been steadily gaining traction in our modern world. As more and more individuals use Intermittent Fasting as a means for sustainable weight loss, its benefits and simplicity are making it one of the most attractive health trends. As someone trying to improve my general health, I use intermittent fasting to control my calorie intake and enhance my weight loss goals, and my results are worth sharing. Coupled with several other personal health improvements, I’ve used intermittent fasting to lower my caloric intake and began seeing significant results in only 3 weeks. While it was difficult to start the process, like all other habits, it became second nature sooner rather than later.
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