By now you’ve heard about Intermittent Fasting – or simply “IF” as I hear people here in Thailand say.
What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
You’ve already learned about some of the amazing benefits of fasting in general.
Thankfully you get many of those benefits from intermittent fasting. And the extent of those benefits depend on how you go about your intermittent fasting.
BUT… Before you get the answer to the question, “What is Intermittent Fasting?”, here’s a better question for you to answer:
What kinds of fasts are there?
What comes to mind when you think of different types of fasts?
When it comes to fasting in popular science and culture, there are a few different terms for fasting that are commonly used.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Probably the most common and popular of the terms is “Intermittent Fasting” or IF for short. People often use this term so it’s important to understand what it means.
As implied by the word “intermittent”, it means that you fast, stop and then fast again (intermittently). However, there are no specifics around when or how long you would fast.
Some people do IF for as little as 12 hours while others will fast for up to 24 hours at a time (generally eating just one meal during the day).
Thus, I think that, rather than simply using the term Intermittent Fasting, it’s better to specify what kind of fast you mean.
What is 5:2 Fasting?
The more traditional form of intermittent fasting was a modified fast of restricted calories (less than 500 calories) for two days out of every week. This type of fasting, referred to as “5:2” (as in 5 days of eating and 2 days of fasting) has been studied and shown to have many health benefits.
What is Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)?
ADF is another form of IF. And, just like the name implies, with this type of fast you will go without food (down to 500 calories or less, like in 5:2) every other day.
What is Time Restricted Eating (TRE) / Time Restricted Feeding (TRF)?
This is another type of IF and is pretty much just what it says… you are restricting the amount of time you spend eating (or feeding, as if you’re a dog!).
Note that TRE is generally practiced on a daily basis so it would probably make more sense to simply call it “daily fasting” (or DF). But, until that more logical term takes hold, it will still be under the umbrella of IF.
Once again, there don’t seem to be any hard or fast rules around this type of fasting. You are generally simply extending your overnight fast beyond 8 hours (and hopefully beyond 12 hours!) – so that you’re getting more of the benefits of being in a fasted state.
Sure, we could throw out all kinds of numbers for different eating and fasting windows but I’ll share some of the more popular ones.
What is 16:8 Fasting?
This is a style of TRE (or DF) in which you fast for 16 hours and eat within 8 hours. It was popularized by Martin Bekham of Leangains and is now what I see as the most popular choice for intermittent fasting.
In general when extending your overnight fast, people seem to stick to this schedule pretty much every day, making it a routine or habit.
Again, there are no rules when it comes to fasting. If you stick to it every day – or if you mix things up – is entirely up to you!
What are your fasting options?
As you’ve already learned, different types of fasting can generally be broken down in two ways:
1) by the length of the fast and
2) what is allowed to be consumed during the fast.
You’ll start by focusing on the timing of your fasts.
As you already learned, you are already fasting while you’re asleep. So this is nothing special and has no name – perhaps aside from sleep, rest and relaxation!
What’s your “minimum effective dosage” of fasting?
As you already learned, I like to start with what is sometimes referred to as the “minimum effective dose”. That is, it’s the minimum amount of effort required to get the benefit.
Think, for example, of sun tanning. When you’re in the sun and you want to get a tan, you need to be in the sun for at least a certain amount of time – perhaps, let’s say, 15 minutes.
But…if you stay in the sun for longer than 30 minutes, you start to burn. So the minimum effective dose in this case is 15 minutes.
For fasting it’s not quite as straight-forward as tanning; but you can apply the same principle (while keeping in mind that more is not always better!).
To find the minimum effective dose for fasting, it’s worthwhile to look at evidence that supports fasting benefits.
How can you free yourself from food?
Rather than thinking of fasting as something that might be challenging or something that instills fear in your being, I’d like for you to change your mindset on the subject of fasting…especially as you’re diving into it and experimenting with it yourself.
How so? Well… Rather than using the word “fasting” I like to replace it with something a bit more positive. Instead you’ll say:
“Freedom from food”
How does that sound? Because, let’s face it. When you’re not eating, you no longer have to spend time worrying about food, planning meals, preparing meals and eating.
This leads you to a good amount of free time…and, at the same time, takes the pressure and stress off of your mind that often arises with food.
Go ahead…give it a try. Try freeing yourself from food!
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Is fasting safe?
Hold on! We may be moving a bit too fast because many people ask:
Is fasting safe?
Fasting safety is something you’ll learn in the next update. Stay tuned…
What do YOU think about Intermittent Fasting?
Leave a comment – or a question – below…