Intermittent fasting is a weight loss technique that relies on managing calorie intake and limiting the hours during which eating can take place. There are a large number of similar regimes available but this method – involving fasting from all food consumption for 16 hours and only eating within an 8-hour time frame each day – is one of the most popular. A simple example of this form of IF would mean that you may eat between the hours of 06:00 – 14:00 each day but must fast from all solids during the hours after 14:00, only allowing yourself to drink water, as well as tea or coffee with no added sugar (avoiding all sugar substitutes during the fasting period is essential as sugar substitutes consumption will stimulate the body into feeling hungry for more sugar). Simply put, this means missing out on your evening meal, with the thinking being that missing a single meal will lower the overall calorie intake for that day, and if continued for a number of consecutive days, body weight will decrease. Nonetheless, the success of the regime differs from person to person, with some losing a significant amount of weight, while others hardly losing any. That success depends on a number of factors, including the following situations:
1. Fasting too much
This meaning that the person is not eating enough within the 8-hour window, causing their body to enter a hibernating state whereby metabolism slows down, and there is an increase of energy stored in the form of fat. Hence, people on this diet should ensure they eat a balanced diet consisting of the 5 main food groups, including proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, as well as vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables. In conclusion, the eating hours should consist of a healthy diet in moderation with no one food type being over consumed.
2. Eating too much
Overeating to compensate for the fasting period, for instance, eating 2-3 bowls of rice to ensure you don’t feel hungry during the fast. Such a practice is due to misconceptions surrounding feelings of hunger during the fast. However, it is an unavoidable fact that if we are to lose weight, we are bound to feel hungry at some points. I, personally, eat a normal plate of food for breakfast and lunch followed by some fruit as a dessert.
3. Avoiding sugar at all costs
Eating sugar during an intermittent fasting regime could result in symptoms synonymous with sugar addiction, hence people with a sweet tooth usually find it difficult to fast successfully. Symptoms include feeling extremely hungry, as well as experiencing tiredness and exhaustion that can only be relieved by eating, meaning that people in these categories often overeat. Said symptoms tend to last around 1 week but if they can be overcomed, the fasting periods become much more manageable as the hunger dissipates completely. Generally, people who fail at intermittent fasting, do so due to their sugar addiction flaring up during the fast periods.
4. Having late nights
People who normally go to sleep late are already at greater risk of obesity due to the hormones responsible for repairing damaged cells and making us feel full wearing off before they get to sleep. This often results in night owls getting hungry late at night, eating sugary snacks, and eventually becoming overweight. For a good night’s rest, we should be sleeping no later than 22:00.
5. Not exercising
Weight reduction is not only about limiting calorie intake as it also relies on increasing the body’s metabolism. Thus, we should try to strengthen and build muscles to ensure that our weight does not yo-yo subsequent to our fasting regime.
6. Feeling hungry during the fast
Drink water, black coffee or black tea as the bitter taste will help you overcome your hunger.
The information provided here forms the basic foundation upon which intermittent fasting is built. Nevertheless, the problems and obstacles facing each individual will differ significantly. Those with chronic health disorders should consult their regular doctor prior to undertaking any dietary regime to ensure they can do so safely. Another crucial aspect is a detailed vitamin level assessment or hormonal analysis as these have the potential to enable higher levels of efficiency in terms of weight loss.
Residency training, Emergency Medicine, Nopparat Rajathani Hospial, 2008. Nopparat Rajathani Hospial , 1465