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During the spring and summer months, losing weight takes on a special priority for most people. During these warmer times of the year, it is much more likely that you will find yourself wishing to be able to take your shirt off at a beach or a pool, only to realize that you are too embarrassed because of the extra 10 or 15 pounds you are carrying around your midsection. Weight loss is generally a slow, steady process that takes place over multiple months, but most people are looking for an effective way to shed a few pounds before hitting the beaches this summer. Luckily, there is a relatively easy way to lose some weight fairly quickly. This method is intermittent fasting.
Simply put, intermittent fasting is the process of strategically depriving your body of food for certain periods of time. While this may sound like a starvation diet, the two are nothing alike. An intermittent fasting routine still allows you to get all of the calories and nutrients you need to be healthy, while at the same time making it much easier to maintain a caloric deficit and lose weight. Intermittent fasting can be done in a number of different ways. Some people prefer to eat regularly five days per week and fast for 24 full hours on the other two days. Others will fast every day for 16 hours and consume all of their calories in the remaining eight. Still others will fast for 20 hours and eat for only four hours in a given day. There are any number of ways to achieve a fasted state, but the key point is that you avoid eating for a full 12 hours at some point.
Contrary to popular belief, weight loss is a fairly simple proposition. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. Many people, however, find it difficult to force their bodies to dip into stored fat for energy. This is where intermittent fasting comes in. By avoiding consuming any calories for 12 hours of more, you can force your body to draw on the energy that has been stored in the form of fat cells in order to perform its basic functions. Doing light cardio during this fasting period can amplify this effect, making your body burn even more fat to fuel a high-energy activity.
Intermittent fasting also makes keeping your calories under a control a much easier and more enjoyable process. If your body burns 2,500 calories per day and you have decided to restrict yourself to 2,000 calories consumed each day, that only gives you 667 calories to work with per meal on a three meal plan. Needless to say, 667 calories isn't very much and you'll have a hard time ever feeling full on such light meals. Now, suppose you skip eating breakfast and only eat lunch and dinner. Now, you can have a full 1,000 calorie meal for each of those two, which will leave you much more satisfied. If you wanted to, you could even eat a light lunch of 500 calories and be able to fill yourself up completely at dinner with a 1,500 calorie meal. Instead of feeling hungry constantly on three light meals per day, intermittent fasting can allow you to enjoy large, satisfying meals without actually consuming any more calories.
Aside from weight loss, intermittent fasting has some fairly remarkable health benefits. Studies have shown that regular fasting can reduce blood pressure, as well as increase insulin sensitivity. Fasting also results in a marked increase in HGH, or human growth hormone, which makes it much easier to retain and even build muscle during a period of weight loss. Intermittent fasting is even connected to cognitive benefits, as it causes the body to release BDNF, a neural chemical factor that assists in the formation of new neural pathways in the brain and can increase both focus and overall cognitive function. These are just a few of the many peripheral health benefits that studies have linked to fasting.
While there are many ways to approach weight loss, intermittent fasting is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to go about shedding your extra pounds. Remember, even though you want to lose weight quickly, don't go overboard. Depriving yourself too much can have adverse effects on your health and make it impossible to maintain your diet for very long. Generally speaking, two pounds of weight loss per week is a good target. If you want to try a more extreme weight loss plan, you should consult with a physician before starting.