You’ve probably tried many different strategies to lose that belly fat and become healthier. Perhaps, you did many gym workouts, followed professional tips from experts, or even tried starvation. All those strategies likely required diligent calorie counting and countless hours in the gym.
But, what if you could achieve the same goal without so much effort?
You can with intermittent fasting.
Many people who’ve tried it have been amazed by the positive impact on their bodies. Despite having the term ‘fasting,’ it’s less about how much you eat and more about when you eat.
However, remember that what you eat is always an important factor in any weight-loss plan. You certainly need a well-balanced diet, especially rich in essential vitamins.
But, you’re probably wondering how it’s possible to lose weight without focusing on cutting down your food intake, and only skipping a few hours in between meals.
Well, this guide explains how it works, the different options available, and how to apply it.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Different misconceptions about intermittent fasting exist.
One such misconception is calling it a diet.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet because it doesn’t restrict the types of food you eat. Instead, it offers a well-designed pattern to schedule your meals so your body can fully utilize the nutrients. It gives you control on when to eat and when not to eat, rather than obsessing about calorie intake.
You can use different strategies to help you effectively schedule your meals. One effective strategy is using an app like the BetterMe app. This helps you maintain your meal schedule while focusing on your everyday activities.
Intermittent fasting is quite different from weight-loss diets and fitness plans which can reduce your muscle mass along with the fat.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t affect your muscle mass. In fact, a 2011 study found that intermittent calorie restriction (intermittent fasting) may be more effective in lean mass retention.
Therefore, the intermittent fasting schedule simply helps you get rid of some of that excess weight.
What makes it even better is that it doesn’t require a major behavioural change. Simply scheduling your meals is far easier than checking your calories during each meal or searching for specific types of foods.
Why Intermittent Fasting is Good for Your Body
Intermittent fasting isn’t just useful for weight loss. It also offers a wide range of benefits, ranging from simply being less stressful to reducing the risk of adverse health conditions.
The BetterMe app can help you get all those benefits by guiding you in the weight-loss program.
Here are the benefits you can expect.
Easier than Dieting
If you’ve ever gone through a dieting plan, you know how challenging it can be. Besides, changing to a new meal plan and cutting down your food intake may not work. Weight-loss and getting healthy isn’t always about what or how much you eat.
Changing when you eat is more effective.
Once you understand the process, you’ll find it incredibly easy. Better still, you don’t need to constantly check your meal schedule if you use an app like BetterMe. The app provides useful features that help you to always stay up-to-date with your meal schedules.
That’s much easier than diet plans which may require special types of foods which you cannot easily find. And, you might not enjoy the new meals or feel less motivated to follow the diet plan.
At first glance, an intermittent fasting schedule may seem like a big challenge. However, it’s much simpler to schedule your meals for specific times than to fight the food cravings you typically experience when you cut down your carbs in a diet plan.
You may not face any food cravings with intermittent fasting which lets you eat your normal everyday meals at set intervals. As long as you eat in moderation, the weight-loss program can work for you.
Good for Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting may be the key to weight loss.
This has been proven in a study which shows that insulin levels in your body drop when you eat less at specific times. Respondents in the study experienced an increased capacity to burn fat during the intermittent fasting periods.
You can schedule a 24-hour fast on alternate days or shorter fasting periods. As you do this continually for a long period, your insulin levels drop and you lose more weight when you burn fat.
Additionally, you’ll end up consuming fewer calories with this strategy.
Consistency is critical to achieving those results. That’s why an app like BetterMe can be a valuable and helpful tool. It has easy on-boarding options to help you get started the right way, as well as a wide choice of well-researched meal options with directions on when to eat.
May Reduce the Risk of Adverse Health Conditions
As you practice intermittent fasting, it helps you control your insulin levels and manage your weight. In turn, that helps you avoid obesity and prevent many of the related health conditions that arise from obesity.
Obesity causes an increased risk of:
- heart disease
- increased cholesterol levels
- high blood pressure
Simply by preventing obesity through intermittent fasting, you’ll manage to avoid all those health conditions.
However, just like every weight management program, intermittent fasting isn’t suitable when you already have certain health conditions. It’s advisable to consult your doctor concerning your health and safety, if you have any health condition.
Fasting Intermittently is Less Stressful
The beauty of intermittent fasting is the simplicity of this weight-management strategy.
In contrast, a diet plan or calorie counting can get quite complicated and stressful. You need to be extremely careful about what you eat and how much you eat during each and every meal. That makes it less likely that you’ll be consistent with the plan, especially when you get food cravings.
In contrast, intermittent fasting simply focuses on scheduling your meals.
In fact, you don’t need to be worried about skipping your meals when you use the BetterMe app to schedule the meals. Apart from notifying you of meal schedules, the app also offers useful meal suggestions to make your schedule more effective.
Since intermittent fasting may mean missing just one meal, it’s much easier to follow compared to complete fasting. And that’s one meal less to worry about cooking.
Can Increase Longevity
If you want to live a long and healthy life, you’ll be glad to know that intermittent fasting can help with that too.
A study on rats showed the potential of animals living longer through intermittent fasting. The same thing may also apply to humans, since it’s a similar process based on reduced calorie intake.
Since intermittent fasting limits your calorie intake within certain periods, your body adapts to keep you going. The potential effect is longer life and a slower aging process.
How to Implement Intermittent Fasting
In order to get the maximum benefit from intermittent fasting and avoid unnecessary mistakes, you must follow the right preparation steps.
Most importantly, always consider your health first at every step, which is critical in getting the most benefit.
Once you start on the program, BetterMe app can provide multiple fasting options, so you can find one that works best for you.
With that in mind, here’s how to implement intermittent fasting.
See a Doctor
Without good health, any weight management program may not work for you.
Therefore, consider your health status before starting out on intermittent fasting. If you have such medical conditions as diabetes or high blood pressure, first consult your doctor.
Also, some medications should not be taken while fasting. Therefore, ask your doctor if you should proceed with intermittent fasting while on medication.
Even if you get the go ahead to proceed but thereafter feel unwell, it’s wise to stop immediately and seek medical help promptly.
Choose Easy Options
Avoid being overconfident when starting this program. You may cause more harm than good by going overboard.
If this is your first time, always start with the easy fasting options. The BetterMe app is quite useful in this regard, providing multiple plans ranging from easy to more challenging options. You can conveniently select one that suits your ability.
This doesn’t just apply to the fasting part, but also the meals.
Since your diet isn’t restricted, you can generally eat your usual meals. The most important consideration is to get enough nutrients and fluids. Also try to limit foods with unhealthy components like high levels of saturated fats, sugar, and salt.
The rule of thumb is to go for a healthy balanced diet – not processed foods like diet soda. If you need a drink to stay hydrated, water and fruit juice are better healthy options.
To keep you going from start to end, focus on your intended goal. Do you want to lose weight, avoid harmful health conditions, or to live longer? As you focus on your goals, the BetterMe app will guide you in implementing the program.
Schedule the Days and Times
Intermittent fasting schedules are flexible enough to fit within your normal meal schedules.
Therefore, you can set your eating times based on your usual meal schedules. Since you’re already used to that schedule, it will be much easier to follow. And you’ll be less likely to forget your eating times.
You should also choose eating times that you’re comfortable with. For example, you may prefer having your first meal at 1 pm and your second meal at 8 pm.
The days of the week that you choose can also influence the success of your schedule.
Most experts recommend weekdays since you’ll typically focus on your everyday activities instead of thinking about food which can break your routine. However, you can select the days that work best for you, or simply settle for time-restricted eating.
Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself
Remember that lapses are normal.
If you break your routine, don’t get disappointed and beat yourself up over it. You might just need to adjust your schedule to properly fit your specific situation, and you’ll easily get back on track.
Moreover, the BetterMe app is designed to provide multiple options from which you can select one that works for you. This can help you achieve the success you desire.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
You’ll find this option on the BetterMe app, and it happens to be the most popular and effective schedule.
The 16/8 intermittent fasting option can work in either of two ways:
- skip breakfast, eat only lunch and dinner plus a small snack
- skip dinner, eat only breakfast and lunch plus a small snack
Alternate-day fasting is only challenging on the days when you fast, since it’s coupled with normal eating days.
Many people who want to lose weight use this system. It’s particularly beneficial to obese adults.
After a four-week period, you’ll experience an intense feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Weekly 24-Hour Fasting
With this plan, you can fast during a 24-hour period either once a week or once a month.
Since it’s just one day of fasting in a week or month, it’s useful for someone who is new to intermittent fasting. Even though it suits beginners, it does have a major impact since you’ll significantly reduce your calorie intake.
During the 24-hour fast, you can eat dinner on Wednesday and stay without eating anything else until dinner on Thursday.
It requires a bit of mental toughness to go through the 24-hour fasting period. However, when you look at the bigger picture, it’s only 24 hours in a whole week or month. Plus, the BetterMe app can provide valuable resources to help you go through this routine.
This is a daily time-restricted eating pattern. It provides a narrow 8-hour period within which you can eat.
Ultimately, you’ll be missing one meal each day.
You can choose the most suitable time to start the 8-hour period, for example:
- starting at 9 am and stopping at 5 pm
- starting at 8 am and stopping at 4 pm
Since the plan only restricts the duration within which you can eat and not a specific time, you can schedule it to suit your daily routine. For instance, you can schedule it to ensure that you’re not fasting during leisure times with your family.
Since you’ll fast every day, the BetterMe app can help you stay up-to-date with your schedule.
Here, you’ll fast during nighttime periods, for a duration of 12 hours. You’ll likely be asleep during the fasting hours, making this a comfortable intermittent fasting plan.
Just because it’s comfortable doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective. This plan is also called autophagy fasting due to the 12-hour period that helps your body clean out damaged cells and regenerate newer healthier ones.
The BetterMe app provides notifications that you can set for the start and end times of your fasting periods. You can start at 7 pm and end at 7 am when you take breakfast.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fasting Intermittently
Can Women Fast Intermittently?
Both male and female bodies can handle the challenge of intermittent fasting.
Both men and women can get the fat-burning benefit of intermittent fasting, but the specific results may differ as revealed in a 2005 study.
Therefore, take note of your personal physical response to the program so you can follow a plan that works best for you. That’s why the BetterMe app provides multiple options for different users with different needs.
Is It Okay to Skip Breakfast When Fasting?
Breakfast is probably more important than lunch or dinner. Skipping breakfast during intermittent fasting would be counterproductive if you then overeat during any of the other meals.
Therefore, you shouldn’t have a big lunch to make up for the skipped breakfast. If you can’t effectively manage the routine, it may be best to try a different plan that doesn’t require skipping breakfast.
With this extensive guide, you now have an in-depth understanding of intermittent fasting, how to do it, and why it’s good for you.
This information will be far more valuable once you apply it. That’s where the BetterMe app comes in to provide a range of useful features to help you get the most from the fasting routine.
Moreover, you can make your weight-loss program even more effective by complementing it with a workout program.
Here are a few splendid workout ideas you can apply from this 20 Minute Full Body Workout at Home.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!