Intermittent fasting remains a popular way of eating for those who are looking to make positive changes to their health. Be this to either lose or maintain weight, learn how to manage appetite, improve metabolic health, or perhaps even live longer – the evidence in all these areas is accumulating. But what exactly is intermittent fasting and how does it work?
If you were to google the term, several different methods on how to ‘fast intermittently’ will show up. And whilst all of them will essentially encompass a period of fasting during normal waking hours (as opposed to the fasting that we undertake at night whilst we’re sleeping before we have our ‘break-fast’), the execution of each, will be slightly different. And as for which one you should undertake – well that all depends on what works best for you.
“…you still end up with the same energy deficit at the end of the week, but without the continued restrictions on eating, or feelings of deprivation, every…single…day. “
For example, you may have heard of the 5:2 plan; arguably a very well-known method during which you reduce your energy intake down to just 500-600kcal for two days per week, whilst consuming your normal number of calories on the remaining five. This type plan, is, for some people, an easier approach than the traditionally recommended ‘cut five hundred calories’ every day method (i.e. traditional dieting) because you still end up with the same energy deficit at the end of the week, but without the continued restrictions on eating, or feelings of deprivation, every…single…day.
Or perhaps you’ve heard of the ‘spontaneous skipped meal’ plan? A mouthful indeed, but it is just what it sounds like. You simply skip proper meals from time to time, like when you don’t fancy breakfast, don’t have time for lunch, or are too busy running errands or the kids around in the evening during what would be dinnertime. A rather random approach certainly, but this is simply a way of describing spontaneous fasting behaviour, which many of us do without even thinking about it. And ultimately, whilst it’s probably not a very effective approach for weight loss (if that’s your goal), it’s still enough to reap some of the metabolic benefits of fasting, if you do it a few times a week.
And then of course we have ADF, or the ‘alternate day fasting’ approach – the original and first method of fasting to be scientifically investigated in humans, and for which there is lots of data showing its benefits on weight loss and improvements in metabolic health. ADF is where you consume a normal, energy-balanced diet one day, followed by a severely calorie restricted day (500-600kcal intake) the next. And so on and so forth – usually amounting to at least three fasting days per week.
Bearing in mind these different approaches so far, this is where our scientifically-driven, yet unique Fast Philosophy, comes into play! By splitting your week into ‘Fast days’ and ‘Smart days’, what you have is a plan that works around you and fits into your lifestyle, but still ensures first-class nutrition!
“Our bodies are well equipped to handle longer periods of famine…”
You simply chose your LighterLife products for the designated Fast days which work for you. On your remaining Smart days you can enjoy 2 x 300kcal meals and 1 x 100kcal snack, ideally high in protein and lower in carbs, as well as a meal of your choosing. Find inspiration for healthy, balanced dishes as well as weekly meal plans on our website. It really is that easy, and it’s incredibly effective too and most importantly, you can still enjoy that lunch date with your friend, or dinner with the family if that’s what you have planned.
Finally, one key thing to remember is that it’s a myth that people need to eat every few hours lest they hit ‘starvation mode’ or ‘lose muscle’. Our bodies are well equipped to handle longer periods of famine, let alone being able to endure the odd day of energy restriction or missing the odd meal here or there. Last of all, don’t kid yourself that you can simply eat and drink whatever you like on your ‘non-fast’ days. We don’t advocate that you do this, and the science doesn’t either, which is why we call them smart days for a reason.
Ultimately, a healthy balanced diet overall, that fits in with your lifestyle, is really the order of the day for a successful intermittent fasting plan.
Discover more about our approach to mindfulness and our product range at www.lighterlife.com/lighterlife-fast/