Intermittent fasting is a diet plan that relies on eating during a certain time period. In fact, instead of focusing on what you eat, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat. There is no specific foods you have to eat or not eat, instead you can eat anything you want as long as it is within a certain timeframe. The 16/8 intermittent fasting is one of the most popular style of fasting, it involves you limiting your intake of food and drinks that contain calories within a window of 8 hours each day. For the remaining 16 hours, you will be abstaining from food and only allowed to drink water or other 0 calories beverages.
I personally do 8/16 intermittent fasting everyday, I aim to fast for a minimum of 16 hours and sometimes I might even get to 20 hours of fasting. You can choose to do it occasionally or as frequently as you want, it all depends on your preference. I find that intermittent fasting is quite easy to do, all I have to do is skip breakfast and voila, I have pushed my eating window into 8 hours. Some of you guys might even find that you do that naturally!
The idea of intermittent fasting is that with a smaller window of eating you should be eating less. In the end, it is calories in and calories out. If you are doing this diet in the hopes of losing weight, it won’t make much of a difference if you are eating high calorie food and going over your caloric intake limit. You should not see this diet as a substitute for eating a balanced diet, what you eat matters too!
A review of studies have found that people generally lose 7-11 pounds in over 10 weeks when they stick to the intermittent fasting diet. Most people generally notice their weight loss when they have lost about 8 to 9 pounds. So, when you think about that, it would most likely take around 10 weeks of intermittent fasting for noticeable differences in your body size. Granted, this depends on your body mass index (BMI), those who start at a higher BMI might be able to lose more earlier on and therefore having noticeable differences as early as 2 weeks. Another study also show that people were able to lose around 4% to 7% of their waist circumference in over 6 to 24 weeks. This means that they have lost visceral fat, which is located around your abdominal organs. Having too much visceral fat is harmful, it makes you more likely to be at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and insulin resistance.
Intermittent fasting has been proven to be very helpful in helping you lose weight. However, you should always give yourself at least 1 or 2 months to see the impact of your diet change. If you are losing weight too fast, it is not too good for your body and you might have been restricting your calorie intake too much. In addition, those who lose weight fast tend to have more of a chance to rebound back to a higher weight and therefore creates an unhealthy yoyo cycle of weight loss.
Even if weight loss is not a goal, intermittent fasting can help you lead to a healthier lifestyle. By fasting, you will be able to help reduce your insulin levels, lower blood sugar levels and reducing your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. For those who have type 2 pre-diabetes, intermittent fasting has lead to a reduction of 3% to 6% of fasting blood sugar levels and fasting insulin was reduced by 20% to 31%. Improvements in your blood sugar levels is generally seen after 2 to 4 weeks of proper fasting. However, once you stop intermittent fasting, it will return back to what it was before. Therefore, intermittent fasting is something that you should consider for the long term if you need to continually regulate your blood sugar level.
Fasting has been shown to help your body increase your human growth hormone. In fact, one study found that if you fasted for 3 days, your human growth hormone levels are increased by over 300%. Although shorter fasts such as 16/8 probably would not increase your HGH by over 300%, it will still be very beneficial to increasing it. It is also increasingly being suggested that fasting at least 16 hours each day can help improve your lifespan. However, you need to know that these benefits are something that can only be obtained if you fast on the long term, perhaps for all your life.
If you do not see any improvement in your body or health, it is possible that you might be eating too much. During the time you eat, you should be eating normally and not go crazy with trying to make up for fitting in all the foods during your shorter timeframe. Just like most diets, the key to losing weight is to intake less calories than you burn in a day. You will most likely not lose weight if you fit lots of high calorie junk foods or eat too much of something during their eating window. You should take pleasure in being mindful and eating nutritiously good food.
You can probably feel the results of intermittent fasting as soon as 10 days if you adhere to the diet properly and stick to eating good healthy food. If you see changes in your weight, insulin sensitivity, sleeping better and a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol, it’s a good sign. It means that you are seeing improvements and a change from sticking to the intermittent fasting diet. However, many of the great benefits of intermittent fasting are ones that require you to have a long term participation in it. This might mean that this is something you will do for the rest of your life, whether you are trying to lose weight or not. There are many ways to practice intermittent fasting and 16/8 is just one of them! If you are interested in intermittent fasting, consider talking to a doctor or a nutritionist to help you come up with a plan and how to target it safely.