6 Ways Of Fasting To Boost Your Fat Loss
This incident amazed me and made me realize the kind of misconceptions surrounding fasting.
I was at a general store buying some groceries. A guy came and told the shopkeeper “ Upwas (Fasting) mai jo kha sakte hai sab de do.” – Give me everything I can eat during fasting.
In India, whenever we say fasting, an image of a day filled with fruits, milk, wafers, fariyali, and saboodana-khichdi comes to mind. For most people fasting means not eating Roti or Rice.
Disclaimer:- The information provided here should not be used as a substitute for any medical advice.
So, first, let’s understand what fasting means.
Fasting simply means not eating anything for an extended duration. Unconsciously, we are fasting every day while sleeping. That’s why you feel lighter when you wake up in the morning.
Do you know why fasting makes you feel lighter – because it allows the body to use the stored fat for energy.
Fat cells are designed to store all the surplus amount of energy in the form of fat (triglycerides). It is the body’s silo for energy. When you are continuously putting in the energy in the form of food, how can you expect the body to efficiently use its stored fat for energy?
Fasting boosts your fat loss process by accelerating the use of stored fat. And you can do fasting in many ways. These different types of fasting are based on the length of the fasting periods.
Intermittent fasting is maintaining a duration of non-eating between two big meals. The gap between these two meals can vary from 12 hours to 48 hours.
Based on this duration, Intermittent Fasting can be divided into two categories –
1. 12-hour Fasting – 12-hour fasting is the shortest fasting duration you can start with. After a big meal, you will have a gap of 12 hours before your next meal.
For example, if you had your breakfast at 8 am; the next meal will be your dinner at 8 pm.
2. 16-hour Fasting ( also called time-restricted eating) – Here you will fast for 16 hours with an eight-hour eating window. How many meals you eat in this 8 hour period is your choice. Some will find two meals to be enough while others may prefer three meals.
For example, if you had your lunch at 2 pm, you will have 8 hours of eating period. You can either have an evening snack around 6 pm and dinner around 10 pm or you can skip the snack and directly have your dinner at 10 pm. The next meal will be on the next day at 2 pm.
3. 20-hour Fasting – This type of fasting is also called “The Warrior Diet” made famous by Ori Hofmekler in his book by the same title.
Here the timing of the meal is also important. Hofmekler stresses to eat one big meal in the evening and to fast through the day. During the day, you can have some raw vegetables and fruits.
4. 24-hour Fasting – You can also call it one-meal-a-day fasting. You choose to fast from breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch, or dinner to dinner. The next meal will be on the next day around the same time.
For example, if you chose to eat breakfast at 9 am on day 1 then the next meal will be on day 2 at 9 am.
5. The 5:2 Fasting diet – This type of fasting approach was popularised by Dr. Michael Mosley in his book ‘The Fast Diet’. 5:2 diet has five days of normal eating with two very low-calorie “fast days”.
Women are allowed 500 calories and men 600 calories per day on fasting days. You can consume these calories in a single meal or spread it in multiple smaller meals.
Here the idea is to keep the calories low enough to trigger the benefits of fasting without completely abstaining from food. The two fast days can either be done consecutively or spaced out between one or two normal eating days.
6. Alternate-day Fasting – This is a more intense fasting method than 5:2 fasting. Here you will fast every other day while eating normally on non-fasting days. As with 5:2 fasting, you consume 500 to 600 calories on fasting days.
You can either start with the short fasting and gradually move on to the longer fasting or if you are comfortable you can do the long fasting from the get-go.
There are no good types or bad types of fasting. It depends on the individual and his/her comfort of following a particular type of fasting.