Have you ever thought of going on a fast after a period of unhealthy eating or as a more drastic measure to lose weight? Once you realized you actually had to give up food, you may have quickly decided this was not the method for you. However, maybe you should consider Mark Twain’s advice. Dr. Joseph Mercola, a leading expert in traditional and natural medicine, is a strong promoter of intermittent fasting. He recommends this method as a simple and effective approach to fat burning, reduced hunger, and weight loss.
Most people associate fasting with deprivation and going without food. Typical fasting times can range from 24 hours to several days. However, intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular method that experts such as Mercola, promote as a safe and easy alternative to traditional fasting. This plan allows you to eat during a specific time period and furthermore, a block of the fasting time includes hours you sleep.
Fasting can jump-start your metabolism and help stabilize your blood sugar levels. By consuming your meals and snacks during a six to eight-hour window of time, you decrease your daily calories by eliminating either your morning or evening meal. This type of fasting can increase your fat burning potential, promote weight loss, and help decrease inflammation in the body.
There are many versions of intermittent fasting, such as restricting food every other day or a couple of days a week. However, Dr. Mercola states his preference is to restrict eating to an eight-hour time period. He also suggests that this method of eating becomes easier to maintain, once the body shifts to burning fat as its main fuel source. Fasting times can vary from 14 to 16 hours followed by eating during a six to eight hour time period.
The goal is to eat the proper number of calories for your activity level and make healthy food choices to get the best results. Therefore, if you eat your meals during the hours of 11:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m., you would only consume liquids such as coffee and water after 5:00 p.m. This eating pattern typically lowers your daily caloric intake due to the elimination of evening snacks and your morning meal.
If you are new to intermittent fasting, it is best done on a gradual basis starting with an eight-hour eating phase and 16-hour fasting period. It’s important to adjust the fasting time according to how your body tolerates the program and slowly increase the window of time you are fasting.You may want to progress to a six-hour eating phase once your body adjusts to the process.
Intermittent fasting is not an excuse to eat whatever you want. Choose a healthy protein source for each meal such as lean beef or chicken and add fresh vegetables and fruit. Also, include a healthy fat such as coconut oil, avocado, or nuts. Manipulate the time window of eating and fasting until you find the schedule that works best for your lifestyle. This is a great short term option to try a couple of weeks if you are looking for a new way to jump-start your metabolism and decrease body fat. Therefore, you might want to consider Mark Twain’s advice and give it a try.
“A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors.”