When not what: The best way to lose weight

The best and healthiest diet available today costs nothing and does not focus on what you’re eating. After reading that sentence I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to tell me to get lost. After all, the internet is saturated with scam artists promising the newest cutting-edge diet designed to shed pounds at astonishing rates. So, what is this too good to be true weight loss program? It’s quite simple, and refreshingly, has no cost or strings attached. Unlike conventional diets, intermittent fasting focuses entirely on when, instead of what, you should be eating. The practice of alternating fasting and eating cycles has been around since caveman times but has recently been discovered as an extremely effective method to lose weight and increase fitness levels.

There are a few different methods for implementing intermittent fasting into your everyday routine. The most common is the daily 16:8 method, where you fast for sixteen hours and eat in the remaining eight-hour window. You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at midday, and restricting your final meal to 8 pm. Despite conventional claims about the importance of breakfast, the standard eating schedule is a social, not biological, construct. By extending the amount of fasting time only a few hours, you dramatically boost your metabolism. Studies have also found that intermittent fasting promotes body fat reduction as you burn stored fat during elongated fasting periods. The most appealing aspect of this eating schedule is the freedom to consume what you want during the eating window. However, employ common sense as eating only junk food will surely slow down or negate any expected results.

Another more extreme form of intermittent fasting is the 5:2 method, where you eat as you normally would for five days out of a week, and fast for the remaining two. On the two fasting days, females are encouraged to consume around 500 calories, while males should aim for 600. Should you choose this option, it’s important to know that you will face more challenges in the way of uncomfortable hunger. The 16:8 method is trying at first, but as your body adjusts, your early morning hunger dissipates upon becoming accustomed to the new schedule. By constantly alternating eating schedules, you do not allow your body to adjust and will face more willpower challenges. Regardless, 5:2 intermittent fasting is effective and will help you achieve desired results.

It’s important to note that adopting a different eating schedule alone has its limitations. Completely ignoring common sense nutrition advice and skipping exercise will put a low ceiling on potential benefits. Also, as a practitioner of intermittent fasting, I can attest to the difficulties of getting started. The first week or so is accompanied by lower energy levels and feelings of early morning famine. However, after allowing for a small adjustment period, I couldn’t have felt better. My exercise numbers improved and I dropped weight that had stubbornly been sticking around for years. Even the staunchest skeptics come around after a few weeks of intermittent fasting. Try it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.