Diet pills, weight loss machines, juice cleanses, fad diet routines – many of us have perhaps tried at least one of these in our lifetimes trying to look for a fast and easy way to lose weight without putting in much of the work (eg. exercise). Unless you are one of the lucky ones who can eat absolutely anything at any time and still not put on weight, you can probably relate to this. So for the rest of us who did not win in the lottery of life, is there a way to eat anything you want and still lose weight? Apparently there might just be a way – or four.
What exactly is 16:8 Intermittent fasting? It is basically time-restricted eating whereby you do not eat anything for 16 consecutive hours a day and eat whatever you want during the other 8 hours. Although the 16:8 focuses more on when you eat and not what you eat, it is important to note that to achieve desired results it is highly recommended that you do not overindulge during the 8 hour window and stuff yourself silly with way too much junk food. While fasting, you can still drink water, tea and coffee. A popular time frame is eating between 12pm and 8pm and fasting for the other 16 hours. The reason for that is simple. Eating is very much a social activity, especially here in Singapore. It can be really tough saying no to that Korean BBQ lunch or steamboat dinner with friends. Thankfully with this method, you don’t have to – as long as you time it right.
The 5:2 is also commonly known as the twice-a-week method. Essentially you keep to a healthy and regular diet for 5 days a week, and for 2 days you cap your calorie intake to 500 (do note that these 2 days are not to be consecutive days). So by consuming less calories, it can be a useful method for losing weight if done correctly. Many people choose to either eat 3 small meals on fasting days or 2 larger meals (you just need to adhere to the 500 calorie requirement). Foods that are rich in fibre and protein are popular choices. Just experiment with different food choices and see what works best for you.
This can be a really tough one for beginners as it involves fasting for a full 24 hours (either once or twice a week). Some find that it is not a very sustainable way of life due to the kind of lifestyles they live or the nature of their work. If your job or the activities that you do require quite a bit of energy, this method may make you feel rather irritable or cause things like headaches due to the hunger pangs. It is of utmost importance that you stay hydrated while fasting (drink lots of water and zero-calorie beverages).
Spontaneous Meal Skipping
This is perhaps the easiest of the four intermittent fasting methods. It’s something that most of us do without really realising it (especially when we’re busy). It’s basically skipping meals from time to time, just eat healthy for your other meals.
There have been studies conducted to show the benefits of intermittent fasting (in general). Some of which do show that over an extended period of time, there is a decrease in body weight and in blood pressure as well. Essentially as long as you consume less calories than you “use”, you will be able to notice a difference. It’s all about finding something sustainable, something that works for your lifestyle. Much like trying any other form of diet, it is best to consult a professional (dietician/physician) before giving it a try. Some diets are not suitable for people with certain pre-existing medical conditions.