The Skinny on Intermittent Fasting
Last week, one of my clients informed me that she had decided to try intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. She learned that a close relative was fasting and enjoying great success dropping unwanted pounds. Although somewhat skeptical, and rightfully so, she wondered if it would work for her as well. Like many people, she has tried numerous diets over her lifetime. While she may have lost weight initially on any given diet, none proved sustainable. Eventually the weight returned...and more!
Several years ago I came across a couple of very interesting podcasts on NPR (see links below). The reporter sought to learn more about this "new" diet craze and determine if it actually worked. Several interviews and the studies she consulted revealed that fasting or "mini fast" could actually have a direct effect on one's overall health. Specifically, she discovered promising evidence that fasting could have an impact on several age-related conditions such as reducing blood sugar levels, improving memory function, stimulating loss of body fat, increasing energy, boosting the immune system and even improving cognitive performance. Wow!!!
Well, many diets out there make all kinds of far-fetched, unproven claims especially when it comes to how great they are at helping a person to lose weight. So for me it always comes down to the science. You will learn from the podcasts and articles below that several reputable studies have determined that intermittent fasting is indeed an effective and sustainable approach to losing weight. Also, several "fasters" offered glowing reviews.
One approach is the 5:2 diet, popularized by "The FastDiet" by Dr. Michael Mosley. It calls for five days of normal eating coupled with two days of fasting. Your two fasting days should include anywhere from 14 to 18 hours of no eating. You are given an allowance of about 600 calories to consumer in the remainder of the 24 hours.
Thinking of giving intermittent fasting a try? Before you do, get informed! Take the time to review some of the research I've compiled below. As an adult over 50, there may some important considerations to explore depending on your current state of your health. Are you diabetic, taking medications, have high blood pressure or have heart disease? If your currently level of exercise is vigorous and intense you might consider how restricting calorie intake might effect your performance and capabilities on those days. As always, check in with your doctor.
Let us know in the comments below if you plan to fast. Keep us updated on your progress! Also, if you have tried intermittent fasting in the past, how has it worked for you? We want to hear from you!
What Is Intermittent Fasting, and Does It Help You Lose Weight? by Prevention Magazine, still a great resource for all things healthy.
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