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6 Great Benefits of Intermittent Fasting (IF)

 

After years and years of seemingly endless diet books and ever more outlandish notions of how to permenantly reduce weight suddenly, almost out of the blue, a completely new idea took the weight loss World by storm a couple of years back. It was disarming in its simplicity – the notion that fasting could not only reduce your weight but could help maintaining that loss in a way that other, more traditional notions of dieting plainly could not.

Yo-yo weight loss and gain had been the most common result of the vast majority of diets before Intermittent Fasting burst onto the scene. One would read or see film reports of amazing results from this or that diet but, when those results were followed up, all too regularly it become apparent that the weight loss was only temporary and the dieter would soon return to their previous weight or even more.

One of the reasons for this sad state of affairs was the alteration that more tradition dieting regimes would make in the metabolism of those following a particular diet. Whilst superficially true that weight would come off, at least in the early stages, all that seemed to happen is that our bodies, based as they are in thousands upon thousands of years of evolution, merely perceived the diet as a time of shortage and, once the diet was over, gave signals to binge eat whilst the supply of food was plentiful. And on it went…boom and bust, weight loss followed by weight gain in an apparently never ending cycle.

This brings us to the major advantages of IF:

1. Release From The Need To Diet!

Because the underlying assumptions supporting Intermittent Fasting are completely different to a ‘normal’ diet a lot of the restraints and constraints that one usually suffers whilst trying to lose weight can be happily ignored. That’s not to say that I am encouraging people to eat poorly, but merely to state that one needn’t be quite so food obsessed as is so often the case with those partaking in a regular diet. In IF the most important factor is When you eat rather than What you eat.

2. More or Less Guaranteed Weight Loss

If you follow, with at least a reasonable degree of discipline, an IF plan you will more or less invariably lose weight. I suppose in extremis it is actually possible to gain weight following such a plan, but in reality one would have to eat such vast quantities in the non-fasting periods as to boggle the imagination! What tends to happen is that there often is a calorie intake reduction even though that is not really the point with IF.

3. The Feeling Of Taking Control of Your Weight And Your Life

Although not eating for extended periods may sound difficult for some, most people find that in practice the whole process is actually surprisingly easy. For me, the most effective routine has been the 16:8, that is 16 hours of fasting and an 8 hour window in which you are allowed to eat. As half of that 16 is spent sleeping anyway, the other 8 hours is surprisingly easy in practice to stick to. Often in the previous 8 hours you have happily scoffed your fill for the day so quite often one feels no hunger pangs whatsoever before turning in for the night. Maintaining such a discipline, easy as it is, does gift one the feeling of taking control, of making one’s own choices and making them stick. Such a feeling is very empowering, especially after years of despair with more dated dieting techniques.

4. Looking And Feeling Younger

This is hardly surprising, as one of the major benefits of IF is that it allows your body at the cellular level to indulge itself in regular spring cleaning. This process was explained by Japanese Nobel Prize winner Yoshinori Ohsumi. Basically, lysomes in your cells, once freed from having to process food, turn their attention to housekeeping with the cell and busy themselves consuming all the detritus left over from normal cellular activity. This process is known as ‘autophagy’ from the Greek and may be rougly translated as the rather sinister sounding ‘self-eating’. In this sense though, it is a healthy process that stops the accumulation of left over matter within the cells gradually causing greater and greater chaos, possibly thereby leading to cellular degeneration and even cellular death. The end result of autophagy is healthier cells. Seeing that every particle of our bodies are made up of cells it is easy to understand how beneficial such rejuvenated cells can be.

5. Avoiding The Stress Of A Normal Diet

One of the most aggravating factors of dieting is having to remember exactly what it is that you can and cannot eat at any given time. Because of this one lives one’s life in a constant state of mild tension or stress. With IF, all such worries can be banished. Although I would still uThere is, of course, much more to Intermittent Fasting than just the six points I raised in this article. Suffice it to say though that, after many years of struggling with all kinds of partially or completely useless diets, we now have a technique that has proven again and again that it can work and work very effectively with relatively little effort on behalf of the practitioner. True, some discipline is needed, but given the results that are there for the taking if you stick with the technique then, really, just how much discipline do you need to do something quite so easy and quite so good for you?rge the consumption of good, healthy live food for the greater part of your diet, essentially you can be a lot more relaxed about what you are consuming on an IF regime. What matters here is when you eat and not what you eat!

6. Knowing That Tour Intermittent Diet Is Based On Solid Science

Much of the dietary advice that one reads or is shown on the internet or television is not very well supported by science. In fact, in many cases, the science almost seems to contradict what the diet is recommending. This is not the case with Intermittent Fasting which has been shown time and time again to be not only a safe technique for overweight people to approach weight loss but also a highly effective one too. In many studies the weight has not only come off but stayed off, even after those studied return to normal life.

There is, of course, much more to Intermittent Fasting than just the six points I raised in this article. Suffice it to say though that, after many years of struggling with all kinds of partially or completely useless diets, we now have a technique that has proven again and again that it can work and work very effectively with relatively little effort on behalf of the practitioner. True, some discipline is needed, but given the results that are there for the taking if you stick with the technique then, really, just how much discipline do you need to do something quite so easy and quite so good for you?

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