Advertising
Advertising

7 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Transform Your Health

7 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Transform Your Health

While most people that you mention your intermittent fasting schedule to will either call you crazy or say that “they could never do that,” the practice is relatively easy and has lifelong benefits. Why would anyone want to deprive themselves of food for hours or days at a time? Widely debated studies have existed on the medical implications of controlled fasting for some time. However, there are a number of great benefits to intermittent fasting.

1. You’ll have better cognitive abilities

Despite what Snickers would have you believe in their “Why wait?” campaign, being hungry during the day can help you think more clearly and keep your mind sharp.

2. You’ll get more of your day back

Think about it: if you start your fast at 12:00 am when you go to sleep and don’t eat again until 4:00 pm, that’s 2-3 meals you aren’t having to prepare and cook or go and pick up. When you stop thinking about food, you’ll realize how much of your time you actually spend worrying about where the next meal will come from, your grocery list, and who you’re going to lunch with.

3. It’s closer to how our cavemen ancestors ate.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors hunted and foraged for food all day and then prepared it and ate after sunset. Have you ever seen an overweight caveman?

Advertising

4. You’ll have a longer life

Simply put: your lifespan is directly related to what you eat, or in this case, what you don’t. While still being studied, some early clinicals suggest you’ll live longer.

5. It helps prevent disease

Two of the biggest killers today in America are directly food-related: heart disease and diabetes. With a scheduled eating regimen, you’ll be significantly reducing your risk factors for both.

6. You’ll have more energy

Assuming you are still getting your recommended caloric intake for the day, your body will expend less energy digesting and leave you with more energy to get all the things done in your day.

7. You’ll lose weight

With intermittent fasting, you are basically telling your body to stop burning sugars that you intake during the day and directing it towards burning fat.

Advertising

The program itself is fairly straightforward and simple: you have a fasting window in which you don’t eat and an eating window in which you can eat what you want. There are many variations of this, so you’ll want to find your own rhythm, but probably the easiest is to stop eating an hour or so before you go to bed and start a 16-hour clock for your fasting window. This schedule is nice because you’ll spend a large portion of your fast sleeping. Let’s say you go to bed at 12:00 am. In that case, you will fast until 5:00 pm and then eat until 11:00 pm. Pretty easy.

Tips to help you stick to your plan:

1. Stay hydrated

Not only is water excellent for every faucet of health, it also helps you maintain a feeling of being full, which will stave off cravings.

2. Exercise right before you eat

Advertising

This way, you’ll be able to resupply all those hungry muscles right after you finish your workout.

3. Set goals for yourself and measure your progress

If you don’t know where you’re going and consider your progress every now and again, how will you recognize the benefits?

4. Pack some emergency snacks the first few days

Advertising

While there is evidence eluding to the fact that intermittent fasting can help regulate your insulin levels, the first few days may be a little tough — it’s okay to grab a granola bar or piece of fruit if you start feeling faint.

5. Stick to your plan

It takes a few weeks to break or change a cycle, and the first few days will be toughest. New fasters typically describe day 3 as “the wall,” in which you may be driven to drop your guard — stick with it. You’ll soon be reaping the benefits and be glad that you made such a positive lifestyle decision.

6. Stay busy

If you’re active and engaged in work or play, you’ll seldom have time to ponder on your hunger status.

More by this author

7 Ways Intermittent Fasting Can Transform Your Health

Trending in Fitness

1 How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast 2 How to Start Exercising Right Now (And Stick to It) 3 7 Interval Training Exercises Best for Beginners 4 7 Strategies on How to Motivate Yourself to Work out 5 11 Resistance Band Exercises for Legs

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

Advertising

If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

Advertising

Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

Advertising

Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

    Advertising

    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next