Fasting. It is considered one of the most ancient healing techniques dating back to 400 BC. Hippocrates, widely recognized as the very first “medicine man”, had prescribed fasting as one of the only cures for most illnesses. His theory was that to eat when you are sick is to feed your illness. Today, many of us even dabble in one of his other well known treatments: the daily consumption of apple cider vinegar.
However, intermittent fasting requires that you consume nothing at all for specific intervals of time. One of the more popular ways to do this is the 5:2 method: 5 non-fasting days, eating your normal calorie intake and 2 fasting days limiting yourself to only 500-600 calories per day. This “diet” was made popular by doctor and journalist Michael Mosley and is typically referred to as The Fast Diet.
But is this really a diet or is it something completely different? How do you do this without starving yourself to death? It certainly sounds risky but rather than call it a diet, many “fasters” consider it a healthy eating pattern, which seems more appropriate.
We have all fallen victim to the fad diets: Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers or painfully choking down glasses of lemon water mixed with blackstrap molasses two weeks before Memorial Day, only to eventually become sick of it and gain the weight back by Labor Day.
Intermittent fasting is different: you are not spiraling into starvation, you are voluntarily withholding food to control or to schedule your calorie intake which has many health benefits.
Here are just a few of the health benefits :
- You’ll have more energy and higher cognitive function.
- You’ll lose the bad fat and keep the good.
- You’ll be more informed of what you eat and more likely to choose healthier options.
- You’ll be more aware of when you eat and less likely to eat at the wrong hours of the day.
- You’ll build more muscle as you’ll have more energy for working out and exercise.
- You’ll keep weight off while still enjoying the foods you love.
There are many methods for intermittent fasting, like the 16:8 method or the Eat-Stop-Eat method in which you fast for 24 hours every other day from dinner to dinner. There is even the 14:10 method which is specifically recommended for women.
So, if you had a hot chocolate addiction over Christmas and you put on an additional 5 pounds like I did, you may want to try intermittent fasting and find the right method that suits you. Let’s ditch the fad diets altogether and move into the future of dieting…or not dieting, but rather a new way of life.