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Intermittent Fasting 101

Shaira Sakhrani | November 23, 2018

Health  Hong Kong  

Intermittent fasting is currently the latest hack for weight loss. It is especially popular with those looking to lose weight, improve overall health and simplify lives. In intermittent fasting it is the “timing” of eating that matters more than what you are eating. Generally during your fasting window liquids such as water, herbal teas or broths may be consumed.

What are the right eating windows during intermittent fasting?

Popular timings are 14:10; 16:8; 18:6; 20:4; 24:0. For instance 16:8 means you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16. Generally, people tend to skip breakfast and eat from 1-9pm or 12-8pm. 24:0 is not eating for a whole day until the next. For example lunch to lunch or dinner to dinner for any 2 non-consecutive days in a week. There is also 5:2 diet in which 2 days of the week you restrict your calories to 500-600 and eat normal during the other 5 days.

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What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

The benefits of intermittent fasting are reduction of total body toxicity, less inflammation, cell repair, release of fat-stored chemicals, anti-aging, improved organ functionality (especially the heart), insulin sensitivity and mental clarity. The body goes through a self-cleansing period while you’re fasting, It can be looked upon as if you are taking a break from work to handle the other aspects of life for which there is often little time. Besides bodily changes, emotionally you become more sensitive and aware of your feelings making it easier to make decisions.

Weight loss happens during intermittent fasting since calories are restricted during the eating window and the body is burning more calories / fat at the same time – provided you are not bingeing during your eating interval.

Is intermittent fasting for everyone?

Although intermittent fasting has a host of benefits, it may not be ideal for everyone and some should avoid it altogether especially if you have diabetes, irregular blood sugar regulation, chronic degenerative disease, history of eating disorder, gallstone disease, low blood pressure or if you are underweight and / or malnourished.

Women especially ought to be more cautious if they are trying to get pregnant or have hormonal issues. There are many anecdotal reports where women’s menstrual period is halted during intermittent fasting and returns once they eat normal or their insulin sensitivity deteriorates, or thyroid hormone levels are altered. However, these is a safe way for women to follow intermittent fasting. Download my “Free Guide To Intermittent Fasting For Women” here.

The bottom lines is that if this way of eating works for you, follow it. If you don’t do well with fasting, then listen to your body and avoid it altogether. The best way to improve overall health is one that you can follow and be consistent. Eating real food, exercising, managing stress and sleeping well are the cornerstones to vibrant health.

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This article first appeared in The Hong Kong Resource Guide 2018 Edition.

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Shaira Sakhrani

Shaira is a Certified Nutrition Coach who is passionate to help you reach your health goals through proper nutrition, effective lifestyle strategy and helping you learn to listen to your body. She runs The Wellness Lab here in HK. Other articles by this author

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