Benefits Of 16 Hour Fast
So what are the benefits of a 16 hour fast? You are probably reading this because you’re considering intermittent fasting to achieve your health goals. Or, you have heard the reports of how effective it can be for weight loss.
This article will answer all of your questions succinctly but thoroughly. There’s a lot of reliable information on intermittent fasting out there, most of it by nutrition experts and medical professionals.
There are hundreds of blogs and testimonies from people who have tried it. There’s also a large volume of research on the benefits of intermittent fasting with very positive findings.
This article will save you the trouble of reading through hundreds of websites and dozens of studies. It will condense the most relevant information, and proven tips.
These are all of the key basics you need to know in order to make an informed decision about whether it’s for you.
If you have already decided that you want to go for it, the five simple steps discussed here will help you jump-start your intermittent fasting plan and quickly integrate it into your lifestyle.
Lastly, this article will arm you with some valuable tips and recommendations to help your fasting routine go more smoothly and help you get the most out of intermittent fasting. And especially the 16 hours fast.
Why Fast Intermittently?
There are many reasons to consider intermittent fasting a healthy lifestyle choice. The main reason is that it’s not a traditional diet. Whether your goal is to lose weight or simply boost your overall health and vitality, intermittent fasting does not restrict you to specific foods or involve calorie-counting.
You simply abstain from eating during fasting hours and eat what you want during eating hours – within reason, of course! It’s this flexibility that makes intermittent fasting so popular and much easier to adopt as a lasting lifestyle habit.
Is Intermittent Fasting A Fad?
Absolutely not. All the evidence points to the fact that intermittent fasting is here to stay. It has become a lifestyle choice for hundreds of people, with many more coming on board as research continues to discover and confirm its seemingly endless benefits.
Fasting has been practiced for centuries by various cultures worldwide for both health and spiritual benefits. It is only recently that it has become known in the West as a healthy lifestyle choice.
It’s highly unlikely that the practice of intermittent fasting will go away anytime soon, especially as more and more health experts are acknowledging its benefits.
Whereas health experts had previously warned about the potential dangers of skipping meals, research findings, and real-life examples have caused them to do a 180-degree turn.
In fact, nutrition experts are so convinced of the benefits of intermittent fasting that they are now recommending it to clients who simply cannot stick to a traditional diet.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The final deal-breaker is that study after study has proven the powerful and varied benefits of intermittent fasting. Over 75 years of scientific research has conclusively confirmed the following benefits:
It improves metabolism.
It reduces high blood pressure.
It reduces cholesterol levels.
It promotes longevity.
It reduces oxidative stress.
It improves mental function.
It reduces the risk of age-related degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
It improves insulin sensitivity and can guard against diabetes.
It reduces inflammation.
It reduces the risk of cancer.
Who Intermittent Fasting Is Not For
Unfortunately, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. There are certain conditions where intermittent fasting can be harmful to health. You absolutely must not fast, or at the very least consult a doctor if:
You are pregnant.
You are breastfeeding.
You are anemic.
You have a history of eating disorders.
You have diabetes.
You have a heart condition.
You are under 18.
You are on medications that must be taken during meals.
The bottom line is that the combined benefits of intermittent fasting can immensely improve your quality of life. And we can definitely expect more amazing breakthroughs as more research is conducted.
Before proceeding further, the traditional disclaimer must be made here: Although intermittent fasting is risk-free for normal, healthy individuals of both sexes, it is advisable to check with your doctor first.
The Five Simple Steps
So, are you ready to quick-start your intermittent fasting program? All it requires is five simple steps. Intermittent fasting requires no complicated preparations and it is practically cost-free (unless you choose to invest in supplements or special foods).
All you need to do is quick-start your intermittent fasting routine with these five basic steps.
Step 1: Define your Goal
Some people incorrectly assume that the goal of intermittent fasting is to lose weight. But this is by no means the only goal. The first step is to define your personal health goal based on the following categories:
If your primary goal is to shed those extra pounds, then you will have to watch what you eat more carefully than someone who’s not looking to lose weight. You need to keep a closer eye on your food intake – not necessarily restrict calories, but just consume less calorie-rich foods, and avoid snacking between meals.
And perhaps cut out rich deserts. This will optimize your fasting and help you reach your weight loss goal much faster. You may also consider adding a workout routine on non-fast days to tone your body as the pounds come off.
Improved Mental Health And Spirituality
Some people fast to improve their mental strength and promote spiritual traits like gratitude, humility, compassion, and learning to accept the simple things in life. In this case, you would want to eat more “brain foods” to improve your mental focus and cognitive function.
To promote spiritual traits, you would perhaps prefer to focus on simple but nutritious meals and incorporate meditation into your fasting plan.
Overall Health And Wellbeing
Some people fast simply to reap all the benefits and to feel healthier and more energized. Fasting, in general, is a great detoxifier of the body and just leaves you looking better and feeling better.
Some of the first benefits you will notice are improved complexion, healthier hair and nails, and calmer and more balanced digestion.
In this case, you can be more flexible with what you eat as long as you are focusing on good nutrition. You can also engage in a light outdoor exercise like walking or cycling or incorporate
some other healthy exercise program into your lifestyle.
Step 2: Choose A Fasting Plan
There are a number of intermittent fasting plans and variations of them but the following three are the most popular and most commonly practiced:
The 16/8 method
With this plan, you fast for a full 16 hours with an eating window of 8 hours every day. Veteran fasters recommend that you start your fast after dinner, around 8 0r 9 pm, and break your fast the next day around noon or 1 pm.
You can see why this makes the best sense.
You will be less likely to get hungry after a good dinner, while 7 or 8 hours will be taken up by sleep. Breaking your fast by noon or 1 pm the next day will feel like you are having a late breakfast or brunch.
You also have room for a light meal or snack in the late afternoon, end your fasting window with a nutritious dinner and repeat the process.
It’s recommended that you practice this method by alternating two fasting days in succession with two days where you eat normally. This means that at the end of the second day after dinner, you are free to eat normally for the next 48 hours.
“Fasting is the greatest remedy – the physician within.”
More experienced fasters sometimes alternate three fasting days with three normal eating days. Fluids like water, unsweetened coffee, tea, or herbal tea are allowed during fasting hours and in fact, are highly recommended to keep your body hydrated.
If you’re a beginner, this plan may seem overwhelming. If you do choose it, however, you can start with a shorter fasting window of 10 or 12 hours and slow build-up to the full 16 hours.
You can also consider playing around with the times that suit your lifestyle best. For example, if you are an early riser, you can plan to break your fast at 10 am. In this case, your eating window would be until 6 pm. It’s just a matter of experimenting a bit and finding the hours you are most comfortable with.
Create a good day & stay healthy!