The health and wellness space has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade. During this period, we’ve experimented with multiple concepts and techniques to improve overall health and well-being.
One of the more common practices in our arsenal of tried and tested wellness methods is fasting, particularly fasting the right way.
Still, for some, the concept of fasting feels alien; after all, eating highly nutritious food is one of the greatest assets to protecting your health. But what about timing?
According to science, your eating window plays just as significant a role in your overall health as what you eat, and fasting is one of the surefire ways to do that.
Fasting is a time-honored practice with many physical and mental benefits. But, with more people venturing into this space, it’s not counterintuitive to deduce that numerous information regarding fasting types, techniques, and effects will be readily accessible.
For what it’s worth, a good number of the information available contains relevant information, particularly those passed by fitness experts, gym rats, and other health enthusiasts or those listed on medical sites and informative blogs.
While the information does possess substance, it’s important to note that whatever you see working for one person might not necessarily be what you need. That’s because every individual responds differently to the same stimuli, so knowing what and how your body will respond sparks the first step to benefiting from fasting. But how do you know that?
That’s where we come in. With today’s guide, we provide great insight into the world of fasting, shedding light on the fasting principles, types, and general benefits linked with this practice. That way, you get a perfect assessment of what may work for you if you want to incorporate it into your everyday living.
But first, let’s run through the basics.
What is Fasting?
Fasting simply refers to partial or total abstinence from food (and drinks) over time. There are different fasting practices, and for the most part, these practices span between 24 to 72 hours. Still, there are some hardcore fasting types that may last a few days.
With such a stacked inventory, some might wonder if fasting is safe. Should one go for long periods without eating and drinking? Here’s the explanation.
Going on fast isn’t likely to hurt if you’re a healthy person. It doesn’t matter whether you’re well within your weight range or a bit overweight. The most you ever have to worry about, at least for beginners, is hunger pangs, which typically go away after a few days of having your body adjust to its new routine.
However, it’s different if you’re unhealthy, whether you generally lead an unhealthy lifestyle or battling an underlying health condition. Also, going on fast if you’re pregnant is counterintuitive since your baby needs fuel and nutrients.
As a rule of thumb, check in with your doctor before going on any fasting regimen. That way, you’re cleared by a professional.
Types of Fasting
You might be curious about the different fasting types and which complements your lifestyle. Let’s talk about it! Here are some of the more common fasting types.
- Intermittent Fasting
One of today’s most popular fasting techniques is intermittent fasting (IF). Simply put, it is an eating pattern involving cycling between eating and intentional fasting. There are several ways to go about IF, including:
- The 12-Hour Fasting Schedule: The 12-hour Intermittent fasting offers a balanced eating and fasting window. You can easily time the bulk of your fasting hours in your sleeping hours, making it the easiest IF technique.
- The 16:8 Fasting Schedule: This technique offers an 8-hour eating window and a 16-hour fasting window. However, you can indulge in water and non-calorie-containing drinks during your fasting window.
- The 18:6 Fasting Schedule: Similar to the previous fasting schedule, the 18:6 intermittent fasting involves a 6-hour eating window and an 18-hour fasting window. This is one of the big deals in fasting, and you require great resolve to
- OMAD: OMAD stands for one meal a day. As the name implies, you only eat once per 24 hours.
The major selling point of intermittent fasting lies in its affinity for customization. With different options available, you can easily create custom iterations that fit perfectly into your lifestyle.
- Water Fasting
More people look at water fasting as the purest form of fasting. This fasting method entails consuming nothing else but water throughout the fasting period. The fasting period can be anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days, depending on your fasting capacity.
However, water fasting does pose a level of risk, particularly when carried out over lengthy periods. So, it’s important to approach this method with extreme caution. If you’re going to fast for a protracted period, it’s important to do so with the backing of medical supervision.
- Juice Fasting
Juice fasting is a dietary practice that involves the sole consumption of freshly extracted fruit and vegetable juices over the fasting period. This fasting method aims to reduce calorie consumption while providing the body with a rich supply of essential vitamins and minerals.
Similar to water fasting, the juice fasting approach leads to improved metabolism, detoxification, and increased energy levels.
- Partial Fasting
Partial fasting is an eating practice involving calorie intake restriction over the scheduled fasting period.
Unlike traditional fasting, where you abstain from food over an extended period, partial fasting eating windows or limited caloric intake during specific times of the day or week. There are different variations of partial fasting, including:
- 5:2 diet: This technique involves eating normally five days a week and restricting calories for the last two days.
- Time-restricted fasting: This technique involves limiting your eating window to specific periods each day and fasting for the remaining hours.
The primary goal of a partial fast is to introduce a calorie deficit without cutting off food intake completely. This approach provides many positive benefits, the most prominent being weight management.
However, its effectiveness differs across individuals, so you need to consult a professional before approaching this fasting method. That way, you get all the help to make reaching your health goals a lot easier.
Benefits of Fasting
There are several benefits of going on a fast. Here’s a list of some of the things you stand to gain.
- Lowered risk of diabetes
- Weight loss
- Enhanced cardiorespiratory function
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Improved brain function
- Enhanced metabolism
- Psychological benefits
Fasting is one of the greatest health tools to improve one’s overall well-being and health. It offers many benefits, regardless of whether you decide to go on a short-term or long-term fast.
Additionally, there are many ways to go about a fast, meaning tailoring a schedule to match your mundane routine is possible.
By exploring different fasting techniques, consulting medical professionals, and listening to your body, you are sure to meet your needs and goals.
This article was contributed by Sarah Alishba a respected health and wellness expert with over 15+ years of healthcare experience. She focuses on customized fasting routines for nurses and healthcare professionals. She is empowering readers with evidence-based insights for perfect well-being.