Weight loss is the latest trend in the market. Even super models are obsessed with it. Most of the women I meet want to lose some weight, in this chase of western standards of beauty. The Conversation observes that even as under-nutrition continues to be a problem particularly among the poorest countries in Africa, overweight and obesity are growing challenges in poor urban areas. An online website called Taylor and Francis Online in an article on Pediatrics and International Child health in their research on Child Obesity in low income and middle income countries concluded that overweight and obesity in childhood is an increasing problem for the less affluent countries in the world.
To curb this challenge, most people choose to exercise in order to burn excess fat in their body. Others use diet – the most popular one being The Ketogenic diet which is a very low-carbohydrate, high fat diet. Overeating carbohydrates has been associated to weight gain by recent researches which is what people who intend to have their bodies reach the ketosis state avoid at all cost. Others choose to undertake both ways to lose weight faster. So much is the obsession with weight loss that YouTube channels, social media platforms and even weight loss mobile applications are now among the fastest growing platforms in the world. With the ever growing social media models and celebrities and the rise of famous body plastic surgeons like Dr.Miami, who are setting standards that are unattainable naturally on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, the pressure is evident by the changes of lifestyle that are happening as people try to control their physique.
Intermittent fasting is another weight loss technique that is taking social media by storm. Wikipedia defines intermittent fasting as an umbrella term for various meals timing schedules that cycle between a period of voluntary fasting and non-fasting over a defined period. Non caloric drinks like apple cider vinegar and green tea are consumed during fasting periods. In simple words, intermittent fasting involves a person going without food for long periods with the aim of losing unwanted weight. There are three methods of intermittent fasting: alternate day fasting, periodic fasting and time restricted fasting.
Alternate day fasting
Alternate-day fasting involves alternating between 24hours which is referred to fast day when the person consumes less than 25% of usual needs, followed by a 24 hour non-fasting period:
This method has two subtypes:
- Complete alternate day fasting where no calories are consumed on fast days;
- Modified alternate day fasting, where a person consumes up to 25% of daily calorie intake.
The second method is called periodic fasting or whole day fasting, which involves any period of consecutive fasting of more than 24hours.The most popular is in the ratio of 5:2, where a person eats normal meals for 5days and fasts for two days in a week. During the fasting period, one may consume up to 500 to 600 calories during the day.
The third method of intermittent fasting is the time restricted feeding. It involves eating only during a certain number of hours each day. The most popular is the 16:8.This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours.Through this method you can incorporate your sleeping hours in your fasting hours, meaning you get to eat four hours before sleeping and four hours after waking up.
The downsides of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting can interfere with your day’s performance. For instance, if all you can think about on your fasting days is food that can interfere with focus, and potentially your job performance. According Jama Internal Medicine which is a publication with Jama Network website, there may be medical concerns as well. According to their research, Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol had increased significantly after 12 months among an alternate fasting group. This is dangerous as it might lead to heart disease.
As an intermittent fasting person, I can confirm to you that there is a high appetite for sweet and fried food during your non fasting days or time. This food does not fuel a healthy body. Though you may still lose weight due to the calorie deficits on other days, you won’t get the protective benefits of good nutrition.
Intermittent fasting is also not a healthy eating habit for anyone with eating disorders such as anorexia. All in all, the best way to maintain weight is to see a nutritionist. Take care of yourself and always remember health is wealth.