What Is Intermittent Fasting? - dummies

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

By Kellyann Petrucci, Patrick Flynn

Intermittent fasting — or dieting sporadically — simply means you take a break from eating one to two times per week (meaning a full 24- to 32-hour fast), while the rest of the time you follow some basic eating guidelines that you probably already know but unfortunately seldom follow.

These guidelines include taking the time to enjoy the foods you eat, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, utilizing herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor food, and eating less overall. The beauty of intermittent fasting is that it’s not a diet in the traditional sense. Rather it’s a lifestyle change and a sustainable one at that.

After you understand how to do it and begin successfully completing fasts, intermittent fasting will get — and keep — you on the right track to a lean and healthy life.

By its very nature, you’ll eat less when you abstain from eating one or two times a week with intermittent fasting. Fasting really isn’t new to you, although you may not be aware of it. You normally fast on a typical day (most people fast between six and ten hours when they’re asleep each night).

Just by fasting twice a week and eating as you normally would the rest of the time, you could be cutting your weekly caloric intake by nearly 29 percent, which is a reduction of nearly 600 calories each day of the week. The rest of the time you eat as you normally would, focusing on healthful options, such as the Paleo Diet.

Even more so, with intermittent fasting, you stop stressing so much about the foods that you do eat.

With so much conflicting health and diet advice all around, the act of eating, which traditionally is one of celebration and community, becomes a stressful occasion. Just take a look at the magazine covers in the checkout line at the grocery store; headline after headline promises the best diets for fast weight loss.

One diet espouses the benefits of low-fat foods, another advises cycling your carbohydrate intake. Yet another prescribes severe caloric restriction. Often, these diets’ principles conflict with one another, making it impossible to figure out which one is going to work the best.

And even more detrimental, they act as quick fixes — diets that you only have to follow for a short amount of time and that aren’t sustainable in the long run, setting you up for another weight loss and healthy living failure.

While you take a break from eating with intermittent fasting, you also give yourself a break from scouring through health and fitness magazines and websites trying to find the next new, guaranteed diet plan that gives fast results. And perhaps most importantly, you begin to put a stop to the overabundance that may well be present in your own life.