Contributed by: Dustin Gonzales, M.S., NASM-CPT
Intermittent fasting! Should you do it?
Intermittent fasting is more about when you eat rather than what you eat. A typical plan puts you on a scheduled fasting phase (ex. 16 hours) followed by a non-fasting phase The former is where you may skip meals or eat significantly fewer calories to generate the energy deficit needed for weight loss. This allows more food flexibility and higher calorie goals in the latter phase.
Intermittent fasting can be safe choice for weight loss, but it all depends on how you approach it and how your body responds. Fasting is not for everyone and you shouldn’t try intermittent fasting if you are pregnant, diabetic or healing from a traumatic event such as surgery. Critics of intermittent fasting also point out that all this emphasis on restriction can backfire and encourage binge eating and other disordered eating behaviors. Our physical and mental health histories are all different, so if you have trouble deciding whether intermittent fasting is for you, consult a healthcare professional. It’s important to note that fasting is not the same as starvation. Going for days without eating or eating a very low-calorie diet indefinitely is not safe.
There’s no one-size-fits-all diet for weight loss. Intermittent fasting can be helpful, but first consider whether it fits into the lifestyle you want to lead. If you try fasting and it’s not for you, cutting calories the old-fashioned way can still help you lose weight. Listen to your body and pick the plan that works for you. Regardless, don’t forget calorie quality matters, too. As you’re losing pounds, nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods including fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats.