There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different diets being promoted all over the world. While many of them are often referred to as fad diets and are short-lived, others have seemingly stood the test of time and have stuck around. One of those is fasting which involves abstaining from eating food for a specific period of time.

What is fasting and why does it work so well for weight loss?

Fasting is defined as going without food or drinking for a period of time. Fasting has its roots deep in the bible and it is generally used in religious ceremonies. In modern times it is used in various forms for weight loss as a method of dieting. It has been used quite effectively by many people seeking to lose weight. By abstaining from taking in food the body is forced to use the nutrient stores that it already has. However, not all medical professionals are on board with the safety of fasting as a means to lose weight. There are also known risks that need to be balanced against the possible gains.

Top 5 Ways to incorporate Intermittent Fasting

  • 12-hour Fasting Plan – The 12-hour Fasting Plan is exactly as it sounds, you decide what 12-hour period in which you don’t eat and food or drink any amount of water. This plan is done every day and it is preferred by many as it encourages the body to consume the fat stores in order to provide the necessary fuel for the body. The preferred time period is to fast from 7 pm – 7 am, which means most of the time you would be sleeping.
  • 16-hour Fasting Plan – The 16-hour Fasting Plan is an alternative to 12-hour fasting in that an extra four hours are added to end. This usually means that breakfast is skipped and no food or water is consumed until noon. This alternative plan was devised for the person who did not show positive results from trying the 12-hour Fasting Plan for the first time.
  • 2-day a week Fasting Plan – The 2-day a week Fasting Plan also referred to as the 5:2 diet consists of eating a healthy diet for 5 days and on the other two days calorie intake is severely reduced. For a man, the total number of calories is only 600 and for a woman, the total number of calories is only 500. The key to the success of this type of fasting plan is to ensure that there is at least one normal eating day in between each of the two fasting days.
  • Alternating Day Fasting Plan – The alternate-day fasting is as the name implies, every other day no food or an extremely low number of calories are consumed (usually 600 for men and 500 for women). This is by far the most extreme of all fasting plans and is not for everyone. It would be highly recommended that you consult with your doctor or primary care provider before you begin a plan like this.
  • Weekly 24-hour Fasting Plan – The 24-hour Fasting Plan is where you go one full 24-hour period without eating any calories. However, you are able to drink water or any non-calorie drink is allowed. Beware it is not unusual for headaches and fatigue to be felt when following this type of plan until the body gets used to it.