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This article is all about intermittent fasting for college students. We’ll help you understand what it is, how to use it in your life, and a few of the many benefits it provides.
Who would ever imagine fasting as a trendy thing? Well, not us – and not for a million years. But that is what is happening – fasting to lose the inches is now a thing, thanks to intermittent fasting.
It is poised as the best thing you could do for your waistline and the one thing that will bring back that thing gap. Like diets, intermittent fasting comes with rules; a time schedule for fasting.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting refers to an eating schedule that alternates between feeding and fasting. Intermittent fasting, you have a feeding window, and you must only eat within that window then fast the rest of the time. Today, intermittent fasting is the trendiest and the most popular health/ fitness trend used for weight loss, a simplified lifestyle, an improvement in general health.
Unlike diets, intermittent fasting doesn’t restrict or specify the kinds of foods one is expected to eat. It does, however, specify when you should eat.
While intermittent fasting is gaining popularity now, this pattern of eating has been used, albeit therapeutically from the 1900s to treat diabetes, epilepsy, even obesity. It should also be noted that intermittent fasting is not a new age thing –our ancestors, in the hunter & gather age would be in a fasted state for days, looking for food.
What has happened is that intermittent fasting has been refined and based on the number of hours your body is in a fasted state.
Besides history, the effectiveness of intermittent fasting has been backed scientifically, and it’s been proven to be the most effective strategy for losing weight and belly fat, reducing your risk of diabetes, and it also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, among others.
How to Intermittent Fast?
How many times have you skipped breakfast or dinner? Countless, we presume? Well, did you know that skipping either breakfast or dinner puts you in an intermittently fasted state?
While this happened unconsciously, the only way to practice intermittent fasting consciously is through understanding the types of intermittent fasts, and how to fast.
If you are in college wondering if you can practice intermittent fasting, we’ve got news for you – yes. Here’s how: through the 16/8 Methods, Eat-Stop-Eat, the Warrior Diet, and the Alternate-Day Fasting.
1. The 16/8 Method
Intermittent fasting for college students is probably easiest with this method. Also called the Leangains protocol after this eating formula was popularized by the famous fitness expert Martin Berkhan. In this method of intermittent fasting, you fast for 14-16 hours each day, while restricting your feeding window to between 8 and 10 hours during which you can fit at least two meals.
For example, if you had your last meal at 8 pm last night, you don’t get to eat until the next day noon. While 16 is the standard fasting window in this method, women are advised to fast for between 14 and 15 hours.
If you are not used to skipping breakfast, the first few days will be brutal, but you can keep hunger pangs away by drinking black coffee or water.
This is a 24-hour fast done once or twice weekly. This fasting method was popularized by the fitness expert Brad Pilon, and it’s been quite popular over the years. In an Eat-Stop-Eat type of fasting, you will fast from breakfast to breakfast, dinner to dinner or lunch to lunch.
Water, non-caloric beverages and unsweetened black coffee will keep you going during the fast. Also, don’t rush into a 24-hour fast. Start with 14-16 hours the build up from there.
Note that if you are doing this fast to lose weight, you have to eat normally during the feeding window – what this means is that you have to eat the same amount of food that you’d eat when not fasting.
3. The Warrior Diet
This fasting method involves fasting during the day and eating a huge meal at night. The day fast might, however, involves eating small amounts of fruits and vegetables and a huge filling meal at night. The night feast will, however, only take place during a 4-hour fasting window.
Like the paleo diet, the Warrior Diet emphasizes eating whole and unprocessed foods.
4. Alternate-Day Fasting
This strategy has you fasting every other day. It comes in different versions, but the most common ones allow the intake of about 500 calories on the fasting days. It is not, however, the best strategy for fasting.
Why Intermittent Fasting is Better Than Dieting
Unless you end up eating a lot of food to compensate for the meals you skipped, intermittent fasting is one of the most effective weight loss strategies. Once your glycogen stores are depleted, the body is forced to burn fats, resulting in weight loss.
Weight loss requires a caloric deficit which happens automatically when fasting.
Intermittent fasting also lowers the levels of insulin while increasing the levels of the growth hormone. It also increases norepinephrine which also increases the rate of fat breakdown in the body while facilitating energy use. And unlike diets, intermittent fasting results in the loss of actual while also preserving muscle mass lost through dieting.
3 Ways College Students Benefit from Intermittent Fasting
If you are a student considering intermittent fasting, these are some of the benefits to expect:
1. You will Save Time
Thanks to intermittent fasting, you won’t have to waste too much time thinking about what to eat and when to cook. Also, you don’t have to worry about washing dishes all the time.
2. You will worry less about the types of food you eat
Tiring of the repetitive “What will we eat?” (if you have roommates) or “what will I eat?” and “Is this food good for me?” questions? Well, intermittent fasting gives you a lot of time to think about school and work and little time on what to eat.
3. Intermittent fasting improves your overall health
And this happens in more ways than one. The leading health benefits of intermittent fasting include:
Improved concentration and mental clarity
You’ve probably heard this before: what’s good for your body is good for your brain too. Well, intermittent fasting is good for your brain’s health and improves concentration and your mental clarity by reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, as well as a reduction in blood sugars.
Studies also show that intermittent fasting might increase the growth of nerve cells, and it also increases the blood levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF, that boosts brain health.
Improved Fat and Weight loss
As mentioned above, intermittent fasting often creates a caloric deficiency which results in weight loss. There is also the fact that a clean fast (water or unsweetened black coffee) will force your body to use blood sugar, stored glycogen, and then fats for energy. The result is an increased rate of weight and fat loss.
It also lowers insulin and blood sugar levels
Intermittent fasting will improve your insulin sensitivity and it also reduces the amount of insulin in circulation. The drop in insulin stimulated by the fast makes the stored fats more accessible for use by the body.
Another popular dieting method is intuitive eating. To learn more about this practice check out our reviews of the best intuitive eating books.