What Do Doctors Say About Intermittent Fasting?
Your Family Doctors Might Have The Cure For Holiday “Feasting”
During the month-or-so between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, many people “make merry” at parties and feasts with family and friends; it’s not surprising, then, that January is the month most people start diets or take out memberships in the local gym.
‘Tis the season for weight gain!
Your family medical practitioners want you to enjoy the best of the festive holiday season – and won’t scold you for making merry. That said, once the holidays are over, it’s time for many people to start shedding those extra pounds.
Being overweight is the cause of far more of our society’s health woes than most people realize.
For starters, carrying around those extra pounds causes more pressure on your legs (especially your knees), and staying overweight for a long period of time can lead to the need for hip and knee surgeries that could be avoided.
And lately, you may have heard that obesity is one of the biggest “co-morbidities” that make people particularly susceptible to bad outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some new studies suggest overweight people are the most vulnerable when it comes to this horrific disease.
Of course, given a choice, no one would want to be obese. It’s just that many people find dieting and exercise – the two tools most effective in keeping obesity in check – to be “too hard.”
Maybe you’ve heard this old expression: Being fat is hard. Dieting is hard. Choose your “hard.”
Your family doctors tend to agree with that sentiment. But is there a better way? A way to keep your weight in check without making the hard sacrifices that keep people from doing much about their weight problems on a sustained, long-term basis?
Not What You Eat, But When You Eat It
Fads come and go, and one of the big annual fads is the “miracle remedy” that promises a pill or potion can give you dramatic weight loss in days or weeks “without changing your diet or exercise routine.”
As you might imagine, most of these fads are poppycock. “Dramatic” weight loss is not generally healthy, anyway… if you lose thirty pounds in a month, the chance that you’ll gain forty-five pounds in the following two or three months is pretty high.
Your family doctors will tell you the best way to lose weight is slowly, using a routine for calorie consumption and exercise that you can live with – permanently.
And intermittent fasting, a weight-loss method being used by more and more people, has drawn praise from doctors and patients alike.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is not a diet. It’s better described as an “eating pattern.” IF does not prescribe what you eat, but rather when you eat it.
Now, consuming unhealthy food and drink is never a good idea, no matter when you do it. IF does little good when it’s combined with “intermittent feasting” on junk food, processed carbohydrates, and large amounts of alcohol (to name a few examples).
But IF can yield impressive results over the long term, without the need to sacrifice some of the treats you most enjoy. For that reason, more and more people are choosing IF over other weight-loss fads.
And since most folks don’t find IF as “hard” as the majority of the diets they could undertake, it’s easier to choose IF over a life of continued obesity and the accompanying risks to health and vitality.
How To Use Intermittent Fasting
There are basically two types of IF: Adopting a “consumption window” of hours each day during which you’ll consume all your calories (fasting the other hours), and whole-day fasting for a certain number of days each week.
Whole-day fasting has a few different variations. Lately, it seems the most popular is the “5:2” method, with which you fast completely for two non-consecutive days each week, and have no restrictions the other five days. Another is to fast one day, place no restrictions on your consumption the next, and continue to alternate every other day in this manner.
For some people, especially those who have a lot of weight to lose (and many men), the “fasting days” might include some caloric intake, but that intake is generally limited to a very low number of calories (usually 500 calories or less).
The “consumption window” or “clock fasting” method also has a few variations with which people enjoy good weight loss benefits. Most people start with a daily eight-hour consumption window – say, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. – during which they consume whatever they need for the entire 24-hour period.
During the consumption window, as long as you’re avoiding overeating junk food or overconsuming alcohol, you have no restrictions. Eat and drink what you want. Enjoy your life!
And once they’ve discovered how easy an eight-hour consumption window is, many people choose to slightly accelerate their results by using dropping their consumption window to four or six hours.
One more variation on the theme of IF “clock fasting” is the One Meal A Day (OMAD) method. The name of the method tells you everything you need to know about it… and OMAD works great for many people, especially those who started with an eight-hour consumption window and gradually decreased it to four hours.
Your family doctors want you and yours to enjoy the holidays, and also to enjoy long lives and great vitality at all times. Ask your doctors about intermittent fasting, and get their recommendations on how this tool might help you achieve a longer, more energetic life. Happy Holidays!