But first, why should you fast?
A lot of people rave about how effective fasting can be, particularly, intermittent fasting. You might think that something magical is happening to your body but what's going on is actually pretty simple. "If you are trying to lose weight, it gives you less time to eat because of the smaller eating window. This limited eating time can promote less food intake, which can yield a calorie deficit," Sucgang explains. This just means that if you have less time (or a stricter set time) for eating, you tend to eat less. "On top of this, studies have shown that fasting promotes the production of growth hormone, which helps with anti-aging and muscle retention," Sucgang says.
How long should you be fasting?
Every body is different so it's really hard to gauge how your body will respond to being kept from food, but "most people choose a fasting period of 14 to 20 hours. To achieve the 'fasted state,' insulin should be kept low so one should avoid foods that spike this hormone," Sucgang explains.
Can you eat anything while you fast? What if you're really hungry?
Eating almost anything will trigger insulin production so you have to be very careful about what you ingest as to not lose the progress you've made so far. "Some drinks can help blunt hunger. For example, you can drink black coffee and green tea if you're feeling hungry," Sucgang says. These drinks have very minimal calories and sugar in them, but the most important thing to drink a lot of is water so you can keep hydrated.
How much food should you eat after fasting?
Before you believe all the hype about getting to eat whatever you want after you fast, the main thing you should remember when you fast is it's not some magic technique you can use to suddenly lose weight. "The total number of calories needed for you to achieve your objective should be consumed within the day after fasting," Sucgang says. Fasting isn't an excuse to not eat healthy. If you eat 10,000 calories after fasting for 10 hours then please don't expect to lose any pounds.
I've tried fasting and it didn't seem to work. What did I do wrong?
Consistency still trumps any diet hack out there. "From a weight management point of view, someone who cannot sustain fasting everyday shouldn't be doing it. Some believe that fasting is the 'ultimate secret' to fat loss but in reality, sustainability is what makes a fat-loss diet effective for a person in the long run," Sucgang explains. Try a diet that suits you and one that you're actually stick with to see results.
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