Intermittent fasting is a type of diet that limits when you eat (via Johns Hopkins University). This broad term describes any eating schedule that only allows you to eat during certain windows of time, whether that is an eight-hour period each day or six days a week while abstaining from food on the seventh.
According to Healthline, fasting can offer some health benefits. This practice can improve blood sugar control and reduce insulin resistance in people with diabetes, fight inflammation, and even aid in cancer prevention.
However, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. If you have ever dealt with any kind of eating disorder, you should not follow this eating plan (via Mindbodygreen).
An important part of recovering from an eating disorder is to allow yourself to eat what you want when you are hungry, and fasting can quickly form unhealthy habits again. If you feel like you are in a healthy space to try intermittent fasting, it’s best to approach it slowly.
Start with a 12-hour fasting window from the time you wrap up dinner to breakfast the next morning. If you enjoy the benefits of eating like that, you can start to experiment with other fasting windows.
However, you should stop intermittent fasting if you begin to feel fatigued or weak over time, which probably means that you are not eating enough calories during your designated eating windows.
Many people won’t find success with any type of diet
While intermittent fasting offers some clear health benefits, you may not find success if you are trying it for the sake of losing weight. Intermittent fasting is a popular diet because people will theoretically eat fewer calories during the day if they only have a short period of time each day in which they can eat.
While this can certainly happen, there are many factors that affect weight loss. According to NBC News, your brain has an idea of what it believes to be the ideal weight for you when you embark on a diet. Your brain also essentially decides what your ideal body fat percentage is and helps regulate both these factors by sending specific amounts of leptin into your bloodstream to control your hunger levels.
According to Psychology Today, any type of restriction can cause your brain to crave whatever you are restricting significantly more than it would have normally.
That means that you may feel hungrier than normal while intermittent fasting, which may cause you to eat even more calories during your eating windows than you would have throughout the day on a normal schedule. While intermittent fasting can be a great tool for some people, it isn’t right for everyone.