What is alternative fasting?
It’s a fast that’s a cross between a day of normal food intake and a traditional fast. Remember, traditional fasting consists of not eating for several whole days. Except that with alternative fasting, otherwise called intermittent fasting, it’s about alternating between times of eating and not eating.
➜ This type of fasting is therefore much more flexible and accessible. There are also different ways of practicing it, so you can adapt it to yourself.
The 16/8 method
The most common way of doing an alternative fast is called the 16/8. It involves not eating for 16 hours and eating during the remaining 8-hour period. Most often, the 16-hour period overlaps with the night, as we spend 7 to 9 hours sleeping! We can therefore stop eating at 8 p.m. and break the fast the next day at midday. Most people do this, skipping breakfast. In fact, many people don’t eat breakfast in the morning and practice intermittent fasting without realizing it!
The advantages of intermittent fasting
The reason we hear so much about it is that alternative fasting is said to have the same benefits as strict fasting for several days:
- Decreases the production of insulin and the storage of fat and sugar in the body
- Stimulates the removal of fat
- Better control of eating sensations
- Stimulates the secretion of the growth hormone
- Improves physical and intellectual performance and reduces recovery time
- Promotes cell regeneration
- Allows the body to be cleansed and stimulates autophagy or the body’s self-cleaning function by its own cells
- Reduces cell oxidation and premature cell aging
- Prevents the risk of being overweight and some associated pathologies: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.
Not eating in the morning?
Moreover, it allows you to break a habit established by modern society: having breakfast in the morning. Yes, we come back to this meal that seemed essential for a long time. In reality, it was during the industrial revolution with the arrival of the alarm clock that breakfast became a tradition. It was necessary to give the body a great source of energy and stimulation to be productive at work.
➜ Except that our distant ancestors didn’t eat in the morning! There were no fridges and even less croissants to enjoy as soon as they woke up. They had to look for food in their surroundings, and so the first meal came at the end of the morning. Biologically, our bodies are used to working like this!
You may be interested in this article >>> What is body dysmorphia?
The mistakes to be avoided
Alternative fasting is an interesting practice when you want to regain your eating sensations. Nevertheless, there are mistakes to be avoided, so you don’t feel unwell or have other negative effects:
- Not drinking enough water: the sensation of thirst is felt less during fasting. It allows you to eliminate toxins, so you must make sure to drink as much as usual (i.e., 1.5L / 2L of water per day).
- Eating twice as much: the aim is to not eat an 8-hour meal. You should eat normally, favoring nutrient-rich foods (e.g. foods rich in fibers, whole grains, etc.).
- Setting yourself goals that are too difficult to achieve: the important thing is to listen to your body. Instead of skipping breakfast altogether, you can simply postpone it and reduce the fasting time.
- Fasting to lose weight: fasting is a way of life, not a fad diet.
Alternative fasting and weight loss
It’s important to make a distinction between alternative fasting and the goal of weight loss. Indeed, articles promoting fasting for weight loss are everywhere. For weight loss, this should be avoided! Instead of trying to restrict yourself, you should understand the origin of the excess weight or simply the relationship you have with your image.
➜ In the first case, it’s important to ask yourself whether there is emotional hunger caused by poor emotional management. It is also possible that you are overweight because of eating disorders such as hyperphagia. It is therefore a psychological problem that needs to be treated, not a way of eating.
➜ In the second case, for example, an “excess” of 5 kg isn’t just an excess. Is it a malaise that you feel about your relationship to your body? Here again, it’s important to ask yourself the question. It’s more than necessary to gain self-confidence and learn to love your body as it is. You therefore need to work on your mind too!
❌ Alternative fasting to lose kilos is a very bad idea because it can lead to more damage than benefits: frustration, increased food compulsions, weight gain, cravings, negative emotions, etc. The body is put to the test! You have to be an intuitive eater to be able to fast with peace of mind.
>>> Discover what anxiety can do to your body
Editor’s note: Try it!
We’re all different and unique. Try alternative fasting and comment below what you thought! Loved it? Hated it? If your relationship with food or your body is complicated, contact a professional coach to find solutions together.
Be sure to read these articles too;