Ex­perts give the low-down on time-re­stricted feed­ing and whether it’s worth try­ing

How to break the diet cycle?

Pretoria News - - LIFESTYLE - LUTHO PASIYA CRYS­TAL MARTIN | The New York Times

WEIGHT loss can be hard, and the trick to break­ing this cycle is to think of other ways to re­ward your­self that do not in­volve food.

Ex­perts say that one of the bar­ri­ers to healthy eat­ing is the time it takes to ac­tu­ally pre­pare a healthy meal.

So, if you al­ready do not like the idea of cook­ing, and you are strug­gling to lose weight, th­ese sim­ple mind tricks by Diet Doc­tor might help.

1. Stress less, sleep more

Chronic stress and in­ad­e­quate sleep may in­crease lev­els of stress hor­mones such as cor­ti­sol in your body. This can cause in­creased hunger and may re­sult in weight gain. If you’re look­ing to lose weight, you should re­view pos­si­ble ways to de­crease or bet­ter han­dle ex­ces­sive stress in your life. Al­though this of­ten de­mands sub­stan­tial changes, it may im­me­di­ately af­fect your stress hor­mone lev­els, and per­haps your weight. You should also make an ef­fort to get enough good sleep, prefer­ably ev­ery night.

2. Mea­sure your progress wisely Track­ing suc­cess­ful weight loss is some­times trick­ier than you’d think. Fo­cus­ing pri­mar­ily on weight and step­ping on the scale ev­ery day might be mis­lead­ing, cause un­nec­es­sary anx­i­ety and un­der­mine your mo­ti­va­tion for no good rea­son. The scale is not nec­es­sar­ily your friend. You may want to lose fat – but the scale mea­sures mus­cles, bone and in­ter­nal or­gans as well. Gain­ing mus­cle is a good thing. Thus weight or BMI are im­per­fect ways to mea­sure your progress

3. Avoid ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers Many peo­ple re­place su­gar with ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers in the be­lief that this will re­duce their calo­rie in­take and cause weight loss. It sounds plau­si­ble. Sev­eral stud­ies, how­ever, have failed to show ob­vi­ous pos­i­tive ef­fects on weight loss by con­sum­ing ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers in­stead of plain su­gar.

PEO­PLE who choose not to eat for 12 hours a day, aka those who fast, claim that in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing gives you bet­ter sleep and abs. Are th­ese peo­ple just an­noy­ing, or are they on to some­thing?

Gen­er­ally, in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing is a diet strat­egy that in­volves al­ter­nat­ing pe­ri­ods of eat­ing and ex­tended fast­ing (mean­ing no food at all or very low calo­rie con­sump­tion).

How much of the ben­e­fits of in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing are just due to the fact that it helps peo­ple eat less? Could you get the ben­e­fits by cut­ting your calo­ries by the same amount?

Court­ney Peter­son, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Nu­tri­tion Sci­ences at the Univer­sity of Alabama at Birm­ing­ham, US, who stud­ies time-re­stricted feed­ing, a form of in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing, shares some in­sight.

How do I in­ter­mit­tent fast? There are four pop­u­lar fast­ing ap­proaches: pe­ri­odic fast­ing, time-re­stricted feed­ing, al­ter­nate day fast­ing and the 5:2 diet. Timer­e­stricted feed­ing, some­times called daily in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing, is per­haps the eas­i­est and most pop­u­lar fast­ing method. Daily in­ter­mit­tent fasters re­strict eat­ing to cer­tain time pe­ri­ods each day – say, 11am to 7pm. The fast­ing pe­riod is usu­ally around 12 or more hours that, help­fully, in­cludes time spent sleep­ing overnight.

Is fast­ing an ef­fec­tive weight loss method?

If you are obese or over­weight, fast­ing is an ef­fec­tive weight loss method, if you stick to it. But it is no more ef­fec­tive than a diet that re­stricts your daily calo­ries. We know this be­cause there were no ad­di­tional weight loss or car­dio­vas­cu­lar ben­e­fits of fast­ing two days a week over an or­di­nary calo­rie re­stric­tion diet in a study of 150 obese adults over the course of 50 weeks.

Should I try in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing?

The most ef­fec­tive diet is the one you can stick to while living your best life. It’s hard to know which will work best be­fore try­ing, but doc­tors and re­cent stud­ies of­fer some guid­ance.

Peter­son says that com­plete, ze­rocalo­rie fasts gen­er­ally prove to be too dif­fi­cult to main­tain.

“Peo­ple stick with them maybe for the short-term, but they get quite hun­gry in the long-term.”

Time-re­stricted feed­ing – fast­ing overnight and into the next morning – is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est form of fast­ing to com­ply with. A longer than nor­mal fast­ing pe­riod each night al­lows you to burn through some of your su­gar stores, called glyco­gen. This gives your body a lit­tle bit more time to burn fat. It also might help your body get rid of any ex­tra salt in your diet, which would lower your blood pres­sure.

I’ve made the de­ci­sion to fast. How long should I fast for?

There aren’t any stud­ies that state ex­actly how long one should fast. The min­i­mum amount of time it takes to make fast­ing ef­fi­ca­cious hasn’t been proven via study, but the pre­vail­ing no­tion is it’s some­where be­tween 12 and 18 hours. But it can take a few days – some­times weeks – of fast­ing reg­u­larly for your body to start burn­ing fat for fuel.

Brooke Alpert, a nu­tri­tion­ist and the au­thor of The Diet Detox, sug­gests start­ing by mov­ing your last meal to around 7pm.

She said the rea­son for that was be­cause our bod­ies were bet­ter at do­ing some things at cer­tain times.

“Our bod­ies are bet­ter at pro­cess­ing su­gar in the morning than at night,” says Varady.

So eat big­ger meals in the morning, for ex­am­ple.

And how of­ten do you have to do daily in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing to see the ben­e­fit?

Again, there hasn’t been a study that’s shown ex­actly how many days you need to fast, but a re­cent study in ro­dents showed they get about the same ben­e­fits fast­ing five days a week as they did fast­ing ev­ery day.

“The great thing is that we’re learn­ing that this type of fast­ing isn’t all or noth­ing,” Peter­son says.

| Pex­els

TIME-RE­STRICTED feed­ing – fast­ing overnight and into the next morning – is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est form of fast­ing to com­ply with.

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