Is it necessary for me to fast?

It can be difficult to determine whether intermittent fasting is right for you. In this article, you'll find out if you're ready to embark on your journey.

There are probably as many diets as there are people who follow them as you are reading these lines. Some can be strange and even dangerous, while others can be extremely beneficial to one's health.

As a result, it is completely understandable to lose track of the do's and don'ts, even if you are making every effort to educate yourself. Blogs, social networks, mobile apps, documentaries... it's easy to get lost in the maze!

For millennia, fasting has been a practice rooted in many religions. It is also frequently regarded as a means of purifying the body and mind. Science has been studying the benefits of this practice in recent years.

Intermittent Fasting 

You've probably heard of intermittent fasting unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years (IF). I mean, it does represent every dieter's dream: no calorie or food restriction, eating and drinking pretty much whatever you want because there are no specific foods to eat or avoid, as long as you do it within your time frame.

Is it necessary for me to fast?

A fast lasting 16 to 20 hours, for example, leaves 4 to 8 hours to consume one to two meals and possibly snacks. What's important to understand is that there's a big difference between fasting and starving yourself, and if you don't recognize it, you could harm your health and immune system.

This eating habit approach, which is admired by some and despised by others, is the subject of much debate within the health and fitness community. As a result, the debate is unavoidable: is intermittent fasting a recommended practice for achieving fitness and weight management goals, or should we avoid it?

There is currently no agreement on the subject, and expert opinions are divided, leaving a lot of room for interpretation. While more research is needed to shed light on the question, let us first define who can safely practice intermittent fasting and who should consider other options to improve their eating habits.

If I meet the following criteria, intermittent fasting may be right for me:

1. I am a grown-up (an Adult).

Fasting in children and adolescents may increase the risk of slowed growth and delayed puberty . It is only recommended that you try intermittent fasting if you are an adult.

2. I'm in good health.

Because intermittent fasting prevents you from eating for an extended period of time, it may be harmful to people with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart failure, lung diseases, and arthritis, as well as those on medications. If this is not the case and your health is in good shape, you should be fine to give it a shot!

3. I am well aware of my limitations.

Being aware of the signals your body sends you is an important part of the process. You may experience symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, crankiness, and constipation, and ignoring them for an extended period of time may result in more serious complications.

If you're not sure where to begin, keep in mind that it's always better to start with a shorter fasting period and a longer eating window, such as 16-8 or even 14-10, until your body and mind can fully adjust to your new eating habits. Read an article about choosing a fasting plan as a beginner.

4. I want to lose weight without putting myself under too many constraints.

Because there is no calorie restriction, IF is generally considered to be less restrictive and much more flexible. Furthermore, it is easily adaptable to any lifestyle (vegetarian, plant-based, religious restrictions, etc.). The only limit is your imagination!

Before beginning intermittent fasting, I should consult with a specialist if:

1. I'm expecting a child.

Any pregnant woman who wishes to fast, whether for intermittent, therapeutic, or religious reasons, should always consult with her obstetrician or gynecologist first.

This is required to ensure that she has no contraindications and does not endanger herself or the baby. Pregnancy usually necessitates specific nutritional requirements, and consulting with your healthcare provider is a must before deciding to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle.

2. I'm a breastfeeding mother.

In general, only famine or severe malnutrition affect the nutritional composition of breast milk. Because the composition of breast milk is greatly influenced by factors such as your diet, nutrient storage in your body, and hormone levels, adequate food in terms of quantity and quality, as well as good hydration, is required at all times.

This can be difficult for breastfeeding mothers who fast on a regular basis, and as a result, their milk supply may decrease.

3. I'm diabetic.

Because diabetes management necessitates careful carbohydrate consumption, IF should only be performed under the supervision of qualified healthcare providers. Adequate medication management and blood sugar monitoring are required during fasting to avoid blood sugar deviations.

4. I am a senior citizen.

Our immune systems deteriorate as we get older. Unfortunately, this makes us more susceptible to infections and diseases, which frequently necessitate medication treatment. One of the most serious risks of IF is consuming less food than the daily energy requirements due to your time-constrained eating schedule.

Elderly people would have to be extremely vigilant and careful in order to align their medication schedule with their IF schedule. It is therefore recommended that you notify your doctor if you intend to begin intermittent fasting while taking prescribed medications.

5. I have an eating disorder or have struggled with one in the past.

Because you have been fasting for an extended period of time, you may find yourself eating larger portion sizes. According to research, these behaviors may increase the risk of developing eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

6. I have menstrual cycles

You may be wondering whether you should fast when you have your periods. The short answer is yes, but some of us should modify it to make it more suitable for our bodies.

In conclusion

Keep in mind that just because you check one of the above boxes doesn't mean intermittent fasting is completely out of the question. You may still be able to benefit from its practice, but you must seek medical advice from a professional who will consider all of your health parameters.

Experts recommend consulting with a doctor or a dietitian before beginning an intermittent fasting diet. The most important thing is to listen to your body and eat in the best way possible.

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