BENGALURU : Ahead of Ramadan, City Express takes a look at how the age-old practice of fasting is back with a new formula – intermittent fasting – and is changing the way fitness enthusiasts are looking at losing weight,On his visit to Bengaluru recently, actor Hrithik Roshan revealed that his fitness mantra included intermittent fasting
Even as millions are preparing for the holy month of fasting, what is interesting today is that this form of fasting is already trending in the fitness world. What has been used as an ancient traditional practice in India, is now popularly known as intermittent fasting. This, especially after actor Hrithik Roshan revealed during his visit to Bengaluru recently, that his fitness mantra was intermittent fasting.
The underlying rule of intermittent fasting is that you ensure you eat within an eight-hour window and don’t consume any food for the next 16 hours.
How do you go about intermittent fasting?
The sixteen-hour gap can be difficult to get to for those who have just started with the fast. Most advise on starting from a 12-hour gap and then eventually moving to the sixteen-hour fast.
Communications professional Pratvii Ponnappa says it took some time for him to get used to it. He started with 14 hours and then moved to 16 hours. "In the eight-hour window, I tend to eat more than I would otherwise. Even so, this helped me lose five kg in two months and gave my body a detox. In the morning I would just have coffee without sugar. Honestly, your body feels much better once you are used to it. You start valuing the meal that you eat at 1pm much more than you would otherwise do.”
Shweta Kapur, an architect and a yoga enthusiast, points out that it is closely associated with the Keto diet. Intermittent fasting, she says,is particularly helpful for those who are battling a weight-loss plateau. “It jump starts the metabolism. Even if you have a calorie intake only for eight hours of the day, most people do the fasting at night. so the sleep hours help you cover most of the sixteen hours."
Professional nutritionists say they see no harmful health effects to the process. In fact, this is a healthy way to reduce weight and detox the body. When you choose to use this method to lose weight, you have to be particular about the kind of food that you chose and the kind of exercise that is carried too. Nutritionist, Swati Mehrotra says, "Only intermittent fasting won't help.
The timing of the diet changes and that does give way to results. However, I would not really recommend it to diabetic patients."
Roshan Varghese who has been following the diet for a month says that he has seen tremendous results. "The fast must be planned in a way that can be worked out. The first few days will be difficult, it will take time for the body will get used to it. But if you have water and green tea when you get hungry it works fine," he adds.
A lot (un)like Ramadan fasting
Unlike the fasting that is done during Ramadan, in intermittent fasting, one is adviced to consume a lot of water throughout the day. Also during the Ramadan fasting and feasts that follow, it does not necessarily help in losing weight. However, it does help in detoxing the body.
Swati explains that she wouldn't recommend the Ramadan fasting in the long run, which she feels deprives the body of essential nutrients for long hours. But weight loss is a guarantee with it. If planned well it also helps in detoxing."
Fast helps in replacing old, damaged cells
Historically Indians have been fasting for long, but the health and nutritional benefits of this have not been documented. Shwweta explains that what works well, is that it helps you condition your mind.
“When you do this, the different pranas of your body don't get burdened. The digestion prana ends at 8 pm, and the assimilation prana gets activated at 4 am and then from 4 am to midday is your elimination prana, so if you're not eating at that time of the day, you're doing yourself a huge favour. So it works very well with what we Indians always did, what the yogis did."
Fasting helps in jump-starting the metabolism of the body. When there is lack of resources, the body goes looking for older, damaged cells, recycles them and puts them back in order by recycling the building blocks and recycling the old cells and tissues.Shwetha further adds that fasting is taking over those fancy US health kits, that's how it's again trickling back to us. "During intermittent fasting, the human growth hormone production is higher.
The fast must be planned in a way that can be worked out. The first few days will be difficult, it will take time for the body will get used to it," adds Shwetha.Yash Jain claims to have lost four kgs in three weeks, "You have to be careful about what you eat in those eight hours. I have been feeling more energetic once I started this diet. I also ensure I do my regular workout."