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Alternate day fasting is safe, no serious side effects have been reported. However, if you are on medications, you should see your doctor before trying these programs.
The benefits of alternate day fasting include:
Weight loss – the main reason is pretty simple. The fasting days lead to an overall calorie deficit for the week.
Lower insulin – lower insulin levels helps to facilitate fat burning
Less adaptive thermogenesis – your metabolism doesn’t slow as much as it would do if you were to restrict calories all the time
Stomache shrinking – you will feel fuller on less food on your normal eating days
Easy to stick to – it’s only a few days a week, not everyday. So it’s an easy lifestyle change.
Perfectly safe – skipping meals is not bad and won’t result in your body shutting down into starvation mode. We have been conditioned to believe that it’s a bad thing, but it’s simply not true.
Some of the symptoms you could experience:
Hunger – most likely you will feel hungry on your fasting days in the first few weeks of the program. This is perfectly normal. Your body is very good at maintain status quo and will send signals to your brain that you need to eat more so it can maintain its current weight. But after about 2 weeks you normally find a rhythm.
Headaches - take some pain relief, ensure you drink lots of water and get an early night.
Here are our suggestions on some easy ways to deal with it:
Drink LOTS of water - Whenever you feel the hunger, reach for your water bottle. Carry a bottle with you, generally a 1L bottle is best. Keep it filled.
Drink black coffee or black tea - Don’t overdo it, but coffee is a great appetite suppressant and the calorie content is neglible, just don’t add any milk or sugar.
Chew gum - Sugar free gum has been shown to reduce hunger in a few clinical studies. So chew away, and you may even burn a few more calories.
Drink sparkling or soda water - The bubbles might actually help make you feel fuller.
Avoid temptation - Try to avoid breakfast or lunch meetings, and try to avoid too much cooking or food handling. But do remind yourself, that if you are really CRAVING it, you can have it tomorrow!
Should I exercise? Absolutely. Exercise is a crucial part of a healthy life. It is best to schedule your exercise on your non-fasting days, as you are more likely to stick with your fasting day if you don’t make yourself overly hungry. However, if you have to exercise on a fasting day, then make sure you do so BEFORE a meal.