It’s a new year, a new decade, and we’re all wanting to smash our New Year’s Resolution. There are some resolutions that pop up a lot – start a side hustle, travel overseas, lose weight. If you decided that 2020 was the year you want to get fit, then you’ve probably been bombarded with all sorts of weight loss techniques – some safer than others. Enter: intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is the biggest diet trend at the moment. It’s been around for a little while, so it’s not necessarily new, but it’s been super popular for the last year or two in particular.
If you’ve never heard of it, the idea is that you cycle between fasting and eating. You can still eat whatever you want during the allotted eating time, but nothing during the fasts.
There are a few versions.
The 16/8 method involves only eating within an 8 hour period. Then you fast for 16 hours.
Eat-Stop-Eat involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.
The 5:2 diet involves only eating about 500–600 calories on two days of the week, but eating regularly the other 5 days.
Here’s the thing. It’s no more effective than just eating a little bit less for every meal. The fasting periods mean that people have a major tendency to binge and overeat once they’re done, and if you wind up eating a days worth of calories in an hour then there really wasn’t much point in fasting in the first place.
It’s also not recommended for people who are taking medication, have to handle heavy equipment for work, or have diabetes. Basically if being light headed or having low blood sugar is going to be a problem for you, then intermittent fasting is a massive no.
It’s also a massive no if you have a history with eating disorders. Intermittent fasting can easily slip into a starving and binging cycle, and often without participants even really noticing.
It’s also worth remembering that there aren’t any long-term studies of people who have been intermittent fasting for longer than a few months. For a healthy person it might be fine to continue long term but we just don’t know.
As with anything, if you want to give it a crack, please make sure you’re realistic about it. Talk to your doctor, give it a Google, and make sure not to push it too far. Diet culture is a scary one, so smash those goals safely.