Does intermittent fasting shed those kilos? Here are 7 things you should know
In the past two years, intermittent fasting has become one of the top weight loss trends worldwide.
In most intermittent fasting regimens, you avoid food for a certain number of hours of the day and eat normally within a specified time.
So can it help return you to your ideal weight and body mass index (BMI)?
That is what Talking Point host Steven Chia wanted to see after he gained about two kilogrammes from drinking bubble tea over a month, for a recent investigation into the effects of bubble tea.
There are several intermittent fasting variants: Fast for 16 hours, eat within eight hours; fast for 20 hours, eat within four hours; eat one meal daily, within a two-hour window; eat three meals as usual on one day, fast the next day; and eat normally for five days, then limit your intake to 500 to 600 calories for two days in the week.
After a discussion with physician Zulkarnain Abdul Hamid, who began intermittent fasting three years ago and lost more than 20 kg in the first year, Chia settled on the 16:8 regimen.
After eight weeks since December, he lost 3 kg and his body fat dropped from 24.1 per cent to 18 per cent. So he decided to continue with intermittent fasting and has now lost about 5 kg.
But there are some things to note for those considering intermittent fasting. For example, individuals who are pregnant, under 18 or have a low BMI should avoid it. Here are seven other pointers:
1. EXERCISE PORTION CONTROL
You must still watch what you eat, though it is easier said than done.
“It can be quite challenging when eating out, especially when you’re trying to break fast,” acknowledged Mary Chong, who researches weight loss diet interventions and eating behaviour in adults and infants. “One way is to ask for half the portion.”
Another way is to use smaller plates. There is evidence to suggest that the sizes of plates, bowls and even spoons “can unconsciously influence” the amount people eat.
“(On a) large plate, food tends to appear … less, (which) encourages people to pile on more things,” she said. “On smaller plates, food appears to be greater in amount, and so that can help in terms of reducing intake.”
To prevent snacking, Chia removed snacks from the communal areas at home, like the television area. “(Snacks are) a temptation waiting for you to just dig in,” he said. “Out of sight, out of mind.”
2. PRACTISE MINDFUL EATING
Importantly, one should not only chew properly, but also eat mindfully.