Alternate Day Fasting is exactly what it sounds like. It involves fasting every other day and is one of the most common eating patterns used for intermittent fasting. But what is intermittent fasting, you ask? It’s the process of eating and fasting in cycles. Alternate Day Fasting is one way to do it and we have all the scoop you need to reap the benefits of calorie restriction.
What is Alternate Day Fasting?
This question can easily be answered by simply reading the name over again – “Alternate day fasting”. If you haven’t guessed, it’s a type of intermittent fasting that involves fasting every other (alternate) day. However, there’s much more to the Alternate Day Fasting.
One thing that separates it from all the rest is that you can eat whatever you want on the days you eat. In fact, you can eat 5 pizzas and 20 chocolate bars on your non-fasting days if you’d like because the days in which you do fast take care of the rest.
Another thing that separates Alternate Day Fasting from the others is that you don’t even have to fast on fasting days. Instead, you can still eat, as long as you maintain a low-calorie count.
So, eat what you want (even unhealthy treats) on non-fasting days, and fast or eat no more than 500 calories on fasting days; that’s Alternate Day Fasting in a nut shell.
How to Start Alternate Day Fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of the easiest diet plans you’ll ever follow because it really isn’t a diet at all. Instead, you just follow an eating pattern. So, the first thing to do to start Alternate Day Fasting is to pick a date. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know which days are for eating and which days are for fasting – every other day, or rather, fasting and eating on alternate days.
Once you’ve done that, there are some things to consider, such as whether or not you’ll eat on your non-fasting days and if so, what is the number of calories you’ll restrict yourself to.
Generally, most people eat approximately 500 calories on their non-fasting days.
However, if you have an active lifestyle, are an athlete or live differently than the rest, your goal is to get 20-25% of your energy requirements in on those non-fasting days. In other words, 500 calories for a couch potato will suffice; 500 calories for an avid gym-goer or professional athlete may not provide enough energy for them to last through the day.
The Two “Rules” To Alternate Day Fasting
Now, let’s get into the good stuff – the rules. Alternate Day Fasting isn’t strict at all. As mentioned, you can really do whatever you want with your body and meals, as long as it’s on a non-fasting day. So, unlike other common diets, you don’t have to avoid certain foods, follow certain recipes or really, do anything you don’t want to do when following Alternate Day Fasting, which is a breath of fresh air.
However, there are still some rules, or rather, recommendations you should follow to help you transition your body into intermittent fasting. And don’t worry. The rules are super easy and relaxed, and before you know it, they’ll come to you like second nature.
- You can drink calorie-free beverages on fasting days
- Unsweetened coffee and tea, water, etc.
- You can eat up to 500 calories or 20-25% of your energy requirements on fasting days
Benefits of Alternate Day Fasting
You’re likely wondering how you’ll reap the benefits of intermittent fasting if you go nuts on your non-fasting days. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to eat those 5 pizzas and 20 chocolate bars. You can, but you don’t want to. It’s simply never a good idea. What you should take away from that is you don’t have to deprive yourself. If you want something, you can have it because the next day will fast it away. More importantly, your fasting days will do more than simply erase the damage from the day before and here are some of the best benefits you’ll receive as a whole:
- Weight loss
- Reduce harmful belly fat
- Reduce inflammation
- Easier to commit to than regular calorie restrictions
- Preserve muscle mass during weight loss
- Reverse or improve symptoms of type 2 diabetes
- Lower insulin levels
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Increase heart health
- Decrease blood pressure
… And so much more. You’d be here all day if we talked about all the benefits of Alternate Day Fasting and the scientific evidence that supports each claim but certainly, you can see the power of the benefits mentioned.
It’s easy to see why Intermittent Fasting is the world’s biggest health and fitness trend as of lately. Alternate Day Fasting is just one of the many eating patterns you can follow to reap all the benefits of eating and fasting in cycles. It’s up to you to make the choice to change your lifestyle.