In India, fasting has always been prevalent since ancient times. It is an integral part of many religions. In Hinduism, one would avoid certain foods on certain days. Fasting is very common in Jain spirituality too. They believe it purifies body and mind. Jain fasts can last from 1 day to more than a month. There is also the very popular concept of not eating food after sunset. For Christians, fasting takes the form of abstinence from meat and alcohol in the 40 days before Easter while Muslims observe an exacting fast during Ramzan.So, we see people all over the world especially in India are known to the practice of fasting and this age old tradition, is now making a big comeback. It has already become a trendy fitness and lifestyle practice in the West in the name of INTERMITTENT FASTING. It is the practice of eating only during a certain window of the day and fasting the rest of the time.Intermittent fasting Is basically of two types- dry fasting and wet fasting (where liquids are allowed during the fasting window). Intermittent fasting has different variations according to time. 12/12 (the most easiest one), then followed by 16/8 which if made into a lifestyle change will be very beneficial, then comes 24/24 and goes on 5/2 etc.In the 12/12 variation we eat during 12 hours like from 8am to 8pm and fast for the rest 12 hours. In the 16:8 variation of intermittent fasting, which dieticians say is more popular in India, we eat during eight hours in a day and fast for the other 16.While most diets focus on content, and calories, the most important element of intermittent fasting is when we eat, and when we don’t. For example in Keto, we swear off all carbohydrates, including the omnipresent rice and roti. But intermittent fasting does not have a long list of what we must not eat. In fact, there’s no list. Nor are there instructions about mandatory workouts. The use of short term fasting has shown to have a dramatic influence on specific hormones related to weight loss and weight management. Thus, the objective of intermittent fasting is to use meal timing to influence, and utilize, fat burning mechanisms already present in our system. This includes our metabolism, hormones, blood sugar, and other weight loss variables.Here’s the most important intermittent fasting rules.When should we eat?The first thing we want to do is decide how long we want our fast to be each day. 12 hours is a bare minimum, and optimal for first timers, and 20 hours is considered extreme. Then all we have to do is separate our day into “eating” and “non-eating” time frames. So, if we fast for twelve hours and start eating at 8am, we have until 8pm to consume all of our daily calories.Once we enter the “non-eating” time frame we aren’t allowed to consume any more calories until the following morning. What To EatIntermittent fasting doesn’t require specific foods or diet to work.Once we’ve decided how long we want to fast each day, it’s time to decide what content we want to consume. Unlike most diets, there isn’t a fixed requirement regarding the type of food we eat.This makes intermittent fasting very flexible and allows it to be combined with other diet philosophies like low carb, paleo, vegetarian, and simply eating healthy.We will want to keep a close eye on our calorie total, however.Many dieters have lost weight and gotten leaner while using intermittent fasting without restricting calories. Meaning they didn’t change what they ate every day, they just followed the eating and non-eating time frames without significant changes to daily calorie totals.The larger our calorie deficit, the more significant weight loss we can achieve. But it’s best to adopt intermittent fasting only under the guidance of a trained dietitian as there are certain health conditions where it might be contra indicated.To know more about intermittent fasting and how you can go ahead with it efficiently book a consultation with Dr. Yogita Mandhyaan at her clinic - Shape & Strength. Dr. Yogita Mandhyaan is the founder/curator of Shape and Strength. She is a physiotherapist and dietitian with more than 14 years of experience. She is also certified in alternative therapies like Kinesiology, Cupping and Dry Needling.