Intermittent fasting – currently in vogue in many diet and health circles – describes different approaches to fasting. As the term implies, intermittent fasting refers to periodically abstaining from food and drink (although water and non-caloric drinks are acceptable). There are several different categories of intermittent fasting, but the three most common are (1) time-restricted feeding, (2) alternate-day fasting, and (3) periodic fasting.
Time-restricted feeding refers to eating only within a prescribed block of time each day. For example, one common approach is the 16:8 diet, where you fast continuously for 16 hours and then eat only during an 8-hour block of time (such as between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM). The frequency of eating during that block of time – for example, 2 big meals versus 3 smaller meals with snacks – is largely a matter of personal preference.
Alternate-day fasting involves rotating between “fast days” and “feast days.” Under this method, a “fast day” can be thought of either as strict fasting (no food and only non-caloric drinks) or as limited to 25% of your normal daily caloric intake. A “feast day,” on the other hand, refers to a regular day of eating your normal caloric intake (in other words, the fast day does not offset going calorie crazy on the feast day).
Finally, periodic fasting is similar to alternate-day fasting in that it can refer to any occasional fasting for 24 or more consecutive hours, followed by a normal eating period. The 5:2 diet is an example of a common periodic fasting diet – eating five days each week and fasting on two non-consecutive days.
What’s the Point of Intermittent Fasting?
Attorney Greg Bishop, located in Park City, Utah, explains that the primary purposes of intermittent fasting are to lose weight and improve health. He notes that a December 2019 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that studies and clinical trials have demonstrated that intermittent fasting:
- Is as effective for weight loss as standard diets (according to 6 short-term studies involving overweight or obese adults);
- Promotes fat loss while maintaining muscle mass in those involved in resistance training;
- Reduces the health risks associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and neurologic disorders;
- Improves multiple indicators of cardiovascular health, including blood pressure, resting heart rate, HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance;
- Increases neuronal stress resistance through multiple mechanisms, including bolstering antioxidant defenses and DNA repair;
- Suppresses inflammation, which can be beneficial in treating rheumatoid arthritis; and
- Increases verbal memory, executive function, global cognition and working memory.
Notwithstanding the growing evidence from clinical studies regarding the health benefits of intermittent fasting, there is still much that we do not know. For example, most of the clinical studies were short-term, conducted over a matter of months. Thus, the long-term impacts of intermittent fasting are not yet known. Similarly, most of the study participants were overweight young- and middle-aged adults. It remains to be seen whether the benefits demonstrated in these short-term trials of young- and middle-aged adults also apply to older adults over the long term.
In addition, even if the benefits were conclusively established, it will likely take time for people so ingrained in a culture of eating three meals per day (plus snacks) to make the transition to some form of intermittent fasting. Moreover, some may find fasting difficult because of early symptoms of hunger, irritability and reduced ability to concentrate (which should subside within a month).
About Greg Bishop, Attorney | Greg Bishop is a Park City, Utah-based attorney with extensive experience in litigation, corporate work, M&A, licensing, IPO preparation, and HR, as well as corporate and board governance. Personally, he is passionate about helping others, including spending seven years working closely with the largest organization helping the homeless in Washington, D.C. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, mountain biking and traveling, as well as helping others achieve personal and professional success.
How to Help Your Child if You Think They Might Have Autism
Do you suspect your child might have autism, but you’re not sure? While only a professional diagnosis can tell you for sure, there are many ways you can support your child while you get a diagnosis and create a plan.
Here are some of the best ways to support a child you think might have autism.
- Try a variety of therapies
While you’re in the process of getting a formal diagnosis, start trying different therapies with your child to see if anything resonates with your child. Every child with autism is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. There are several types of therapy you can try that are low-cost or free, including play therapy, speech therapy, floortime, ABA therapy, and more.
Although your child will need a formal Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis to get ABA therapy, it’s worth noting that once you have a diagnosis, you can get in-home therapy, which will make things easier on you and your child. Organizations like Golden Care Therapy in New Jersey will send an ABA therapist to your home to work with your child in their own environment. Getting in-home therapy will reduce the stress your child may feel from being in a new and unfamiliar place.
The more therapies you try, the better chance you have of getting a head start in supporting your child, whether or not they get diagnosed with autism.
- Get your child some sensory toys
Kids with autism need to stim, which is just a fancy way of saying they need something to stimulate their senses in a way that allows them to mitigate and disburse the sensory overload they’re feeling. Without toys, kids will find ways to stim using just their bodies and their surroundings, but toys can be extremely helpful and less damaging depending on your child.
Every child is different, so it might take a bit to find toys they like. However, you can find some excellent suggestions from The Aspie World on YouTube. Some toys spin, squish, make noise, or are a series of magnets that can be reshaped. If your child is already fixated on certain types of toys, try to find something that matches their existing interest. For example, if they like soft textures, find some plush toys with a velvety-smooth texture. Try all types of toys to see if they help your child.
- Seek a professional diagnosis
Getting a professional diagnosis is the best way you can support your child when you think they might have autism. Once you have a diagnosis, that opens the door to getting services that will help them immensely. Not just while they’re young, but it will help them in their adult life, too. For example, if your child moves out on their own, and they struggle with self-care and household chores, they’ll need a professional diagnosis to get in-home services from the state.
A professional diagnosis will tell you if your child is on the autism spectrum, or if they have a different disorder. Depending on the therapist you choose, they’ll likely be able to diagnose your child with any relevant comorbidities, which are common with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
- Learn about autism
Next to getting your child professionally diagnosed, learning about autism will help you support your child in many ways. There are many misconceptions about autism that can make it hard to spot the signs of autism. One of the best people to learn from is Tony Attwood. He’s considered the leading expert on Autism Spectrum Disorder and is extremely knowledgeable.
One of the most important things you can learn from Attwood is how to spot Autism in girls. For various reasons, it’s harder to spot autism in girls and some girls don’t get diagnosed until they’re in their 40s. Attwood gave an excellent talk about Asperger’s in girls back in 2015, and you’ll learn a lot from this speech.
Although Attwood’s speech focuses on Asperger’s, it is part of the autism spectrum. As a diagnosis, Asperger’s has been officially merged into the diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Support your child in every way you can
When you suspect your child might have autism, it’s important to support them in every way possible. While you’re seeking a professional diagnosis, start trying simple solutions, like play therapy and toys for stimming. See how they respond. Once you get a diagnosis, your child’s therapist will suggest next steps to help your child long-term.
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