In this post, I will share with you my knowledge about intermittent fasting for weight loss. I think this method is quite effective and many people benefit from it without restricting calories or drastically changing their diet.
One thing is for certain, people will always be studying and experimenting with new ways to lose weight and stay healthy. Surprisingly, we’ve recently discovered weight loss success with an ancient and very natural process called intermittent fasting. Sometimes going back to your roots is the safest bet.
So what is this “magic method” all about?
Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
Fasting simply means that you are not eating for an extended period of time. For example, you naturally fast when you are asleep for 8 or 9 hours, that’s why we call the first meal of the day “breakfast” because it signifies the end of the fasting period. Our ancient ancestors would fast on purpose during the day at times when food sources were scarce. There are also religious holidays that include fasting as part of their rituals, such as Yom Kippur and Ramadan.
The term “intermittent fasting” is used when talking about a purposeful cycle of fasting and eating periods, usually for general health or for weight loss. This method really helps to burn fat fast and to achieve different health goals.
Popular Intermittent Fasting Plans
Don’t let the idea of fasting scare you off from this potential health goldmine. The same intermittent fasting plan might not work best for everyone or for every purpose. There are several popular plans to choose from:
16/8 Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss – Under this plan, you will restrict food intake to an 8-hour window each day. That leaves 16 hours per day for fasting. You can easily adjust to this schedule by not eating after dinner and skipping breakfast. You can still drink water, coffee, and some other calorie-free sugar-free drinks during fasting.
5/2 Intermittent Fasting – You can eat normally 5 days out of the week. During two nonconsecutive days, you will eat a low number of calories (500 for women or 600 for men).
24-Hour Fasting (Or “Eat, Stop, Eat”) – Some people will fast for a full 24 hours once or twice a week. This has been a quite popular method for many years, even though some people find the fasting days difficult.
Alternate-Day Fasting – If you need variety, on this plan you can eat a normal diet every-other-day. On fasting days you will choose to fast completely or eat only a few hundred calories.
Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits
While we all get a little excited over weight loss, you might be surprised to hear that intermittent fasting has a ton of other great health benefits that will have you living your best life. If you want to live a long and healthy life, check out these sweet side effects you can take advantage of by simply changing your eating schedule.
Weight Loss – First and foremost, the reason you’re probably here reading this article right now, am I right? Numerous studies have shown that fasting is a powerful weight-loss tool.
Controlling Inflammation – Fasting reduces the markers for inflammation, which is fantastic because inflammation is at the heart of many chronic conditions.
Insulin Resistance – Type 2 diabetes has become an epidemic in our society. Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance and lowering blood sugar levels by up to 6% and fasting insulin levels by up to 30%.
Gut Health – Your digestive system works super-hard, giving it a break on the regular will help it repair, rest, and heal.
Get A Healthy Heart – This is an easy way to reduce your bad cholesterol levels, triglycerides, inflammation, blood sugar, and insulin resistance, which all just happen to be what you need for a healthier heart. Reduce the change for heart disease with intermittent fasting.
Cancer Benefits – For years studies have shown that tumor reduction and cancer avoidance can be linked to intermittent fasting as well.
Anti-Aging – You can actually turn back the hands of time. In animal studies, life expectancy rose in rats that practiced intermittent fasting.
Keeping A Sharp Mind – This might be key to fighting Alzheimer’s, intermittent fasting has been linked to the growth of new nerve cells in the brain.
How Intermittent Fasting helps
with Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting triggers 4 metabolic changes that are important to weight loss. The best part is, you don’t have to become overwhelmed with diet rules and restrictions in order to learn and implement this life-changing diet plan. Unlike fad diets, intermittent fasting is a lifestyle change that is easy to adapt to in a short amount of time.
A metabolic change is something that changes the way our body uses calories for energy. Let’s look at the 4 main metabolic changes that come from intermittent fasting.
Natural Calorie Reduction
You can go on the soup diet, the potato diet, weight watchers, or any other diet you can think of but they all basically boil down to restricting calories. Since nobody likes the idea of eating less we tend to come up with fancy tricks to play on ourselves. When you limit your eating window then snacking will naturally fall off. Calories get naturally reduced because you eat less frequently which is the number one factor in weight loss.
Many people that follow the Keto diet also engage in intermittent fasting. This is because the two go hand-in-hand. Intermittent fasting can kickstart the fat-burning state of ketosis in which your body starts blazing through its glucose reserves (carbs) for energy. That makes your body burn fat as fuel more quickly. If you really want to maximize weight loss, combine keto dieting and intermittent fasting at the same time.
Effects On Insulin Levels
Under intermittent fasting, your body will become more sensitive to insulin which both helps prevent weight gain and also reduces your risk of type II diabetes. Fasting also decreases your insulin levels and your body takes that as a sign to start burning stored fat, win-win!
Overall Metabolism Boost
When you fast, your body creates an increased amount of adrenaline and noradrenaline, two hormones that help free up stored energy (or fat) for burning. This means that even while at rest your body is burning more calories than normal, and who couldn’t use that helpful little boost when trying to drop a few pounds?
Unlike the lack of scientific scrutiny you will find with typical fad diets, there is no shortage of reliable fact-driven data on intermittent fasting. Multiple studies showed results as great as shedding 10 pounds per week. You can also check the post “How to boost metabolism” in order to learn more tips on how to lose weight faster.
To get started, simply choose the intermittent fasting schedule that is right for you, plan what you will eat during your non-fasting periods, and you may also find it helpful to use a journal or an app to track your fasting journey. To accelerate weight loss, follow a low-carb or keto diet when eating. If you choose not to follow a specific diet, that’s alright too, but make sure your meals are full of fiber and protein and avoid unhealthy snacking. Foods that are high in sugar and carbs can derail your weight loss efforts.
Tips To Make You Intermittent Fasting Easier
If intermittent fasting sounds overwhelming to you, or you are having trouble getting started, here are some tips to make things a bit easier.
- An easy way to ease into intermittent fasting is to stop snacking at night. Eat an early dinner and do not eat again until morning. If you are normally a breakfast eater and wake up hungry, it might take time to adjust to the next step which is skipping breakfast. Mentally, this can be a hard thing for people because we’ve been taught from an early age that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” As it turns out, the type of food you eat is more important than the act of eating it first thing in the morning.
- Pick an intermittent fasting schedule that works for you. As outlined above, there are several types of intermittent fasting plans. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. If one does not work for you, try another. Keep in mind that it will take time for your body and your mind to adjust to a new way of eating.
- The number one side-effect of intermittent fasting that causes people to give up, is hunger! Being hungry is no fun and it can make you cranky, tired, and cause headaches. Remember that these side-effects are temporary. They are the product of your body adjusting to change. Keep full by drinking plenty of water and zero-calorie beverages. Black coffee also can help you deal with hunger. Keep your mind busy with work, hobbies, and non-food rewards for a job well done. Extreme hunger could be a sign that you are dehydrated or that you’ve jumped in too fast.
- Don’t break your fast with a huge meal. It’s tempting, but don’t eat too much right after a fasting period or you will be bloated and sluggish.
- Consider taking supplements when intermittent fasting. Eating fewer calories could make it more difficult for your body to get what it needs. Typically supplements for people doing intermittent fasting are b12, iron, and calcium. But make sure the supplements you use don’t contain extra ingredients and therefore, calories. Otherwise, it can break your fast.
- Don’t over-do it with exercise when you first start fasting. Many people, once used to intermittent fasting, can work out with their full capacity with no problems. When you first start out, however, your body might need more time to adjust. Start with mild workouts and build from there.
- Fasting isn’t right for everyone. Although there are major health benefits from intermittent fasting, some people with underlying health conditions might not be good candidates. Fasting when you already have advanced heart disease or type II diabetes might not be a good idea. If you are underweight or have a history of eating disorders, intermittent fasting could be a trigger. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should take a break from intermittent fasting. As with any major change to your lifestyle or diet, consult your doctor before starting.
What To Do If Intermittent Fasting Isn’t Helping You Lose Weight
Some people reading this right now are thinking, “I’ve already tried this and it doesn’t work!” Or maybe, “I’m doing my best and the weight isn’t falling off, what am I doing wrong?” Let’s talk about possible roadblocks keeping you from losing weight while intermittent fasting.
You’re Overeating During Non-Fasting Periods
Intermittent fasting isn’t a free pass to eat anything and everything during the non-fasting periods. If your goal is weight loss then you need to be eating healthy, period. Avoid sugar, cut down on carbs and processed foods, and eat plenty of veggies. Many people find that a keto diet works well with fasting periods. A low-glycemic diet full of whole foods and protein will help you see success at the scale.
You’re Not Getting Enough Calories During Non-Fasting Periods
Wait, what? Not only does over-eating impede your weight loss, but not getting enough calories can have the same effect. Mind-boggling, isn’t it? Your body will start conserving energy (fat and sugar) instead of releasing it. The key to striking the right balance is to plan ahead and track your calorie intake. You can easily keep track of calories with free apps like MyFitnessPal. Also, do not forget to track water intake so you don’t become dehydrated.
You’re Not Fasting Long Enough
Starting with smaller fasting periods is a great way to ease into things and get your body used to the new normal, but short fasting periods will not lead to overall weight loss at the rate you are expecting. Also, the same time periods don’t work for everyone. Some people will find success with a 10-hour window while others need 14 to 16 hours to start seeing the desired results. If your weight loss is stalled, experiment with different fasting windows or programs.
I personally love using Intermittent Fasting for weight loss 16/8 when I want to boost my progress and see results faster. Of course, fasting alone is not enough for significant improvements. But when you combine it with a healthy diet and regular physical activity, it can make wonders!
So give this method a try, and if you find this article useful, please share it using the social media links below.