There is a lot of research on intermittent fasting, especially for weight loss. I’ve written about the benefits of extended fasting and intermittent fasting before. For this article though, I’d like to go more in-depth on intermittent fasting for weight loss rather than just general health. I also talk about intermittent fasting as an important tool in the 21 Day Fat Loss Kickstart: Make Keto Easy, Take Diet Breaks and Still Lose Weight. Intermittent fasting for weight loss has become very popular in the last several years. There are a large variety of protocols to choose from based on your goals.
Weight loss on intermittent fasting may be effective for a number of reasons. First, intermittent fasting promotes a reduction in calories. Second, fasting helps promote insulin sensitivity which is an important factor in weight loss and maintenance. Third, intermittent fasting helps regulate blood sugar. Without as many sugar highs and crashes throughout the day, hunger is regulated. Finally, keeping a specific eating window prevents snacking and extra meals.
Intermittent fasting is all the rage these days, but what is it? How does it work? Is it effective? In this blog post, we’ll answer all of those questions and more. So, if you’re intrigued by the idea of intermittent fasting and want to learn more, read on!
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What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. The main types of intermittent fasting are 16/8, Alternate-Day, and 5:2.
14/10 Fasting or 16/8 Fasting or 18/6 Fasting or 20/4 Fasting
You often see people talk about intermittent fasting in terms of two numbers. These are the fasting window and eating window. The first number indicates the number of hours of fasting. The second number represents the number of hours that are the eating window.
One of the most popular is 16/8 since it is easily achieved by having dinner by 8:00 pm then simply skipping breakfast the next day. Have dinner by eight, then eat 16 hours later at noon. This pattern fits well with most people’s work schedules. It gives your body 16 hours in which to avoid the release of insulin caused by food, which is great for blood sugar levels.
The benefits of intermittent fasting are numerous. Two meals a day improves glucose tolerance and promotes autophagy, further discussed below.
Weight Loss on Intermittent Fasting: 5:2
Rather than a number of hours fasting, 5:2 refers to the number of days involved. This protocol involves eating normally for five days of the week. Then, you restrict calories to 25 percent of normal on two non-consecutive days. Or you could fast completely for 24 hours on those chosen days.
Eat Stop Eat Fasting
The eat-stop-eat fasting method is pretty simple. Eat normally for most days of the week, but then fast for 24 hours once or twice a week. Dinner to dinner may seem the easiest to most, but you could choose any 24 hours to fast.
Weight Loss on Intermittent Fasting: Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)
Alternate day fasting (ADF) has you eating every other day of the week. There are multiple studies on PubMed on ADF with varying results but most show that it’s effective for weight loss10 and affects some other biomarkers as well.
Weight Loss on Intermittent Fasting: One Meal a Day (OMAD) Fasting
With the OMAD method of fasting, you eat once a day. This could be literally one giant meal in which you eat all of your calories for the day. However, it may be divided into smaller meals within a two to three-hour time window.
Overall, I don’t recommend this approach long term. It’s fine occasionally, but doing this method day after day makes it unlikely that you’re getting enough protein.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has become popular for a reason—it works! Not only does it help with weight loss, but it also has numerous other health benefits. Some of these include reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, improved brain function, and reduced risk of heart disease. These are just a few of the many reasons why people are turning to intermittent fasting as a way to improve their health.
Weight Loss on Intermittent Fasting
The bottom line is that you can absolutely lose weight on intermittent fasting. There are just a few things to keep in mind.
- Make sure you’re not making up for your fasting hours by eating more food, this is easier if you’re eating lower carb and fat adapted since you’re less likely to be ravenous.
- Don’t stick to the same intermittent fasting schedule for an extended amount of time. You’ll be more successful with weight loss when you regularly shake up your eating window.
- Add in an extended fast once in a while, this will help accelerate weight loss.
How to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting
If you’re interested in trying intermittent fasting, there are a few things you should keep in mind before getting started. First, make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re looking to lose weight quickly or become healthier overnight, intermittent fasting is not for you. Like any healthy lifestyle change, it takes time and commitment to see results. Second, speak with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise regime. This is especially important if you have any underlying health conditions. Finally, be patient! It takes time to see results with intermittent fasting (or any other weight loss method), so don’t give up if you don’t see results immediately.
Fasting With Regulated Blood Sugar
One thing to note is that fasting is a lot easier when you’re eating a low-carb diet. If you’re eating the standard American diet or other variations with a lot of carbohydrates, blood sugar swings will have you hangry and ravenous when trying to fast. Once you’re low carb/keto for a while, you become fat adatped. Being fat-adapted means that your body has upregulated the processes necessary to more easily access your body fat for fuel, which means you’ll be less hungry when not eating.
If you want to get started with low carb before trying intermittent fasting, I have plenty of free resources for you. There are a few podcast episodes on fasting, and one is all about the benefits of both extended and intermittent fastingI also talk about fasting and keto more in-depth in 21 Day Fat Loss Kickstart: Make Keto Easy, Take Diet Breaks and Still Lose Weight. You can get a chapter for free at that link!
If you’re looking for a sustainable way to lose weight and improve your overall health, intermittent fasting just might be for you! It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. What works for some may not work for others. Finally, don’t forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day; it takes time and patience to see results with intermittent fasting (or any other weight loss method.) Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately and know that I’m always here for support.
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