If you’re someone who has struggled to lose weight, the chances are good you’ve heard something about intermittent fasting. It’s one of those terms that’s everywhere, and yet it’s also frequently misunderstood.
The word “fast” can bring up bad associations. As a rule, it’s not a good idea to deprive your body of food. And a fast, by definition, is a period during which you don’t eat.
That said, intermittent fasting is not unhealthy. In fact, it may be an effective way to lose weight and – even more importantly – maintain a healthy weight. So, let’s talk about what intermittent fasting is, how it works, and how you can use it to lose weight.
Let’s start by talking about what intermittent fasting is. Basically, it consists of alternating periods of fasting (abstaining from food) and eating. The cycles may occur daily or weekly and there is more than one way to engage in intermittent fasting.
Most people naturally fast for part of the day – most often, when they’re asleep. For example, if you finished dinner at 7:00 PM and didn’t eat until breakfast at 7:00 AM the next morning, you would have fasted for a total of 12 hours.
Most variations of intermittent fasting prohibit food during the fast but allow you to drink beverages that don’t have any calories. These include water, coffee, and tea. There are some variations that allow moderate caloric intake during the fast, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on true fasting.
The idea of fasting may be a daunting one for some people. Most of us don’t like the feeling of being hungry and we assume we’ll be very hungry during a fast. However, many people who do intermittent fasting report that once their bodies adjust, they don’t feel hungry and have more energy than they did without intermittent fasting.
There are several popular methods of intermittent fasting. That’s good news because it means you can choose the method that best suits your body and lifestyle. Here they are:
For most people, fasting for a full 24 hours at a time may be too much. It means that you’ll likely be very hungry and that can impact your comfort, energy levels, and even your mental wellbeing.
It’s important to note that any prolonged period of fasting (10 hours or more) can be beneficial to your health. A lot of people do very well with a 12 or 14-hour fast.
There are significant health benefits to intermittent fasting. It’s important to be informed before you begin, so here’s what you should know.
As you can see, there are significant health benefits to intermittent fasting.
Why is intermittent fasting an effective method of weight loss? There are several reasons.
In other words, intermittent fasting prompts your body to burn fat by reducing your insulin levels, releasing Human Growth Hormone, and releasing norepinephrine. It may also improve sleep by helping to regulate circadian rhythms. Multiple studies have shown a correlation between insomnia and weight gain.
Now, let’s talk about how you can use intermittent fasting to help you lose weight.
#1: Pick an Eating Window That Works for Your Schedule
The first step is to choose an eating window that works for your lifestyle and schedule. If you’ve never tried intermittent fasting before, you’ll probably want to stick to a daily fast instead of attempting to go 24 hours without food. The 16:8 method is the most popular.
If you work away from home during the day, you may want to try fasting from 7 PM to 11 AM. That way, you won’t need to get too far into your workday without food.
#2: Decide on the Rules of Your Fast
As we mentioned before, some fasts allow minimal caloric intake while others call for nothing but non-caloric beverages during the fast period. You can certainly drink all the water, coffee and tea you want – but there are a few caveats.
For example, caffeine has a direct effect on your adrenal system. Drinking caffeinated beverages without food in your stomach may make you feel jittery. It can also increase your hunger.
Likewise, artificially sweetened beverages can spur an insulin response in some people – the same way drinking a sugary soda or a glass of juice would. It may be best to avoid them if your goal is to lose weight.
#3: Pay Attention to Your Body
The most important thing to do as you begin intermittent fasting is to pay attention to your body. It may help to keep a food journal. Some foods may play a direct role in how hungry you feel during your fast. For example, if you eat sugary foods that cause your insulin to spike, you may find yourself getting intense hunger pains a few hours after you eat.
Keeping track of your food can help you figure out an eating plan that works for you. You may find that eating a protein-rich meal right before your fast helps keep you from feeling hungry during your fast.
If you’re uncertain or have questions about how your body is responding to the fast, check-in with your doctor or a certified nutritionist to get some guidance on how to proceed.
#4: Track Your Weight Loss
Not everybody reacts to intermittent fasting the same way. Weigh yourself regularly and keep track of what you’ve lost. If you find you’re not losing weight – or you’re losing weight too rapidly – you may need to change your diet accordingly.
It’s also worth noting that you should be careful to eat a nutritionally balanced diet that provides the macronutrients and micronutrients you need. Intermittent fasting is not meant to be a starvation diet and your body still needs healthy food.
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting is a reliable way to lose weight. If you decide to try it, make sure to listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Liv Pure Review: A Natural Solution for Liver Health and Weight Loss?
Snack your way to a healthy weight: 10 Healthy Snack Ideas for Weight Loss
The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Sustainable Weight Loss for Busy Women
How To Lose Weight With Soup