Tips To Help You Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting
Below are some extra tips that I give my one-on-one coaching clients when they start intermittent fasting.
Start Slow Whichever fasting method you choose, you want to work your way up to a longer fasting period.
Take your time making small changes in building up to your desired fast. That way, you can sustain the changes.
Protein can help you feel more satisfied after your eating window.
You will be less likely to feel hungry or experience food cravings when your fast begins.
2. Drink A Lot of Water Staying hydrated can help keep your energy levels up and keep your moods stable as you manage your fasting periods.
It can also help your control your hunger and make fasting a little more comfortable.
What works well is upping your overall activity.
You can do this by aiming to get 7-10k steps in per day.
This will burn a lot of calories, but it wont raise your hunger levels.
If you are a beginner. Start slow.
Do not jump straight into a 16+ hour fast.
You might get quicker weight loss results in the short term.
But you shouldnt be looking for short-term success.
Instead of asking the question, how quickly can I lose x weight
Ask yourself the question: how can I guarantee that I can lose weight in the long term
Trust me, Ive been doing this for 10 years.
Ive Never Fasted Before How Should I Start
If youve never water fasted before, we recommend that you start with overnight fasting. This form of fasting has added benefits of reinforcing healthy circadian rhythms if you start fasting a few hours before bedtime even your gut microbes and brain will love it! You can practice this fasting schedule most nights of the week, if youd like.
Even 12 hours of overnight fasting can require a few weeks of adjustment for many people. But it should get easier within a month! If you normally eat a snack or enjoy a drink late in the evening, try to move that up to at least 1-2 hours before you go to bed. Then try waking up and just drinking some hot tea or coffee with no cream or sugar.
If you can begin to fast for 10, 12 or even 14 hours overnight, youll be well on your way to an intermittent fasting lifestyle! You can work up from there. Let us know how it goes share your story with us on or !
So Who Should Be Careful With Fasting
You should not fast when you:
- Are too thin or underweight or easily lose too much weight
- Are malnourished and deficient in micronutrients
- Have a chronic disease
- Already feel weak in general or suffer from suboptimal health
- Take medication that could interfere with fasting, especially ones that lower electrolytes
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Under eighteen years old.
Recommended Reading: Why Does Intermittent Fasting Work
Length: How Long Should You Fast
You may have heard of different intermittent fasting methods. 16/8 intermittent fasting is the most popular, but there are many more. 14/10, 18/6, One Meal A Day , Alternate Day Fasting , and 5:2 fasting are other examples.
The intermittent fasting method determines the length of the fasting window. With 16/8 fasting, the fasting window is 16 hours per day, with 14/10, you fast for 14 hours, and with 18/6, youâre fasting for 18 hours. When practicing OMAD, you eat only one meal per day and fast for the rest of the day.
With ADF and 5:2, you fast for entire days multiple times per week.
You can learn more about different intermittent fasting methods in a separate article.
So what method, i.e., what fasting length is right for you?
This depends on many factors, such as:
- Your current eating schedule
- Health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure
- Your weight and body composition
- Physical activity
For most people, fasting experience and how much weight they have to lose are the most important factors.
Intermittent fasting experience
If you have no fasting experience at all, you should start your intermittent fasting journey with short fasting intervals. 12-hour overnight fasts, 14/10 and 16/8, are beginner-friendly intermittent fasting methods.
18/6 fasting and OMAD are quite advanced methods. You can try them when youâve been practicing intermittent fasting for a while, and you feel like you could easily fast for longer.
Heres What Happened When I Tried Time Restricted Feeding
Krista Scott-Dixon, PhD, Precision Nutritions director of curriculum, is a morning person.
I didnt want to give up my big breakfasts, so I chose evening fasting first. she says. I normally trained in the mornings, so this worked for me.
However, she noticed three things about her sleep when fasting in the afternoons and evenings.
First, she was much more tired. Once my battery ran out, I was done. Getting up the stairs to bed was a terrific ordeal, she says.
Second, although shed conk out quickly, she didnt sleep well.
Third, she woke up extremely earlyat a consistent 4am.
Later, she experimented with skipping breakfast and lunch.
At first, that felt like much more of a sacrifice, she says,
Eventually she got to like the efficiency of waking, grabbing a cup of tea, and getting straight to work. And she slept a lot better after a good meal in the evenings.
Bottom line: For any fasting schedule, youll want to experiment, tweak the plan, and do what works for you.
Why Change Your Fasting Times Or Fasting Windows
This may come down to personal preference or changing priorities and work, family schedules.
All of us have jobs, family and social life and other evens that can cause us to miss our fasting window so adjusting your fasting window is often the only option.
There may be a family event, or social gathering that was unplanned for i.e. a last minute invite to a social function such as birthday party that you just cant turn down.
This event or party may take place during your fasting window and make intermittent fasting during that time extremely difficult.
Afterall you dont want to seem rude by turning down birthday cake when offered because it is your fasting period.
In that case it is completely fine to delay your fasting window or even to forgo your fasting window until the next day.
Also you may be called into work or have to work an extra shift or a late night shift for some reason which can really impact your planned fasting time.
In this case it is also fine to delay your fasting window or just begin again anew the next day.
What is most important is that you are mainintaing the required caloric deficit conisstnetly and changing your fasting time or fasting window on occasion really wont affect that.
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Safety And Side Effects
Modified versions of intermittent fasting appear to be safe for most women.
That being said, a number of studies have reported some side effects including hunger, mood swings, lack of concentration, reduced energy, headaches and bad breath on fasting days .
There are also some stories online of women who report that their menstrual cycle stopped while following an intermittent fasting diet.
If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
Medical consultation is particularly important for women who:
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Have diabetes or regularly experience low blood sugar levels.
- Are underweight, malnourished or have nutritional deficiencies.
- Are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive.
- Have fertility problems or a history of amenorrhea .
At the end of the day, intermittent fasting appears to have a good safety profile. Yet, if you experience any problems such loss of your menstrual cycle stop immediately.
Intermittent fasting may cause hunger, low energy levels, headaches and bad breath. Women who are pregnant, trying to conceive or who have a history of eating disorders should seek medical advice prior to starting an intermittent fasting regimen.
Also Check: Best Intermittent Fasting For Muscle Gain
How Many Days A Week Is Fasting Recommended
Intermittent fasting is most effective for losing weight if practiced daily. Although, fasting is never easy due to peoples job shifts, extensive travel, or hectic work schedules. These people may find it difficult to practice intermittent fasting daily and may want to fast on alternate days or at least two times a week.
Extreme fasting techniques and lifestyles, such as fasting for 24 hours one day a week or fasting without drinking water, are not recommended.
On average, if you want to lose weight and shed one pound per week, you have to eat 500 calories less daily .
The two times a week method
- You restrict calorie intake in 24 hours to 500 for two days a week.
- During the other five days, you resume your normal eating diet .
- On the fasting days, you must have high-fiber and high-protein foods to keep the body full and the calorie count low.
- Make sure there is a gap of at least one day between the two fasting periods.
- This method does not have any fixed fasting and eating window.
The alternate-day fasting method
- You restrict calorie intake to about 25 percent of your normal intake, irrespective of the fasting hours.
- On non-fasting days, resume your regular diet.
- Alternate-day fasting may have harmful consequences in the long run.
So What Is The Best Fasting Method
This brings us to the most important question: whats the best way to fast?
Likely, the best method to fast is a 3 day fast every month or every new season. So, at the start of every autumn, winter, spring and summer you fast for 3 days.
3-day-fasting brings about the best health effects: you enter proper ketosis, induce strong autophagy and studies also show that 3 day fasts reboots stem cells and the immune system .
With shorter fasts, you cant get those effects , or the effects will be less robust.
Proper ketosis is something you can only achieve after a minimum of 2-3 days of fasting period. Ketone levels in the blood start to increase sooner than that, but achieve significantly higher and more ideal levels after at least 2 days.
In fact, if you start fasting, the following 4 things happen:
Also Check: What Does Fasting Do For Weight Loss
What Does The New Research On If Mean For You
For most people , a time-restricted eating approach appears to be a safe strategy that is likely to produce some weight loss, assuming you are not changing your current dietary pattern .
The weight loss effects of time-restricted eating derive primarily from achieving a negative energy balance. If you maintain your regular diet and then limit the time window during which you eat, it is likely that you will eat a few hundred fewer calories per day. If this is sustainable as a lifestyle, it could add up to modest weight loss that can produce beneficial improvements in cardiometabolic markers such as blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and average blood sugar.
But and this is a big but if you are overcompensating for the time restriction by gorging yourself during your eating window, it will not work as a weight loss strategy. And it may indeed backfire. The other two levers in your dietary pattern the quantity and quality of what you eat during your eating window still matter immensely!
It May Aid Weight Loss
Various methods of intermittent fasting, including 20-hour fasting cycles, have been linked to weight loss.
One study, which closely mimicked the Warrior Diet , found that people who consumed meals over four hours in the evening experienced more weight loss than those who consumed the same amount of calories in meals throughout the day.
Whats more, those who ate one meal per day showed significantly reduced fat mass and greater muscle mass .
A recent review of six studies concluded that various types of intermittent fasting, ranging from 3 to 12 months, were more effective at promoting weight loss than no dietary intervention.
However, the review found that there were no significant weight loss differences between dieters using intermittent fasting or continuous calorie restriction , meaning that calorie restriction without fasting was equally effective .
Additionally, although reducing calorie intake is the most common outcome of the Warrior Diet, some people following this eating pattern could technically consume too many calories during the four-hour overeating period and experience weight gain.
Read Also: What Can You Eat When Your Fasting
Hour Fast For Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Improving insulin sensitivity is tied to other benefits that go above and beyond weight loss and muscle gain.
Most people on the Standard American Diet suffer from chronically high insulin levels and associated risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and PCOS. Insulin resistance can even lead to problems with cognitive function and memory.
Improving insulin resistance with 20 hour intermittent fasting can result in:
- Clearer, smoother skin
- Clearer thinking and improved mood
Fast For 12 Hours A Day
The rules for this diet are simple. A person needs to decide on and adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day.
According to some researchers, fasting for 1016 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This should encourage weight loss.
This type of intermittent fasting plan may be a good option for beginners. This is because the fasting window is relatively small, much of the fasting occurs during sleep, and the person can consume the same number of calories each day.
The easiest way to do the 12-hour fast is to include the period of sleep in the fasting window.
For example, a person could choose to fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They would need to finish their dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to eat breakfast but would be asleep for much of the time in between.
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So How Long Should You Fast For
Bottom line, the ideal fasting window will vary depending on the individual.
“What matters more, I think, is the duration of fasting that works for you,” says Pedre. “If you can’t stick with it or it isn’t working for whatever reasonsay, you can’t concentratethat’s a sign benefits are starting to drop off and you may need to scale back.”
Editorial Sources And Fact
- Fothergill E, Guo J, Howard L, et al. Persistent Metabolic Adaptation 6 Years After The Biggest Loser Competition. Obesity. August 2016.
- Varady KA, Cienfuegos S, Ezpeleta M, et al. Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Annual Review of Nutrition. October 2021.
- Gabel K, Hoddy KK, Haggerty N, et al. Effects of 8-Hour Time Restricted Feeding on Body Weight and Metabolic Disease Risk Factors in Obese Adults: A Pilot Study. Nutrition and Healthy Aging. June 2018.
- Catterson JH, Khericha M, Dyson MC, et al. Short-Term, Intermittent Fasting Induces Long-Lasting Gut Health and TOR-Independent Lifespan Extension. Current Biology. June 2018.
- De Cabo R, Mattson MP. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease. The New England Journal of Medicine. December 26, 2019.
The 1: 6 Intermittent Fasting Plan
Fasting for 18 hours with a 6-hour eating window.
Now things are becoming more advanced.
18 hours is a long time to go without food.
Do not attempt this if you are new to intermittent fasting.
You are likely to experience negative side effects.
Once you get used to fasting, 18 hours can be easy.
Particularly if you arent that active.
If you are very active, training three times per week, you could do 18:6 hours on your rest days.
An example day would be finishing your eating window at 8pm and breaking your fast at 2pm the next day.
Hour Fast For Increased Hgh
Higher serum HGH levels are associated with improved muscle mass, better memory, reduced water retention, and more. HGH levels tend to inversely correlate with cortisol levels, meaning they can rescue the body from a high-stress state.
One study involving 200 people found that fasting for 24 hours increased HGH by a factor of 20 in men and 13 in women.
This exponential change explains why IF is so renowned for triggering sudden changes in mood and appearance.
Also Check: What Do You Do For Intermittent Fasting
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Schedule #: Fasting 1
On this plan, you fast for a full 24 hours once or twice per week, eating sensibly the other days of the week.
What it involves
Its flexible: You can choose whichever 24 hours you want.
People who benefit
This is an advanced fasting schedule.
It works best for people whove tried either meal skipping or a one-day fasting experiment and thought, Gee, that was interesting. Lets see what happens if I push this a bit more.
Note that if youre not ready to fast one or two days a week, theres a nice half step. You can just fast for 24 hours occasionallysay, once a monthas a refresher to remind yourself that hunger is no big deal.
If you try it
- Start with just one fasting day. Two fasting days can be stressful .
- Take an honest look at the rest of your life. Fasting doesnt pair well with things like the sleep deprivation that comes from being a new parent or exhaustion from training for a marathon.
- Train on your non-fasting days. This is especially important if youre exercising intensely.
- On your non-fasting days, eat real food. Were talking plenty of lean protein, colorful veggies, healthy fats, and minimally processed carbs.
- On your fasting days, practice radical self care. Relax. Drink plenty of water or tea. Wrap yourself in a cozy blanket. Breathe deeply and find comfort in ways that work for you.
- Plan for how you will break your fast. Have food you feel good about eating ready to go. Take a few breaths before your first bite. Slow down and enjoy.
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