Why Fasting For Weight Loss Can Backfire
When you eat less than you need and you lose weight, your body goes into a starvation mode. To save energy, your metabolism slows down.
When you’re done fasting and you go back to your usual diet, you may regain the weight you lost, and then some.
On a fast, your body adjusts by curbing your appetite, so you will feel less hungry at first. But once you have stopped fasting, your appetite revs back up. You may feel hungrier and be more likely to overeat.
Fasting every other day has similar results. It helps people lose weight, but not for long.
In one study, people who fasted every other day shed weight, even when they ate all they wanted on days when they weren’t fasting. But the weight loss didn’t last over time.
What To Eat Today
Dont skip breakfast
You might be tempted to run out the door in the morning, but if you want to keep your metabolism revving all day, make time for breakfast . Eating breakfast fast tracks metabolism and keeps energy high all day, says Lohre.
A recent 2018 study found that eating breakfast before exercising accelerates your metabolism post-workout.
and have a Greek yogurt
Probiotics balance gut bacteria and help increase metabolism so make sure to have a Greek yogurt with your breakfast.
To make sure youre getting the right gut-balancing microorganisms with your breakfast, make sure your Greek yogurt says contains active cultures on the packaging.
Benefits of probiotics
The bacteria in our guts influence numerous aspects of our metabolism, so having the wrong balance of bugs can lead to junk food cravings, blood sugar swings, and weight gain while having the right balance of bugs can lead to less sugar cravings and higher metabolic rate, says Talbott.
Intermittent Fasting And Metabolism
Fasting is often equated with starvation. Picture a shriveled man, ribs protruding, marooned on a desert island for months without a solid meal.
But that would be long-term caloric restriction, not intermittent fastingwhich Ill loosely define as any fast between 12 and 36 hours.
Calorie restriction slows your metabolism. But short-term fasting with regular refeeds has the opposite effect.
Think about it this way. If you were a hunter-gatherer roaming the plains 40,000 years ago, would you want your body shutting down after a fruitless hunt? Of course not. Youd want to be extra alert so you could bring down a prehistoric mammal on the next hunt.
Thats exactly what happens during an intermittent fast. Fueled by the burning of fat, your metabolic rate is maintained or increased by temporary fasting. Lets look at two studies that illustrate this point.
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What To Do Today
Work in a 20-minute strength-training circuit
Building muscle will help you burn more calories even when youre not moving and the higher your muscle mass, the stronger your metabolic rate, says Lohre.
If you want to strength train, you can definitely go old school and lift weights but thats not your only option! Doing body-weight exercises or hitting a TRX class is just as effective at building muscle as exercises like bicep curls.
or get in some cardio
Now, if youre not used to pumping iron, strength training could leave you feeling super sore.
But no worries! If you want to get in a metabolism-boosting workout, cardio can be just as effective. In fact, a 2011 study found that 45 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise increased metabolic rate for a whopping 14 hours post-workout.
To get your cardio in, you can hit the trails for a run, check out a spin class, swim some laps anything that gets that heart rate up!
Eat Plenty Of Protein
Since your body requires calories to process and digest protein, it makes sense to include some with every meal. And protein is a vital ingredient when it comes to building muscle. Most of us dont get enough protein in our daily diets, and this can be partly to blame for a sluggish metabolism.
Whats another added bonus of getting enough protein in your diet? Protein makes you feel full and satisfied. That means youll naturally fuel up on the good stuff and take in less calories overall to boot.
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The Best Way To Maintain Healthy Metabolism Is To Practice Intermittent Fasting
This can be accomplished with 18 or 24 hour periods without food. Actually, before you panic, realize that you will be eating every day. To accomplish an 18-hour fast, you simply will eat dinner at the regular time and then not eat your first meal the next day until around noon.
To accomplish the 24-hour fast, you would continue fasting until dinner the following day. This resets the metabolism every time. It works because of the effect it has on two hormones, insulin and growth hormone. When in the non-fed state, insulin goes down which allows the body to access and utilize fat as fuel. Additionally, growth hormone goes up which allows the body to maintain and build lean muscle tissue.
I recommend doing this every third or fourth day to ensure your metabolism is constantly being reset and fired up. When this becomes a practice in life, issues of weight control get relatively easy and less stressful.
So Is Intermittent Fasting As Good As It Sounds
According to metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, says “there is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective.” But still she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”
So, heres the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
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Cardiovascular Exercise To Rev Metabolism
Increasing your cardiovascular activity after fasting is a great way to boost your metabolism. Studies have shown that vigorous cardiovascular exercise can increase metabolic rate for 14 hours after a workout. Try running, cycling, swimming, or taking a spinning class. If you have an underactive metabolism, avoid late nights and sleep for eight hours each night. After the workout, you can exercise for another 30 minutes before bedtime.
Before you start a cardio session, you should have a meal to refuel. If youâre fasting before your exercise, youâll likely be hungry afterward. If youâre a heavy exerciser, try to eat a meal with protein and carbohydrates, as these nutrients will help you build muscle. Consume 1.2 g of carbohydrate for every kilogram of body weight per hour before your workout.
How To Maintain Optimal Metabolism:
The 5-1-1 Fasting Variation entails 5 days a week of intermittent fasting , 1 day a week of 24 hour fasting and 1 day a week of healthy feasting.
Also remember that fasting does not equate to calorie restriction. Fasting simply means you have a dedicated time frame for eating and a dedicated time for not eating. It does not mean that you are eating fewer calories in total than you would if you were eating throughout the day.
Want to try a Metabolic Reset for FREE? Check out my YouTube series on all things related to boosting, detoxing and resetting your metabolism!
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What To Do The Rest Of The Week
This three-day fix is a great start to boosting your metabolism but its just the beginning.
A healthy metabolism will keep you in shape and raise your energy levels, says Lohre. If youre trying to lose weight, raising your metabolic rate means youll see results faster longer-lasting results.
So dont just make it a weekend fix. Look to see where you can make long-term changes in your life so your metabolism can be consistently at its peak.
Prioritize Meals Over Snacks
Larger meals create more significant thermogenic effects, says Dr. Seltzer, meaning they increase your metabolism more than grazing throughout the day. Although research has also shown that grazers eat significantly less when they sit down to eat hours later. The smaller meals or snacks helped to balance insulin levels and reduce the release of hunger hormones.
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How To Reset Your Metabolism
How to reset your metabolism in the context of this post simply means how to help your body do what its supposed to do efficiently. There are some simple lifestyle practices that will help you improve your overall health and lose weight by resetting and/or increasing your metabolism:
Heres what a typical day looks like for me:
Some people will also recommend you drink coffee and/or green tea to increase your metabolism. I am a big fan of both because they also help minimize hunger when fasting but just use caution. Not all of us do well with caffeine. Read my post 7 Most Effective Ways to Curb Hunger Cravings When Fasting for more info.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help Weight Loss
IF makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains , are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells dont use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.
Between meals, as long as we dont snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.
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The Effect Of Fasting On Human Lipid Metabolism
Studies have shown that alternate-day fasting over 8 to 12 weeks causes decreases in LDL cholesterol concentrations and triacylglycerol concentrations , and increases in LDL particle size are often observed . Similarly, alternate-day fasting trials of a 3- to 12-week duration appear to be effective at reducing total cholesterol and triglycerides in normal-weight, overweight, and obese humans. Whole-day fasting trials lasting 12 to 24 weeks also favorably improve blood lipids . The results of the above studies jointly suggest that IF can decrease blood lipids. A shift from preferential lipid synthesis and storage to the mobilization of fat typically occurs when glycogen in hepatocytes is depleted , and the speed of lipolysis in adipose tissue increases and causes increased plasma levels of free fatty acids to produce increased fatty acid-derived ketones in the liver, kidney, astrocytes, and enterocytes as an energy supply . In addition, all types of IF can promote thermogenesis caused by WAT browning by increasing the expression of thermogenesis genes. Brown adipose tissue plays a key role in energy homeostasis and thermogenesis. It mainly expresses uncoupling protein 1 to promote the uncoupling of the energy produced by mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and ATP synthesis, which ultimately leads to the energy produced being released in the form of heat, which increases energy expenditure and ultimately reverses the hyperlipidemia induced by a high-fat diet .
Sugar And Carb Cravings
If you are constantly reaching for sugary things and refined carbs, then you might be dealing with a slow metabolism. A slow metabolic rate has been linked to insulin resistance which can make you crave sugary and carbohydrate filled foodstuffs.
What Factors Affect Your Metabolism
The rate at which the body burns calories to create energy needed to fuel basic functioning is known as the basal metabolic rate . Body size, muscle mass, gender, and age all contribute to BMR. While there are some mechanisms by which one can increase their BMR to promote weight loss, the truth is that its appetite, not a slow BMR, that typically contributes to weight gain, Dr. Seltzer says.
Besides BMR, which is the bodys primary calorie burner, two other factors contribute to overall caloric output. These include activity-induced thermogenesis, which covers non-exercise activity, like pushing a grocery cart through the store and exercise, and diet-induced thermogenesis , i.e., eatingthats right, eating. See, when we consume snacks and meals, the body burns calories to chew, swallow and digest said food, leading to a temporary increase in metabolism that can account for as much as 15% of the calories we burn every day, according to Dr. Seltzer.
Tucking in early is the easiest thing you can do for weight control.
Repetitive Intermittent Fasting And Metabolism
Heres what happened: repetitive intermittent fasting slowed down your metabolism.
Think of it like this. Imagine your body is a wood burning fireplace in a cold winter cabin. When you know you have a large stockpile of firewood supply, you keep the fire going at full blaze. But what if you look over and suddenly realize youre down to your last few logs? Youll likely want to slow down the fire to a slow burn to conserve firewood. Your metabolism works the same way.
Fasting Boosts Metabolism And Fights Aging
The latest study to explore the impact of fasting on the human body concludes that it increases metabolic activity more than previously realized and may even impart anti-aging benefits.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help certain people lose weight.
In rats, for instance,
Although exciting, evidence of this in humans has yet to be seen.
The most recent study which the authors have now published in the journal Scientific Reports takes a fresh look at fasting in humans and provides new insight.
Recent aging studies have shown that caloric restriction and fasting have a prolonging effect on lifespan in model animals, says first study author Dr. Takayuki Teruya, but the detailed mechanism has remained a mystery.
In particular, scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University in Japan examined its impact on metabolism.
To investigate, they fasted four volunteers for 58 hours. Using metabolomics, or the measurement of metabolites, the researchers analyzed whole blood samples at intervals during the fasting period.
What Is Your Metabolism
Metabolism is a simple word for a complex process. It refers to all of the chemical processes in the human body. If your metabolism runs quickly, then your body will require more calories . People who have slower metabolisms often struggle with excess weight.
When we talk about metabolism, what we are usually discussing is metabolic rate or the speed of our metabolism. Your metabolic rate is the amount of calories that your body burns in a period of time. It includes a number of components, including:
- Basal metabolic rate : the minimum metabolic rate needed to keep the involuntary functions of your body while you are asleep or in a state of deep rest.
- Resting metabolic rate : this is the minimum metabolic rate that is necessary to keep your body running while you are at rest . Studies show that it accounts for as much as 50 to 70% of all caloric expenditure.
- Thermic effect of food : the number of calories burned while digesting and processing food
- Thermic effect of exercise: the increase in calories burned during exercise and
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis : the calories burned by your body as you engage in movement other than exercise throughout the day .
Our metabolisms are incredibly complex. That is why it can be so hard to lose weight. For example, if you dont eat enough, your body may go into starvation mode reducing the number of calories burned by decreasing your metabolic rate. That is why, as a general rule, diets dont work for weight loss.
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Will Intermittent Fasting Slow Your Metabolism
A question I get all the time is, wont intermittent fasting slow down my metabolism? One of the most common mistakes I see fasters make is repeating the same fast over and over. Heres what usually happenswhen you first adopt a fasting lifestyle, youll likely see immediate positive results, you may start dropping weight, find an increase in your energy, focus and mental clarity. All great things. You get so excited about these results that you decide to continue intermittent fasting day after day. Then suddenly you realize youre not seeing the same results. Maybe youre even starting to gain weight.