How To Start Intermittent Fasting
There is more than one way to start intermittent fasting, which is great because everybody is different. The key is to experiment and listen to your body to see what works best for you.
Here are some of ways to get started:
- 16:8: You eat all of your daily calories within a shortened period and fast the rest of the time.
- One meal a day : Also known as eating once a day. You eat all of your daily calories in just one meal each day, and fast the rest of the day.
- 5:2: You eat normally five days a week. On the other two days, you fast by eating between 500 and 600 calories.
- Alternate Day Fasting: You alternate fasting on certain days of the week: a day of eating normally, followed by a day eating 25% of your typical daily calories. A study found that obese adults following an alternate day intermittent fasting schedule lost up to 13 pounds over 8 weeks.
If intermittent fasting causes fatigue or other negative side effects, try fasting just once or twice a week, and build up from there.
As with any diet or exercise plan, consult your healthcare provider or dietitian to determine whats best for you. If you struggle with healthy eating patterns or dieting behaviors, intermittent fasting may not be for youand thats totally okay. There are many different ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Intermittent fasting is just one style of eating that works for some people, and doesnt work for others.
Tips For How To Succeed With Fasting
Tip 1: Try to pick an intermittent fasting weight loss plan that will set you up for long term success
Consider your lifestyle, schedule, current eating pattern, and appetite when selecting any diet plan for losing weight.
Keep in mind that the best diets are the ones that you can maintain for an extended period.
Tip 2: Drink Plenty of Fluids
Hydration is important during intermittent fasting and should not be limited to your eating window.
Most intermittent fasting plans allow for beverages with zero calories, including water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee.
In addition to preventing dehydration, these drinks may help keep hunger pangs and food cravings at bay.
Research as shown that drinking plenty of fluids may increase feelings of satiety , and is one way to help you feel fuller while you are on a fast.
Tip 3: Choose foods that are rich in nutrients and have fewer calories
Unlike most diets, intermittent fasting plans do not have any food rules for losing weight.
However, it is still recommended to limit processed and junk food intakes, such as sugars, soda, cookies, and candy.
These foods are associated with weight gain, obesity, oxidative stress, inflammation, high cholesterol levels, and greater calorie intake.
They are also linked with an increased risk of certain diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and insulin resistance.
Common Obstacles To Eating A Healthier Diet
Varady dabbles with intermittent fasting herself, typically for a few weeks after the holidays to lose a few pounds. The 16:8 plan is less intense than the other plans, but if she wants a more rapid weight loss, shell opt for alternate day fasting.
The first five fast days are pretty tricky, but once your body gets adjusted to that kind of up-down pattern of eating, it actually gets really easy, Varady told TODAY.
So how do you boost your chances of intermittent fasting success?
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Why 3 Pm Is A Key Time To Start Eating Less Food
Peeke also recommended that I stick to having lunch be my biggest meal of the day. Theres a study that a majority of Americans eat over the course of 15 to 16 hours out of the day, with the majority of their calories coming after 3 p.m. Its a recipe for disaster, she says, referencing a study published in November 2015 in Cell Metabolism.
Peeke suggested that rather than having my banana protein shake as an evening dessert and not eating anything before exercising, I instead drink it first thing in the morning. This way, the carbs from the banana would give me an instant source of energy to fuel my workout and my body would be processing the carbohydrates at an optimal time of the day.
The switch immediately paid dividends. I had way more energy throughout my workout. Because my body was working at a higher intensity, I was burning more calories than I would be even if Id been doing fasted cardio. Peeke recommended that I try to stay under a 12-hour window of restricted eating, but I was able to manage my dinnertime to keep my eating in a 10-hour window. Although my weight drifted up by 2 lb, it was because I was adding muscle mass instead of fat. The additional muscle in my arms and shoulders were noticeable. And as my body fat percentage got lower, I started to see some veins popping out of my biceps, forearms, and calves.
Change Your Eating Pattern
I often say that in my articles, but intermittent fasting is all about habits. Its not something you have to constantly be mindful of like counting calories or doing low-carb diets.
Youll have to be mindful at first of course, but once the lifestyle is implemented, youll follow it without thinking about it much, since you wont be hungry during your fasting window and, most of the time, you will be when its time to eat.
So you will have created a habit. As I already stated: the body adapts. Itll adapt to this habit, but itll also adapt to your weight-loss and screw up your progress.
If you can do it, try changing your eating pattern. Its not always easy to do depending on your lifestyle. But you dont have to stick to it to very long, the idea is to stress the body and force him to get out of its comfort zone.
This means if youre doing 16:8 intermittent fasting and you dont eat from 8 pm to noon the next day, skipping breakfast, try skipping dinner for a while.
You finish your lunch at 1 pm and you dont eat again before breakfast. This way you could even reduce your eating window from a few hours.
This can be hard since if youre used to eating dinner, youll get pretty hungry in the evening. But again, you dont need to do that for very long, a couple of weeks might be enough.
When getting back to your usual eating pattern, this could be enough to get through your plateau.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Always Healthy Know About 6 Demerits Of This Diet Plan
Intermittent fasting is a very trending diet plan but it has its disadvantages as well. Read to know demerits of this diet.
Intermittent fasting is one of the most worked out fasting schedules because it allows people to have a pattern of eating. However people have started following it without recommendation from any expert dietician, this creates negative effects on health of the people and hence it needs to be avoided. Those who do not know, intermittent fasting is a type of dieting plan where you have food in time interval of 6-8 hours and fast for rest of the day. Different individuals have variety of variation which affects their health. Today we are going to discuss about demerits of doing intermittent fasting and side-effects it has on people.
Can You Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting
There is growing research that intermittent fasting is at least as effective for weight loss as other diet plans.
The primary way that intermittent fasting helps you lose weight is by creating a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit occurs when you burn more calories in a day than you eat.
All of the intermittent fasting approaches involve skipping meals and snacks to some degree, which results in fewer calories consumed over time.
Additionally, your body also adjusts hormone levels during a fast to burn more fat.
As previously mentioned, when your body is cut off from the calories in food, it will start to burn body fat to meet energy needs, ultimately helping you lose weight.
One 2014 review article found that intermittent fasting resulted in a 3 to 8% reduction in weight over 3 to 24 weeks .
A different review study from 2011 showed that intermittent fasting resulted in a weight loss of 4 to 8% from baseline after three weeks .
Furthermore, the researchers noted that fasting caused less fat-free tissue loss compared to a daily calorie restriction.
This means that participants who fasted lost less muscle mass than those on the traditional diet .
A more recent systematic review from 2020, which consisted of 27 separate studies and 944 participants, found that intermittent fasting resulted in a weight loss ranging from 0.8% to 13% of baseline weight .
Plus, the researchers noted that much of the weight loss from intermittent fasting was from fat loss .
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Is Intermittent Fasting Effective
Most individuals adopt intermittent fasting as a means to lose weight. But is it effective? According to several studies, subjects participating in intermittent fasting lost a significant amount of weight. However, when compared to simple calorie restriction, weight loss results were comparable.
So, if losing weight is the only reason you want to try intermittent fasting, be aware that a simple, daily calorie restriction should yield similar results.
BUT there are some additional health benefits to fasting if choosing to adopt this eating pattern.
Consider The Intermittent Fasting Plan Right For You:
Some of the popular regimens include:
The 16:8 diet, or time-restricted feeding, where you fast for 16 hours a day, but are free to eat whatever you want in the other eight hours. Experts advise picking an eating window that lets you finish your meals fairly early, such as 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or earlier, because your body is less efficient at putting sugar away as the day goes by.
Alternate day fasting, which means limiting yourself to 500 calories one day, then eating whatever you want the next, and then repeating that process.
The 5:2 plan, which means incorporating two non-consecutive fast days into your week, then eating normally during the other days.
Here are four tips to keep your plan on track:
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Why I Chose To Try Time
The definition of intermittent fasting is pretty basic. Its really just a period of eating, followed by a period of not eating, says Krista Varady, PhD, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois in Chicago. For over a decade, Dr. Varady has researched the effects of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is kind of an umbrella term, but there are three major types of intermittent fasting. Theres alternate-day fasting, which means that you would eat fewer than 500 calories every other day and eat however many calories you want on the remaining days of the week. Theres also whats called the 5:2 approach to intermittent fasting, which means you would eat fewer than 500 calories for two days per week and however many you want on the other days. And then theres whats called time-restricted eating, which means you can eat within a certain window of time each day, like between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., says Varady.
Given that I was becoming more active through exercise, I wasnt sure that taking in only 500 calories a day would be the best idea for maintaining my energy levels. With that in mind, I decided to try time-restricted eating instead.
The Only Intermittent Fasting Planner Youll Ever Need
If youd like to get started with intermittent fasting or you want to take your intermittent fasting weight loss to the next level, what you really need is my Intermittent Fasting Fitness Planner!
It literally has everything you need to track fasting, strength & cardio training, pounds/inches lost, space for notes, slots for before & after pics, and three 30-day fitness challenge charts!
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Ways Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight Say Dietitians
There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of ways to lose weight. There’s the Mediterranean diet, a low-carb diet, the keto diet, the Paleo diet, Whole30, the list goes on. One of the increasingly popular weight-loss diets is intermittent fasting , where you eat all your meals within a small eating window and fast for the remainder of the day. And that’s it. You technically don’t have to give up any of your favorite foods and you don’t have to force yourself to eat any health foods that you dislike. So how can that be? How is it that you have free reign to eat whatever you want and all you have to do is limit when you eat it?
We talked to registered dietitians and looked at the science behind exactly how fasting helps you lose weight, and why it’s a diet worth considering if you want to lose weight safely. So if you’ve been thinking about trying an intermittent fasting diet for weight loss, read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
The primary goal of intermittent fasting for weight loss is to get the insulin levels to decrease to a level where the body will begin to burn stored fat for energy.
Here is how it works. When the food we eat is metabolized , it ends up as molecules in the blood stream. One such molecule is glucose . Normally, when there is more circulating blood glucose than the body can use for energy, the excess is stored as fat for future use. But, for glucose to be utilized by the cells, it requires insulin. Between meals the body doesnt require insulin so insulin levels decline. When insulin levels are low, the fat cells release some of the stored glucose, resulting in weight loss.
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The Truth About Fasting
The bottom line: Nutrition experts agree that fasting is a potentially dangerous, and not particularly effective, way to lose weight.
Instead of a fast, opt for a healthy eating plan that you can stick with long-term Healthy diets provide a minimum of 1,200 calories and include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and healthy fats, along with regular physical activity.
If you are not convinced and want to go on a fast, be sure to consult your physician first.
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.
Experts Tips To Follow When Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
- As the body takes time to adapt to the intermittent fasting pattern, you may feel increased hunger and tiredness when you begin with the plan. So, make sure you take a balanced, nutrient-dense diet to remain full for longer.
- Eat mindfully during the eating window. Avoid overeating as it may lead to acid reflux or heartburn.
- Limit calorie-rich foods.
- Ensure that you hydrate throughout the day.
- Drinking cinnamon water helps prevent recurrent hunger pangs.
- Avoid exercising before or during the eating window as it may lead to increased hunger.
- Avoid activities such as watching food shows, etc., that may stimulate hunger.
- Try to eat whole, unprocessed and single-ingredient foods.
- Include moderate exercise or physical activity for best results from your intermittent fasting plan.
- Stay consistent to see the desired results.
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What Happens To Your Body While Youre Intermittent Fasting
Fasting has been shown to impact the body in several ways.
During a fast, your hormones adjust to begin burning fat as a source of fuel.
In other words, when your body is cut off from food, it will adapt to use body fat as its primary form of energy.
This essentially means that fasting can switch your metabolism into fat-burning mode.
Some of the changes that occur during fasts include:
- Lower insulin levels Insulin is a hormone that is released by the pancreas in response to carbohydrates found in food. Its main role is to help regulate blood glucose levels. Insulin decreases during a fast, which sends signals to your cells to start using fat for energy instead of blood sugar .
- Increased human growth hormone Human growth hormone has been linked to greater fat burn and increases in muscle mass . There is evidence that HGH levels increase while intermittent fasting .
- Boost in norepinephrine levels During a fast, norepinephrine levels rise . Norepinephrine, also known as noradrenaline, is a hormone released by the brain which tells the body to release fatty acids from stored body fat. These free fatty acids can then be used by your cells for energy.
Get Enough Salt And Electrolytes
When you start intermittent fasting, you might feel tired, have headaches, be light-headed, or even nauseous. And you will certainly experience some type of craving and sudden hunger.
There are many reasons for this, one of them could be a lack of electrolytes, mostly sodium and potassium, but also magnesium.
If youre fasting and implementing some other healthy habits like cutting down on certain types of carbs, you will most likely end up consuming less salt and electrolytes than usual.
And what you may think are simple side-effects of not eating enough, often comes from not getting enough electrolytes.
Ive already talked about my experience with a lack of electrolytes, sodium in particular while doing a prolonged fast. I remember waking up on the fourth day, feeling awful, nauseous, tired, I could barely get up to work.
It was getting so bad, that I decided to break my fast in the rightest way possible: I drank a cup of chicken broth. And recovered in under 30 minutes!
It happened again when I experimented with keto, after 5 days this time. I did the same thing with the same results.
You might often think that youre craving for food, but sometimes youre just craving from salt. Sure too much salt might not be great, but not enough salt is way worse.
To help you get rid of snacking in the afternoon or feeling down, try getting some salt or apple cider vinegar in your water, a chicken, or vegetables, broth to help with that.
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