Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting: Top Tips To Get Lean On If
This article was co-authored by Olivia Mitchell, RDN, IFNCP. Olivia Mitchell is an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a focus on womens hormones and fertility. Olivia has her virtual practice where she helps her clients dive deeper into often overlooked causes of infertility with a customized diet, lifestyle, and supplement changes. She is also the co-founder of the Natalwork and Lead Nutrition Coach with On The Goga. Olivia received her Bachelors degree in Nutrition Sciences from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and her RDN from The University of Houston.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 8,813 times.
Intermittent fasting, a dietary plan that restricts when you can eat, is a popular trend that supporters claim helps you lose weight and perform to your full potential. But does it actually work? While it might not be the magic cure that some proponents make it sound like, studies do show that intermittent fasting can be an effective weight-loss tool. If youd like to try it out for yourself, then you have a few choices for which plan to follow. Despite what you may have heard, intermittent fasting is actually easier than you might think. Just check with your doctor to make sure this is right for you, then you can get started!
Can You Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting
The answer is – 100% yes! By limiting the time you eat, you naturally limit your calorie intake. The best part – IF is especially effective in burning fat. Normally your body takes the energy from glucose in your blood.
Problem is, people tend to consume way more food than we actually need for our bodies to run. The energy we didnt use, simply explained, becomes fat.
Thats where the benefit of fasting comes in. About 8 hours after your last meal, your body is out of blood sugar and starts using fat for energy. Thats how you burn fat by basically doing nothing.
Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight
There is some evidence that suggests intermittent fasting helps with weight loss. In order to lose weight, you need to experience a shortage of energy and any of the intermittent fasting strategies listed above should result in your overall energy intake being reduced by the end of a given week. But, although it may help you lose weight, theres no evidence that this type of diet is any more effective than simply reducing how many calories you have each day.
Why Counting Calories Is Not The Best Way To Lose Weight
In the sections above, I explained that lowering insulin is key to weight loss .
The problem with just reducing calories is that you may not lower your insulin very much.
And if you dont lower your insulin, you cant really burn off any body fat. Itll still be under lock-and-key.
Heres the thing-
Its entirely possible to reduce calories but still eat a lot of processed sugar / carbs throughout the day. Think of someone who lives on cereal, for example.
So your insulin level will never really come down to normal.
If insulin stays high, you cant burn much body fat. Thats why calorie restriction alone is not a great way to reduce body fat.
Lower Risks Of Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular disease is one of the chronic diseases and leading causes of death in America, and because intermittent fasting has been shown to lower triglyceride levels, it also lowers risks for metabolic diseases such as heart diseases more so in pregnant women.
Some human studies published in Cell Metabolism showed how intermittent fasting helps regulate blood sugar and gene expression, which might help protect against atherosclerosis a hardening and narrowing of arteries due to plaque buildup. Atherosclerosis can be caused by diabetes or high cholesterol, so this research suggests another way that intermittent fasting may improve cardiovascular health. The researchers found evidence showing an increase in HDL cholesterol while simultaneously lowering LDL cholesterol on participants observed over two weeks during an eight-day fast followed by four days of regular eating patterns . This could be due to an increased release of fat from the bloodstream in blood vessels.
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How He Did Ithow One Man Lost 50 Pounds With : 2 Intermittent Fasting
She also fasted for 48 to 72 hours every week for about two months. Im not a medical doctor. I do have a Ph.D. in epidemiology, but I wouldnt recommend anybody do that without speaking to your doctor and doing your own research, she says.
She planned her daily meal for dinnertime so she and her family could all eat together, and she didnt restrict what she ate. Im Haitian and my husband is Nigerian, and we eat everything. I wasnt going to restrict my traditional foods, she says.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
Studies On Intermittent Fasting
Here are some of the benefits of intermittent fasting that have been backed by countless studies:
- Fasting has been shown to improve biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress and preserve learning and memory functioning, according to Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, part of the US National Institutes of Health.
- Growth Hormone increases when in a fasted state.
- Autophagy occurs while fasting it is the bodys way of renewing the cells and getting rid of all the worn-out cells in the body. Autophagy is the primary driver of anti-aging .
Youre Not Fasting Long Enough
If you decide on a time-restricted feeding approach and you only shorten your eating window by an hour or so a day, you likely wont see much, if any, weight loss, says Martin. You’re just not changing enough from your normal eating routine, tbh.
How to fix it: Most women find success with about a 10-hour eating window, meaning a 14-hour fast,” says Martin. “You can always start with a longer eating window and work your way down if your usual eating window is much longer than this, she suggests.
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Intermittent Fasting The Best For Weight Loss
Ive been a personal trainer and nutrition coach since the mid-2000s and intermittent fasting is without a doubt the most effective diet for weight loss and slowing aging . Its also very simple to follow since youll just be restricting the times youre allowed to eat.
With intermittent fasting your body doesnt have any calories coming in. This allows your body to feed off your fat stores as an energy source . Since youre restricting your feeding hours youll instantly be cutting down on how many calories youre eating . Lowering your caloric intake does play a significant role in how much weight youre able to lose .
Finally, your body will release fat-burning hormones such as human growth hormone . This helps to preserve lean muscle mass which is needed to get a toned and slim physique . But dont worry about getting big bulky muscle mass from fasting.
But a lot of the weight youll lose with intermittent fasting depends on how much you have to lose in the first place. If you only have 10 pounds or so to lose then the results will be lesser if only doing it for a short time. But if you have more than 30 pounds to lose then your results will be much more.
You can expect to lose the most weight in the beginning few months and then itll start to slow down from there. And if youre trying to break through a weight-loss plateau then fasting for longer hours can get you there too .
Longer Fasts Can Also Heal Your Insulin Resistance
Most American adults have persistently elevated insulin. Thats another way of saying they have something called insulin resistance.
What is Insulin Resistance?
If you eat sugar and processed carbs several times a day, your insulin stays high. And when insulin is high all the time, after a while it doesnt work so well. So your pancreas has to pump out more and more insulin to get the job done.
Its a vicious cycle. And it means youre on the fast track to getting type 2 diabetes.
Wondering if youre insulin resistant? Watch this video:
Most likely, youve never had your insulin level checked. Typically, doctors dont order insulin blood tests, because its more expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
But if youre overweight, its almost a guarantee that your insulin is higher than it should be.
Correcting Insulin Resistance Helps you Lose Weight Faster
Recall from above that whenever your insulin is high, you cant burn body fat.
If you have insulin resistance, that means your insulin is persistently high. So its almost like you can never burn any body fat.
Obviously, that makes weight loss pretty hard.
For garden variety insulin resistance, daily TRE may be enough to significantly improve your insulin levels.
But if youve had insulin resistance for a long time, it can get pretty entrenched. And you may need to do some longer fasts to get over the hump, or break through plateaus.
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Stop Snacking And Limit Your Alcohol
Create a strict rule about snacks after dinner which will make it easier to kick off your fast, instead of being tempted to prolong your eating window by having a late dessert or midnight snack. Alcohol is metabolized like sugar, so be sure to limit alcoholic beverages and stop drinking at the same time you begin your fast.
How To Lose Fat And Gain Muscle With Intermittent Fasting
One thing to know before you start: There is a way to do it right, and that will help you lose without “yoyo-ing” in energy or weight gain. It all has to do with fuel systems in your body and training your energy to pull from fat and keep insulin levels low so they never tell your body to “store excess energy as fat.” Once you get the hang of it, you will burn fat as fuel, all day long.
“If you never let your insulin drop then you never tell your body to pull calories from fat. So there is a whole movement among athletes to train in the fasting state. If you train without eating, then you need to pull calories out of storage to get through an intense workout. If you eat in the morning let’s say you have a muffin before your workout then you use up that source and your body never uses calories from fat and your workout was not effective if the reason you’re working out is to lose fat.
Here’s the great news. whether you fast for 12, 14, or 16 hours or longer it is completely flexible you could push it up to 16 hours, and do it a couple of times a week. So you eat in an 8-hour window, from 11 am to 7 pm, and then have 16 hours of fasting. A lot of celebrities have talked about IF and how it helped them, like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Hugh Jackman. It’s really simple. Counting calories and counting carbs are complicated, but timing is simple.
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Choose The Right Fasting Style For You
An Obesity Society study found alternate day fasting can cause an impaired glucose response in women with a healthy body weight, so this may not the best fasting style for women. Mor agrees that women may need to be more careful with intermittent fasting than men. More studies are needed to understand the impact of intermittent fasting on women in particular. There has been some evidence that men can benefit from intermittent fasting, while women may be negatively affected.
Intermittent fasting may be easier in terms of fitting around a typical working day, where you are busy during the day which takes your mind off not eating,” says Dr Lee. “With any diet, but perhaps especially calorie restriction, you need to plan your meals and prepare them in advance. You can also work intermittent fasting around your social life more easily perhaps, making sure you only accept invitations on non-fasting days.
But intermittent fasting can have side effects, she says. As blood glucose levels fall, this can spark headaches, and result in feelings of dizziness and weakness.
“Studies of those fasting during Ramadan have shown that during fasting, severe hypoglycemia can occur. Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for the elderly, as low blood glucose levels can increase the risk of falls.
Our feature on intermittent fasting for beginners: expert tips to get you started has more information for intermittent fasting novices.
How To Lose Weight By Fasting: The 1: 8 Diet
The 16:8 diet is one of the most popular ways of intermittent fasting. Its extremely simple: for 16 hours you fast, avoiding food and any calorie-containing beverages, and then once those 16 hours are up, you eat your meals within a specific eight-hour eating window.
The great thing about this method is that you can choose any eight-hour window that suits your lifestyle. Plus, your 16 hours of non-eating can incorporate sleep time. For example, you could stop eating at 8pm and wait until noon the next day to open your eating window again. Or if you prefer an earlier breakfast you could opt for a 9am to 5pm eating schedule.
A downside of the 16:8 diet is that it may take your body some time to adjust to eating more meals within a shorter time frame. One workaround is to limit your eating to two meals a day, but initially, you may wish to start with three meals spread out over the course of the eight hours.
Research from the journal Nutrients suggests that intermittent fasting methods like the 16:8 diet can help lower high blood pressure, reduce the amount of food consumed and ultimately lead to weight loss. And for those worried about losing muscle, the 16:8 diet can help maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle loss when combined with resistance training, according to studies in the Journal of Translational Medicine and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition .
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Youll Likely Feel Hungry
Even an 8- or 12-hour fast might feel like a long time when youre not used to fasting.
You may go to bed hungry several times per week. That may naturally feel unpleasant and unsustainable in the long term .
Plus, at times, it might be necessary to override your natural hunger and fullness cues in order to not break your fast earlier than planned.
This doesnt mean that fasting isnt a schedule you can get used to. Once youve adjusted to intermittent fasting, you might even find it makes you feel less hungry (
How To Fast For Weight Loss
Weight loss studies of intermittent fasting have typically investigated the 5:2 diet or alternate day fasting interventions lasting three to six months. For most people in such studies, it takes two to three months to lose 10 pounds.
The good news is that most studies of intermittent fasting using the 5:2 diet protocol or minimal calorie fasting days have reported statistically significant weight loss, approximately equivalent to what can be achieved through continuous calorie restriction. Reported weight loss outcomes of the 5:2 diet range from 3.2% weight loss in comparison to a control group over a 12-week period to 8.0% weight loss in an 8-week trial enrolling overweight adults with asthma.
Obese adults who participated on an alternate day fasting study for 6 months lost roughly 6% of their body weight during the first 3 months. They were allowed to consume up to 600 kcal on their fasting days and ate a low-carb diet on non-fasting days. In addition to losing weight, participants were also able to reduce their total cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting insulin.
Shorter fasts are also effective at inducing weight loss in humans. Obese patients who restricted their eating windows to 8 hours lost significant weight and improved their blood pressure.
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Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
All dietary patterns scientifically shown to improve health and reduce disease risk incorporate lots of healthy plants. Whether you never eat fruits and veggies, or you regularly include them in your meals, you could greatly benefit from eating more of them. Fruits and vegetables contain essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, which reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, several types of cancer, type II diabetes, depression, Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease. Plant-based foods also promote beneficial gut bacteria. These good bacteria in your gut metabolize fiber into short-chain fatty acids that keep your heart and brain healthy.