Why You May Not See Results
Although there is research supporting the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, there are many reasons you may not see results. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you may not be eating enough calories during your fasting window. If you severely restrict calories, it can backfire. Sudden under-consumption can lead to metabolic adaptation, a process where your body becomes more efficient at using energy and storing fat which means youll burn less calories. The goal is not to count calories and cut them, its to eat minimally processed, nutritious foods during your eating window until you are full.
If you eat ultra-processed, energy-dense foods during your meals, that could be another reason why youre not getting the results you desire. Fasting can help you burn fat, but it doesnt mean that its magic! Remember to fill your plate with lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
Finally, make sure you drink plenty of water during your fasting window. Hydration helps you feel full and satiated, and its easy to mistake thirst for hunger. If youre not hydrated when you approach your eating window, you may be prone to choose and eat ultra-processed foods.
/6look Out For These Mistakes
Fasting has been an important part of our culture from the very beginning. Even science backs its astonishing health benefits. The age-old tradition has made a comeback in the form of Intermittent Fasting. It is gaining global exposure at a rapid speed, especially among weight watchers. However, it is important to note that Intermittent fasting is not any diet, it is a way of living. To follow IF, you have to fast for some specific hours of the day and eat only in the remaining hours. Most people fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 hours of the day. There are multiple ways of doing it, depending on one’s comfort level. The fasting time varies from 14 to 16 hours. It might seem simple, but it has its own set of rules. People often make small mistakes while following intermittent fasting, which can ruin all their efforts. If you are following this diet and not seeing results, then look out for these common mistakes.
Reduced Oxidative Stress And Inflammation
Oxidative stress occurs as potentially harmful reactive oxygen species build up within the cells of your body that are metabolically active. Reactive oxygen species are, as their name suggests, reactive. They can react with and cause harm to your proteins and even your DNA. If a cell in your body cant counteract this damage quickly enough, it might become senescent, spew out inflammation, or even die.
Intermittent fasting forces muscle, brain and other tissues to become more efficient in their breakdown of metabolites and production of energy. This can help reduce ROS and levels of inflammation. Fasting also triggers the body to produce more antioxidants that help clean up ROS.
A study with prediabetic men who shortened their eating window to 6 hours a day for 5 weeks showed that this fasting regimen reduced plasma levels of the oxidative stress marker 8-isoprostane, in addition to improving insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. Alternate day fasting has been shown to increase the expression of superoxide dismutase and catalase, two powerful antioxidant enzymes that can clean up ROS in your cells. Another way to increase antioxidant enzymes is through exercise! Physical activity increases the levels of superoxide dismutase, which has a lot of benefits for all of the organs in your body.
Starting your fast earlier in the evening is also associated with lower breast cancer recurrence.
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How Much Weight Loss Can I Expect
The author of the Alternate-Day Diet lost 35lb in 11 weeks an average of around 3lb a week. However, on average, you can expect to lose around 1-2lb a week, with perhaps a few extra pounds in the first week as your body adapts. This is highlighted by a small study of 12 obese women and four obese men, who, after following a similar intermittent fasting diet, showed:
- An average weight loss of 12lb after eight weeks, equating to 1.5lb a week
- A drop in body fat from 45 to 42 percent in participants
- A reduction in blood pressure, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Weigh Yourself Once A Week
If youre tracking progress, you might be tempted to hop on the scale on a daily basis but dont.
Theres no reason to weigh yourself more than once a week. With daily water fluctuations, body weight can change drastically on a day-to-day basis, says Rachel Fine, registered dietitian and owner of To the Pointe Nutrition.
Weighing yourself at the same time on a weekly basis will give you a more accurate picture.
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The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.
The Cons Of Weighing Yourself Daily
While regular weigh-ins can help you stay on track on your weight loss journey, its important to not get too obsessed with the scale. Some people may get unhappy or upset when they dont see the numbers on the scale moving the way that they want.
Weighing yourself too often and worrying about gains or losses can lead to unhealthy habits, such as disordered eating and skipping meals, just to see the scale move. You may even find yourself giving up, to the point that you stop tracking your progress entirely.
Its normal to plateau during weight loss, so if you dont see the scale moving as quickly as you would like, focus on other things. Perhaps your clothes fit better, or youve built up more muscle mass or endurance. You could also try measuring inches instead of pounds to see how your body is changing for the better.
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To Weigh Or Not To Weighthat Is The Question
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
If you’re trying to lose weight or simply don’t want to gain unwanted pounds, how often should you weigh yourself? Many popular weight loss plans, such as Weight Watchers, do not recommend weighing yourself daily. Instead, they recommend stepping on the scales once per week or even less frequently. Our weight fluctuates somewhat from day-to-day, and daily weighing can lead to discouragement and potential diet sabotage if you see a higher number on the scale than you saw the day before. Most diet experts believe that a once-weekly or even monthly weigh-in is a more accurate reflection of weight control progress.
But a group of doctors who studied obese and overweight adults who were trying to lose weight as well as overweight adults who were trying to prevent weight gain found that those who weighed themselves more often lost more weight and prevented more weight gain over two years than those who weighed themselves less frequently. Contrary to the advice given in many popular weight lossregimens, this study suggests that at least some people can benefit from the accountability brought on by daily weigh-ins. Potential advantages of daily weighing include recognition of slow patterns of weight gain that may not be immediately apparent and the chance to modify lifestyle habits before the total weight gain becomes extreme and difficult to control.
How Do Fasting Diets Work To Help Rev Weight Loss
The idea behind intermittent fasting is that it increases your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories. And by restricting the time periods during the day when you eat, you take in fewer calories each day.
Going into diet change, I knew there was only early evidence that fasting can lead to temporary weight loss, and that more research is needed especially on the potential long-term health effects of this diet. As it stands, experts warn that fasting may not be safe, or smart, for everyone. Fasting is not recommended for some groups, such as pregnant or lactating women, some people with diabetes, people dealing with eating disorders or issues such as low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. Thats why experts stress that its important to consult your healthcare team before trying any type of fast.
Despite the lack of comprehensive research on intermittent fasting, this eating style has helped me lose weight, regain my energy, and become more mindful about my eating choices.
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So Whats The Link With Weight Loss
Unsurprisingly, restricting calories whether its all of the time or fasting every other day usually results in weight loss. The concept of an eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting followed by periods of eating is sometimes known as Intermittent Fasting. When this pattern follows a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour feast, its sometimes called Alternate Day Fasting.
One small human study published in the 2American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown how alternate day fasting can aid weight loss. In this study, 16 normal weight adults followed an alternate day fasting regime for three weeks. On fasting days they had nothing but calorie-free drinks whilst on feasting days they were allowed to eat whatever they wanted. At the end of the study, the adults had:
- Lost an average of 2.5 percent of their initial body weight
- Lost four percent of their fat mass
This indicates that they didnt consume two days worth of calories on feasting days to make up for the lack of calories on the day of fasting.
How Often Should You Weigh Yourself
Imagine this: You decide its time to make a concerted effort to lose weight. You start exercising regularly and embark on a healthy eating plan. The time comes to check in on your progress, so you step on the scale for the moment of truth.
What do you do? Continue with the exercise and healthy eating plan? Throw in the towel, and go back to what you were doing before? Start restricting your eating even more as an effort to make weight loss happen faster?
These are all completely normal and reasonable reactions to a lack of success on the scale. Weight loss, maintenance or gain can be tricky to navigate. Put more plainly: The scale can be tricky to navigate.
Weight fluctuations are common because your weight is determined by a variety of factors. These include but are not limited to how hydrated you are, what you recently ate, your bathroom habits, the climate and your exercise routine. A few pounds of weight fluctuation here or there are usually not a result of fat gain but a result of your body doing exactly what it needs to do to regulate its physiological functions. So, how often should you weigh yourself? Whether your goal is maintenance, loss or gain, lets talk about the scale.
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Weighing weekly can have its advantages it allows you to track progress while still having six whole days to not focus on your weight.
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Stay Healthy With Intermittent Fasting
What about the misconception that intermittent fasting isnt great for your health? I had my annual checkup a couple of months ago and did blood work, explains Krystal. Im in perfect health!
Krystal shares her progress with her Instagram followers, who leave encouraging comments such as Amazing!!! Youre so inspiring! and #GOALS! And shes sure to take them on every aspect of her journey, including sharing breaking her fasts, easy ketogenic recipes, and workout fasts which are workouts she completes while fasting.
Is A Whole Food Diet Boring
Absolutely not! The beauty of this way of eating is that there are barely any recipes that are off-limits. If you can make it yourself using natural ingredients, then it counts. So, dig out your recipe books and get familiar with your spice cupboard.
Heres my advice if youre just starting: stock up on coconut milk and canned tomatoes. Youll use them all the time in sauces.
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Lessons From Krystals Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Journey
To give you a better idea of what intermittent fasting weight loss is like, Simple recently spoke with Krystal, a weight-loss influencer and intermittent fasting advocate. Krystal uses her platform of over 30,000 followers to encourage others to begin their path to wellness through the handle on Instagram.
How To Get Started With Intermittent Fasting
There are two schools of thought with regard to how to structure your fasts. The first is fairly different from what’s described above it’s commonly known as 5:2, meaning you eat normally for five days of the week and fast for two. That may work for some, but two days of virtual starvation doesn’t sound very appealing.
I prefer the daily method: Fast for at least 16 hours per day. The aforementioned New England Journal of Medicine study was based on an 18:6 structure: 18-hour fast, six-hour window.
“16:8 is a great place to start,” Stephens says, “but it may not be a weight-loss window for many people. That’s because fat-burning ramps up between hours 18 and 24 of the fast. 19:5 was a great weight-loss sweet spot for me, and I lost at about a pound per week when doing it. With 19:5, you fast for 19 hours a day and have an eating window of five hours. Your sweet spot may be different from mine, of course. Maybe it will be 18:6 or 20:4.” Experimentation is key, she adds.
Before you embark on this journey, I recommend reading CNET writer Caroline Roberts’ guide to doing intermittent fasting safely.
If your eating window doesn’t include breakfast, you can still drink coffee as long as it’s black and unsweetened.
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Whole Foods And The Brain
The brain is a really hungry organ, and it uses 25% of the total energy you consume from your food. Everything it needs to function at its best isyou guessed ita whole, unprocessed food.
In fact, the best diet recommended for brain health is the MIND Diet. In one study, it was shown that people who follow the MIND diet closely had a 53% reduced rate of developing Alzheimers.
Some of the best whole foods for the brain are:
- Oily fish
- Whole grains
What I Ate And How I Exercised While Doing Intermittent Fasting
Limiting my eating to an eight-hour period of the day seemed reasonable. If I exercised in the morning, my first meal would be an early but large lunch at around 11:30 a.m. By 3 p.m., if I was hungry, I could have a snack. At 7 p.m., I would eat a reasonable-size dinner. No snacking after that.
My first thought was that there was no way I would be able to skip breakfast and still work out. My mind was telling me that I would be hungry. The first few days that I tried it, as I would warm up for my workout, I would have visions of chicken with broccoli from a nearby Chinese restaurant in my head. But once I got into my workout, a funny thing would happen. I would completely forget about being hungry. My body would stabilize and water would be enough to keep me moving.
But by the time I got home from the gym, I was starving. Early on, I decided that was going to be my biggest meal of the day. Sometimes it was a lean shoulder steak with a sweet potato. Other times, I would eat an entire chicken along with two cups of broccoli, and the sweetest bottle of Gatorade I ever had. Or occasionally, I would make a taco bowl out of seasoned ground turkey, cheddar cheese, and tomatoes, or a stir-fry with beef and a variety of peppers. It turned out that my calorie intake and lunch would be anywhere from 800 to 1,000 calories, though this part was not an exact science.
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Reduced Mtor Activity And Increased Autophagy
18 hours of fasting in humans has been shown to increase mTOR as well as cellular markers of autophagy. Autophagy is a recycling mechanism for cellular components that our cells use to deal with stress and prevent untimely cell death. mTOR, or the mechanistic target of rapamycin, is an enzyme that is the master regulator of protein synthesis and cell growth. Lowering of mTOR activity has been associated with autophagy and extended lifespan and healthspan in animals.
Recycle your body in 2021 with intermittent fasting!