Ways Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight Say Dietitians
There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of ways to lose weight. Theres 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 thats it. You technically dont have to give up any of your favorite foods and you dont 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 its a diet worth considering if you want to lose weight safely. So if youve been thinking about trying an intermittent fasting diet for weight loss, read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, dont miss 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
Dr. Fung: “If you fast, and don’t eat at all, for 12 or 14 or 16 hours, then your insulin is going to fall therefore, your body is going to switch over and naturally burn fat. So your body wants 2,000 calories a day, and your body has maybe 200,000 calories stored . So your metabolic rate doesn’t fall, even without exercise. You just start to burn all those stored calories from fat.
“This is proven. Take one study they fasted patients for four straight days and measured their metabolic rate and after four days of eating zero, they were burning 10 percent more calories than when they ate 2,000 calories a day.
“So if insulin falls, the counterregulatory hormones in the body go up. You activate your fight or flight response, your norepinephrine goes up, and adrenaline goes up, etc., which means you burn more.
“When you go back to eating, your metabolic rate stays the same. You start burning food as fuel. Your body fat is nothing more or less than the body’s fuel storage system. But you have to fix the hormone response to food to pull that energy out of storage.
“When we asked patients with Type 2 Diabetes to participate in fasting 24 hours, three times a week, they lost weight and got better. They even got off their meds. And it happened so fast. But you don’t have to fast for 24 hours for this to work for you. You can eat an early dinner, and then not eat until morning or early afternoon and you are essentially doing it, burning fat.”
Top 6 Questions About Intermittent Fasting
1) Wont I get really hungry if I start skipping meals?
As explained above, this can be a result of the habits you have built for your body. If you are constantly eating or always eat the same time of day, your body can actually learn to prepare itself for food by beginning the process of insulin production and preparation for food.
After a brief adjustment period, your body can adapt to the fact that its only eating a few times a day. The more overweight you are, and the more often you eat, the more of an initial struggle this might be.
Remember, your bodys physical and cognitive abilities most likley wont be diminished as a result of short term fasting.
2) Where will I get my energy for my workouts? Wont I be exhausted and not be able to complete my workouts if fasting?
This was a major concern of mine as well, but the research says otherwise: Training with limited carbohydrate availability can stimulate adaptations in muscle cells to facilitate energy production via fat oxidation.
In other words, when you train in a fasted state, your body can get better at burning fat for energy when there are no carbs to pull from!
Ill share some of my experiences, now doing heavy strength training for 3 years in a fasted state:
Here I am pulling 420 lbs. at 172 BW after a 16 hour fast:
LeanGains digs into various options here, but here is really what you need to know:
4) Wont fasting cause muscle loss?
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Heres My Simplest Formula For Those Looking To Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting
Focus on the main lifts while cutting out breakfast. Get stronger in the compound lifts. Keep it simple. Replace breakfast with coffee, water, sparkling water or a mix of all three. Youre not trying to compete on stage. Youre just looking to get more jacked without devoting your entire life to this stuff. Your body will change with weight training and fasting.
You wont even feel restricted. Youre going to have more energy than ever. You finally have a plan that you can stick to because were all good at doing nothing. Lets do this. Lets do more of nothing.
The goal is to add more play to your life. You dont want to live in the kitchen or feel like you have to spend hours on the treadmill. You dont have to feel guilty over not wanting to eat chicken and rice every single day.
Those are the rules for intermittent fasting to lose weight. You dont have to follow all of these rules religiously. This isnt a cult. These are just the guidelines that will help you get lean by doing nothing.
The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has gotten a lot of press, for the myriad number of scientific changes that occur during the process. Several interesting things happen, both on a cellular and molecular level, when you begin intermittent fasting. For example, your cells begin a repair process called autophagy. Old proteins are removed and recycled during this process, and in fact, scientific studies have shown that this process may be associated with anti-aging benefits. Much like the process of regular exercise, your body repairs itself during intermittent fasting. Interestingly, by eating less frequently, you actually reap rewards that one would think would be associated with eating regular meals.
Some researchers also have seen purging of cells related to cancer, during the intermittent fasting process. While there needs to be more research performed in this area, the idea that an uptick in cellular autophagy may help to prevent certain diseases, makes scientific sense. If youre following a keto diet, you will also be interested to know that fasting rapidly puts you into the metabolically advantageous state known as ketosis. In fact, fasting puts you into ketosis faster than any other method, and your body quickly starts to dip into fat stores, leading to enhanced weight loss.
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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.
How Much Weight Can Be Lost With Intermittent Fasting
INTERMITTENT FASTING is an eating pattern that involves regular, short-term fasts or periods of minimal or no food consumption. Intermittent fasting deals with when to eat as it does not talk about what to eat and here you only eat at a specific time.
It works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
Most people use Intermittent fasting as a weight loss intervention but Intermittent fasting can also help improve risk factors for health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases such as lowering blood pressure and blood sugar.
Many intermittent fasting techniques exist and some of the methods include the 16:8,5:2 diet, warrior diet, eat stop eat, and alternate-day fasting.
All the methods are effective but figuring out which one works depends on the individual. Limiting the number of hours you can eat during the day may help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure.
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Pros Of Intermittent Fasting
Researchers have already linked numerous health benefits with intermittent fasting and continue to examine them.
Plus, for some people, intermittent fasting fits well into their model of a healthy and sustainable long-term diet.
If youre wondering if intermittent fasting could be right for you, here are a few benefits that might pique your interest.
Is It Good For Certain Conditions
Some research shows that this type of diet may curb symptoms of asthma. Also, some studies, but not all, show improvement in the bodyâs use of insulin.
If you have medical conditions, talk with your doctor before you try intermittent fasting.
This diet is not recommended for children, pregnant women, people with eating disorders, and some people with diabetes.
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Allow Yourself Up To Three Cheat Meals A Month
Fasting for long periods of time can become tedious. Thats why Wright lets herself have three cheat meals a month. Whether its nachos, Chinese food or a Subway sandwich, cheat meals help her stay balanced, she says. But she warns not to overdo it.
Once Im done with my cheat meal I move on, says Wright.
What You Can Eat And What You Can’t
You can eat mostly what you want on days when you donât fast. But to lose weight and get the nutrients you need, you should stick to healthy foods and limit treats like dessert and processed foods.
On fasting days, youâll eat very little food or none at all.
For example, the Every Other Day Diet says to eat no more than 500 calories during each fast day.
Another program called the 5:2 Fast Diet involves eating 5 days a week and fasting for the other 2 days, when women can get no more than 500 calories and men no more than 600. Thatâs a quarter of the amount you likely eat on the days when you donât fast. Whether you eat those calories in one sitting or spread them across micro-meals throughout the day is up to you.
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When To Work Out While Intermittent Fasting Expert Reveals
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may consider doing intermittent fasting along with your fitness regimen. But before you do, we chatted with an expertDr. Mike Bohl, the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro and a certified personal trainerwho reveals everything you need to know about it, including when to work out while intermittent fasting. Keep reading to learn the details, and get excited for that weight loss journey of yours!
What Exercises Should You Choose When Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
You’re likely wondering what exercises are best paired with your intermittent fasting routine, and which ones you should avoid. Dr. Bohl reveals that when intermittent fasting for weight loss, opt for cardio and other low-intensity activities. “These are exercises that primarily rely on burning fat for energy, so they can help with your goals,” he reveals. However, be careful when lifting weights while fasting. If you don’t “replenish your protein stores” after performing a weight lifting session, your body can break down proteins for fuel, and you can lose muscle mass.
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How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight When You’re Doing Intermittent Fasting
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to how long it may take for the weight to start coming off. “Rate of weight loss will vary greatly from person to person depending on several factors, including: starting weight, the intermittent fasting approach used, the types of food consumed during the eating windows, and more,” says Martin.
If you end up reducing your overall caloric intake right away and you consistently eat fewer calories than you expend, then you should start losing weight immediately. “However, you likely wont notice any weight loss results for at least a couple of weeks,” notes Martin, adding that some weight loss in the beginning will “likely be water weight.”
Intermittent Fasting Success Stories
Depending on the calorie amount you consume while intermittent fasting, you could experience an approximate one- to two- pound weight loss per week, which would mean it could take upwards of eight to 10 weeks to notice significant weight loss, says Kristen Smith, MS, RD, spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
If youre losing more than that? It could be a red flag. If you notice yourself losing a noticeable amount of weight during the first few weeks of following an intermittent fasting plan, you should likely re-evaluate your calorie intake to ensure you are consuming adequate nutrition to meet your bodys needs, says Smith.
Intermittent Fasting Rule #: Stop Stressing About What Breaks A Fast And What Doesnt Break A Fast
Does chewing gum break a fast?
What? I dont even know what to say to that question.
You dont need any fancy gimmicks to get started tomorrow .
Some people argue the rules for intermittent fasting to lose weight. The use labels like clean fasting and dirty fasting. I tend to disagree with those labels. Dirty fasts allow you to chew bubble gum and to drink bulletproof coffee as long as youre cutting calories back. Clean fast requires you to be more strict.
Our goal will always be progress over perfection.
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What Is The Best Drink To Drink During Intermittent Fasting
Tea and intermittent fasting is a great match. With zero calories allowed during the fasting window, there are not many drink options out there. It makes water, coffee and tea the 3 safe intermittent fasting drinks. However, if youre not a fan of black coffee, tea will become your best companion during moments of hunger in the fasting window.
Intermittent Fasting Increases Metabolic Flexibility
The reason fasting may be a superior choice to caloric restriction for fat loss is because intermittent fasting helps you become more âmetabolically flexibleâ or âmetabolically efficient.â What does this mean? The term âmetabolic flexibilityâ is just a fancy way of saying that your body is more efficient at using your fat stores for fuel as opposed to your stored sugar.
In order to achieve this, you have to train your body. The best way to train your body is to fast for a certain period of time so that your body loses most of its stored sugar . When this occurs, your body will turn to its fat stores for energy.
Some scientists refer to this shift as âflipping the metabolic switchâ. After doing this for a while, your body becomes better trained at using certain metabolic pathways to use fat for fuelâ¦ones that your body may not be using much right now. When your body is better trained for using more fat throughout the day-thatâs when youâre more metabolically flexible.
When you teach your body to use more stored fat for fuel, you are really training it to make use of your fat stores. This means that your body will be using more fat for energy no matter what youâre doing â watching TV, walking, exercising, etc.
Training your body to be more metabolically flexible has been shown to be not only effective for weight loss but studies show that people who are more metabolically flexible are at a lower risk of developing certain diseases .
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How One Woman Used Intermittent Fasting To Lose 65 Pounds In Six Months
At 337 lbs, health and beauty influencer Janielle Wright was afraid she would die. Her body was in pain and she had trouble breathing at night.
I was going to sleep worried that I wouldnt wake up the next morning, Wright told NBC News BETTER.
She was also afraid that she wouldnt live to see her 3-year-old daughter, Novah, grow up. That was when Wright, 28, realized something had to change.
This is no way to live thinking youre going to die because youre overweight and youre unhealthy, she says.
Intermittent fasting is a time-restricted eating method where you only allow yourself to eat within a certain window of time.
In January, Wright began her weight-loss journey through intermittent fasting. Its a time-restricted eating method where you only allow yourself to eat within a certain window of time. Wright says the method helped her lose 65 pounds so far.
I just prayed and asked that could see me through this journey, and could be consistent and be patient, because I feel that patience is key when it comes to weight loss, recalls Wright.