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.
Intermittent Fasting: What Is It And Is It Safe
Intermittent fasting may seem like a recent trend, but actually, humans have periodically refrained from eating for millennia for a host of reasons: Believe it or not, physicians of yesteryear used to prescribe fasting to treat a host of ailments, while ancient philosophers pushed their plates away in attempts to boost their mental clarity. Fasting has also been a form of political protestthink: the hunger strikes of Mahatma Gandhi, Irish Republican prisoners in the 1980s, or British and American suffragettes in the early 1900s.
To this day, avoiding food is a regular part of many religions. Traditionally, Muslims forgo food and beverage during daylight throughout Ramadan Jews skip eating and drinking on Yom Kippur and Hindus and Buddhists fast weekly.
Now fasting is trickling into the secular spotlight due to media coverage that claims intermittent fasting not only leads to weight loss and boosts metabolism but that it may also curtail cancer risk and even extend lifespan.
But is intermittent fasting, a practice thats both ancient and newly trendy, as effective as some attest? Below, we take a closer look.
What is intermittent fasting? The ultimate guide
The theory is that this process may strengthen some cells ability to withstand additional stressors, which explains the potential link between IF and delayed aging as well as a reduced risk of cancer risk. But the benefits have yet to be proven.
Different types of intermittent fasting
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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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.
My Style Of Intermittent Fasting: The : 3
Ive adopted whats called a 4:3 style of IF. This simply means, I eat 4 days during the week and fast 3 non-consecutive days of the week.
This is what my 4:3 weekly schedule looks like:
SUNDAY: Eat Day // I eat as I normally would throughout the day and I begin my fast at 9 pm PT .
MONDAY: Fast Day // On fast days I only drink coffee, tea, non-caloric drinks and water . I add a little half & half in my coffee, and those are the only calories I consume on fast days. If/when I feel hunger pains on fast days, I drink a bottle/can of sparkling water and that helps me get through the day.
TUESDAY: Eat Day // I break my fast at 9 am PT. I eat my full day of meals. The total calories I eat is my TDEE range. I use this tool to calculate my TDEE: I start my fast again at 9 pm PT.
WEDNESDAY: Fast Day // Same as Monday.
THURSDAY: Eat Day // Same as Tuesday.
FRIDAY: Fast Day // Same as Monday & Wednesday.
SATURDAY: Eat Day // Same as Tuesday & Thursday.
SUNDAY: Eat Day // Same as Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday.
In summary: MWF = Fast Days, TuThSaSu = Eat Days. Repeat every week and you will see and feel the difference.
For the visual types, this is what my schedule looks like:
I start my fast at 9 PM and end the day after next at 9 AM, but these time frames can also be changed. Some of my friends prefer 7 PM/7 AM, 8 AM/8 PM, etc. to better accommodate their work/family schedule.
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The 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Method
Intermittent fasting is the practice of incorporating short-term fasts into your eating regimen. Of course, we all “fast” while we’re sleeping . While some intermittent fasting methods involve not eating for 24 hours once or twice a week, I simply extended my night’s fast until lunch. So I fasted for 16 hours and ate during an 8-hour window .
There’s quite a debate about whether skipping breakfast actually helps with weight-loss or not. One study, conducted in 2014, showed no difference in results between dieters who skipped breakfast and another group that ate breakfast. Another study from the same year however found that skipping breakfast not only assisted with weight-loss but lowered the risk of disease.
How Much Weight Can You Lose From Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is not a quick weight loss fix. It might take your body a few weeks to start shedding the extra pounds.
Do not expect to drop up to 20 pounds within your first week of intermittent fasting.
Like many diets, you need to remain consistent and make lifestyle changes to get results.
It might take a few weeks for you to drop your first pound from intermittent fasting. However, once you start, you can expect to lose about a pound each week. Some people can lose up to 10 pounds each month.
Therefore, your body type will determine your results.
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So How Does If Work For Weight Loss Exactly
Intermittent fasting is about when you eat, says Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN, CPT, owner of Shaped by Charlotte, LLC. Depending on the IF approach, youre either shortening the eating window each day, or engaging in about 24-hour fasts one or more times a week. One of the most popular approaches is the 16:8 method, which is when you fast for an 16-hour window, like from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. the next day.
Essentially, by restricting your food intake to a shortened time window, you naturally decrease your caloric intake and, in turn, can lose weight. “Not only are you taking in fewer calories, but youre also slowing down your insulin pump, which may boost fat burn,” explains Martin.
How Can I Suppress Hunger During Intermittent Fasting
Eat high-fiber foods, such as nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables, and high protein foods, including meat, fish, tofu, or nuts, during your eating window, Varady advised. Chewing high-fiber gummies can also help.
Drink lots of water. People tend to think they’re hungry, when they are really just thirsty, she said.
Go for black coffee or tea, or cinnamon or licorice herbal teas. These beverages may have appetite-suppressing effects, Varady noted.
Watch less TV: I know this sounds strange, but while you are watching TV, you are bombarded with dozens of ads for food. This can make you feel hungry, when in actuality, you are not hungry at all, she said.
Remember, being “a little hungry” is the best thing that can happen to you, wrote Madelyn Fernstrom, health and nutrition editor at NBC News, calling it a “true mind-body connection” that helps you recognize fullness.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects
There can be a number of possible side effects of intermittent fasting.40 Heres what to do if you encounter them:
- Hunger is the most common side effect of intermittent fasting. This may be less of an issue if youre already on a keto or low-carb, higher-fat diet.41Learn more
- Constipation is common. Less going in means less going out. However, keep in mind this is a normal response to eating less. It is not a concern and shouldnt require treatment unless you experience significant bloating or abdominal discomfort. Standard laxatives or magnesium supplements can be used, if needed.
- Headaches are common and tend to disappear after the first few times on fasts.42 Taking some extra salt often helps mitigate such headaches.43
- Mineral water may help if your stomach tends to gurgle.
- Other possible side effects include dizziness, heartburn and muscle cramps. Learn more
A more serious side effect is the refeeding syndrome. Fortunately, this is rare and generally only happens with extended fasts when one is undernourished.44
Since most of these side effects are manageable, they do not mean you have to stop your fast. However, if you truly feel unwell, are excessively dizzy, profoundly weak or have other severe symptoms, then you should break your fast.
Just remember to go slowly when you break it and prioritize fluids and salt . And of course, if the symptoms persist, see your doctor immediately.
Intermittent Fasting: Is It Right For You
U-M dietitian Sue Ryskamp weighs in on intermittent fasting benefits, who it works best for and how to get started
Weight loss can be difficult, but could intermittent fasting help? This eating pattern, which features cycles of fasting and eating, is making headlines as research confirms its not only what you eat, but when you eat, that matters in the struggle to lose weight.
During intermittent fasting, individuals use specific periods of eating typically within an eight-to-10 hour window to lose weight, says Michigan Medicine dietitian Sue Ryskamp, who sees patients at U-Ms Frankel Cardiovascular Center.
The premise behind intermittent fasting is relatively simple, she says: When our insulin levels go down far enough and for long enough, as they do during a fasting period, were able burn off fat.
Insulin levels drop when a person is not consuming food. During a period of fasting, decreasing insulin levels cause cells to release stored glucose as energy. Repeating this process regularly, as with intermittent fasting, leads to weight loss. In addition, this type of fasting often results in the consumption of fewer calories overall, which contributes to weight loss, Ryskamp says.
A Harvard research study also reveals how intermittent fasting may slow the aging process through weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.
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Female Intermittent Fasting Results After 1 Month
First off Ive noticed in my years as a personal trainer and nutrition coach that women tend to lose a little less weight than men with Intermittent Fasting. Im not sure the physiological reasons for this but women just tend to lose a little less than men. But that doesnt make it any less effective for them.
Women tend to lose about 10-15 pounds in their first month using Intermittent Fasting.
If youre a woman then youll also notice a slimmer midsection with less belly fat and a tighter tummy. You can also expect to drop a few pant sizes in one month as your body loses weight and burns off more fat. Plus youll notice your arms and legs will appear more toned than before.
But if you have a lot of weight to lose then women can easily lose more weight than this. 20 pounds can be achieved with Intermittent Fasting in your first month if youre already carrying 40+ pounds of excess weight on your body.
Many postpartum women can lose a good chunk of baby weight they gained during the pregnancy. Lots of women can get back to their pre-baby weight after a few months of Intermittent Fasting.
Make sure you also take a before and after picture to see visual changes in your bodys appearance after the first month of Intermittent Fasting. Measuring your inches as well will help to give you an overall picture of how much weight and fat you lost over the first month of fasting.
Popular Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has recently become a health trend. Devotees claim it can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, and maybe even extend life span.
Every method can be effective, but figuring out which one works best depends on the individual.
Several methods of this eating pattern exist. But before embarking on an intermittent fast or deciding how often to fast, you should speak with a healthcare professional.
Here are 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
Can I Exercise During Fasting
However, for long-duration aerobic exercise, eating before exercise may increase performance.39 Its also important to drink fluids and replenish sodium around exercise when fasting. This is good to know if youre competing. Learn more
What To Eat With Fasting
Ive found most people who have trouble with their weight do better eating a lower amount of carbs. Im not saying you have to cut them out completely but you should focus on lowering them to boost weight loss. People who are naturally athletic and have more trouble putting on weight do better with lower fats and higher carbs and protein.
You should calculate your BMR to give you a ballpark picture of how many calories your body burns in a day. Then you should keep your calories under that number. You dont have to count your calories for the rest of your life but you should do so for at least for a little while so you can figure out what you should be eating in a day.
Focus on eating real whole foods. Higher protein diets have also been found to be beneficial for weight loss. Avoid starchy, sugary, and carb-rich foods especially those from refined grains and flour. Lastly, make sure youre avoiding bad vegetable oils that could also promote weight gain.
Should you exercise during fasting?
When it comes to exercise youll drop more poundage by working out along with your fasting . I prefer to do cardio in the mornings when Im fasting for an extra fat burn . Then doing a strength training workout later in the day can help to tone up and burn stubborn fat from your body.
Can you lose a pound a day fasting?
Will you lose weight if you fast for 24 hours?
The Last Word
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Alternate Day Fasting : 2 Method
Some people fast on alternate days to improve blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight loss. A person on the 5:2 method eats 500 to 600 calories on two non-consecutive days each week.
Some alternate-day fasting regimens add in a third day of fasting each week. For the rest of the week, a person eats only the number of calories they burn during the day. Over time, this creates a calorie deficit that allows the person to lose weight.
You Are Not Drinking Enough Water
If you are reading, drink some water right now. Intermittent fasting restricts your meal times but places no restrictions on water drinking throughout the day.
Drink enough water to stay hydrated during your fast. You can also take tea or black coffee to replenish your lost fluids without breaking your fast.
Drinking water can keep you full till your next eating period. Therefore it keeps you from snacking and packing on extra calories.
Staying hydrated is important for your overall health. If you are exercising, you ought to drink even more water to replace what you lost through sweat.
You might also need to change your lifestyle to include better sleep if you are thinking of starting intermittent fasting.
She Tweaked Her Plan For Special Occasions
Over the holidays, Etienne-Mesubi continued with intermittent fasting but gave herself an expanded eating window of six or eight hours. We were celebrating, and I have no regret and no guilt for extending my window, she says. Even though I allowed myself extended time to eat, I didnt go crazy. I still enjoyed myself and my time with my family and kids. It was so freeing to know if I want to eat longer I can, and if I dont feel like eating anymore Im going to stop, she says.