Stored Fat Accounts For Up To 90% Of Weight Loss From Fasting
A balanced menu plan and simple modifications to your eating behavior may be the key to effective weight loss and maintenance. Nonetheless, in addition to eating lots of lean proteins, fresh produce and healthy fats, you need to consume plenty of water. A recent study in the Journal of Translational Medicine concluded, when people lose weight, 75% is fat loss and 25% is muscle mass but, with intermittent fasting, the ratios change and up to 90% of weight loss is from stored fat and 10% is muscle loss. Some researchers believe the secret behind the health benefits associated with fasting is stress. Restricted eating periods put your cells under a mild stress, which triggers a natural repair process.
Unlike traditional fad diets that dictate what you can and cannot eat, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat, which can be a powerful practice when coupled with healthy menus. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, it is crucial to start with a personalized meal plan where the quality of food consumed can help with hunger management while fasting. Getting started on a fast involves splitting your day or week into two periods: eating periods and restricted periods. During a fasting period, you eat nothing or very little. Remember to drink plenty of water when you are fasting. Humans often think that they are hungry when they are really just thirsty.
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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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When Should I Exercise
When Varady and her colleagues conducted a study that combined alternate day fasting and exercise, they allowed the participants to pick whether they wanted to exercise on a feasting or fasting day, and found there was no strong preference one way or the other. But the researchers were surprised the dieters actually reported feeling more energetic on fasting days.
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.
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Break Your Fast Carefully
Some may think that the challenging part of the fast is entering and going through it. Its actually not true. The most challenging part is breaking it properly. The longer your fast, the trickier it is to reverse it. This is especially so for fasts longer than 7 days. Your digestive system would have gone into a deep slumber. It would also be very clean, and hence very sensitive. If you read my post-fast logs, youd know I had a tough time breaking my fast it wasnt till Day 4 onwards that my stomach began digesting the food.
If you just dump any food into your system post-fast, thinking your stomach can digest it right away, youre wrong. There are people who have been hospitalized and even died because they did not break their fast carefully.
Refer to Q15 of my interview with Loren on how to break your fast safely.
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That being said, exercise before you eat because people get hungry about half an hour after they finish working out and may find it too hard to stick to their plan if they cant eat anything at all afterwards, Varady noted.
If youre on the 16:8 plan, exercise before or during your eating window. If youre doing alternate day fasting and are exercising on your 500-calorie day, save food for after your exercise session.
Give Yourself Maximum Bed Rest
During your fast, give yourself maximum rest. This is absolutely crucial and I cant stress enough about this. Ive explained this in point #4 above.
The whole point of clearing your schedule is to get maximum rest, so dont try to include other activities even if they may seem light and simple. This includes things like playing games, running errands, strolling, house work, working, watching TV, shopping, traveling, talking on the phone, and so on. All these take up more energy than pure bed rest. Just lie on your bed, close your eyes, and rest as much as you can. Conserve your energy and let your body use them for healing. Everything else can wait. Dont waste them on unimportant things which you can attend to after your fast. This goes without saying, but the absolute last thing you should do is to exercise itll be counteractive to whatever youre trying to achieve in fasting, which is to heal. There was a member in the PE forums who played basketball while on a 7-day fast , and needless to say it is damaging and counter to the nature of fasting. While you may feel okay, remember that your body is burning precious muscle to keep up with your increased activity. This is not what we want in a fast.
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.
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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.
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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Intermittent Fasting And Mental Health Benefits
It seems intermittent fasting can help your mind as well as your body. Fasting has been shown to help improve your memory, reduce oxidative stress, and preserve learning function. Some researchers believe that because humans went thousands of years where food was not readily available, they adapted to function at a high-level while in a food-deprived state.
There are several theories as to how fasting helps improve cognitive function. Some scientists believe that because your cells are under mild stress while fasting, it helps improve their function. Your cells adapt to this stress by enhancing their own ability to cope, which helps you focus more intently.
This is similar to the stress your body undergoes when you hit the gym. While exercising, that is a form of stress your body endures. As long as you give your body enough time to recover afterward, it will do your body good. The same applies for intermittent fasting as long as continue to alternate between regular eating habits and fasting, it will continue to benefit you.
Finally, when you go long periods without food, it causes your body to release ketones into your body. This has been shown to improve memory and learning ability, as well as slow down diseases in the brain.
To those who find calorie restriction or constant dieting stressful, intermittent fasting is an appealing alternative. Some studies show that patients actually preferred fasting to constant calorie restriction[*
Diet Myth Or Truth: Fasting Is Effective For Weight Loss
Fasting is an age-old practice, often done for religious reasons, but fasting for weight loss is still capturing the public imagination. You can find dozens of do-it-yourself plans touting the unproven benefits of fasting, ranging from flushing “poisons” from the body to purging 30 pounds of fat in 30 days.
It’s true that fasting — that is, eating little to no food — will result in weight loss, at least in the short term. But the risks far outweigh any benefits, and ultimately, fasting can cause more harm than good.
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Meaning And Types Of Fasting
Fasting is the act of going without water or food for a certain period. The following are some of the popular fasting types:
- Religious/spiritual fasting, in a nutshell, is going without food and water for your beliefs. For instance, Christians fast during the lent period and Muslims during the season of Ramadan. Other religions and cultures also practice this.
- Water fasting. You do not eat or drink anything other than water for a specified amount of time.
- Intermittent fasting . You adopt an eating pattern in between your fasting periods. You can eat and drink virtually anything you want. However, you need to adhere to your eating-fasting cycles .
- Involuntary fasting. When you have nothing to eat, and you cannot source food from any place.
- Juice fasting. Involves taking vegetable and fruit juices only for a certain period of time.
- Partial fasting. Processed foods, drinks, animal products, and caffeine are eliminated from the diet for a certain period.
- Calorie restriction. You will restrict your calorie intake for a few days every fortnight.
- Alternate day fasting . It is similar to IF. The basic idea here is to fast one day and eat on the other .
Why Might Changing Timing Help
But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An in-depth review of the science of IF recently published in New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowers blood sugar levels lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function.
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Fasting For Effective Weight Loss And Fat Loss
Overall, intermittent fasting can be a great tool to lose body fat and body weight. It can also be a mentally-positive alternative to those who struggle with calorie counting and portion control.
The key with fasting as with any weight loss plan is to find what works for you. Focus on healthy foods in between fasts, and remind yourself that you are taking control of your body, health, and future.
Set Clear Guidelines To Follow Post
As I mentioned in #7, dont see fasting as a one-stop solution. Rather, see it as the start to living a better life. If youre just trying to fast to lose weight/detox/etc. without intending to change your diet/lifestyle post-fast, then you cant hope to maintain those benefits post-fast. The path to a better and healthier life is a journey, not a one-time event. You can only achieve that by continuously making it happen.
If you have conducted your fast properly, you would have reversed the negative effects of your pre-fast lifestyle . You would also have developed a renewed perspective on the role of food in your life.
Like any change agents, water fasting is just a platform to jumpstart the process. The most important thing is what one does after the fast to maintain the positive benefits. Without proper follow-up plan and commitment to change, everything will simply revert to the way they were in the past. Some people use fasting as a quick fix for their problems, and end up looping through the same issues after their fasts are over. These people would no sooner become fasting junkies, and this isnt what we want.
Now, the question to you is How can you maintain these benefits post-fast? What do you need to do differently? How can you ensure that things will be different this time round? See your fast as a reset button to live a better life. Dont go back to your past eating habits and bad lifestyle habits. Make a list of guidelines youre going to stick to post-fast.
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Youre Not Eating Clean
I eat clean MOST of the time and Id advise that you do, too, especially if you are asking why am I gaining weight with intermittent fasting.
There are reasons to eat clean when following an Intermittent Fasting regimen:
- Intermittent Fasting increases your bodys sensitivity to insulin and moderates your blood sugar.
- Avoiding refined sugar will eventually reduce your cravings long-term and increases your desire for healthy fruits and veggies.
- Healthy carbs like sweet potatoes not only give you nutritional benefit but also reduce the chances of storing belly fat like sugary foods do.
- Eating clean boosts your fiber intake which is key to a healthy digestive system.
- Avoiding processed foods like store-bought muffins , fast food, and fake healthy foods like instant oatmeal and sugary sports drinks will reduce the sugar highs and crashes that sap your energy.
Remember, clean eating is not restrictive. You can still have tons of amazing foodsand even dessert!