Alternate Day Fasting For Weight Loss: Everything You Need To Know
- Alternate day fasting schedule
Foods to eat and drink on fasting daysFoods to eat on non-fasting daysBenefitsDrawbacks
- The 5:2 fasting method
Foods to eat on fasting daysFoods to eat on non-fasting daysBenefitsDrawbacks
- Eat-stop-eat method
Foods to eat on fast daysFoods to eat on non-fasting daysBenefitsDrawbacks
- 36:12 fasting method
Foods to eat on fasting daysFoods to eat on non-fasting daysBenefitsDrawbacks
- Extended 48 and 72 hour fasting period
Foods you can eat on fasting daysFoods to eat on non-fasting daysBenefitsDrawbacks
Why People Fast For Weight Loss
Most everyone whos lost weight from fasting has begun their fasting journey out of frustration. We get frustrated at always feeling hungry we get frustrated at reading a thousand weight-loss books that all have contradicting information we get frustrated by all the different diets that have failed us. And after a certain point, that frustration leads us to do something we consider extreme:
To start skipping a meal or not eat for a period of time.
Never mind the fact that fasting is so much a part of human history and culture that its embedded in our very DNA. To all of us whove been conditioned to think of missing a meal as a metabolic sin not eating will destroy your metabolism!!! fasting seems pretty radical, indeed.
But then when the first hunger wave passes, you realize that hunger isnt a permanent thing. As the pounds continue to melt, you notice that fasting doesnt feel so bad after all. And eventually, you get to a point where your greatest happiness, productivity, and clarity comes during times of fasting much like the ancient philosophers and warriors who used fasting as a performance enhancer.
When you find that fasting not only helps you lose weight but also helps you become your best self, thats when you realize that all those years of frustration were worth it. It made you try something you thought was impossible.
Mayo Clinic Q And A: Is Intermittent Fasting Good For Weight Loss
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: A friend told me that she is fasting to lose weight. I’ve tried many diets over the years without much success, so I’m thinking about trying fasting, too. Is intermittent fasting a healthy way to lose weight? Is this just skipping a meal occasionally or is there more to it?
ANSWER: One diet trend that shows no sign of going away soon is intermittent fasting. That’s when you voluntarily abstain from food or beverages other than water for a certain amount of time. Some fasting is for religious reasons, while others fast for weight loss.
The three most popular approaches to intermittent fasting are:
- Alternate-day fastingEat a normal, healthy diet one day and then completely fast or have one small meal the next day. Usually, the small meal is fewer than 500 calories.
- 5-2 fastingEat a normal diet five days per week and fast for two days per week.
- Daily time-restricted fastingEat normally but only within an eight-hour window each day.
Recent research has found that using intermittent fasting for weight loss may have some benefits in the short term.
Fasting also affects metabolic processes in the body that may work to decrease inflammation, as well as improve blood sugar regulation and physical stress response. Some research shows this may improve conditions associated with inflammation like arthritis, asthma and multiple sclerosis.
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How Fasting Helps You Burn Fat Without Metabolic Setbacks
When fasting, you have plenty of fat to burn as fuel. The average person can safely fast from one week to several months without deleterious health effects. And because the body doesnt sense scarcity , your metabolism stays high.
But during periods of calorie restriction, the constant intake of food prevents your body from fully entering fat-burning mode, so it interprets this long-term food shortage as a crisis and drops its metabolic rate to compensate. This leads not only to sub-optimal performance for your entire body think how a car would perform if its battery were at 60% but it also leads to crazy-intense food cravings and rebound weight gain.
If your baseline energy expenditure is 2000 calories, and it drops down to 1200 calories through weeks and months of calorie restriction, that means that youll immediately gain weight even if you eat a reduced-calorie diet of 1,500 or 1,700 calories! And that weight gain will stop only once your metabolic rate has returned to normal after enough regular eating.
This issue of reduced metabolism does not happen when youre fasting for weight loss. Because the body has plenty of fat and diseased/inefficient tissue to burn while fasting, there is no scarcity. Baseline energy expenditure does not decrease during a fast. In fact, it increases.
How Much Exercise Does This Intermittent Fasting Model Include
Just to clarify, during my initial weight loss, my exercise routine has been fairly minimal. The weight loss is due to the eating and fasting program rather than exercise. If you are exercising , you will lose more.
Find out more about what I ate and when I ate to lose 150 pounds . I lost 100 of those pounds in only 8 months, relying on keto salads. You might take a look at the before and after photos as well.
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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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Water Fasting And Dehydration
Maybe it sounds weird, but you may also face such a consequence as dehydration. The point is that the foods you consume provide you with approximately 20-30 % of your daily water intake. By drinking the same amount of water but avoiding foods, your body wont get necessary hydration. As a result, you may experience low blood pressure, headaches, dizziness and other symptoms of dehydration.
Water fasting is especially dangerous for people with certain health conditions, including eating disorders, diabetes and gout.
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How Does Intermittent Fasting Affect My Body
When you fast, you consume fewer calories than normalor no calories at allwhich reduces your overall calorie intake. Reducing your calorie intake can help you lose weight, but it also causes several changes to the way your body stores and burns fat.
Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, converts glucose in your blood into energy that your cells use as fuel. Insulin also drives fat storage. Your bodys insulin levels increase when you eat and decrease when you fast. Lower insulin levels resulting from fasting can prevent additional fat storage and help your body mobilize stored fat.
What Are The Risks Of Water Fasting
Research published in the journal BMC Complementary Medicine Therapies showed that the most common adverse events from water fasting include:
- Quality of life problems like fatigue
- Heart problems like high blood pressure
- Musculoskeletal problems like arthritis
- Gastrointestinal problems like colitis, gastritis, and constipation
- Endocrine problems like thyroid trouble or diabetes
- Neurological problems like headache, neuropathy, and dizziness
- Urologic and renal problems
- Psychiatric problems like depression and anxiety
- Pulmonological problems like inflammation, labored breathing, and infection
Two people in the studies analyzed required hospitalization, one with severe dehydration and another with dangerously low sodium levels.
In a recent study of middle-aged men from Poland who did an eight-day water fast, patients lost weight and perceived a reduction in stress, but their bodies experienced some negative consequences including dehydration, low sodium levels, low blood sugar levels, and an increase in uric acid in their blood.
The study authors concluded: Therefore, for the safety of middle-aged people subjected to eight-day water fast, it is recommended to discontinue such intervention, as it is a drastic form of fasting that already begins to generate unfavorable symptoms for a healthy person.
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Fast For 12 Hours A Day
The rules for this diet are simple. A person needs to decide on and adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day.
According to some researchers, fasting for 1016 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This should encourage weight loss.
This type of intermittent fasting plan may be a good option for beginners. This is because the fasting window is relatively small, much of the fasting occurs during sleep, and the person can consume the same number of calories each day.
The easiest way to do the 12-hour fast is to include the period of sleep in the fasting window.
For example, a person could choose to fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They would need to finish their dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to eat breakfast but would be asleep for much of the time in between.
Research Review Shows Intermittent Fasting Works For Weight Loss Health Changes
Intermittent fasting can produce clinically significant weight loss as well as improve metabolic health in individuals with obesity, according to a new study review led by University of Illinois Chicago researchers.
We noted that intermittent fasting is not better than regular dieting both produce the same amount of weight loss and similar changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation, said Krista Varady, professor of nutrition at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and author of Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Krista Varady, professor of nutrition, UIC College of Applied Health Sciences.
According to the analysis published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, all forms of fasting reviewed produced mild to moderate weight loss, 1%-8% from baseline weight, which represents results that are similar to that of more traditional, calorie-restrictive diets. Intermittent fasting regimens may also benefit health by decreasing blood pressure and insulin resistance, and in some cases, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also lowered. Other health benefits, such as improved appetite regulation and positive changes in the gut microbiome, have also been demonstrated.
The review looked at over 25 research studies involving three types of intermittent fasting:
Various studies of time-restricted eating show participants with obesity losing an average of 3% of their body weight, regardless of the time of the eating window.
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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.
Obesity = Unhealthy Diet = Food Additions
People usually become overweight because theyre eating an unhealthy diet. Unhealthy diets are driven by food addictions. Its that simple. This means that if youre overweight and want to fast to lose the extra pounds, youre going to have to face those addictions: both during the fast itself and afterwards, by eating a healthier diet.
Are you truly ready to face your addictions? I wont lie to you. It wont be easy.
Facing these addictions means experiencing withdrawal symptoms, whether physical or psychological . Truly freeing yourself from the psychological factors underlying such addictions also means opening up on a deeper level. If you allow your deeper self to speak to you, water fasting helps to bring forth and heal the emotional wounds which led to your addiction in the first place.
Are you ready to face these wounds and the pain caused by them? If the answer is no, its going to be very difficult to successfully carry out your water fast and sustain weight loss afterwards.
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The First Negative Experience
Unlike on Day 1, I definitely didnt make any personal bests in my Day 2 workout. I felt like I did the day I tried working out after taking the bus from Lima to Huaraz in Peru .
My body felt strong, but it didnt have the endurance it normally did. After one or two lifts my strength evaporated, and at times I was lightheaded to the point of dizziness.
I was glad to have gotten some exercise, but it was certainly the first negative effect I felt on my 3 day fast.
Water Fasting: Is It Safe
It is noteworthy that thoughts concerning safety of this weight loss method are quite controversial. Despite all the benefits, water fasting needs more scientific background, especially human studies. This dietary pattern is over-restrictive and for this reason isnt suitable for everyone. The main issue is that your body still needs nutrients to function properly and stay healthy. That is why even if water fasting might offer health benefits, it still brings an increased number of risks as well.
Because of such a severe calorie restriction, you may lose weight too fast, and that is quite harmful to your health. For instance, rapid weight loss can cause gallstones, malnutrition, hair loss, muscle loss, headaches and more . You may shed up to 2 pounds per day of 24-72-hour water fast. In fact, it is recommended to not lose more than 1-2 pounds of body weight per week, not per day .
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Thats When I Sought Out More Info About Intermittent Fasting
My boyfriend was doing the 16:8 method for his own health reasons, and we had briefly talked about it. I was skeptical at first. But after finding an inspiring first-person article by someone who had success using intermittent fasting, I figured maybe it might work for me.
The woman whose article interested me followed the 4:3 method of alternate-day fasting, where she fasts for three days and eats for four, along with counting calories. It was then that I decided while munching on a snack of mixed nuts that I would commit to IF.
I decided to start my own method of complete intermittent, alternate-day fasting , where I would go every other day without eating, also counting my calories as I went.
When I first started ADF I calculated what my calorie needs would be for my body using a total daily energy expenditure calculator. During my first week of fasting, I allowed myself up to 500 calories on my fasting day to wean myself into going 40 hours without food. In reality, I didnt change much of what I was eating, besides just watching the number calories I was taking in. The second week of fasting, I was able to go the whole fasting day without intaking any calories. Intermittent fasting was a *lot* easier than I thought it would be.
The Bottom Line On Alternate
Usually at this point we say something like more studies of this approach are needed, but I wont. Theres already plenty of evidence supporting a common-sense lifestyle approach to weight loss: ample intake of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, lean proteins, and plenty of exercise. From apples to zucchini, there are over a hundred real foods you can eat endlessly, enjoy, and yes, still lose weight.
I would advise against spending any more money on fad diet books. Or processed carbs, for that matter. Rather, hit the fresh or frozen produce aisle, or farmers market, and go crazy. Then go exercise. Do that, say, for the rest of your life, and you will be fine. No one got fat eating broccoli, folks.
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