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.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
How Much Weight Can You Lose Fasting
So you want to know how much weight you can lose with fasting? Youll find out everything you need to know here
Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular dieting trends and for a good reason. Fasting might seem new in popularity but its been around since the dawn of mankind . Only in the last couple hundred years or so has food been readily available to the point you can drive to the grocery store for a bag of potato chips.
But throughout the rest of mankind food was a lot harder to come by. So our bodies evolved to go long periods without any food coming in. This process resulted in the burning of fat stores for fuel. And today intermittent fasting means more weight and fat loss for you.
Yet not everybody doing an intermittent or intermediate fasting diet is going to get the best results. A lot of your results are going to depend on a few factors that you should know about to lose the most amount of weight.
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The Best Part About Intermittent Fasting
No food is “off limits” with IF, you can eat whatever you want during your window.
Gin Stephens is the author of Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. Those first three words of the book are the key to what makes this WOE worthwhile: You’re not denying yourself anything, you’re merely delaying it. You don’t have to give up, say, pizza because of the carbs or ice cream because of the sugar. You just have to wait until your window opens then you can eat what you want to eat. No, not the entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream you still have to be reasonable. But there are no exclusions. And that’s incredibly liberating.
Think about nearly every other diet in history: Atkins, South Beach, paleo, keto. They all require you to either cut out certain things entirely or eat an excess of something else . The reason these diets typically fail is they’re not sustainable.
Stephens is fond of this saying: “‘Diets are easy in contemplation and hard in execution. Fasting is hard in contemplation but easy in execution.’ I absolutely love that quote, because it’s so true,” she says. “We’ve all started a new diet and we’re all in. Then, as the days go by, the diet gets harder and harder to stick to. Intermittent fasting is the exact opposite. Instead of getting harder and harder, it gets easier and easier.”
What Should I Eat And Drink During A Fast
During a fast, you can drink water and other calorie-free beverages, such as tea or black coffee. Many people also drink bone broth, which contains nutrients that support your body during a fast. Drinking liquids also help counteract fatigue and curb hunger.
If youre following an intermittent fasting pattern that involves restricting your calories on fast days, you should focus on low-calorie, high-protein and high-fiber foods that will help you stay full.
What Are The Proposed Health Benefits Of Fasting Diets
As mentioned, the research on intermittent fasting is limited, but mice studies and small studies in humans suggest the approach may in fact be effective.
For example, in one of Varadys studies, published in June 2018 in Nutrition and Healthy Aging, 23 human participants completed 12 weeks of eight-hour time-restricted eating, and researchers compared their weight loss results to a control group from a separate trial.
Varady and her team observed that the time-restricted group lowered their body weight by 3 percent more on average compared with the control group, and they significantly lowered their systolic blood pressure. But the sample size was small, and the dropout rate among the fasting group was high, at 26 percent, for even a short-term trial, though no one in this group reported dropping out due to issues with the diet, researchers wrote.
But what about alternate-day fasting? While Varady hasnt conducted studies directly comparing alternate-day fasting to time-restricted eating, another one of her studies, published in July 2017 in JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that alternate-day fasting was difficult to stick with and didnt result in better weight loss or heart benefits than a calorie-restricted diet. For the study, she and her team randomized 100 participants to follow one of the two diets or a control group, where their diets remained the same, for one year.
Why I Chose To Try Time
The definition of intermittent fasting is pretty basic. Its really just a period of eating, followed by a period of not eating, says Krista Varady, PhD, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois in Chicago. For over a decade, Dr. Varady has researched the effects of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is kind of an umbrella term, but there are three major types of intermittent fasting. Theres alternate-day fasting, which means that you would eat fewer than 500 calories every other day and eat however many calories you want on the remaining days of the week. Theres also whats called the 5:2 approach to intermittent fasting, which means you would eat fewer than 500 calories for two days per week and however many you want on the other days. And then theres whats called time-restricted eating, which means you can eat within a certain window of time each day, like between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., says Varady.
Given that I was becoming more active through exercise, I wasnt sure that taking in only 500 calories a day would be the best idea for maintaining my energy levels. With that in mind, I decided to try time-restricted eating instead.
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The Utter Simplicity Of Intermittent Fasting
Most of us eat throughout the day, starting with breakfast when we wake up and perhaps ending with a dessert or snack after dinner. If you have breakfast at 7 a.m. and a final snack at 8 p.m., you’re consuming food for 13 hours that’s your current “eating window.” The idea behind IF is simply to shorten that window — not necessarily to eat less , but to eat less often.
For example, most experts agree that you can start to experience IF benefits with an eight-hour eating window, meaning a 16-hour fast. So you could have lunch at noon and still finish your snack by 8 p.m. That’s it. If you can stick to that, it may be enough to produce results.
But, wait: Isn’t that just skipping breakfast? And haven’t we heard for years that skipping breakfast actually leads to weight gain? Yes and yes. However, IF requires a “clean” fast to be effective , and once you get accustomed to it, your appetite should correct so that you no longer overeat once your window opens.
Here’s what I love about this: It costs nothing. It requires nothing. You don’t have to buy books or gear or supplements or meals. You just adapt yourself to a slightly different way of eating and that’s it. The simplicity — and affordability — of IF is what drew me to it.
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/7fitness Secrets I Unveiled
For a massive and aggressive weight loss, focus on low calorie diets and cardio exercises. If your aim is to shed some amount of kilos, then focus more on protein intake, try to eat more food compared to before and have at least 1000-1200 calories per day.
Intermittent Fasting can do wonders. I have already fasted for more than 5000 hours. But, try to include your hours of sleep in the fasting window. Also, try to start from 16:8 and drag it to a maximum of 22:2.
Include strength training to avoid loss of muscle mass and have green tea after your last meal. Add some saffron for more benefits.
How do I stay motivated?: There is no motivation. I feel driven to just complete the goal I have set for myself.
How do you ensure you dont lose focus?: I dont see that as an option. I have already struggled, suffered and been humiliated enough to let go of this.
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The Weighing Scales Have Remained Resistant To Change But Theres Been A Boost In General Health
I have wanted to get fitter and lose weight for a long time, but Ive always been cautious not to be caught up in one of those eat healthier and exercise scams that are often doing the rounds. When my phone rings from the Solomon Islands, I suspect its someone going to tell me that sweets and biscuits and crisps are not the way to go I should invest my hard-earned money in vegetables and fruit.
Im also naturally suspicious of all forms of dieting Im usually quick to warn people that the strict food and drink regime theyre on sounds rather unhealthy .
And until 2021, I had never even considered going on a diet. I know nothing about Paleo, Atkins, Dukan or Keto. It might as well be the midfield line-up for the side that recently beat the Republic of Ireland football team.
But that hasnt stopped me from promising regularly to try something, anything, to lose a few stone. Ive weighed myself several times over the past few years a before weight as I make plans, yet again, to begin exercise and eat healthier.
And then I dont. And then I weigh myself again at the start of the next promise. And then I dont. I have a handy chart of myself getting fatter.
Exercise simply doesnt cut it. Literally. If weight-loss is your goal, exercise alone does not work. At least not for me. During one of the first lockdowns I managed to do 50 runs in 100 days. It made no difference whatsoever to my weight because, I suspect, you cant outrun your fork.
How Intermittent Fasting Can Prevent Weight Gain This Holiday Season
When I first started intermittent fasting a few months ago, I originally thought I would only do it for about a month. I wanted to lose a few pounds and get a flat belly for a special event, but what started as an experiment actually turned into a way of life that’s helped me take control of my emotional eating habits, lose weight, and feel amazing all around.
I subscribe to the 16:8 method of IF. The premise of this fasting method is that you fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining eight-hour window. You can choose which eight-hour window works best for you. Some people like to fast during the first half of the day and only eat between, say, 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. That’s not me, though. I lift weights in the morning and can’t imagine going without a hearty meal after my workout is over, so I eat between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Additionally, while IF is meant to be done every day, I only fast Monday through Friday.
As we approach the holiday season, I can already see that the habits I have gained from following the IF diet are going to come in really handy. It’s the time of year when we are surrounded by sweet treats, good cheer, and lots and lots of family and friends . All the distractions can make it hard to think actively about what we’re eating and truly enjoy it.
If this sounds familiar, I recommend giving IF a shot before the holidays are upon us. Here’s how it could help you enjoy the food you eat, while also staying fit and healthy.
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Intermittent Fasting Might Work For You Too
So, there you have it, the three reasons why intermittent fasting for 12 hours yielded better results for me than intermittent fasting 16 hours.
It may be tempting to suggest that any one of these reasons outweighs the others , but for me, theyre all equally as important.
Any diet plan I embark on must be sustainable.
I cant feel guilty or like a failure every step of the way.
Thats no way to live!
Even though intermittent fasting makes eating fewer calories easier, it wont do all the work for you.
Intermittent fasting really only works as much as YOU do.
And without public accountability, for me, its just too easy to fall back into old patterns.
You yes YOU have really helped me stay on track and pull it all together.
Fasting For Healthy Weight Loss The Wrap Up
Intermittent fasting can play a role in your healthy weight loss lifestyle.
But remember, fasting is not a magic bullet. The rest of your diet and lifestyle still matter.
Also, remember our six tips for healthy weight loss with intermittent fasting:
If you follow these tips, theres a good chance that intermittent fasting can help you lose weight in a healthy way.
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Choose Your Best Protocol
Krystal began her intermittent fasting journey about a year ago, and she experimented with various protocols until she found the right protocol.
I alternate what kind of fasting I do. Sometimes I stick with a traditional 16:8 fasting period, other times I will do a longer time frame, she says. My longest fast was five days.
Though five days might seem a bit overwhelming to a beginner, Krystal urges readers to find whats best for them. For her journey, Krystal admits, I read a lot about the health benefits of fasting, plus with following a ketogenic diet fasting came naturally as my hunger levels decreased.
/10how Do You Stay Motivated
Focussing on how I feel more than how I look. Of course looking good is important, but having a ton of energy makes me a happy and fun mom to be around my son. Looking back at my before and after pictures shows me how far I have come, but I remind myself to show up and deliver every new day.
How do you ensure you donât lose focus? There is no final destination, fitness is a journey. It is unnatural to expect that one will not falter in this journey. What’s important is I pick myself up and get back to the regime. One should never quit and undo all the good work. Also, I maintained a journal where I documented my food and workouts , calories intake and calorie burnt on a regular basis. So when I feel out of focus, I read the journal and it reminds me how much I have worked to be where I am today. This is enough to reinstall the vigor in me.
Eat More Plants To Lose Weight
Its true that you can lose weight in tons of ways.
You can try juice fasting, the lemonade diet, or other methods to lose weight.
Those all work very well but youll probably gain the weight right back if you dont learn how to eat sustainably.
Many people also love the keto diet, but I hate it and think its one of the worst ways to lose weight.
Its very restrictive, most people cant hack it long-term, and youre missing out on key nutrients that your body needs for good health.
The best thing you can do is simply slowly, gently work on incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet.
The thing is you can STILL have some of the other things you like some of the time!
Just not ALL the time.
And you dont even have to make the switch all at once!