So, what is all the hype about with intermittent fasting? Does intermittent fasting for weight loss actually work?
When I first heard about intermittent fasting I thought it was probably another one of those fad starvation diets.
After a friend of mine lost over 40 pounds through IF, she suddenly had my attention.
If you are curious about the benefits of fasting, how to start on intermittent fasting, what to eat and drink while fasting, and different methods of intermittent fasting, keep reading to find out how to build this practice into your daily routine and become healthier.
#1 – What is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (or IF) is a simple, healthy way to lose weight without depriving yourself. It is a very popular trend in health and fitness with numerous benefits that are backed by science.
Intermittent fasting is not a fad diet but a pattern of eating.
It is a cycle of eating and fasting during a specified window each day.
I love the simplicity of it, especially because there are no crazy rules to follow.
#2 – Why Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a popular health and fitness trend with many benefits.
The main reason people are doing fasting is for weight loss. You can continue to eat the same foods you are already eating and still lose weight. This is usually because you are eating fewer calories during your “feeding window.”
If it’s your habit to exercise, or not, you can still continue to exercise during fasting. The important thing is to listen to your body and how you feel. Also, depending on the intensity of your workouts, you may want to wait until later in the day after you have broken your fast so you have more energy.
Overall, intermittent fasting is easy to do. You don’t have to follow a bunch of crazy or restrictive rules, but rather, you just have to adjust the times you are eating.
Since fasting is simple, yet effective, we are more likely to follow it long term rather than something that is more complicated.
A word of caution, if you have certain health problems, intermittent fasting may not be the right thing for you. Talk to your doctor.
#3 – How Do You Lose Weight with Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting works well because essentially, it decreases the amount of time your body spends on digesting and absorbing food. When your body is in a fasting state longer, you are able to burn the fat off more efficiently.
Dr. Jason Fung is a Toronto-based nephrologist who has used the IF protocol on many of his patients with great success. He explains in simple terms what the key is for weight loss.
#4 – What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
In addition to losing weight, there are many benefits of fasting with this centuries-old practice. These benefits have even been studied and backed by science.
IF enhances heart health, boosts brain function, and could even slow the aging process extending longevity.
Here is a list of the benefits of fasting backed by science.
#5 – How Do You Do Intermittent Fasting?
If you decide that you want to give intermittent fasting a try it’s best to do your research. There are a number of different fasting schedules that you can choose from.
To increase your chances of being successful in the long term, pick a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle and then you are more likely to stick with the program.
One of the most popular fasting schedule that has been well researched, I have included below.
#6 – How To Follow The 16:8 Method
I like this method because you can choose your own 8-hour eating window according to your lifestyle. Some of us are early birds and others might work the night shift.
- Eat for 8 hours a day in one block of time.
- Fast for 16 hours in one block of time.
- Try and stick to the same time each day so your body can adjust.
- Many of us are used to eating breakfast but if you want to skip it, it’ perfectly fine. Your eating window is the most important thing and when you want to do it is up to you.
- Consume water throughout the day and stay hydrated. You can drink water, unsweetened tea, black coffee or any other non-calorie drinks.
- Spread out your meals evenly during your fasting window and then you are less likely to binge when you are breaking your fast.
- Make healthy choices if you want to lose weight.
- Exercising, even walking, will also help to speed up weight loss and you will reap other health benefits too.
- Don’t restrict your calorie count because you are fasting not starving yourself.
#7 – The 16/8 Fasting Method: Best For Beginners
The 16/8 fasting method is the best for beginners for a few reasons:
- Easy to follow, understand, and doesn’t require weighing, counting, or monitoring what you eat.
- No restrictions on what to eat, provided you are making healthy choices. It’s not rocket science. Most of us know the healthier choice between an apple or sugary donut or at least I hope so.
- Fits well into your social life.
- Can set the majority of your fasting while you are sleeping.
- Doesn’t feel like a fad diet, rather a new lifestyle.
#8 – How To Start Your First Intermittent Fast
- Pick a method that works with your daily routine. Go easy on yourself when starting.
- Plan ahead which method you will start with based on your routine, lifestyle, and tendencies.
- Dedicate at least one week to your chosen method. That way you can tweak things if necessary and know whether or not the method is working.
- Do your homework! If you have unanswered questions, do your research, then you can choose what is right for you.
- If you are not sure whether this is right for you, talk to a healthcare professional.
- Check the macronutrients of the foods you will be consuming so you have the right amount of fats, carbs, and proteins to stay healthy and keep your energy levels up.
- Before your first day of fasting, make sure you are prepared. Don’t go crazy and gorge yourself on food. Rather, eat a lighter meal earlier on in the evening so you are not too full. No snacking after meals.
- Stay hydrated with the right type of drinks to support your fasting. It will help you stay energized and focused.
- Take things slowly. Be realistic with what you expect from yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard into this new routine because it can take time to adjust.
#9 – What To Eat When Intermittent Fasting
When it comes to intermittent fasting you need to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Eat whole foods as much as you can and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you want results, don’t be eating junk food. If you consume a bunch of sugar-laden, highly processed, or fatty foods you will not get the results you want and are wasting your time.
It’s about being balanced and listening to your body.
When you are first adjusting to your fasting hours you might feel a little hungry in the beginning.
To help reduce hunger levels, you can have water, unsweetened tea or black coffee, or any other non-caloric beverages. Do your best to follow these guidelines or you just be defeating the purpose of intermittent fasting to lose weight.
Here is a list of healthy foods you can incorporate into your day.
- Whole grains
- Nuts and Seeds
- Cottage Cheese
- Bean and Legumes
- Wild Salmon
- Lean Beef or Chicken
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.
#10 – Popular Intermittent Fasting Methods
- The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day.
- The 5:2 Diet: Fast for 2 days per week.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Do a 24-hour fast, once or twice a week.
- Alternate-Day Fasting: Fast every other day.
11# – Track Your Progress
If you want to try intermittent fasting for weight loss, you will want to track your progress. I got a fasting journal to keep everything in one place so I can have it for reference.
I highly recommend keeping a record of your routine and then you can go back and tweak things to stay on track and lose the weight.