How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight
A client came to me about a month ago and was telling me about how she had started intermittent fasting and how fantastic she felt. She had lost weight and had much more energy and her brain fog had cleared. I was interested and did some research and started doing it myself using method 1 below. I have found it so easy to follow and loved the fact that I could still eat what I wanted (within reason) but just had to do it in an 8 hour window. I have felt much more energetic throughout the day so I thought I would share some information that I found out along the way. If you have Amazon Prime check out the documentary called Fasting but there is loads of information on the internet on this.
There are many different ways to lose weight.
One that has become popular in recent years is called intermittent fasting.
This is a way of eating that involves regular short term fasts.
Fasting for short periods helps people eat fewer calories, and also helps optimise some hormones related to weight control.
There are several different intermittent fasting methods.
Three popular ones are:
- The 16/8 Method: Skip breakfast every day and eat during an 8-hour feeding window, such as from 12 noon to 8 pm.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Do one or two 24-hour fasts each week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 Diet: Only eat 500-600 calories on two days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
As long as you don't compensate by eating much more during the non-fasting periods, then these methods will lead to reduced calorie intake and help you lose weight and tummy fat.
How Intermittent Fasting Affects Your Hormones
Body fat is the body's way of storing energy (calories).
When we don't eat anything, the body changes several things to make the stored energy more accessible.
This has to do with changes in nervous system activity, as well as a major change in several crucial hormones.
Here are some of the things that change in your metabolism when you fast:
- Insulin: Insulin increases when we eat. When we fast, insulin decreases dramatically. Lower levels of insulin facilitate fat burning.
- Human growth hormone (HGH): Levels of growth hormone may skyrocket during a fast, increasing as much as 5 times. Growth hormone is a hormone that can aid fat loss and muscle gain.
- Norepinephrine (noradrenaline): The nervous system sends norepinephrine to the fat cells, making them break down body fat into free fatty acids that can be burned for energy.
Interestingly, despite what the 5-6 meals a day proponents would have you believe, short-term fasting may actually increase fat burning.
Intermittent Fasting Helps You Reduce Calories and Lose Weight
The main reason that intermittent fasting works for weight loss, is that it helps you eat fewer calories.
All of the different protocols involve skipping meals during the fasting periods. Unless you compensate by eating much more during the eating periods, then you will be taking in fewer calories.
Intermittent fasting is a convenient way to restrict calories without consciously trying to eat less. Many studies show that it can help you lose weight and tummy fat.
Intermittent Fasting Makes Healthy Eating Simpler
I personally do the 16/8 method because I find it easy where I only eat during a certain "feeding window" each day. I don't feel I am denying myself anything, I have just changed when I eat.
Instead of eating 3+ meals per day, I eat only 2, which makes it a lot easier and simpler to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The single best "diet" for you is the one you can stick to in the long run. If intermittent fasting makes it easier for you to stick to a healthy diet then this has obvious benefits for long-term health and weight maintenance.
One of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is that it makes healthy eating simpler. This may make it easier to stick to a healthy diet in the long run.
How to Succeed With an Intermittent Fasting Protocol
There are several things you need to keep in mind if you want to lose weight with intermittent fasting:
- Food quality: The foods you eat are still important. Try to eat mostly whole, single ingredient foods.
- Calories: Calories still count. Try to eat "normally" during the non-fasting periods, not so much that you compensate for the calories you missed by fasting.
- Consistency: Same as with any other weight loss method, you need to stick with it for an extended period of time if you want it to work.
- Patience: It can take your body some time to adapt to an intermittent fasting protocol. Try to be consistent with your meal schedule and it will get easier.