This article talks about intermittent fasting and how it can be used for weight loss. It also details the benefits of the regimen and how it can be tuned for maximum efficiency.
Your Guide to Fasting for Weight Loss
In a world so conscious about the way it looks, people are willing to pay top dollar for methods to lose weight. People rely on everything, from supplements to surgical procedures to lose weight, and achieve their dream body.
Some of these procedures and methods are more effective than others, but not a lot of people realize or are even aware that intermittent fasting is one of the best and most effective ways to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting involves fasting for a short period at regular intervals, helping you reduce your calorie intake and thereby, helping you lose weight rather quickly. This method of losing weight has many people to vouch for, including many A-list celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian, Chris Pratt, Hugh Jackman, and Halle Berry.
Read on to find out how you can use intermittent fasting for weight loss, what the method is all about, things you should be aware of about it, and other benefits it could have
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Intermittent Fasting Boost Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting is a weight loss method that, as the name implies, involves controlled fasting for regular short-term periods. The technique seems to have gained traction in recent months, with many people swearing by it on social media.
A study(1) has shown that intermittent fasting is more than just another trend and can help you lose and maintain your weight. Irrespective of what you’re looking to lose weight for – be it to combat the ill-effects of obesity or to get a toned body that is summer ready – you can formulate an intermittent fasting routine that will help you achieve your goals rather quickly.
The body stores excess energy in the form of fat, and when you fast, the body uses up its reserves of energy stored in the form of fat, helping you to lose weight quickly. By adopting intermittent fasting, you will be making several changes to the way your body’s metabolism works.
- Noradrenaline: There is sufficient scientific evidence(2) (3) to believe that fasting stimulates the nervous system into sending noradrenaline (also called norepinephrine) to fat cells, which breaks the fat cells into fatty acids that are burned to feed the body’s requirement for energy.
- Insulin levels: Fasting has been shown(4) to decrease insulin levels in the body significantly. Lower levels of insulin allow the body to burn fat more efficiently.
- Somatotropin: The pituitary gland secretes nearly five times(5) more somatotropin (also known as human growth hormone (HGH) ) when fasting than otherwise. This hormone helps the body to lose fat and gain muscle.(6)
- Ghrelin: This is a hormone that is tasked with letting you know when you’re hungry. Research suggests that intermittent fasting decreases levels of ghrelin, which means you’ll feel hungry less often.
- Leptin: Leptin is the hormone that lets the body know that it is full doesn’t need any more food. Intermittent fasting can increase levels of leptin, which causes you to feel fuller faster. With the increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin levels, you’re much more likely to consume fewer calories.
All of these changes in your body’s metabolism happens while fasting help you lose weight by adopting intermittent fasting.
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How to fast for Weight Loss?
Now that you know the science behind intermittent fasting, you might be interested in knowing how to go about intermittent fasting. We’re here to help!
Here’s all you need to know about how to fast for weight loss:
There are many different approaches to intermittent fasting, but all of them revolve around the central idea that you will fast for a short period and consume all the calories you require during the time you’re not fasting. Some of the favorite ways of intermittent fasting that seem to work best for people include:
- 16:8/Leangains Method: This method involves fasting for about 16 hours every day while eating only during the other 8 hours of the day. This is the most popular and also the most natural intermittent fasting regimen that you can follow. Its popularity lies in the simplicity that it offers – you can follow this plan by simply skipping breakfast and refraining from eating anything after dinner. For instance, you can eat your dinner at 7 PM and eat your next meal at 11 AM the following day. However, following this method can be harder for those who rely on breakfast as their heaviest meal to keep them going throughout the day. You can still drink water or any non-caloric beverages during your fast. For best results, refrain from eating junk food heavy in calories and eat healthy food, the best of which are discussed in this article.
- 5:2/Fast Diet: This method restricts fasting to two days during which time you should only consume 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men. You can normally eat on the other five days. For instance, you can eat as you normally would on all days except Tuesday and Friday, when you should only consume 2 small meals whose cumulative caloric value should not exceed 500-600 calories. While no studies have been conducted on this method, in particular, there is plenty of research that suggests intermittent fasting is beneficial.
- Spontaneous Fasting: You don’t necessarily have to follow a plan to adopt intermittent fasting. You can skip one or two meals whenever you’re not too hungry, are very busy, or wherever else you find it to be convenient.
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What to Eat During Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss?
Intermittent fasting only dictates when you should eat and does not prescribe any specific foods that you should stick to eating. However, it doesn’t take a lot to know that eating healthy will only supplement your quest to lose weight using intermittent fasting.
Here are some healthy foods that you can incorporate into your intermittent fasting diet:
- Fruits: Fruits give you the best of both worlds – they are delicious and very nutritious. A good amount of fruits in your diet will do wonders for weight loss.
- Avocados: These creamy fruits have a high content of healthy fats which are essential for your body. They also contain fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
- Oranges: These juicy little fruits are bundled with large doses of vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and goodness.
- Apples: Apples are filled with antioxidants and fiber. These are also very filling, which make them ideal for intermittent fasting.
- Meat: Meat is one of the best sources of protein. Choose meats that are high in protein and low in fat like chicken breasts. Fattier cuts are a good option if you are on a low-carb diet.
- Nuts: Nuts are often antagonized for their high-fat content. However, studies(7) (8) show that they can help you lose weight. Almonds, chia seeds, and walnuts are great options.
Other Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Besides the obvious benefit of burning fat, intermittent fasting for weight loss also has the following benefits:
- Improved Heart and Brain Function: The reduced levels of insulin are a contributing factor to the improved heart and brain function that studies have observed in subjects who adopted intermittent fasting.
- Reduced Cardiovascular Inflammation: The lowered levels of cholesterol prevent plaque from building up in the arteries and reduce cardiovascular inflammation.
- Decreases Risk of Brain-Related Conditions: The lowered levels of insulin have been shown to decrease the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and other dysfunctions of the neurons.
- Improved Blood Pressure: Blood pressure levels could improve from the lowered levels of insulin in the body.
For best results with intermittent fasting for weight loss ensure the following:
- Eat healthy food: Intermittent fasting doesn’t limit you to any specific foods, but eating healthy is always welcome when it comes to losing weight.
- Calories: You should not overeat during your eating window to compensate for the caloric deficit from the fasting. This will override the effects of fasting and defeat the purpose. You should still watch what you eat.
- Wait: As with any other weight loss method, it can take time to show results. Consistency and patience are key. Stick with it to see drastic effects in the long-term.
Caution: You should not use intermittent fasting for weight loss if you are at risk of developing an eating disorder as it has a long association with bulimia nervosa. Risk factors for eating disorders include perfectionism, impulsiveness, and mood instability.
You should consult your doctor or a dietician before adopting this method as it might not be suitable for those with high caloric requirements and those with other medical conditions, or if you are on medication that fasting could potentially interfere with.
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose those extra few pounds before you head out on vacation or to get you in shape. Make sure you stick with the regimen and eat healthy during your meal window. Consulting a doctor before using most variations of this method is strongly advised.
[Read: Intermittent Fasting Benefits]
1. Does intermittent fasting work for weight loss?
Yes, intermittent fasting can do wonders for weight loss by reducing your insulin levels, increasing growth hormone levels, and stimulating secretion of noradrenaline.
4. When does the body start burning fat during fasting?
The body starts burning fat when there is a caloric deficit, that is when more calories are used than are consumed. With intermittent fasting, fat burning is at its peak during the fasting period. Be consistent with the method to see results soon.