If you’re thinking about starting an intermittent fasting diet, the first and most important thing to remember is that it’s not the easiest diet out there! Unlike some other fad diets, however, this one has been shown to be effective for weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The IF diet necessitates dedication, strict timing, and a great deal of temptation.
Furthermore, there are numerous varieties of the IF diet, and you must choose the one that is ideal for you. The 16:8 diet, in which you limit your eating to an 8-hour window, the 5-2 diet, in which you eat normally five days a week and then limit yourself to fewer calories on the other two days, the OMAD diet, eat-stop-eat, the Warrior Diet, and so on are just a few of the more famous ones.
Does Intermittent Fasting Help Lose Weight?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a diet plan that alternates between times of fasting (with no food or a large reduction in calories) and periods of unrestricted eating. It is said that IF can help you lose weight and fat mass, but does intermittent fasting really work for weight loss, is fasting a safe way to lose weight or how much weight can you lose by fasting if it does help?
Intermittent fasting, a diet that has supposedly helped celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Kourtney Kardashian, and Chris Pratt lose weight, has transcended its status as a celebrity trend as new evidence concerning its weight reduction and other advantages emerges, according to People. The most recent review, published in October 2021 in the Annual Review of Nutrition, indicated that intermittent fasting results in nearly the same amount of weight loss as typical calorie-restrictive diets and may also enhance other cardiometabolic health markers.
“One of our main findings was that people who do intermittent fasting lose about the same amount of weight as people on a regular calorie-restriction diet that cuts out 500 calories a day,”” explains lead author Krista Varady, Ph.D., researcher and professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
What is the Best Intermittent Fasting Plan for Weight Loss?
If you are diving into the sea of intermittent fasting, you will find various fasting plans and may feel puzzled about which intermittent fasting is best for you as far as weight loss is concerned. All strategies can be helpful, but determining which one works best for you is a personal decision.
One of the most popular fasting plans for weight loss is the 16:8 intermittent fasting strategy. Food and calorie-containing beverages are limited to an 8-hour window per day under the diet. It necessitates fasting for the remaining 16 hours of the day. You can consume calories over any 8-hour period. Some people avoid eating late and stick to a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. routine, while others skip breakfast and fast from midday to 8 p.m. It’s common that 16:8 is usually selected by intermittent fasting beginners because of its convenience to start.
Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate day fasting (ADF) is a calorie-restricted eating pattern that includes a day of unrestricted eating followed by a day of fasting, with 500 calories ingested in one meal accounting for the total daily calorie intake.
Eat Stop Eat
In his book Eat Stop Eat: The Shocking Truth That Makes Weight Loss Simple Again, author Brad Pilon proposed the concept of “eat stop eat.” Brad Pilon emphasized the flexibility of fasting in this way, emphasizing that it was only a pause from eating. This implies you can stick to a weekly strategy of fasting for 24 hours one or two times to avoid excessive dieting and maintain a positive attitude.
The 5:2 diet is a modified variant of alternate day fasting in which five “feasting days” and two “fasting days” are alternated each week. The fasting two days can be any day depending on your choice. Since some people may say “I can do anything for two days, but it’s too much to cut back on what I eat all seven days”, the 5:2 fasting just suits their situation.
Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a diet that restricts eating to a set number of hours per day (usually 8, but plans can range from 4- to 10-hour “eating windows”), followed by a 16-hour fast. (There are no calorie constraints during the dining period with time-restricted eating.)
Can Intermittent Fasting Help Burn Belly Fat?
Intermittent fasting helps you eat fewer calories, which is why it helps you lose weight. Intermittent fasting reduced body weight by 3 to 8% over a period of 3 to24 weeks, according to a 2014 review. The waist circumference of the participants also decreased by 4 to 7%, indicating that they shed belly fat. Insulin is one of the key hormones linked to belly fat growth, and intermittent fasting can help manage it.
When you eat, your insulin levels rise, and when you fast, your insulin levels plummet. Insulin levels that are lower aid fat burning.
How to Do Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss?
If you’re interested in trying intermittent fasting to lose weight, Julia Zumpano, RD, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, recommends starting cautiously. “I often tell people to try to fast after they finish their dinner for a few nights a week and see how that goes,” she says. “If you’re doing well, then you can gradually increase your fasting window.”
The review’s authors included some simple but important tips on what to expect if you try intermittent fasting, as well as some best practices:
Although intermittent fasting has been proved to be beneficial to the human body, it’s not suggested to rush because some side effects may occur like headaches, dizziness, etc. It’s usually the truth that after one to two weeks of fasting, adverse effects such as headaches, dizziness, and constipation fade. So start by fasting for 16 hours, which simply means not eating until midday and then fasting again in the evening. And dehydration-related headaches can be alleviated by drinking more water when fasting.
Reduce Sugar Intake during the Eating Windows
Sugar is one of the most important factors in the production of the storing hormone insulin. Sugar can be deceiving as well! Sugary foods, such as sweetened yogurts, fruit juice, green juices, protein bars, and sweetened coffee/tea, should be avoided during intermittent fasting. Although no rigorous restrictions are set by intermittent fasting for the eating window, a healthy diet is strongly recommended if you strive to lose weight via fasting.
Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in insulin resistance the next day. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is also elevated, which has been linked to belly fat growth. A study indicated that the amount of weight loss from subjects’ fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal, which implies that good sleep is beneficial for fat burning. You can prioritize good sleep by adhering to the “no tech time rule,” which states that no TV, phone, laptop, or computer should be used one hour before bedtime. Electronic lights deceive your brain into thinking it’s daytime, causing the sleep hormone melatonin to be turned off. Limiting technology when IF allows melatonin levels to naturally rise, which improves sleep quality.
Walking is a low-intensity workout that does not significantly raise cortisol levels. Furthermore, being outside in nature has been shown to help reduce the stress hormone cortisol in a natural way. During your fast, go for a 20 to 30-minute morning stroll to double down on the fat-burning benefits!
Make Your Diet Quality Count
There are no specific meal recommendations for intermittent fasting, but the research examined suggests that consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can assist increase fiber intake, which can help lessen the hunger that comes with fasting.
Stop Munching and Drink in Moderation
Make a hard rule on snacking after dinner to help you start your fast instead of being tempted to extend your eating window with a late dessert or midnight snack. Because alcohol is metabolized similarly to sugar, keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum and stop drinking at the same time as you begin your fast.
How Long Does It Take for Intermittent Fasting to Work?
Once you start intermittent fasting, you may focus on how many pounds you have lost with intermittent fasting every day. But do not too hastily pay much attention to your weight change as it is not easy to see at once.
About 10 days after you start intermittent fasting, you may feel a shift in your body. Significant weight loss could take anywhere from 2 to 10 weeks. Each week, you could lose up to a pound. Less bloating is usually one of the first signals that your intermittent fasting strategy is working. After just one week of intermittent fasting, your waistline may appear slimmer.
Weight reduction will take a little longer to notice because your body will need time to acclimate to this new diet. The majority of people notice that they have lost their first few pounds around the second week. If you haven’t lost any weight by week two, stick with it for another four or five weeks and your results should appear soon.
Can Intermittent Fasting Cause Weight Gain?
Intermittent fasting, as part of a healthy lifestyle, can be an excellent method to lose weight. However, there are a few Intermittent Fasting blunders that can result in undesirable weight gain.
Are you overeating?
Fasting can help you manage your food intake without having to monitor calories. One study looked at how people ate following a 36-hour fast and found that while they ate somewhat more calories at their next meal than non-fasters, they ingested nearly 2,000 fewer calories over the course of two days. Breaking a fast, however, can feel like an invitation to devour enormous amounts of high-calorie food for some people.
Are you eating wrong?
Fasting for 18 or even 24 hours doesn’t give you the green light to devour a deep-dish pizza or down a couple of glasses of wine during the time you do eat. Those foods and drinks will cause your insulin levels to soar and drop, sending you on a blood sugar roller coaster that will make you hungry and irritable throughout your fasting hours.
It’s important when you eat, but it’s also important what you consume. Ensure you’re receiving enough fiber, protein, and good fats during your dining hours by consuming veggies, fruits, quality meats and fish, nuts and seeds, and olive oil.
Are you keeping a bad lifestyle habit?
What you eat and don’t consume becomes a crucial part of your overall health care plan. Getting at least eight hours of quality sleep every night, controlling stress, keeping a healthy social and spiritual life, and eating the correct foods to support your fasting efforts and create great health are all equally vital. Fasting gets easier and has longer-lasting advantages when you maintain other excellent practices.