Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss – The Complete Guide
Sure, there are many ways on the internet to lose weight. But how do you pick the best one for you? Well, intermittent fasting for weight loss might help you with your problem.
Fasting? I know this word is not pleasant to our ears. It sounds more like a torture, doesn’t it? As the saying goes, “To win something, you have to lose something.” Fret not. It is not that difficult. Once you get used to it, it is downright simple.
It is different from traditional fasting. You fast and you eat for a set period of time. It is becoming a popular way of losing weight. Experts believe that it is the future of weight loss.
“Intermittent fasting for weight loss” was one of the most searched phrases last month. This increased popularity shows that more and more people are opting for this method to lose weight. And guess what, they are getting good results.
So what is this method? How does it work? I know there are many questions running through your head right now. Just stick around and you will get all your answers.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a fasting term that involves fasting for shorter periods. This means you fast for a defined amount of time and then you eat. It is an eating pattern which is focused on when to eat and when to not. This fasting approach for weight loss is different from traditional fasting.
You can consume low-calorie foods and drinks like coffee, green tea, salad etc. while fasting. However, you can eat anything you want during non-fasting hours.
This eating pattern not only helps you lose weight but it has many other health benefits as well. It can improve blood sugar levels, reduces the chances of risk and it can help you with Alzheimer’s disease.
Types of Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting can be grouped into three categories. These methods have their own pros and cons. But all of them are effective in weight loss. You might prefer one over the other.
1. 16:8 Diet
On the 16:8 diet, you fast for 16 hours and then you can feed yourself with anything you like in the remaining 8 hours. The time is fixed for your fasting and eating and you follow the same routine each day.
You have a smaller eating window on the 16:8 diet. For example, you can only eat between 10:00 am to 6 pm. And the rest of the time is dedicated to fasting only.
Doesn’t sound easy? Well, most of the people do not eat after 6 pm in the evening. All you have to do is abstain from food till 10 am in the morning.
You still can consume low-calorie foods and drinks during the fasting period. For example, you can have black tea, coffee etc. Remember that? It is not that tough, you see.
You can increase or decrease the fasting period. To lose weight fast, you can opt to a stricter form i.e. eating only once a day and 23 hours of fasting. However, you might not be able to control your appetite in the beginning.
So, 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating would be a good option for you. On the positive side, you don’t have to restrict yourself to 500-600 calories during those 8 hours of feasting.
Hugh Jackman also uses the 16:8 diet to maintain himself. We cannot doubt his fitness and if he is following the same method to stay in shape then you should too.
2. 5:2 Diet
5:2 intermittent fasting for weight loss involves fasting for a whole day twice a week. You have 5 normal days of eating and 2 fasting days per week.
You can only consume 500 calories on fasting days. There are no calorie restrictions on the non-fasting day.
This is much more difficult than the 16:8 intermittent fasting because you go 24 hours without eating.
It is effective in weight loss and you can choose it if you like.
3. Alternate Day Fasting
This is yet another type of intermittent fasting and is strictest of all forms. You fast for 24 hours and then you have 24 hours of a non-fasting period.
You fast on alternate days. You can only consume 500-600 calories on fasting days.
This form of intermittent fasting for weight loss can be very hard for you if you are a beginner because 24 hours without food is hard for anyone on this earth.
The good news is you can eat anything on your non-fasting day and still lose weight.
Which Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss Method Is Best For You?
Well, all these methods are effective in weight loss. You can choose according to your convenience. But my favorite is the 16:8 intermittent fasting.
Because fasting within a daily window is much easier. Well, going without food for 24 hours is kind of a big deal for me. Who can go without 24 hours of eating? Even if I could, I wouldn’t.
Plus, I am not a big fan of other methods.
Moreover, this is the most popular way of intermittent fasting.
And if you are a beginner, then this method is for you. It is a lot easier than any other methods. The choice is yours to make.
So, Can I Eat Anything During Non-Fasting Period?
The intermittent fasting doesn’t impose restrictions on eating but that doesn’t mean you should stuff yourself with unhealthy foods during that feasting time. To get the best results, you should eat a balanced diet. Going after junk food is not a good idea.
Avoid carbs and have a protein-rich diet. Eat meat, eggs, fruits, nuts, vegetables etc. This would get you the optimal results.
How Will I benefit from Intermittent Fasting?
1. Intermittent fasting for weight loss
Intermittent fasting is very effective in weight loss. Let us make things simpler. Our body needs energy all the time to perform its functions. And the body gets this energy by converting food into energy.
When you are fasting, you are not giving any food to your body at that time. Ergo, there is no food to be converted into energy. Now, the body will use the stored fat as a source of energy.
The body is burning calories and you are getting rid of excess fat. This intermittent fasting is not only helping you in losing weight but also getting rid of excess fat from your body.
Let’s talk about my favorite 16:8 diet. You will lose as much as 0.5 pounds each day with 16:8 diet. Hence, you lose 5 pounds in 10 days – voila!
2. Improves metabolism
Intermittent fasting can improve your metabolism by 14%. This is another reason why this method is so effective in weight loss.
Intermittent fasting for shorter periods stimulates the metabolism. Moreover, we do not experience muscle loss during fasting. We all know the importance of a good metabolic rate when it comes to weight loss.
3. Increases production of Human Growth Hormones (HGH)
When you are fasting, the levels of HGH are increased. HGH controls the metabolism and helps in fat loss.
HGH also boosts energy, increases your stamina and elevates your mood. HGH has many other benefits as well. Meals often suppress the secretion of HGH.
So, intermittent fasting is very effective in increasing the production of Human Growth Hormone which aids in fat loss.
4. Good for diabetics
Diabetes is caused when blood sugar levels are high which means excess glucose. Normally, excess glucose is taken out of our body by the body cells. This is because of insulin.
But in diabetics, the scenario is different. The cells develop sensitivity to insulin and are not able to take out glucose from the body and pancreas stops producing insulin.
But when you are fasting, new cells form. Thus, it is really good for diabetics.
5. Intermittent fasting is good for the heart
Intermittent fasting improves the blood pressures, reduces the cholesterol levels especially the blood triglycerides, improves blood sugar levels, aids in fat loss etc.
All these factors are related to heart health in one way or another. And we know that the bad cholesterol, excess body fat often leads to heart diseases.
Considering all these things, we can say that intermittent fasting is really good for our heart’s health.
6. Intermittent fasting reduces the risk of cancer
Fasting lowers the risk of cancer by reducing the production of cancerous cells. The human growth hormone is also helpful in reducing the risk of cancer.
As we know, blood sugar levels can be controlled to some extent by intermittent fasting. Higher blood sugar levels can often lead to cancer. Moreover, intermittent fasting improves our immune system as well.
Studies show intermittent fasting helps in overcoming the effects of chemotherapy.
7. Intermittent fasting increases life expectancy
You heard it right. Intermittent fasting can extend your lifespan. It slows down the aging process. Mitochondrial cells are fundamental to the aging of cells.
Intermittent fasting alters the mitochondrial network in our body which results in extended lifespan.
What Should I Eat While Following Intermittent Fasting?
There are no restrictions on what you can eat during your eating window. Be realistic. Do you think intermittent fasting would work if you are eating chips, ice creams, and processed food items?
The answer is no. It wouldn’t work if you are eating unhealthy junk food or consuming an excessive amount of calories.
A low-carb diet is effective in weight loss. Here are some foods you should eat during your eating window.
Fish is a rich source of protein. It contains essential nutrients like iodine, various vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids etc. which are really helpful for our health.
Fish also lowers the risk of depression. It reduces the risk of strokes and also improves the quality of sleep. So, this “brain food” is perfect to eat during your eating window.
Fiber-rich foods are healthy and make you feel full. Avocados contain mono and polyunsaturated fats that lower the cholesterol.
People who add avocado to their diet feel a higher level of satiety and they feel full for longer periods of time.
3. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are rich in protein and fiber. They are also a good source of iron, magnesium etc. They are also known as common beans. They are low in calories and low in fat.
They also help regulate the glucose levels. They also make you feel full making it perfect to be a part of your diet especially when you are fasting.
Eggs are also rich in protein. A single egg contains 6 grams of protein. Protein helps in muscle gain and also makes you feel full.
If you eat often then eggs can help you control your appetite by making you feel full with low calories.
5. Green Veggies
Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli are low in calories and high in fiber. They contain essential vitamins and minerals.
They are low in carbs as well. Eating green veggies make you consume fewer calories. They are also helpful in aiding weight loss.
Cottage cheese is rich in protein. Protein is helpful in increasing the metabolism. Cottage cheese also contains calcium which is helpful in fat loss.
You feel a higher level of satiety after eating cottage cheese. It makes you feel full. It also doesn’t contain many calories.
7. Whole Grains
Whole grains can boost your metabolism. They are rich in protein and fiber. They only contain 500 calories per pound.
Brown rice, oats are low in calories and you can eat as much as you like without having to count the calories
Well, these were some of the foods you can consume while being on intermittent fasting. You can eat other foods that help in weight loss. No problems with that as long as you are eating healthy.
Intermittent Fasting Tips
Intermittent fasting may be difficult for you in the beginning. We have come up with some tips to make the whole process easier for you. Some tips for you before you get started with intermittent fasting are:
1. Choose the best intermittent fasting method for you
You should choose the best plan for you, the one that fits your lifestyle. See, if you are comfortable with the 16:8 intermittent plan, choose this.
Remember, you have to follow this routine every single day.
If you go to the gym early in the morning, then you might be required to eat early in the morning. You can choose the 5:2 diet.
If you can go a whole day without eating, then go for Alternate Day Fasting.
2. Drink coffee while your fasting period
Drinking coffee 2-3 times can suppress the appetite. This is because caffeine kicks the hunger. Coffee is effective in fighting the hunger.
Coffee stimulates lipid metabolism and increases metabolic rate. Bulletproof coffee contains enough amounts of caffeine and healthy fats to give you energy.
3. Consume apple cider vinegar before meals
Consuming apple cider vinegar before your meals during your eating window will make you feel full. It also improves the metabolism and suppresses the appetite.
ACV can help you manage your hunger and you would feel a higher level of satiety.
4. Drink lots of water
Drinking water will help you keep your tummy full. It will help you control your appetite. Moreover, it will keep you hydrated throughout the day. You can drink 2 to 3 liters of water.
Sometimes, you are just bored and think that you’re hungry. Drinking water will help you with this problem.
5. Keep yourself busy
You should keep yourself busy. When you are free, you would think about food and then you would feel like eating again.
When you are busy, it is easier for you to keep your mind off food.
6. Be Patient
You are not going to lose 10 pounds overnight. Things take time. Do not expect miracles to happen. We suggest you track your progress.
Measure your weight before starting the intermittent fasting. Check your weight again after 12-14 days. Do not measure your weight every day as it would only cause disappointment.
Words Of Wisdom
Intermittent fasting is helpful if are looking to shed extra pounds. It would not only help you lose weight but it would keep you healthy in many other ways as well.
Intermittent fasting is considered safe and has no negative impacts on our body. But intermittent fasting is not studied on children and the underweight. It could be harmful to them.
If you are pregnant or about to conceive, then you should consult your doctor first.
Now you know everything you need to know about intermittent fasting. Give it a try and lose weight. If you think some information is missing or the content can be improved, let me know.
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