Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one correct way to eat. There are so many different, safe, and effective diets that you can follow to lose weight. Some people enjoy low-carb diets, while others see better results by just focusing on eating whole foods. You might have heard about a different kind of diet called intermittent fasting. What is it? Well, it’s precisely what it sounds like: fasting during different periods of time. So, can intermittent fasting help you lose weight?
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Calories In Calories Out is the main focus of intermittent fasting. This way of eating consists of regular, short-term fasts that generally results in fewer calories consumed throughout the week.
As you may know, body fat isn’t just there to bug us! It actually serves a purpose: Body fat is stored as energy. Usually, your body gets its energy from the food that you eat. When your body experiences a shortage of food (as it does during a fast), it will pull energy from stored body fat instead. This is how intermittent fasting can help you lose weight.
Is it Safe?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to intermittent fasting, and the general answer is yes. Intermittent fasting is completely safe for most healthy adults. With that being said, children, pregnant women, people with eating disorders, and those suffering from illnesses like HIV or cancer should not partake in intermittent fasting.
If you’re interested in trying intermittent fasting, we recommend getting cleared by your doctor first.
How Does it Work?
When fasting, your body undergoes several changes to make your stored energy (body fat) more accessible for use. These include changes in your hormones which influence your metabolism. The following are three major hormones that experience changes while participating in intermittent fasting.
2. Human Growth Hormone (HGH): This hormone increases during fasting, accelerating fat-loss and muscle-gain.
3. Norepinephrine: Research has shown that, during fasting periods, Norepinephrine is sent directly to the fat cells to break them down so that they can be used for energy. And more broken-down fat cells mean a greater amount of fat loss!
Most Popular Intermittent Fasting Methods
There are several different ways that you can partake in intermittent fasting. Here are the three most popular methods.
- The 16/8 Method: This is the most commonly utilized method. You fast for 16 hours each day, leaving yourself with an 8-hour feeding window. For instance, you would begin eating at noon and stop by 8 pm each day.
- The 5/2 Method: This method proposes that you eat 500-600 calories, two days a week, but eat normally for the other five days.
- The Eat-Stop-Eat Method: This method is the most challenging, as it requires you to partake in one or two 24-hour fasts every week.
Other Things to Consider
Food Quality: The foods that you eat are still extremely important. Intermittent fasting still requires you to eat mostly healthy, nutritious, whole foods. Your diet should mainly consist of lean protein, fresh fruits & vegetables, and whole grains. These types of food will keep you as healthy as possible!
Calories Still Count: Do your best to eat as normal as possible during your eating windows. You may feel the urge to eat more, but bingeing can rapidly set you back. Focus on eating plenty of protein and soluble fiber to fill your stomach!
Consistency is Key: Your body may take a while to adapt to fasting. Be patient and try to eat around the same time each day. You must be consistent for an extended period of time if you want to see results. If you stick to it long enough, it will get easier.
So, can intermittent fasting help you lose weight? While it won’t work for everyone, it has been proven to be quite an effective weight loss tool for others! Intermittent fasting may prove valuable to those of us with hectic schedules or who struggle with a daily lack of appetite.
Weight loss comes down to calories in, calories out. If you’re eating less than you’re expending, you will lose weight. It doesn’t matter if you eat two meals a day or six meals a day: you just need to do what’s best for you. After all, the best diet is the one that you can stick to for the long haul!
What do you think? Are you going to try intermittent fasting? Have you tried it in the past? If so, how did it go for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section, below!