Intermittent fasting has been shown to be an effective way to lose weight and is a dietary plan followed by many who are looking to reduce calorie intake and burn fat.
There are a few ways to do intermittent fasting and be successful at it and we have gathered the best tips for success here.
Be Honest About the Reasons for Starting Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a challenging way to lose weight. Though it doesn’t restrict particular food groups as much as other diets, you are limited to eating at certain times during the day. Fasting may take its toll on your body too, leading to some annoying side effects when first starting out.
It is for these reasons that you should start out intermittent fasting with the right intentions.
When you begin intermittent fasting, you should consider your reasons for doing so and your goals with this kind of diet. Try creating some SMART goals to help you succeed when you begin.
Having the right intentions can help you keep motivated during grueling fasts and will help you to achieve your goals quicker.
Get a Fasting App That Simplifies Fasting and Calorie Tracking
One of the best ways to stay focused and keep on track when starting intermittent fasting is to get outside help, such as our very own DoFasting app.
You can track your caloric and water intake, schedule your daily fasts, get fasting-friendly recipes and workouts that are suitable for when fasting and right after an eating window.
Having all of this information in one place can help you to plan out and succeed in your efforts to lose weight with intermittent fasting.
Choose a Fasting Type That Suits Your Routine the Best
There are many different intermittent fasting schedules with a varied range of fasting periods to try out. Fasting as a whole is a long-term strategy that has many health benefits and all types of intermittent fasting work to help you to lose weight.
Choosing an intermittent fasting plan comes down to you and what you can comfortably fit into your life. Below we have given a brief guide to intermittent fasting styles that are popular in the community.
The 16:8 diet is one of the easiest ways to start off intermittent fasting. This method involves eating for eight hours, followed by fasting periods of sixteen hours.
Those who follow this eating schedule tend to skip breakfast and start eating around midday, stop at 8 pm, and then fast for 16 hours until midday the next day.
The 16:8 method does not require any restriction on the calories you eat, but you may find you eat fewer calories as eight hours is not a lot of time to overeat.
The 18:6 fast is a step up from the 16:8 fast and involves fasting for eighteen hours per day. During the fasting period, you may consume zero-calorie beverages but no other calories should be consumed.
The 18:6 method restricts your eating window to just six hours, making it very difficult to eat more calories than necessary and helping you to lose weight.
Always build up to challenging fasting styles like this one.
The 5:2 diet involves fasting for two days per week. This intermittent fasting style differs slightly from others as it imposes a calorie restriction.
During your two days of fasting, you may choose to eat, but if you do so, you are limited to 500 calories per day on eating days.
It is recommended that you split your fasting days up with at least one eating day in between on this eating plan. This would mean you stop eating in the evening and then fast through one full day until you start eating again on the third day.
This style of intermittent fasting is very useful for people who cannot commit to fasting each day and can be scheduled around social and work commitments.
Warrior Diet (aka 20:4 fast)
The Warrior Diet, or the 20:4 method, involves skipping breakfast and lunch, and instead, feasting for four hours in the evening.
Based on the diets of ancient warriors, this method means eating much fewer meals than you are used to.
The four-hour eating window is sometimes referred to as the overeating period and there are rules on the kinds of foods you should and shouldn’t eat during this time.
Though most people eat during the evening, if you prefer to eat breakfast, you can shift your eating time to suit you.
24-hour fast (Eat Stop Eat)
The 24-hour fast, or, Eat-Stop-Eat involves eating your last meal in the evening of the first day and then fasting one full day until eating your first meal, post-fast, on the third day.
This method of fasting is challenging but is a more flexible method than others. You are more able to fit these 24-hour fasts around your social and work commitments.
Adjust your diet to eat more healthy food
Intermittent fasting may restrict calories due to the time constraints on when you’re allowed to eat, but it is even more successful when you combine time-restricted eating with healthy eating.
Eating a diet that is filled with nutrient-dense foods, like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains during your eating window is a great way to boost weight loss even further as well as maintain overall health.
You may also want to try other diets, like the keto and Mediterranean diets, during your eating periods to see more success with weight loss and reduction of body fat.
Due to the prolonged periods of fasting, it is essential that you eat well during your eating period so that you do not miss out on key nutrients and compromise your health.
You should also avoid refined and sugary foods as these can cause a spike in blood sugar that could be dangerous during fasting periods and are nutritionally valueless.
Once Started Intermittent Fasting, Get Into a Habit of Having a Consistent Routine to See Results
The key to success with intermittent fasting is building a routine that becomes a habit. If you are in the habit of doing something it becomes easier and easier each day, meaning you are less likely to give up.
There may also be some benefits to fasting and eating at the same time each day which could improve your weight loss benefits.
Achieve quicker weight loss results with intermittent fasting
Losing weight is a key goal of most people who follow intermittent fasting regimes and fasting has been shown to be an effective method of reducing both body weight and fat loss.
So, how does intermittent fasting help you lose weight? There are a number of ways that intermittent fasting diets can help you to lose weight.
Firstly, intermittent fasting creates a calorie deficit by restricting the time you have to consume your daily calories. With shorter eating periods, you are less likely to overeat and a calorie deficit means you are burning more calories than you are consuming.
Secondly, fasting is thought to boost metabolism which improves digestion, along with other bodily functions.
And lastly, prolonged fasting enforces a metabolic switch in the body. This switch, to what is known as ketosis, enables the body to burn stored fat rather than blood glucose for fuel.
This helps you to lose fat while you fast. Longer fasts help you remain in this fat-burning stage for a longer amount of time, boosting weight loss.
Losing weight may be helpful in preventing the development of chronic diseases and improving overall health.
Slowing Down the Aging Process With Fasting Activated Autophagy
Autophagy is our body’s way of generating newer and healthier cells. Meaning ‘self-eating,’ autophagy is the process by which cells are destroyed, removed, and recycled into new and healthy cells.
Autophagy has many health benefits, including reduced risk of certain cancers, prevention of liver cell damage, and increased longevity. Increased autophagy also helps to slow down the aging process.
Autophagy is activated by prolonged fasting as cells cannot function properly with fewer calories. These stressful conditions trigger this process.
Improve Cardiovascular Health by Doing Intermittent Fasting
Heart health may be vastly improved by intermittent fasting.
Fasting is known to reduce blood pressure and be particularly helpful for those with high blood pressure. It is also known to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Both of these are cardiovascular risk factors and the reduction of them can help to prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases, like heart disease.
In addition, fasting may be useful in blood sugar regulation. With periods of fasting, blood glucose levels are lower, helping the body’s insulin response occur in a healthier way.
Reduced insulin sensitivity is a common precursor to type 2 diabetes and so with the reduction of blood glucose, and by extension, insulin levels, fasting may help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
High blood sugar damages artery walls and nerves that control the heart, and those with type 2 diabetes are more at risk of other conditions that can affect the heart too, so protection from the condition can reduce your risks of developing heart conditions.
Fasting may have the ability to improve cognitive health
Fasting may help cognitive health in a number of ways.
Firstly, intermittent fasting is thought to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the brain can lead to poor memory and cognitive processes. With the reduction of inflammation seen with fasting, cognition may improve.
In addition, the declines in cognition seen with age are directly linked to autophagy. As fasting triggers elevated levels of autophagy, fasting may help to boost cognitive health in older people.
Autophagy is also known to protect against the neurodegeneration that leads to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Can You Exercise While Fasting?
While fasting, you should not try any strenuous activity. It is best to exercise during your eating periods instead.
For intermittent fasting methods that have shorter eating windows, it may be difficult to fit workouts in, so workouts should always occur after eating, but may leak into fasting time.
Fasted workouts can be beneficial and may take your mind off hunger cravings, but care should be taken to not overdo it as you are more likely to exhaust yourself than when eating.
Human growth hormone production (HGH) increases during fasting and this hormone helps to protect lean body mass and muscle mass. This means that contrary to popular belief, muscle loss is not a symptom of fasting.
How to Deal With the Hunger Pangs During Fasting?
With extended periods without food, it is not uncommon to feel hungry and these hunger pangs may make you want to give up, but there are ways to deal with hunger during fasting.
Appetite suppressants offer fiber and nutrition to your body but do not break your fast.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?
Intermittent fasting is safe for most people. There are a few people who should avoid this kind of diet though, these include
- People who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Anyone with a history of eating disorders
- Anyone with a medical condition that could be exacerbated by fasting
- People taking medications that need to be taken with food
- Children and teenagers
There are a few side effects of intermittent fasting which are likely to reduce over time but may make fasting more challenging. These include
- Hunger pangs and extreme hunger
- Irritability and mood changes
- Headaches and nausea
Intermittent fasting is a fantastic method of weight reduction and comes with many health benefits. There are a few reasons why someone may take up this kind of diet but the reduction in weight is the most popular.
There are a few people who should not try fasting and if you are concerned about the risks, speak with a healthcare professional.
For most people, intermittent fasting is a safe and effective method of weight loss.