Almost everyone in this day and age would like to lose a few pounds – and quickly at that! I think we can all agree, that the majority of people would prefer to do this by eating a restricted diet, while also trying to burn off calories.
Of course, this does not last for long, but how come? Well, no, it isn’t the lack of willpower a person has, but more of a matter of how “quick fix” diets do not work. They are impossible to incorporate into a lifestyle. So, whenever you do hear this kind of advice, make sure you run for the hills.
What can you do? Well, a method known as intermittent fasting for weight loss is starting to gain popularity. In layman’s terms, it’s defined as going an extended period of time without eating any food whatsoever. I know, you’re probably thinking that it sounds insane, and wondering why anyone would ever recommend this to you?
However, it simply is a safe way of losing weight. Not only does it accomplish this, but it also has a whole bunch of other health benefits along with it. Since your fasting will be spent during a specific window of the day, it means that you will not have to spend your entire day thinking about, or more likely, trying to avoid the food you want (but know you shouldn’t have).
One thing is for sure- intermittent fasting for weight loss will not drive you crazy. But how do you get started on it? Well, we’ll explore that now, and don’t worry- you don’t have to be an expert in nutrition to get it right!
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How to start intermittent fasting
The thought of not eating for 12 to 16 hours can be quite overwhelming (and rightfully so). Especially for people who have never even attempted such a task in the past. It’s important though, that you don’t let these factors put you off at least trying- you must prepare yourself mentally. Also, do not think it will be easy. But is anything ever worth having easy though?
Nevertheless, you will be pleased to know that you can sleep through most of these fasting hours anyway. For example: you could eat from noon to 8pm. This means that depending on how early you go to bed, you will have the majority of the day to eat the most important meals – such as dinner with your family at around 5pm.
However, if you would prefer to jump in head first, you can fast for up to 19 hours a day. This has shown to be the most effective method for weight loss, but I would be wary of this, as many people who try this way first often resort to binging after a week. This is mostly due to the fact they feel they have been deprived of food. Remember folks: baby steps. You can even drink some herbal teas and coffee in-between meals if you’d like.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Ok, so it’s time to really fill you in on the good stuff. I’m sure you are wondering: “Why would I bother not to eat for so long,” and “What does this actually achieve for my body?” Well, intermittent fasting has a whole variety of benefits that are extremely healthy for your body. Below is a list of these benefits:
- Stabilization of energy levels- Be prepared to experience more stable energy levels throughout the day while you are intermittent fasting. Why is this? Well, after a certain period of time, your body will become extremely efficient when it comes to using body fat as a secondary resource for fuel. With stable energy levels, you will feel like you’re able to do so many more things with your time, and also, you may experience slightly better moods.
- Body natural fasted state will prolong- Your body burns fat when you are sleeping every night. This happens because when you do fall asleep, your body switches over to its naturally fasted state – which is a fat burning mode. However, it all comes to an end the moment you take your first bite of food after you wake up. This happens because the body starts producing insulin; a fat storage hormone, which ends the fasted state that you were in. When you intermittent fast you will prolong this state for a few hours, which is great news.
- Your body’s ability to repair and detox will be supercharged- When you are constantly eating throughout the day, it means that your body is using up its resources for digestion. This is because digestion is a process that requires a lot of attention and energy. As a result, your body will have less ability to focus on repair and maintenance. So, can you guess what happens when you fast? Yep, that’s right. Your body gets the opportunity to focus on these processes. Thus, your body will be far more efficient when it comes to losing weight, and more importantly, staying healthy.
- Appetite control is overall better- Our bodies are extremely adaptive. This means that no matter what challenge you take on, it will do its best to get in sync with what you are doing – such as the routine of not eating in the morning. This means that you will have less hunger pangs and more appetite control. Again, your body will start using body fat efficiently as a second source of fuel.
All of the technical details as to why you will benefit from intermittent fasting for weight loss are great. However, in my opinion, the best part of it all is the absolute freedom from compulsive eating.
I honestly don’t believe that it is too far-fetched to say compulsive eating is absolute hell. It is no life to begin your day thinking about what you are going to eat, and more importantly, not eat. This will usually continue into the night for most compulsive eaters. Intermittent fasting can free you from this, because soon enough, your brain will learn that you won’t die if you don’t eat every few hours. You will begin to eat from stomach hunger and not mouth hunger, which are simply necessary cravings.
Different intermittent fasting schedules
To break it down even simpler for you, we have listed below certain types of intermittent fasting for weight loss schedules. I suggest you read through them all, and have a think about what would work best in your life. Keep in mind what type of lifestyle you maintain.
There are quite a few types of daily intermittent fasting routines that are known and used today, however, they do slightly differ from each other. Even so, daily intermittent fasting is extremely popular because it is so easy to form the habit, and you’ve been doing exactly that; fasting every single day you’ve walked the earth. Think about it, your body will be able to adjust in no time, and not only that, it will also accommodate your new “eating” routine. The good news about this is, that as the days go on, you will be able to fast without even thinking about it – it will become second nature to you!
The most difficult thing about this method is that you will most likely end up eating one meal less than you are used to. This is the result of the timeframe in which the fasting actually occurs. What you can do to counter this is to eat larger meals when it’s your time to eat. With this type of fasting, it is almost a definite outcome that you will lose weight.
A typical daily intermittent fasting period would allow the person partaking in the fasting an 8-hour window to eat. This means that, say for example, you enjoy eating breakfast at 10am. You could include this window in your designated meal time of 10am – 8pm and then fast for the remaining hours. Give it a shot!
If you feel that you may not be ready to jump into daily fasting just yet, you do have another option: weekly fasting. In fact, one of the best ways to get started in intermittent fasting is by using this method. Just think of it as easing yourself in. It states that you should fast once a week. You may be thinking that there would be no point in doing this – as there is no way it could have as many benefits as daily fasting – but this is untrue.
In fact, weekly fasting has many health benefits. So, how can you go about this? For starters, you could begin after Saturday morning breakfast, and fast all the way through Sunday. If you are able to complete that, then it will for sure help you get over the mental barrier that often occurs while fasting, and lets be honest, that mental barrier is the hardest thing to overcome entirely.
Alternate fasting simply means that you will fast for a few more days throughout the week. Some people find this method much easier than daily, but also more difficult than weekly – which is a good thing, depending on your goals and also what stage you’re at in your intermittent fasting for weight loss journey. This style of fasting is in fact the most unpopular, as some people are concerned with the overall less consumption of food during it. It is however, the most common method used in studies. We suggest that you try all three methods entirely, and then go for the one that suits your lifestyle the best. This will help you keep it up and allow you to form it as a habit for the rest of your life.
What puts people off of intermittent fasting?
Unsurprisingly, the most common thing that people say puts them off of intermittent fasting is the name. This is understandable, as from a layman’s point of view, fasting usually correlates to the idea of forcing yourself not to eat. Many people also view it as just a way to simply lose weight fast with no other motives behind it.
However, as we now know, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is entirely healthy for our body, and the timeframe in which intermittent fasting requires isn’t actually very long. People are also concerned that fasting may slow their metabolism down, but this is also untrue. For example, if you are fasting for 38 hours, this is not enough time to affect how quickly you are burning foods. Of course, this is if your diet is healthy. I mean, what we don’t encourage is for you to go off and eat like crazy on your permitted eating time – consuming only processed junk foods.
So, if you are in the middle of your fast and feel that something “isn’t quite right,” perhaps you are sleepy, finding it hard to focus, or you may even be agitated. However, before you blame this on the fast, just remember that your brain isn’t used to your new eating habits, and is possibly finding the new transition difficult. After all, it definitely isn’t easy the first few attempts.
Stop struggling with intermittent fasting for weight loss
If you have already tried intermittent fasting, but found the entire process to be too difficult – to the point you stopped the fast – it’s important that you don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re definitely not the first person to encounter this level difficulty. The first thing you should do is, instead of being hard on yourself, take a look at what you are currently eating during your day-to-day diet.
If you are consuming foods that are processed or provide you with hardly any nutrition whatsoever, then yes, it is absolutely normal and also expected for you to not be able to stick to intermittent fasting. A good way to combat this would be to gently start introducing healthy and natural foods into your diet, such as vegetables, fruits and some meats.
However, it is best to start this process very slowly. If you suffer from getting overwhelmed, and tend to easily give up on things, trying to change your whole diet overnight is most likely going to result in being disastrous. Think of this as a long-term approach – something that can be used to improve upon your entire life. Also, make sure to maintain a positive outlook.
So, what’s next? Have you tried intermittent fasting before? Are you planning on trying it now? Maybe you’re thinking of giving it another go after having read this article? Let us know in the comments below.