The rule has always and will always be the same when it comes to weight loss. What is the rule? Take in fewer calories than you use in a day and you will lose weight – it doesn’t get any simpler than that. The road to achieving this however comes in different shapes and sizes (I know the term seems off).
To loss weight, one may decide to exercise, or simply go on a diet, or take some medication. Whatever you choose, the goal is to lose those calories and as such lose weight.
One of the ways to lose weight which has become popular is intermittent fasting. This method of weight loss has been proven to be effective with little or o side effects as long as it is done right. In this article we will be talking about intermittent fasting and weight loss – how can you use intermittent fasting to lose weight? What are the benefits? and everything along that line. We are also going to give real life scenarios of people who have used this method to achieve real results. To start up, what is intermittent fasting?
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
Here we go. Intermittent fasting is a way of eating which revolves around short term fasts. It can be seen as a diet program where, for some periods, one takes in fewer calories so as to optimize those hormones which are in charge of weight loss.
Intermittent fasting has to do with cycles – there are the times, or days where you get to eat your regular meals and then there are the times when you do not eat.
TYPES OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
It does help to define the kind of intermittent fast that you are going to be doing and the reason for this is that it helps you stay consistent. If you do not have a defined cycle, then there is no method to what it is you are doing and it would be difficult to track results. So here are six different types of intermittent fasting.
1. The 16/8 method – this is where you skip breakfast everyday and give yourself an 8-hour window where you can eat whatever it is that you want. Simply put, you can term this as a diet pattern where you don’t eat anything after dinner, and skip breakfast. You could decide to eat from 11am – 7pm and once its 7pm, you stop all manner of eating till 11am the next day. You can of course shift this around to fit your own schedule. To give you a better description of this, if you
Start eating at 12pm, you stop at 8pm
Start eating at 2pm, you stop at 10pm
Start eating at 5pm, you stop eating 1am
Some people prefer to do a 6-hour window and for those who want to go a bit extreme, you can even do a 4-hour window where you can eat whatever you want. It should be noted that the healthier you eat in your window, the more effective the fast will be.
It is advised tat women do a 14 – 15 hour fast as they seem to do better with shorter fast periods. It is also advice that you drink water, coffee and other non – caloric beverages during your fasting period as these help reduce hunger.
2. 24-hour method – This is where you pick a day or two in a week where you stay 24 hours without food. This is how it works: On a Sunday, you could decide to eat your regular three-square-meals and perhaps stop at 7pm. Then the next day, being a Monday, you wait till 7pm before you eat. That is a full 24 hours without food.
Basically, you choose the days in a week where you skip two meals in order to reduce calorie intake and lose weight.
3. The 5:2 method – This is one of my favourites, seeing as I used this to lose about 15 pounds in 4 weeks myself. This is a method where you choose to eat normally five days in a week and then for two days, you fast. When I say fast, I am not talking about starving yourself completely – for these two days when you are fasting, you get to consume 500 – 600 calories.
You could, for example, eat regularly on all days except Mondays and Thursdays where you eat two small meals of 250 – 300 calories each.
4. Every other day fast – this intermittent fasting method is closely related to the 5:2 method. In this case, you get to eat one day and fast the next day – what that means is that on one day, you eat your regular meals and on the next, you either eat nothing, or you eat 500 calories – depending on the pattern you wish to follow.
For beginners though, a full fast may be taking it too far so on your fast days, you could go with 500 -600 calories so your body can adjust to the new program.
5. Warrior method – This method remained underground until fitness expert Ori Hofmekler made it popular. In this diet pattern, you eat fruits and vegies during the day and then eat one huge meal at say 6 – 7 pm. You basically fast all day and feast at night.
6. Spontaneous meal skipping – We started this section by saying that defining the pattern helps you stay consistent. This intermittent fasting method however, defies that. Here you get to skip meals as you feel like it on the days you feel like it as there is no laid-out pattern. One could decide to skip breakfast on a Monday and skip lunch the next day. Like every other intermittent fasting plan, the time frames can be adjusted to better fit the lifestyle of the person involved.
BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
1. Intermittent fasting changes the functions of cells and genes – Going on a fast does a lot for your body. When you do not eat for a little while, your body initiates much needed cellular repair so that the stored body fat becomes more accessible for conversion. During fasting periods, insulin levels drop significantly, human growth hormone (which helps in fat burning and muscle building) increases.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you lose weight – A good amount of people who decide to do intermittent fasting are doing it for the weight loss and why shouldn’t they? When you fast, apart from the fact that you are taking in fewer calories, your metabolic rate actually increases by up to 10% and that means you are burning even more calories
3. Intermittent fasting works with your schedule – This is so true as this method of dieting can be adjusted to fit your won schedule. It doesn’t matter if you work in the day time and sleep at night or vice versa – you can adjust the time frames of your fast to work wonders for you as it is.
4. Intermittent fasting reduces oxidative stress – Simply put, when we eat bad foods and even inhale bad air, we get something called ‘free radicals’ and they are responsible for most of the chronic diseases many experience in later life. Free radicals also speed up the aging process and this is what we call oxidative stress. When we do not eat for a while, the body, as earlier stated starts to do some cellular repair and these include the elimination of free radicals.
5. Intermittent fasting curbs your appetite – True! We will admit that in the first week of fasting, you will have cravings especially towards the evenings but once you get through that, it becomes a lot easer and you realize that even when you want to eat, you cannot eat as much as you used to. This way, you are consuming fewer calories without stressing your self.
There are tons of people who have gone through the intermittent fast process and there have been amazing testimonies. Karine Alourde is a woman on YouTube who shares here experience. She is very much into exercising and the likes but she got to a plateau where she could not lose weight below 138 pounds until she heard of intermittent fasting. She went in and recorded great weight loss (even with the fact that she was still on junk food). You can see her story here.
I have been doing intermittent fasting for about 4 months now and I have to say the experience has been awesome. I lost 10 pounds in the first two weeks and even though I wasn’t doing it for the sole purpose of weight loss, I am loving my new weight. I do weight training regularly because I am looking to gain muscle mass but the point is this; I have more stamina to go through my workouts and my day in general (seeing as I exercise before I eat by 12pm).
Sure there are many different ways to lose weight and if you are really interested in cutting down those pounds, you will find something which soothes you. Another thing is that one should try different methods of weight loss as the body could get used to one and as such stop losing weight. Intermittent fasting, as stated, is one of the easiest ways to get your calories down because it makes your body see that food is coming in – when the body sees this, it cannot hold on to fat and as such you lose weight. It is a win-win situation once you get pass the withdrawal process and get your discipline right. Others have doe it with great result and so can you.