The concept of Intermittent Fasting is becoming more and more popular over the last couple of years which involves a diet that is defined by when you eat in the day. While this diet became viral for a little while, it is important to evaluate its effectiveness and efficacy in terms of the actual weight loss in the long run. Read the following article to learn more about this diet and check whether it could be a suitable option for anyone seeking to start their weight loss journey.
So What is Intermittent Fasting?
The term ‘Intermittent Fasting’ (or IF) is a general term for a scheduled approach to eating that cycle between eating and fasting periods. Compared to other popular diets that are mostly focused on the type and quantity of food consumed. IF is more focused on measuring and restricting the timing of your food intake like which days of the week or what time of the day. Considering that fasting was around for a long time in many cultures as well as the involuntary fasting throughout the human evolution IF follows a more natural pattern of eating compared to the current routine where 3 meals every day with snacking can have a different effect on our health. There are multiple types of IF that can be tailored to your needs and weight loss objectives.
Does IF Help with Weight Loss?
There is plenty of research available that analysis the link between IF and weight loss. One of the most important contributing factors to weight loss from IF is reduced calorie intake, where food consumption at specific times reduces the number of individuals meals consumed over the period of time at a specific timing reduces the risk of consuming additional meals squeezed in. Furthermore, IF could increase the release of norepinephrine which is a hormone that improves the rates of fat loss in your body. As a result, the combination of reduced calorie intake as well as the changes in levels of hormones could contribute to weight loss from the synergistic effects of the two, proving to be an effective weight-loss approach. In addition to that, IF is proven to cause less muscle loss compared to other calorie-restricting diets.
What Are the Other Health Benefits?
In addition to contributing to weight loss, IF also has other positive effects on our health and our bodies like:
- Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes – adopting IF can help with lowering the resistance to insulin as well as lowering the levels of blood sugars that contribute to type 2 diabetes.
- Lower Hear Issues Risks – maintaining the IF approach can help with lowering the amount of LDL cholesterol that is proven to be a contributing factor to heart issues and risks like strokes.
- Better Brain Function – IF approach allows producing more BDNF which is a brain hormone that is responsible for regulating the growth of neurons which, as a result, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s condition.
How to do IF?
IF approach is very customizable and a trial-and-error approach can be used to find the method that works best for your body, your energy levels, your routine as well as your weight loss goals. The most common methods of IF are:
1. The 16/8 method
The 16/8 method of IF involves fasting for 16 hours every day. You have a choice of the time that you are allowed to have meals but one of the most common approaches is skipping breakfast and stopping any meal intake after dinner (i.e. only consuming meals between 12 pm and 8 pm). Within this time frame, you can fit in two proper meals, potentially even three. During the fasting part of the day, stick to water or coffee and ensure that you are well hydrated but not taking any snacks. This approach, combined with exercise, is one of the best approaches to weight loss while also maintaining your muscle mass. To avoid low energy levels, ensure that you are avoiding fatty foods and maintaining the calorie intake that is sufficient for your body.
2. The 5:2 method
This approach to IF involves rotating the food intake pattern on a weekly basis where you maintain normal meal intake for the duration of 5 days while also restricting the intake of calories for 2 days of that week. During those two fasting days, try to consume 500 calories depending on your needs and usually, the best approach is to spread those days evenly so there are enough days of regular intake in between. Maintaining this diet, in the long run, can make the fasting days easier and with the planning involved, it could prove to be an effective approach for weight loss in the long run
3. Eat-Stop-Eat Method
This IF approach involves a full 24-hour fast that takes place once (or sometimes twice) per week. The majority of individuals adopting this approach fast from dinner to dinner by skipping meals like breakfast and lunch during the fasting day. Maintaining a consistent diet for the non-fasting days as well as ensuring that you are staying hydrating could be a great approach to reducing the number of calories consumed throughout the week. A good starting point for this difficult method is to try to fast for the majority of the day (e.g. 14-16 hours) and then try to work on expanding that timing further after some practice
What Else Can I Do to Lose Weight?
While adopting IF could be a great way to achieve weight loss, other lifestyle adjustments could also take place to maximize the results. For example, one of the key activities you can get involved with to ensure great weight loss results is adding a consistent exercise routine to your daily schedule. For example, accordion to the NHS, a least 150 minutes of light exercise or 75 minutes of more extensive exercise per week on a consistent basis can improve the overall health while contributing to weight loss.
Furthermore, monitoring the food you eat is also an essential contributing factor to your weight loss journey as well as your overall health. Try to avoid processed and fatty foods as well as high levels of sugars. Instead, try to maintain a healthy and varied diet that will provide a sufficient intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to achieve the best weight loss results.
In addition to the methods mentioned above, you can try using weight loss treatments like Orlistat that you can get here which are clinically proven and an effective way of improving weight loss results, combined with the methods mentioned above.