One of the fastest solutions for obesity is using intermittent fasting to lose weight. Although some diet doctors prescribe a diet plan that will favor body fat burning, this fasting method gives an equivalent result, just like your diet plans.
Rather than calling it a diet, intermittent fasting is a diet pattern.
Fasting to lose weight involves abstinence from certain kinds of foods and drinks. Intermittent fasting is a feeding pattern that requires structured short-term fasts.
This helps people eat fewer calories, and also helps optimize some hormones related to weight control.
Intermittent fasting works perfectly for weight loss. There are diverse ways to use intermittent fasting for weight loss. Before diving into these tips, get to know more about the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight – How It Works
One of the most significant benefits fastings offers is weight loss. When you fast, your body burns stored fats by converting them to energy. Short-term fasting causes several changes in the body that make fat burning easier.
The body stores energy as calories (fat). Occasional fasting makes the body develop some adaptive mechanisms to make the stored energy (fat) more accessible.
So when you fast, your body converts fat to energy for weight loss to occur.
First, fasting reduces body insulin. Typically, insulin levels in the body increase when you eat. But lowered levels of insulin during fasting burns body fat. Also,
a study confirms that intermittent fasting may cause an increase in the levels of growth hormones that may aid fat loss, lean body mass, and muscle gain(1).
Another hormonal change that causes weight loss when you don’t eat is initiated in the nervous system.
Norepinephrine is sent to fat cells by the nervous system. This causes the breakdown of body fat into free fatty acids that can be burned for energy.
A research carried out in 2002 shows how the nervous system helps in lipolysis(the breakdown of fat) during fasting(2).
In a 2014 review study, intermittent fasting can cause a significant weight loss. In this review, intermittent fasting reduced body weight by 3-8% for 3-24 weeks. The results of this study confirm that intermittent fasting can be useful for weight loss.
Apart from its viable contribution to weight loss, fasting also has many other health benefits. These benefits include;
- Fasting detoxifies your body and releases body toxins.
- When you fast, your stomach shrinks, and this decreases appetite.
- Fasting regulates blood pressure
- The cholesterol in the blood reduces gradually during fast.
- When you combine fasting with eating a balanced diet, your body’s immune system gets a significant boost.
- Fasting is an effective means to overcome your addictions and cravings.
6 Tips to Lose 5 kg in 7 Days With Intermittent Fasting
If you want to use intermittent fasting to lose weight, there are several methods you could adopt. The following tips are ways you could have short-term fast for quick body fat reduction.
1. The 16/8 Method
For this method, using intermittent fasting to lose weight requires you to fast for 16 hours daily.
So, feeding will be restricted to 8 hours daily. You can choose to fit in 2 or 3 meals within your feeding window.
An essential practice for this method is that you don’t eat anything after dinner, and you must also skip breakfast daily. However, you could drink water or coffee during the fast to reduce hunger levels.
While fasting using this method, you should not eat processed foods and other junk foods that contain trans fats. Only healthy diets are permissible during your eating/feeding window.
Your desired weight loss goal will keep being out of reach if you consume lots of junks or foods with excess calories. You could follow the plan below to fast for 16 hours
- Start eating at 7 am/start fasting at 3 pm
- Begin eating at 11 am/start fasting at 7 pm
- Start eating at 2 pm/start fasting at 10 pm
- Start eating at 6 pm/start fasting at 2 am.
This diet pattern is also called the 24 hours pattern. You have to fast for 24 hours. This method should be used once or twice per week. You can adjust this pattern to suit your schedule.
You can decide to stop eating from dinner and fast till dinner the next day.
Alternatively, you may choose to fast from breakfast to the next day’s breakfast, or from lunch to lunch. These methods will produce the same result.
Don’t be scared that you might run out of energy. When the hunger pangs become unbearable, you can drink water, coffee, or any other non-alcoholic drink that you fancy.
However, make sure that you are not taking any solid food. During the feeding period, eat like you usually would.
This method might be difficult for some people. If you are new to intermittent fasting, start with about 14-16 hours.
You can then start increasing the time-frame as you get accustomed to it until you get a full 24-hour fast.
3. The 5:2 Diet Pattern
With this pattern, fasting is twice per week. For five days in a week, you maintain a regular and healthy feeding pattern. You can take breakfast, lunch, and dinner alongside some healthy snacks.
Although you can eat as you like, you must restrict your calorie intake to about 500-600 on your two days of fasting.
You can decide to fast on any two days of the week. Eat two small meals on both days with low calories(250) per meal. Apart from those two days, you can go on to consume your standard healthy diet daily.
4. Alternate-Day Fasting
Alternate-day fasting is another tip to practice intermittent fasting to lose weight. With this approach, you fast on one day and eat what you want the next day.
On fasting days, you’re allowed to drink water, unsweetened coffee, and tea. A modified approach to alternate-day fasting will enable you to take about 500 calories on fasting days.
This fast approach could be easily adapted to. A recent review reveals that many people find alternate-day fasting much more comfortable to stick to than traditional, everyday calorie restriction.
5. The Warrior Diet
Do you have an idea of how the diet of Warriors-in-training is like? Warriors-in-training fast for about 20 hours every day and eat one large meal every night.
With the warrior diet approach of intermittent fasting to lose weight, you need to fast during the day and eat a large meal at night. While fasting during the day, you may eat fruits and vegetables.
6. Spontaneous Meal Skipping
This is a more convenient method for everyone to use intermittent fasting. Especially for those who can not follow the strict rules of other approaches, this spontaneous meal skipping plan will make you devise a plan that suits you.
This method allows you to skip meals from time to time without even planning for it. You could skip meals when you’re busy, or when you’re not hungry.
On days you’re traveling, and you do not find something to eat, doing a short fast by skipping meals is a good idea.
Skipping meals when convenient for you is an excellent way to lose weight.
This method is a relatively more natural way to do intermittent fasting because rules do not constrain you. It is an effective method of using intermittent fasting to lose weight.
How to Succeed With an Intermittent Fasting Plan
Having decided to settle for any intermittent fasting approach to lose weight, the following tips can guide you:
- Eat healthily: When you’re eating, you should ensure that you consider the food quality of anything you decide to eat.
- Check Calorie Intake: During the non-fasting periods, you can have your regular meals, but be mindful of the calorie content. This is to ensure that your body isn’t replacing the fat already burnt.
- Consistency: If you want intermittent fasting to work for you, you need to keep up with it for an extended period.
- Patience: It might take your body some time to adjust to an intermittent fasting plan. So, you have to be patient while awaiting visible weight loss.
- Strength Training: To maintain your muscle after fat burn, you must engage in some strength training activities.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking a lot of water when fasting helps to keep off hunger. This gives you a boost to stay longer without food.
Using intermittent fasting to lose weight is effective and has been praised for many weight loss successes. However, be reminded that weight loss is unsuitable for some people.
People who have some health conditions may not find the weight loss approach sustainable. Before adopting intermittent fasting, you should seek medical advice.
If you’re sure to be fit to go for intermittent fasting, you could follow any of the tips in this post to make your weight loss journey more comfortable.