Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: 7 Ways Fasting Can Help
Updated by Stephen Anton PhD on June 17th, 2020
Are you someone who struggles with weight loss and have gone through countless diets to no avail? If so, then perhaps you should consider fasting.
Today, we’re going to talk about the weight loss benefits of fasting. Intermittent fasting is becoming more and more popular these days. But it’s just another fad diet, right?
After all, even if it was an effective way to lose weight, it’s not like you could keep it up.
Well, I’m here to tell you that intermittent fasting is the real deal. It’s easy to stick to, will help you lose weight, and will improve your health.
In the article below, I’ll explain how and why this diet works.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a diet system in which you alternate between periods of fasting (eating little or nothing) and periods of feeding (eating almost whatever you want).
There are a few different methods out there.
Some people advocate the 5:2 system which involves eating a regular diet for five days a week and eating an ultra-low calorie diet for two days a week.
Others do longer fasts, often lasting full days or more like the 36-hour fast. Others fast once per day.
For this article, I’ll be talking about the 16:8 program. In this program, you eat for eight hours a day (usually between noon and 8 PM but whenever works for you) and fast for the other sixteen. In those sixteen hours, you don’t eat anything at all.
I’m focusing on the 16:8 program because I believe it’s the easiest to follow while providing most of the same benefits as the other programs.
Fasting may sound like a nightmare if you’ve never tried it before. But give it a few weeks, and I promise it’ll get better. And the benefits are worth it.
So, what are the benefits?
1) You’ll Eat Fewer Calories
The most effective way to lose weight is to eat less food. But anyone who’s ever tried to “eat less food” knows it’s easier said than done. You have to deny yourself all day long.
Don’t eat the extra pancake.
Don’t eat the piece of candy.
Don’t add any butter to the mashed potatoes.
Intermittent fasting is an easy way to control your food intake without battling your cravings.
Once you get used to the schedule, you won’t think about food during your fasting window. And during your eating window, as long as you pace yourself, you can eat whatever you want.
2) You’ll Stick to It
The best diet is the one you’ll stick to.
Low-carb diets and juice fasts may be great ways to lose weight, but are you going to eat like that for the rest of your life?
On the other hand, once you get the hang of intermittent fasting, you won’t want to stop.
First of all, you’ll quickly get past the morning hunger pangs. And after a few weeks, you won’t even crave breakfast.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting, unlike other diets, is compatible with your social life. If you’re out with some friends and have a late dinner, move your eating window back the next day. Eat your first meal at three or four instead of noon.
3) You Will Be Able to Focus Better
You’ll also realize how much more focused you are when your stomach is empty. When your body doesn’t have to worry about digesting food, it can focus on keeping your brain sharp.
Not to mention the fact that you can drink black coffee during your fast (black coffee is almost entirely calorie-free).
As strange as it may sound, you’ll start to enjoy fasting after a while.
So, fasting is easy, and fasting makes it easy to eat less. That on its own is enough to make it an effective weight-loss tool.
But fasting is more than a lifestyle hack. It leads to real chemical and biological changes that make you slimmer and healthier.
4) Fasting Reduces Insulin Levels
Eating food causes your insulin levels to rise. Naturally, some foods have more effect than others, but in general, if you eat food, expect your insulin to go up.
So, it should come as no surprise that not eating food causes your insulin levels to fall. And that’s precisely what happens when you’re fasting.
Insulin starts dropping as soon as six hours into your fast. This insulin drop forces your body to burn fat for energy.
At first, these low insulin levels make you tired and cranky. But once your body gets used to fasting, your insulin levels will stabilize.
5) It Increases Your Metabolism
You’ll hear a lot of naysayers claim that fasting causes your metabolism to slow down, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Our bodies have evolved to associate fasting with a lack of food. So, to help us find more, our metabolisms increase when we’re in a fasted state.
This will not only give you more energy, but it will help you lose weight.
6) It Increases the Production of Human Growth Hormone
Another myth about fasting is that it causes your body to shed muscle.
While you may lose some muscle in a prolonged fast, it’ll be much less than the amount of fat you burn.
One of the reasons for this is the creation of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is a chemical that promotes muscle growth, bone health, and fat loss.
Your body increases its production during a fast, perhaps as a mechanism to keep that precious muscle intact for the next hunt.
7) Fasted Exercise Is a Great Way to Burn Fat
Once you’re accustomed to fasting, you can start exercising in a fasted state. It’s usually better to avoid heavy exercise and stick to light cardio. And don’t do anything you’re not comfortable doing.
But if you manage to get a workout in, it’ll be a fat-burning workout. Because your insulin levels are so low, your body won’t have much choice but to use your fat stores.
Beyond Weight Loss
Weight loss is just one of the many benefits of intermittent fasting.
It can help reduce inflammation, prevent diabetes, increase longevity, and much more.
Give it a try and see how you feel. I think you’ll be surprised.