Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

The buzz of intermittent fasting is still going strong.  Some claim they lose weight, others claim intermittent fasting helps them focus better and there is research that suggests it can help your quality of life.  Intermittent fasting to lose weight can be effective, and efficient without spending hours in the gym or giving up everything you love.  There is science and data behind the reasons why intermittent fasting can help you lose weight.

What is Intermittent Fasting

Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Simply put intermittent fasting is a schedule of eating and fasting with longer stretches of fasting than eating.  There are various approaches you can take from a daily consistent schedule, weekly schedule, or even doing longer fasts for up to 72 hours. Research proves that people not only use intermittent fasting to lose weight, but also to maintain weight as well as prevent some diseases.  Read more about how taking it to the basics of how humans used to eat to survive and would go days with barely eating might just be the key to a healthier leaner version of yourself.

As mentioned above intermittent fasting is choosing when to eat and not to eat, also known as fasting.  You probably already do this for some time after dinner and before breakfast, which translates into breaking fast.  Intermittent fasting extends the fasting period with regularly scheduled times to eat and not eat. Different schedules work for different people, depending on lifestyle, work schedule, and goals.  The easiest way to start intermittent fasting to lose weight is to shorten your eating window, to 6-8 hours maximum.  It takes about 2-4 weeks for your body to adjust and for you to start seeing results, so like any new plan intermittent fasting to lose weight takes time.  

During your fasting times, you can still drink zero-calorie beverages such as water, plain tea, black coffee, and even a little sparkling water, which can help curb your appetite when needed.  Or you can choose to only eat one large meal a day for two days a week, ideally, these days are not back to back.  On the other days, you would eat normally, this schedule can be easier for some but also might not be the best intermittent fasting to lose weight because your fasting times are shorter than your eating times.  Intermittent fasting helps increase your metabolic health and burn fat while fasting. 

Quick Guide to the Most Popular Intermittent Fasting Schedules: 

  • 16:8 Method-Fast for 16 hours, eat for 8
  • 5:2 Diet-Eat normally for 5 days a week, eat only one meal 2 days a week
  • Warrior Diet-Eating a small number of raw fruits and vegetables throughout the day and only one big meal a day.
  • Eat Stop Eat-Eat one meal a day (lunch or dinner) and don’t eat again till the next day, 24 fast 1-2 times per week
  • Alternate-day Fasting (ADF)-Fast every other day
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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work

Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Intermittent fasting to lose weight is more than just skipping meals, most animals, humans included, are not meant to eat non-stop all day long.  If you eat 3 meals a day plus snacks, with little to no exercise this is essentially what you are doing.  Humans have not always had access to food all day long, intermittent fasting takes us back to our caveman basics when fasting was just a part of daily or weekly life and changed with the season and how available food was.  

Since the dawn of the day humans and animals have done some type of intermittent fasting without realizing it.  At one time it was because there just might not have been enough food, for religious reasons, and as animals, we often instinctually fast when we are sick.  During times of famine, harsh winters, and long travel periods, the human body is actually quite well equipped to fast.  Modern-day conveniences have made food so abundantly available we eat and snack all day every day, which is not what our bodies are designed to do.

When you fast not only does your blood sugar (which can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes but in some cases even heal the body of diabetes and other diseases.  Intermittent fasting also helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels drop, in addition, you also have a drastic increase in human growth hormone.  If you recall years ago there was a trend that people were injecting themselves with HGH (human growth hormone) in order to lose and/or maintain weight.  Essentially intermittent fasting to lose weight is the same thing just a more natural approach without putting synthetic drugs into your body.

Read More: Breastfeeding While Dieting: The Skinny On What You Need to Know!

Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight

Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Let’s start off by saying that like everything else, not everything is for everyone.  Everyone has different body types, lifestyles, and genetic makeup.  That being said, yes you can use intermittent fasting to lose weight, however, it may not work the same way for everyone.  You might have to play around with your eating windows to see what works best for your body.  Most importantly listen to your body and make sure you are not following any “diet” to the detriment of your health.

There are a few reasons why intermittent fasting to lose weight, the biggest and most impactful is calorie restriction (the age-old easiest equation to lose weight).  Simply that during your fasting periods you are not consuming calories so as long as you are being mindful when you do eat, your calorie intake will be less.  Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help reduce body weight from 3-8% during a 3-24 week period.

When you are fasting your body makes several alterations to make its stored energy more accessible.  First when you are not eating and fasting your insulin levels decrease dramatically and lower levels of insulin facilitate fat burning.   Second, your brain sends signals to your body to release norepinephrine to your fat cells, which helps break down body fat into fatty acids which your body uses for energy.  Do you know that sluggish feeling you get and you eat just enough to get a little pep in your step?  That is your body breaking down the food for energy.  When you don’t eat your body will essentially pull energy from your fat stores to keep you going.

Read More: To the Newly-Postpartum Mom: Consider Intuitive Eating, Not Harmful Dieting

Intermittent fasting to lose weight is a great tool for many.    That does not mean that it should or can be used all the time, between life demands, hormone fluctuations (especially in females), and outside stressors that can cause havoc in your daily life.  You might enjoy a 24-hour fast once a week and 16:8 schedule the rest, or maybe the Warrior diet is your best friend, don’t get discouraged and use your discretion and really listen to your body!  When doing intermittent fasting to lose weight, consistency is key!  Final note-If you have any health concerns, speak to your doctor first.  Children under 18, pregnant women, or those with a history of eating disorders should not do intermittent fasting. 

Check out Daily Mom’s Parenting Section for more advice, tips, and tricks.

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Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?
SOURCES: ScienceDirect, JohnHopkins, Healthline

Photo Credits: UnsplashPexels



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Sabra Ritter
Sabra Ritter
Part event planner and marketing guru, part stay-at-home mom, and part blogger. Mom of two toddler girls, who are always keeping her on her toes. On the weekends you can find her at Southern California beaches or hiking with her family. Sabra loves to cook and is always creating something new!