Should You Try Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

by Millie

Last Updated on August 14, 2020 by Millie

Intermittent Fasting has become more and more popular. In fact, it seems that everyone I know is doing some type of Intermittent Fasting. My social media feed is filled with people counting down to the end of their fasts or profiles updated to include IF (Intermittent Fasting). What is it? And should you try Intermittent Fasting for weight loss?

Historically people fast for many reasons, but typically it was for religious or spiritual reasons. Some of us may have had to fast before a medical procedure or test. The few times that I had to do this, I was fortunate enough to schedule my test no later than mid-morning and I literally ate up to the last minute that I could. And of course, I ate as soon as I was able to.

plate with numbers in strips of peppers, hour hand is a fork, tape measure on the bottom
There are different types of Intermittent Fasting

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting means not eating for a period of time. There are different types of Intermittent Fasting and these are the most popular:

16:8 

People who do this type of Intermittent Fasting fast for 16 hours and eat only during an eight hour period. For example, if you eat dinner at 6:00 pm you can have your first meal the next morning at 10:00 am. This is the most popular method and perhaps the easiest to follow. 

5:2

The 5:2 folks eat normally for five days and eat 500 -600 calories for two non-consecutive days a week. For instance, you limit your calories on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but consume your regular diet for the rest of the week. There are no studies on the benefits of this specific method.

Eat-Stop-Eat

Unlike the 5:2 method, with Eat-Stop-Eat you consume no food on your fasting days. If you finished dinner at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, you will fast for a full 24 hours so you can eat dinner at 6:30 pm Wednesday. Some people do this once or twice a week. Many people find Eat-Stop-Eat difficult and it is usually done by seasoned Intermittent Fasters.

Alternate Day Fasting

With this method, you fast every other day, Some people fast for a full 24 hours while others eat 500 – 600 calories on the fasting day. Like Eat-Stop-Eat, this is not recommended first-timers.

The Warrior Diet

Every day, these warriors usually eat only small amounts of fruit and vegetables during the day and have a large meal. This is the first popular diet that included Intermittent Fasting.

Spontaneous Meal Skipping

As the name implies, followers do not observe a strict schedule but skip a meal from time to time. Some people like this method as it can be an easy introduction to Intermittent Fasting. You can just choose the meal, perhaps when you are not hungry, to skip.

yellow plate with clock in the middle, surrounded by fruits and vegetables
Research on Intermittent Fasting found that it can help you to lose weight

Research on Intermittent Fasting

I don’t remember when I first heard of Intermittent Fasting. But as someone with a strong relationship with food, the word fast conjures up images of hours and hours of torture so I initially dismissed it as yet another fad. However, I can see why it makes sense. If you miss a meal or meals you consume fewer calories. But I was worried that during the eating period I would eat everything that I could get my hands on.

But eventually, I researched the science behind Intermittent Fasting for weight loss. Here is what I found:

We lose weight when our insulin levels are low. The theory behind Intermittent Fasting is to give our body enough time for our insulin levels to decrease while fasting. Once our insulin levels are low, our body then uses sugar in our stored fat cells for energy. And we lose weight. 

According to Harvard University, research on obese rats subjected to Intermittent Fasting found that they lost weight, lowered their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Research on humans also found that they lost weight. But, there is a but. Humans didn’t lose any more weight with Intermittent Fasting than with any other diet. 

You can lose weight with Intermittent Fasting, but can you lose more than with any other diet? Click To Tweet

So why are all these people starving themselves for 16 or 24 hours? I can share my personal experience that may answer why, as well as, should you try Intermittent Fasting for weight loss.

blur plate with clock in the middle, wooden fork on the left, wooden spoon on the right
Intermittent Fasting can help you curb your late night snacking

My Experience With Intermittent Fasting

One of my big issues is late-night snacking (who am I kidding it’s more than a snack). Also, I tend to skip breakfast. In fact, I would frequently say that I ate breakfast last night. There have been times that I would have a “second dinner” a few hours after the first dinner. Or in the wee hours of the morning, I’m watching TV while eating chips, cookies, cheese, or anything else in the kitchen.

In the first few weeks of this weight loss journey, I was hungry a few hours after dinner. However, I just ate fruit or vegetables. Eventually, my body adjusted and I was no longer hungry after dinner.

Then Christmas came and I did overindulge a bit, especially at night. So In January, I tried Intermittent Fasting as I really needed to get back on track. I used the 16:8 method and I found that it made me very aware of not eating after dinner. I usually eat dinner around 6:00 or 6:30 pm so this means that I can have my first meal the following day around 10:00 10:30 am. Since I’m not a big breakfast person this was not an issue for me. 

What I think is very important and must be stressed is that during your eight hour eating period, you should follow all of the regular healthy eating tips. In other words, you can’t expect to lose weight by stuffing your face with junk food for eight hours!

In January, I also increased the number of steps a day. I went from getting around 10,000 steps a day to about 15,000. 

I started my weight loss journey on September 14, 2019. This is my weight loss two months before and two months with Intermittent Fasting. (See why I weigh myself every day.)

Pre-Intermittent FastingIntermittent Fasting
November 2019-12.5 lbsJanuary 2020-10.8 lbs
December 2019-12.9 lbsFebruary 2020-10.1 lbs
Total-25.4-20.9

As you can see, it looks like Intermittent Fasting didn’t help me lose more weight. The researchers would have predicted this. It is expected that my weight loss would have slow down in January and February 2020.  Would I have lost less weight without Intermittent Fasting? I will never know. But I will continue Intermittent Fasting, along with eating a healthy diet and exercising, because it helps me to not eat after dinner.  

Should you try Intermittent Fasting for weight loss? If you think it may help you, give it a try and see what happens!

Let me know if you are going to get on or off the Intermittent Fasting bandwagon.

Should You Try Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

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8 comments

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Maly May 21, 2020 - 6:49 am

Wow! I’ve always wanted to know more about the comparison between these diets particularly the warrior diet (I do MMA). I love the evidence and factual information you provided along with your personal experiences. Thank you for sharing.

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Millie May 21, 2020 - 3:44 pm

Hi Maly, I am really glad that you found the information helpful. It is also great that you have found a diet that works for you!

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Kimberlie May 21, 2020 - 7:13 am

My husband has used intermittent fasting for years with great results. I was breastfeeding and could not join him before, but I think I want to try now that my son is weaned. I will probably use the 16:8 method to begin.

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Millie May 21, 2020 - 3:39 pm

Hi Kimberlie, it’s great that your husband has seen great results with Intermittent Fasting. You have the best example right at home. I find that 16:8 is the easiest way to start Intermittent Fasting, Good luck!

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Patricia P. May 21, 2020 - 7:28 am

I’ve done a lot of literature review on intermittent fasting. There is some science-backed truth to it. It can trigger autophagy too, which helps in many diseases, especially diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Preventing and fighting is where my interest lies. I am a breast cancer survivor. The problem with fasting, though, is that it isn’t sustainable. Dieting itself is not sustainable. Any weight loss program that uses denial of foods, is not sustainable. We just don’t like to forgo the things we love, especially food. There are better ways to lose weight… permanent weight loss means changing eating habits, forever… not just temporarily.

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Millie May 21, 2020 - 3:36 pm

Hi Patricia, I wasn’t aware of the research on Intermittent Fasting and cancer. Thanks for letting me know, I completely agree with you. We need to change our eating habits forever for permanent weight loss. I also think it is important to eat real food for overall health, not just weight loss. Wishing you all the best!

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Carolyn May 21, 2020 - 9:06 am

I’ve tried intermittent fasting before, and it worked really well for me (though I don’t know how great it is as a long-term plan for weight loss). I did 16:8 method. I’m not a breakfast person either, so I usually didn’t eat in the mornings until around 11:30/noon. Then I wouldn’t eat past 7pm. I think what helped me a lot was that I worked nights. It was harder to snack when I was working. This was a very interesting post, thanks!

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Millie May 21, 2020 - 3:23 pm

Hi Carolyn, I am glad that Intermittent Fasting worked for you. You are right about how difficult it might be long-term. But it can certainly help in the early stages of your weight-loss journey.

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