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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Fasting||Intermittent Fasting|
|November 2019||-12.5 lbs||January 2020||-10.8 lbs|
|December 2019||-12.9 lbs||February 2020||-10.1 lbs|
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.