The most difficult part of losing weight is sticking to a diet. One can go strong for a couple of days and then give in when the hunger gets to be too much to control. There is also eating right and exercise. However, some people have trouble losing weight even when they change their diet or start an exercise regimen.
Many people have a difficult time reaching a healthy weight with improved diet and exercise. Thus, they resort to dangerous diet supplements or other weight loss fads. This is not a good way to lose weight and keep it off. It might give one short term results, but more often than not, the weight will come back.
If this seems like a common problem, intermittent fasting may be an option!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting sounds much more complicated than it actually is, but all one has to do is eat within a particular time frame. The most common time division for intermittent fasting is 8 hours eating and 16 hours no eating. However, water, tea, and coffee are allowed during the fasting period if it is below 50 calories.
This may seem extreme, but one needs to remember that the average adult should get about 8 hours of sleep a night. So all one needs to do is stop eating four hours before going to bed and not eat for another four hours after waking up. Not eating in the morning is common for many people who are too busy to prepare a meal before work, but restricting late night snacks may be a problem.
How and Why Intermittent Fasting Works
Many people may be thinking, how does this fasting method work? It is a pretty simple premise once you understand the science behind it. It is hard for us to lose weight because of how we eat.
The reason so many struggle with their weight (aside from eating processed foods that have been grossly altered from their natural state) is because they are in continuous feast mode and rarely ever go without a meal.
As a result, their bodies have adapted to burning sugar as its primary fuel, which down-regulates the enzymes that utilize and burn stored fat. Fasting is an excellent way to “reboot” your metabolism so your body can start burning fat as its primary fuel, which will help you shed your unwanted fat stores.
Once your insulin resistance improves and you are a normal weight you can start eating more frequently, as by then, you will have reestablished your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel—that is the key to sustained weight management. (Dr. Mercola)
So, basically, intermittent fasting gets the body used to burning fat instead of sugar. This makes it easier to lose weight and keep it off.
Exercising and Fasting
Although it seems wrong, it may actually be better to exercise on an empty stomach. This concept goes back to our early ancestors and the tasks they performed while hungry. Hunting was done on an empty stomach and so was gathering. That is why some think it is best to exercise while hungry.
John Rowley, Wellness Director for the International Sports Science Association (ISSA), states:
Exercisers with weight loss goals might find an advantage in waking up and exercising first thing in the morning before eating breakfast or fasting for a few hours before a mid-day or evening workout. ‘The less glucose you have in your system, the more fat you will burn. However, if your goals are performance related (e.g. to improve strength or speed), working out without fueling up probably isn’t your best bet because a lack of available energy might prevent you from putting forth your best effort. (Huffington Post)
Regarding weight loss, working out on an empty stomach is key!
Other Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
According to a review published in The British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, Intermittent fasting seems to come with many other health benefits.
- Blood Pressure Reduction
- Cholesterol Reduction
- Inflammation Reduction
- Type 2 Diabetes Reduction and Prevention
- Cardiovascular Disease Protection
Is Intermittent Fasting Right For You?
Like any new diet or health plan, one should consult with a professional before starting intermittent fasting. Take some time to meet with a doctor or nutritionist.
Some people may not respond well to fasting. Low blood sugar or type 1 diabetes could make intermittent fasting dangerous. This is why it is so important to consult with a professional.
To learn more about intermittent fasting, take a look at the videos below!