Tag Archives: intermittent fasting

intermittent fasting

Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work for Weight Loss?

Intermittent fasting has helped many lose weight, but is it really any better than other diet options out there?

Of all the health and diet trends out there, intermittent fasting has become one of the most popular.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is when you cycle through periods of eating normally and fasting–or not eating at all.

Why are so many people interested in a diet that involves large chunks of time without eating?

As it turns out, a range of studies has shown that monitoring when you eat in addition to what you eat can have powerful benefits for your weight and overall health. Plus, there are stories of individuals who tried it and transformed how they feel every day.

Types of intermittent fasting

There are quite a few ways you can do intermittent fasting. No matter how you do it, the goal is to go for extended periods of time without eating anything. 

The reason intermittent fasting doesn’t look the same for everyone is that everyone will have different goals and health concerns. Below are some of the most common ways to do intermittent fasting 

  • The 16/8 method: This method involves breaking up each day into two different time periods. For 8 hours of every day, you can eat and fit in all of your regular meals. The other 16 hours of the day, you fast.
  • The 5/2 diet: You eat normally for 5 days a week and on 2 days you limit your calories to 500-600 calories on two days of the week. The fasting days are not normally back to back, but instead would be spread out by a couple of days. For example, having your fasting days on Monday and Thursday.
  • The Warrior Diet: On the Warrior Diet you eat foods that are similar to those on the paleo diet. But in addition, you also fast all day and eat a large meal within a 4-hour time frame at night. During the day you can eat raw fruits and vegetables, but no other carbs, meats, or fats until your evening meal.

You can also keep things more flexible and do spontaneous meal skipping. This method helps you tune in to your hunger cues. If you don’t feel hungry one morning, or have a low appetite all day, skip those meals. Then eat a balanced, whole foods meal when you feel hungry again.

Will intermittent fasting help you lose weight?

Intermittent fasting has been shown to help people lose weight.

The diet helps you achieve something that’s challenging for anyone to do—get into a calorie deficit.

Much of weight gain occurs because of an energy imbalance. In other words, taking in more energy than you burn each day. When you’re in a calorie deficit, you take in fewer calories than you burn. That’s how weight loss happens. 

When you do intermittent fasting, this naturally cuts out large chunks of time that would normally be filled with large meals and snacks. Or it provides days where you only eat around 500 calories which is significantly less than the standard daily intake for any adult. These instances of reduced calorie intake help rebalance the energy you take in versus the energy you spend.

But is it all about calorie deficit?

It turns out, it’s not as simple as that. Our ability to thrive while fasting is in our DNA. 

We’re evolutionarily prepared to have periods of fasting, and even benefit from those fasting windows of time.

A range of studies has shown that intermittent fasting helps improve your metabolism, lower blood sugar, and reduce inflammation. All of which contribute not only to weight loss but also to fewer instances of chronic and life-altering diseases. It can enhance brain function and reduce symptoms of arthritis and asthma.

Other studies have shown that those who only eat their meals within an 8-hour time frame every day have an easier time losing weight and keeping it off. 

So while being in a calorie deficit helps, there are other factors at play that make intermittent fasting beneficial for many people who have difficulty maintaining their weight or other health concerns.

Other health benefits of intermittent fasting

The benefits of intermittent fasting go beyond weight control. In addition to the health benefits listed above like improved metabolism, reduced inflammation, and lower blood sugar, there are other ways that intermittent fasting contributes to positive health outcomes.

There are studies that show intermittent fasting can slow the aging process. One showed that rats who were made to fast on a consistent basis lived anywhere from 36%-83% longer.

And others show the benefits of intermittent fasting for heart health. Fasting can help lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” that contributes to heart disease in high levels.

Get support 

Intermittent fasting can be a helpful method to lose weight and address other health concerns. It has more evidence in its favor than other diets out there. Plus it can be especially helpful when combined with other proven healthful diets like the Mediterranean diet.

But to see health benefits, it is important to do intermittent fasting safely. Depending on your health history, you may need extra support and monitoring to ensure you don’t endanger your health by cutting your calories on certain days of the week.

To get support and even try a diet designed for fasting, we’re here to help you achieve your weight loss goals in a sustainable and healthy way. Reach out to your closest Valley Weight Loss Center to start your weight loss journey.

intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting: The Basics and Benefits

If you’re immersed into the weight loss/health world (and if you’re reading this, chances are that you are), you’ve probably heard a little bit (or a lot) about a movement that’s been making its rounds: intermittent fasting.

While it’s typically done in conjunction with a keto diet (more on that later), anyone can incorporate intermittent fasting at any time. We know the name makes it sound complicated and a little bit intimidating, but when you break it down, it’s actually quite straightforward.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Put simply, intermittent fasting is a term for an eating strategy that alternates between set periods of fasting and eating. There are no guidelines as to what you eat, just when you eat; but even those guidelines are loose, as it’s typically up to you to determine your fasting and eating windows. There are different types of intermittent fasting, but these are two of the most popular patterns:

  • The Leangains Method (also called the 16/8 Method): When following a Leangains intermittent fasting protocol, you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8 hour window. This means that you pick a time, typically in the afternoon, when you will consume all of your calories for the day. Outside of that time, you eat nothing for the rest of the day. For example, you may eat between 12 pm and 8 pm and then fast for the other 16 hours.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: The Eat-Stop-Eat method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week; then eating normally for the rest of the week. For the fasting day, you would typically eat dinner and then fast until dinner the next day.

Benefits of Fasting

Most people venture into intermittent fasting for its weight loss benefits, but the eating method has several benefits that reach beyond weight loss.

  • Hormone balance: When you fast, your body adjusts levels of several different hormones to make it easier for your body to use fat as energy. Your levels of human growth hormone (or HGH), which is associated with fat loss and muscle gain, increases as much as five times; while insulin levels drop significantly, helping to lower body fat.
  • Reduced inflammation: In some studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce chronic inflammation, which is associated with many health issues, including asthma, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Heart health: Fasting may reduce several risk factors for heart disease, including LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
  • Brain health: Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting may increase levels of a hormone in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. Higher levels of BDNF are linked to better long-term memory.

Although the scientific studies are fairly recent, the research is promising. We think the trend is definitely worth looking into.

What do you think? Have you tried intermittent fasting? Tell us your thoughts!

*If you have a medical condition, please consult your doctor before trying intermittent fasting. Contraindications include diabetes, blood sugar imbalances, low blood pressure, medications, and pregnancy/breastfeeding. If you are a woman who is trying to conceive, fasting may not be right for you.