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Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

Sophie Fuller

Sophie Fuller

January 20, 2023

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

It’s no secret that weight loss is big-business. But let’s think in more ways than one! For the US health industry in 2023 alone, it was worth $58 billion in revenue, yet for an individual looking to improve their physical and mental health, it can be utterly priceless.

If you’ve ever tried to lose any amount of weight, you’ve most likely tried a multitude of methods. Whether it’s through a group regime or a dietary supplement, many of us have either been unsuccessful in meeting our goal or perhaps even found ourselves right back where we started. We say ‘us’ because we’ve been right there with you!

Research suggests that nearly 80% of people on a diet don’t maintain their goal-weight for 12 months; with another study also showing that these people, on average, will actually regain more than half of what they lose within two years. So where are we going wrong in the world of weight-loss? Are we destined to fail? Is there a better way?

At Fastic, we certainly think so! We believe that, with simple and sustainable changes, you can create a lifestyle that not only helps you to reach your health goals, but also energizes and empowers you for years to come.

In this guide, we will take a look into how intermittent fasting can assist you on your weight loss journey and how you can find the best plan for you.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between intentional periods of fasting and eating. Unlike a typical diet, where you’d reduce your calorie intake by restricting certain foods, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat, rather than what you eat.

While all intermittent fasting plans can reap similar benefits, picking the perfect plan for depends on a few factors:

Choosing your Intermittent Fasting Plan

When it comes to choosing the right intermittent fasting plan for you, there are several different methods to choose from. Each plan has its own benefits and difficulties and it is important to choose the one that best suits your lifestyle and goals.

There are two phases to an intermittent fasting plan:

Let’s take a look at five of the most popular intermittent fasting plans:

The 16:8 Method

The 16:8 method is probably the most popular and widely used intermittent fasting plan. It involves fasting for 16 hours then transitioning into an 8 hour eating window. This is commonly done by ‘skipping’ breakfast and eating all other meals within the 8 hour window., for example, eating between 12pm and 8pm.

This method has been shown to be effective for weight loss (1) due to the mild reduction in calories and can be easily incorporated into your lifestyle. Other benefits of this method also include:

The 5:2 Method

The 5:2 method involves eating normally for 5 days of the week and fasting for two non-consecutive days. On the fasting days, you aim to only consume up to 500-600 calories. This method is great for those looking to lose weight quickly as it provides a larger calorie deficit, meaning you consume less calories over the course of the week.

This method can provide you with great results but can also feel a little more restrictive to some, because you are limiting your calorie intake for two days.

However, the benefits are impressive; providing you with a happier gut microbiome (6), maintained muscle mass (7) and somewhat surprisingly, a greater adherence (8) compared to a typical diet.

Eat Stop Eat

The Eat Stop Eat method involves fasting for an entire 24-hour period one or two times per week. For example, you could fast from dinner one day until dinner the next day. While seemingly extreme, many people find this method very effective in their weight loss journey, due to the lack of disruption to the majority of their week.

Eat Stop Eat also offers benefits similar to the 5:2 method; helping you to heal your gut with a long break from digestion and cleaning the cells of the body while transitioning through autophagy (9) and ketosis (10). This process recycles old cell components, burns stored body fat for fuel and refreshes the digestive tract, ready to absorb its next nutrients!

Alternate-Day Fasting

Alternate-day fasting involves fasting every other day, but on your fasting days, you can consume up to 25% of your usual calorie intake (11). For example, if you usually eat 2,000 calories per day, you could consume 500 calories on the fasting days. This method can be difficult to stick to long-term, but it can be an effective way to lose weight quickly if you’re looking for a kickstart before finding a more sustainable method.

The Warrior Diet

Developed in 2001 by Ori Hofmeklet, a former member of the Israeli special forces, The Warrior Diet involves eating only small amounts of fruit and vegetables during the day, followed by one large meal in the evening. For some, this method may seem a little extreme, but many actually report finding this method incredibly effective for weight loss (12) and overall well-being, especially if they lead very busy lives.

This plan can be helpful to those who’d like to save all of their calories for one satisfying and tasty meal, or if they work long hours and don’t have time to stop and eat during the day.

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of intermittent fasting, please check out our recent blog on the topic!

Intermittent Fasting Helps You Reduce Calories and Lose Weight

We’ve all heard the term “it’s all about calories in vs. calories out” - but is this true? Yes, at its very simplest. However, for many, low calorie meals or heavily restricted eating can feel unsatisfying, unsatiating and therefore, unsustainable!

Hello intermittent fasting!

Not only can intermittent fasting provide you incredible health benefits that typical weight loss diets cannot, it is also an easy way to reduce your calorie intake, and therefore, lose weight.

It’s very simple. By limiting the amount of time you have to eat, you are naturally inclined to reduce your calorie intake. For example, if you are following the 16:8 method, you are only eating for 8 hours, which is much less time than if you were eating all day. This can lead to a reduction in overall calorie intake and can help you lose weight.

While we don’t encourage calorie counting, we do recommend you exercise moderation and mindfulness, basing your calorie intake on your goals and physical requirements. Sadly, even the very best intermittent fasting plan will not reap the rewards you desire if you’re still overeating. So be mindful of how much you’re eating during your eating window, and focus on feel-good foods that fuel your body throughout the day!

How Intermittent Fasting Affects Your Hormones

Your endocrine system (the system that creates, directs and maintains hormonal balance) is a very intricate network that is directly affected by anything within your environment;

Intermittent fasting can have an impact on your hormones, which can be beneficial for many reasons including weight loss. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can reduce levels of insulin (13) and increase levels of human growth hormone (14), which can help you to lose fat and maintain muscle mass.

However, it's important to note that the effects of intermittent fasting on hormones can be different for males and females. Studies suggest that female hormones can be more sensitive to fasting than male hormones (14), so it’s important to understand what a healthy baseline is for your body, and to speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Intermittent Fasting and Maintaining Lean Muscle Mass When Dieting

When you think of lean muscle mass, you may have an image of a pumped-up bodybuilder in your mind. Nonetheless, avid gym-goers may be onto something, as lean muscle mass is vitally important for every single one of us, providing benefits such as:

Not only does lean muscle mass improve overall health, but it also helps us to get a little closer to a weight loss goal. Individuals with a greater percentage of lean mass burn more calories at rest, with muscle metabolizing energy very quickly, requiring four times the amount of energy than fat cells (15).

However, not all who are on the quest for weight loss are able to hit the gym to build bountiful muscle mass. This is why it's important to focus on your personal journey and take steps where possible to improve your health. This could be taking a short walk, signing up for a swimming lesson or even simply prioritizing your nutritional behavior before you focus on fitness.

Intermittent fasting can be a great option for those looking to make a small change in their daily routine that could make a huge impact. The evident benefits of cellular repair, improved digestion and a natural reduction in calories will all help you to lose weight, but in order to maintain muscle mass, it's also important to eat nutritious foods.

Foods that are high in protein will help you to maintain more muscle mass - after all, it is the building block of cells! Not only does this powerful macronutrient pack a punch in speeding up your metabolism, it has also been shown to be more satiating than other food sources, keeping you fuller for longer, as well as maintaining any muscle mass you already have while you cut calories.

Ensure you’re eating adequate amounts of protein and other nutrients daily, fuelling your progress throughout the journey. And when you’re ready to workout? You got it - more protein!

If you’d like to learn more about incorporating fitness into your intermittent fasting journey, check out our article on fasted workouts!

Final Thoughts

Intermittent fasting can be a healthy and effective way to lose weight sustainably and improve your overall health. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to fat loss, using fasting as a tool can fit flexibility into your routine.

No matter your goals and lifestyle, we can help you find an intermittent fasting plan that’s right for you. With Fastic, you will have the tools and support you need to make intermittent fasting simple and sustainable. Interested in giving it a go?

Download Fastic today to join the Fastic Family and start your intermittent fasting journey!

Haven’t gotten the Fastic app yet? Download it for free on your App Store!

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