Intermittent fasting for weight loss, What is it and how does it work?

Intermittent fasting is quickly becoming one of the most popular diets, alongside the keto diet. You may be wondering if they share similarities, but in reality, intermittent fasting is quite unique. Unlike other diets, it doesn’t focus on the quantity or quality of food, but rather on the timing of meals.

Intermittent fasting involves abstaining from food for specific periods, but it doesn’t necessarily mean complete fasting, as this can be hard to maintain long-term. During the fasting period, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking water, coffee, or tea without sugar. It’s also worth noting that intermittent fasting is different from religious fasting practices like those in Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism, which may involve dry fasting.

According to individuals who have tried intermittent fasting in the past, they have reported improvements in both their mental and physical well-being.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss.

1) What are the forms of intermittent fasting?

Numerous forms of intermittent fasting exist, and by finding the right one for you, you can achieve great results.

  • Fasting for 12 hours.
  • Fasting for 16 hours.
  • Fasting for 2 full days a week.
  • Fasting day by day.
  • Fasting for 24 hours in the week.
  • Skip some meals.
  • Warrior fasting (20 hour a day).

During the initial 15 days, it’s important to select a system that motivates you to reach your goals. This system should challenge your limits while ensuring you don’t burn out.

The fasting period can coincide with the sleeping period since you naturally abstain from food while sleeping. Therefore, when you sleep, you’re already fasting.

The 12-hour system involves skipping dinner and refraining from food consumption for 4 hours before bedtime. Coupled with 8 hours of sleep, this method helps achieve the daily fasting goal.
If the 12-hour fasting period doesn’t push you to extreme hunger or your limits, consider extending the fasting period or trying a different fasting regimen until you find the one that works best for you.

2) Intermittent fasting benefits.

Each diet comes with its own unique benefits that may inspire and motivate you to follow it. With its numerous and incredible advantages, the intermittent fasting system has done an excellent job of marketing itself.
  • Weight loss and muscle building.
  • Boost the ability to concentrate and enhance memory.
  • Improve blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Diabetes prevention.
  • Alzheimer’s prevention.
  • Arthritis.
  • Asthma.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Reduce the rate of cancer.
  • Prevention of heart disease and atherosclerosis.

3) Disadvantages of intermittent fasting.

While it’s important to acknowledge that every diet has potential drawbacks, it’s worth noting that intermittent fasting has relatively few negative aspects when compared to other dietary approaches.
This diet should not be followed carelessly by a specific group of people, unless under the guidance of both a doctor and a nutritionist.
  • People with diabetes.
  • People with low blood pressure.
  • Those who take certain types of medication.
  • Those who are underweight.
  • People with eating disorders.
  • It is strictly forbidden for pregnant and lactating women.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid following any diet without consulting with a healthcare professional. It is important for the safety and well-being of both the mother and the infant. During this period, a woman requires a complete nutrient-rich diet that includes essential vitamins, minerals, and other necessary elements.
While intermittent fasting has many benefits, it may cause temporary side effects when you first start. Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of focus are common during the adjustment period. However, these symptoms typically improve as your body adapts to the new eating pattern.

4) Mistakes made by newcomers to intermittent fasting.

This article aims to help you avoid common mistakes that can hinder your progress and prevent you from achieving your goals. By identifying and addressing these mistakes, you can maximize your results and achieve success.
  1. Don’t rush into fasting without proper preparation. Before starting, take the time to educate yourself on the topic and seek advice from those who have experience with fasting. It’s important to approach fasting with caution and start gradually, as I mentioned in the first part of this article. Give yourself at least 15 days to adjust to the new routine and assess how it affects your body.
  2. Switching between multiple plans: As mentioned earlier, it’s important to experiment with different approaches to find what works best for you. However, once you’ve identified a plan that aligns with your goals and lifestyle, stick to it. Consistency and commitment are key ingredients for success, so avoid constantly switching between different plans after the initial 15-day period.
  3. Overeating during the feeding window: While fasting for 16 hours a day is a commendable feat, it’s important to be mindful of what you consume during the feeding window. Consuming 2000 calories in one sitting, particularly if it’s from fast food or unhealthy sources, can negate the benefits of fasting. To maximize the benefits of fasting, focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portions during the feeding window.
  4. Failing to stay hydrated: It’s crucial to drink an adequate amount of fluids during the fasting period. Not only does it help suppress hunger, but it also prevents dehydration, which can lead to negative health effects. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and mitigate any potential adverse effects of fasting.
  5. Skipping workouts: While diet plays a crucial role in fat loss, it’s not sufficient on its own to achieve your desired results. Incorporating light exercise during the fasting period and high-intensity workouts during the feeding window can help you reach your goals. Don’t neglect physical activity as it can complement your fasting efforts and improve your overall health and well-being

5) Some methods may help you to stick to intermittent fasting.

Maintaining commitment can be challenging, especially at the beginning of the journey when negative symptoms may arise and tempt you to give up. However, it’s important to remember that these symptoms are often temporary and will subside as you become more accustomed to the changes you’re making. Stay strong and stay the course, and you’ll soon find that your commitment pays off in achieving your goals.
Committing to a 70-day challenge may seem daunting and may involve some initial discomfort. However, it’s important to remember that this period can be significantly shorter, and the benefits of committing to it can be long-lasting. So, what can keep you motivated during this time? Here are a few strategies to help you stay on track and achieve your goals with less struggle.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other calorie-free beverages, such as coffee and tea without added sugars.
  • To avoid thinking about food, keep yourself busy with work or social activities that don’t involve eating. If others notice your determination, they’re less likely to tempt you with food.
  • Don’t push yourself to do high-intensity exercises during the fasting period. Overexertion can cause discomfort and discourage you from sticking to your diet.
  • Include protein- and fiber-rich foods in your diet, such as eggs, nuts, and salads, during your eating period. These foods help you feel full and satisfied, which can prevent overeating and promote healthy weight management.
  • Don’t give up: If you slip up and break your diet, don’t let that discourage you. Keep trying. It’s common to struggle with cravings and temptations, especially at the start. If you can stick with it, that’s fantastic. But if you stumble and indulge, don’t lose hope. Regroup and focus on your goal, and keep moving forward.

6) Intermittent fasting + keto?

Assuming you don’t have any medical conditions that would make either of the two diets unsafe for you, you’re welcome to try this combination. If you can stick to it, you may see some truly impressive results.
If you experience any negative effects in your daily routine, such as persistent lethargy or laziness that doesn’t go away after the initial adjustment period, it’s important to stop the diet immediately.
Since there is limited research and few people have tested this combination of diets, any experimentation should be approached with caution. It is highly recommended to seek the guidance and supervision of both a doctor and a nutritionist during the experiment.
Ultimately, it’s worth noting how effective intermittent fasting can be in helping people achieve their ideal weight. The large number of success stories from people who have followed this system is a testament to its effectiveness.
Given this, there’s no harm in striving to join the ranks of those who have achieved great results through their efforts. Just remember that achieving results requires a strong commitment and dedication.

Written by Merouane Benlefki

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