In this article we will be looking at what is fasting for weight loss and breaking it down to questions and easy to digest information and answers.
We also look at the pros and cons of fasting as well as some fasting tips that can help you get started.
- What is fasting?
2. Types of fasting diets for weight loss.
3. How to fast.
4. Positives of fasting.
5. Negatives of fasting.
6. Does fasting work?
7. Fasting tips.
8. Planning the meals.
9. Take it slow. Moderation.
- What is fasting?
Fasting is basically not eating during a set period of time.
It helps reduce overall food intake, because you are limiting the time frame you are allowed to eat in.
Fasting might also be referred to as intermittent fasting or I.F. for short.
For some fasting diets, the time interval is measured in hours, for others it could be measured in a day, or days.
Fasting has been performed by humans for thousands of years. Such as for lifestyle choice, religious or spiritual reasons.
Fasting isn’t starvation, it is a choice to not eat during a time frame.
Did you know we all fast every day? When you sleep and wake up in the morning you have technically fasted overnight. When you have breakfast, you have then broken your fast. Which is where the word break-fast comes from.
- Types of fasting diets for weight loss.
There are multiple types of fasting protocols that can suit your goals and habits.
Some fasting routines use time restrictions of hours. An example might be, you can eat from 1pm until 7pm. Outside of these six hours you are fasting.
This window of eating could be any time length though, such as four, five, six or seven hours, etc.
The eating time frame can be changed to suit your work and lifestyle. Such as you can eat from 5 pm until 9 pm. Or 11am until 4pm.
Others fasting diets concentrate on set whole days in the week. For example, you don’t eat on Monday’s and Friday’s.
Alternating between one day of eating and the next day fasting is also another method.
Instead of using a time frame, another form of fasting may have you just eat one meal a day.
Some types of fasting diets might work within a fortnightly, or monthly cycle. Such as, not eating for three days straight during the whole month.
Some popular fasting protocols are the 5/2 diet, Alternate day, 16/8, One Meal A Day and Warrior diet.
- How to fast.
Work fasting in to suit you and take it slowly at first.
Plan when you are going to fast from. As an example, you might decide to have an eating window from 4pm until 9pm.
Or you might just decide to miss dinner three times a week. Regardless, just work up to it slowly and steady. After a while you might work up and perhaps don’t eat anything for the whole day.
The simple part, but maybe not the easy bit, is how to fast? You simply don’t eat anything for the time frame you select.
Have plenty of water. Don’t have any protein drinks, smoothies, or soups with calories in the fasting window.
For the first few days when you fast, you might feel psychologically that you are missing out on something.
Such as if you are used to having morning snack, at 10 o’clock. Around 10 o’clock or so you might feel lost, like something is missing. This is quite normal and the fasting battle is generally more mental than pure hunger.
You can use fasting strategies short term until you get some results. Or use it on and off for many years, using the method to help control your weight.
- Positives of fasting.
Fasting is very flexible as you can work it with your work and lifestyle.
With fasting you don’t have to eliminate any foods or food groups. Although it does help to reduce junk food, like chocolate, cake, French fries, pizza, hamburgers, etc. (Unless you prepare healthy alternatives.)
More free time is another benefit of fasting, because you are not shopping, preparing and eating the meals.
Fasting has plenty of health benefits. Although a lot of them may be because you are limiting your calories and staying in a healthier weight range.
Another benefit is you don’t have to buy ineffective snake oil salesman diet supplements.
- Negatives of fasting.
Fasting has some drawbacks like most diets. Some fasting protocols are healthier than others.
Because you are limiting the food intake, you are missing out on important micro nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
Skipping certain meals like breakfast, might also mean you might be missing out on the R.D.I., or recommended daily intake of nutrients like fibre.
Some other drawbacks of the diet are, some people get headaches, feel like they have no energy and become lethargic.
Other people might get grumpy and short tempered, but this can happen on most weight loss diets as well.
Some fasting diets will also limit fluids, but this type of fasting can be dangerous and should be avoided.
Another negative is for some people, they get that hungry when they finish the fast, and they end up eating more food than normal. This means you eat more calories and can put on weight.
It is not recommended to fast when you are planning on doing a hard work out or a stressful day of work ahead.
Extreme fasting diets, such as not eating for several days straight is obviously unhealthy.
For whatever reason, either physically or mentally, fasting does not suit everyone.
- Does fasting work?
Fasting is not magic. If the fasting diet is planned properly and you are consuming overall less calories than your body needs. Yes, fasting works! You will lose weight.
As an example, if you normally consume 2,300 Calories a day, that is 16,100 Calories a week (2,300 x 7 = 16,100.)
Now you fast and only eat an average of 1,800 Calories a day, for a total of 12,600 Calories a week. (1800 x 7 = 12,600.) If this reduced amount of calories is less than your body needs, you will lose weight.
Combine exercise for faster results.
It is simple, but fasting works like all effective diets. That is consuming less energy than the body needs.
While there is more science and nutrition factors than eat less and move more. Eating less is the basis for an effective weight loss diet.
Ideally the mantra should be eat more healthy food, eat less junk food and exercise.
- Fasting tips.
It is important to keep your fluid intakes up while fasting. Because your body isn’t getting any extra fluids from foods.
Don’t fast on solid foods, then consume soda, pop or soft drink as they have calories. Perhaps even avoid the no sugar variety of sodas, as they may encourage bad habits. (Some people say one or two diet sodas a week may not hurt.)
It is recommended to have plain water and the occasional tea. Avoid having coffees laden with cream, milk and sugar. Especially avoid bullet proof coffee, or butter coffee as these are loaded with lots of calories.
Don’t plan to fast when you have any social events coming up, as you might be more tempted to have something to eat or an alcoholic drink.
Be flexible, some hours or days you might be hungrier than others.
Don’t stress if you cave in and eat something when you are fasting. This is normal human behavior, so reset and get on with it.
Working in some exercise will help burn some extra calories as well.
If you do feel hungry, try to distract yourself. You will find that hunger pains come and go. They don’t normally increase in intensity, they just seem to come and go in waves for most people.
For some weight loss tips and ideas, click on – Best Weight Loss Tips And Tricks
- Fasting, planning the meals.
Because your food intake is more limited, ensure you eat a wider variety of assorted healthy food. These foods are what you need physically on a calorie reduced diet.
Make sure you have your meals planned when you first break the fast. Otherwise you might rush out and eat every low quality junk food in sight. All the hard work of fasting is ruined by the excess calories.
If you overeat, fasting won’t work. Plan the meals ahead of time.
Meal prep works in well with fasting, for more information click on, How to Meal Prep for Beginners. Which is a step by step guide that covers a fair bit of useful info on the subject.
Ideally have nutritious meals and snacks planned. Such as vegetables, lean protein, fruits, healthy fats and high fibre foods that will fill you up more.
- Take it slow. Moderation.
If you do decide to try fasting, take it slowly at first. Don’t rush out and fast for three days straight if you haven’t done it before.
You might plan initially to miss one breakfast. Or maybe just skip one meal or a snack.
Build up over days or weeks, until you are comfortable with the fasting time frame and results. Don’t go extreme, use moderation and take small steps.
Summary – What is fasting for weight loss?
Fasting is not for everyone and it has negatives and positives.
If the fasting is planned well, such as eating healthy foods when you finish the actual fasting time frame, it can be a suitable diet.
Not all fasting protocols are as healthy or effective as others. Extreme fasting should be avoided.
Short term, fasting works. Long term it can be worked in with your lifestyle and be a sustainable way of controlling your weight.
Fasting is not the Holy Grail of weight loss. But combine sensible fasting, with healthier eating choices, exercise and fasting can help you lose weight and keep it off.