Are you struggling to lose weight? Well…the problem may not be what you’re eating, but rather WHEN you’re eating.
In this article, I’m going to talk about Intermittent Fasting and how it can be just the tool you need to start losing weight and keep it off for good. I’ll talk about:
- What is intermittent fasting?
- Why try it.
- How to do it.
What is intermittent fasting?
Before we explain exactly what intermittent fasting is, we need to first define a “normal” meal schedule throughout the day. So let’s say it’s breakfast at 8 am, snack at 10 am, lunch at 12, snack at 3 pm, dinner at 7 pm, then maybe a snack or dessert at 8:30 pm. Sounds pretty “normal” right?
I quote the “normal” because, by the end of this article, I’d like to change what is normal for you. If you think of people in other parts of the world, there’s NOT A CHANCE they’re eating 4-5 times a day, nor do they feel or think that they need to. And it’s no mystery that America suffers terribly from an obesity problem. So maybe it’s time to redefine what is “normal”.
The term intermittent fasting literally means “don’t eat during times of when you regularly eat”. So if you typically eat breakfast when you wake up, then decide to skip it one day, you have successfully completed an intermittent fasting period.
But maybe you never eat breakfast anyway. Compared to the example above, you’re not following an intermittent fasting schedule.
My point is, intermittent fasting is relative to your “normal” meal schedule.
Why try intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting has many benefits that I could go on and on about, but I want to stay focused on how it pertains to weight loss. With that said, the two benefits are:
- It typically reduces calorie intake, which can lead to immediate weight loss. While this is important for weight loss, it’s only a small part of why we gain weight in the first place. So my main focus with this article will be with the second benefit.
- It’s been shown to reduce insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter cells in your liver, muscles, or fat, and it only becomes present when glucose is present bloodstream. Insulin’s role is to allow blood glucose in and out of these cells. If your muscles or liver don’t need glucose, then insulin will store it as fat.
So continuing on, in the “normal” way of eating using the example above, you end up eating 4 or 5 times a day.
The issue with this is that insulin consistently stays present in your bloodstream, it never has time to leave. And what this can lead to is insulin-resistance. Then once your body becomes insulin-resistant, glucose stays in the bloodstream, and your body responds by putting even more insulin into the blood. It becomes a vicious cycle. Hence, why people who are obese struggle so bad to lose fat and keep it off.
A lot of evidence supports the fact that high and consistent insulin levels are what causes obesity in the first place. And what intermittent fasting does, is allows insulin to leave your bloodstream.
Even more, evidence shows intermittent fasting leads to weight loss.
Now you’re probably saying, “well they ate less food, that’s why they lost weight”. And that is true!
But even so, studies show that intermittent fasting works even better than calorie restriction alone. Check out this article from the British Journal of Nutrition. So if you were to have 2 overweight people, both were on a calorie-restricted diet of let’s say 1500 calories. But one only ate in a 6-hour window, while the other ate in an 11-hour window. It would be a safe bet that the intermittent fasting subject would lose more fat after any given period of time.
So this goes to show, losing weight isn’t only about calories in and calories out. There’s a deeper-rooted issue—that is insulin—and intermittent fasting can drastically help. And besides, who wants to constantly count calories day in and day out??
With intermittent fasting, you can sustain it for your entire life. You can make it your new “normal”, and you’ll never have to count calories again.
Suggested intermittent fasting schedule
As I’ve already said, intermittent fasting is relative to your typical meal times. So it would begin by moving your breakfast back a few hours, then go from there. But I suggest a MINIMUM fasting period of 13 hours. So that would be eating at 8 am then finishing at 7 pm. Not very hard, this would be for someone not really looking to lose weight but maintain from here on out.
But if you’re trying to lose weight, I suggest starting at a 14 hour fasting period (10-hour eating window), then increasing it 30 min every 3 or 4 days.
When the weight starts coming off, you can keep whatever fasting period you’re at. Then if you plateau, start increasing that fasting period every day.
If you really want to lose weight and reset your insulin to normal levels, you should be able to get to a point where you’re eating only once a day. And if it’s a big meal, so what. Your body can handle it since it hasn’t been metabolizing food all day.
My Personal Schedule
I fell in love with intermittent fasting back in 2014, and have done it ever since.
In 2019 after we became a family of 5, I discovered raising 3 little girls was exhausting and I would grab any snack I could (especially their leftovers…). Or if I ever did get a break, I wanted nothing but refined and processed carbs and fats.
But, I was able to maintain an intermittent fasting schedule (most days) of not eating until 12 pm and done eating by 5 pm. And so I maintained my weight, despite my lower activity levels and not eating the best of food.