Does Intermittent Fasting Work When Trying to Lose Weight?
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is when you only eat during certain consecutive hours in a 24 hour time period. The intermittent fasting technique that works for me is called the 16/8 version. You can only eat during an 8 hour window, and then you have to let your body rest with no food for 16 hours. You may think well 7 to 8 hours of those 16 hours I will be asleep so how can it be that hard? But it ends up being harder than you think!
Having a later breakfast can help. For example my 8 hour window starts at 10:30 a.m. and goes until 6:30 p.m. I noticed that I don't have a ton of time for breakfast before getting the kids to school and myself to work on time so I usually skip breakfast due to time anyway. My first meal of the day is a protein shake at 10:30 a.m. during a work break. It's amazing how good a protein shake tastes when you are hungry! I then have lunch around 12:30 - 1:00 p.m. and dinner at 6:00 p.m. I eat NOTHING after 6 p.m. most days. I say most days because once in awhile you have that event or meeting that has you eating around 7 or 8 p.m. but I don't panic. I just know that I still need to get that 16 hours in of no eating so I won't be having my first meal of the day the next day until 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. and from there I just go back to my usual schedule. Water will become your best friend, as it should be anyway. My newest BFF is seltzer water and it can be flavored! Lemon lime, pomegranate lemonade, orange mango. Oh so bubbly! It's like you are on a tropical vacation. Mind over matter people!
Is This the Only Way to Fast?
Actually no, you can choose a smaller window of eating and a larger window of no eating. For instance, my overachieving health nut of a husband will usually give himself a 6 hour eating window and at times has even gone as low as a 4 hour eating window. He can do this. I can't. You need to find the type of fasting that is right for you. Remember, it is a lifestyle change. Not a diet that you will do for a certain amount of time, and then it is over. It is better for you though. I am down to my goal weight because of fasting. It took me about a month and a half to lose those 10 pounds that I just could not take off otherwise, and I have maintained this new weight for more than a year.
What Does Fasting Actually Do For You?
If done correctly, and consistently, fasting will help you lose weight and keep it off. It will also help with brain fog. Some of my most productive hours of the day now come before my first meal of the day. I am not sure if it the fasting or the need to keep myself busy and focus on work in order to not think about eating, but either way works for me. I would do almost anything to get rid of brain fog!
Other health benefits include blood sugar control, lower blood pressure, lower inflammation, and fat loss. All very important benefits with of course fat loss being the most popular because this means weight loss. Wondering how this happens? Eating only during a certain window or timeframe generates a different metabolic direction in your body which is the same type of thing that happens when you exercise. Fasting creates a metabolic stressor, and it does so in a completely safe and beneficial way. Even better if you want to throw in some exercise too!
Can You Eat Anything You Want in That 8 Hour Eating Window?
Honestly, I wish I could say yes! Eat that pizza and those tacos and then add on the ice cream and cake. Unfortunately, the answer is no. I tried, believe me, I tried. If you are looking to just maintain your current weight you can eat some really yummy things here and there, but not every day. If you are truly looking to lose weight and make a lifestyle healthy change stick to healthy foods and meals when you are in your 8 hour eating window. They say the Keto diet is best but I just eat healthy sensible foods. There are definitely ways to make those yummy recipes healthy and they still taste yummy. It's a mind game as far as food goes but the intermittent fasting definitely works. I don't know anyone (if done correctly and consistently) it hasn't worked for.