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Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss: 4 Reasons Why It Works So Well

Updated on April 4, 2016
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David is an army trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifetime health and fitness enthusiast.

Intermittent fasting is great for weight loss
Intermittent fasting is great for weight loss | Source

Fasting For Weight Loss

Many people struggle with their weight for their entire lives. They try diet after diet, and although they may lose some weight for a while, it usually just goes right back on again. But successful weight loss really just boils down to one thing - consuming fewer calories than you expend. And the easiest way to do this is to use intermittent fasting for weight loss.

Intermittent fasting works so well because it’s not a 'diet' as such. It's more of a lifestyle. You simply choose to go without food for a set period of time on a regular basis. This will usually be about 24 hours once or twice per week.

So from dinner one day until dinner the next day all you will consume is water. But the real beauty of this is it's so flexible. You can do it as and when you want, and fit it into your lifestyle in a way that best suits you. On your non-fasting days you can eat pretty much what you want, although you will obviously have more success if you stick mostly to healthy food choices.

There are a number of reasons why fasting for weight loss works so well. But here are the top 4…

1. You Consume Less Total Calories Per Week

To lose weight you obviously need to consume fewer calories than you expend. But it's much better to think of your calorie consumption in weekly terms rather than in daily terms. That way if you do overeat on any one day you can easily make up for it the next day. And by using intermittent fasting you will be consuming less total calories each week, even if you eat just as you normally would the rest of the time.

2. You Produce More Fat Burning Hormones And Enzymes

All of our bodies metabolic activities, including fat burning, are controlled by hormones. And hormones in turn need enzymes in order to work properly. Fasting causes more growth hormone to be produced, which is our main fat burning hormone. It also causes an increased production of certain enzymes that aid in fat release from fat cells and fat uptake by muscle cells.

Apart from this, your production of insulin is reduced when fasting, which means you’ll be able to burn off body fat much more effectively. In fact it’s almost impossible to burn fat when insulin levels are high.

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3. You Burn Off Fat Rather Than Burning Sugar

When you eat your body normally burns the carbs (sugar) for energy first, and then it starts to burn fat. Any calories that are not used up within a few hours however are stored on your body as fat.

But in the fasting state this changes, and your metabolism shifts to burning fat rather than sugar. This effect increases over time; so toward the end of a 24 hour fast you will be burning far more fat than you ever would during a normal day of eating.

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4. It's Easy To Stick To

This is perhaps the most important point. With intermittent fasting you can still eat the foods you love, so you'll never feel deprived or hungry. This means you will not have the constant chore of trying to stick to a diet. And although at first you might find going without food for a while a bit of a challenge, it will get easier, and you will soon come to enjoy it.

All this means you’ll find it very easy to stick to, so you’ll be able to lose weight easily and then maintain it - for life!

It's a myth that fasting for short periods of time will cause your metabolism to slow down, or put you into 'starvation mode'. It takes a lot more than 24 hours for this to happen. And in fact during a short fast your metabolism may actually increase a little, and you'll burn fat whilst preserving muscle tissue. This is something which cannot be said of your typical calorie restriction diet.

If you choose to use intermittent fasting for weight loss you'll find it's the simplest way to achieve your ideal weight there is. But more importantly it's the most effective way to maintain it. And apart from that the health benefits of fasting are outstanding. So why not give it a go?


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