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Everything You Need To Know About Intermittent Fasting And Weight Loss

Who doesn’t want to lose a bunch of kilos without quitting their favorite snacks or following a strict routine? Take it from me – back when I weighed 10kgs more than my recommended weight, I’d get frustrated eating just boiled chicken and veggies to lose weight. I didn’t feel full, or satisfied. And guess what? I’d end up binge-eating candies and chocolates late at night!

This is when I discovered intermittent fasting – a rather flexible diet that can easily be incorporated into your lifestyle. This diet completely revamps your approach to diets and weight loss, creating a healthy balance between the two.

With intermittent fasting, your focus isn’t on what you’re eating—it’s on when you’re eating, which gives you amazing health benefits and a snatched waist. So, if you’re struggling to get those packs, with this guide, you won’t have to worry about a bulging belly anymore!

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An Overview

In this guide, you’ll learn everything about Intermittent Fasting (IF). It covers:

What Is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

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Beyond a trending diet, intermittent fasting (IF) is a diet strategy you can easily add to your lifestyle. It alternates between the period of fasting and eating. It has the option to do a 36 hour fast or a 72 hour fast, but more on this later.

This strategy is known for helping you lose weight without stopping you from eating your favorite things. And this is exactly why it’s become such a hit among those trying to shed some pounds.

Intermittent Fasting Schedule: Different Eating Windows

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16/8 Method

Among all the schedules you can follow when doing intermittent fasting, a study suggests the 16/8 method is the most popular one. You’re supposed to fast for 16 hours a day and have meals within the 8 hour eating window you get. If you’ve ever wondered, “What is the best intermittent fasting window to lose belly fat,” it’s the 16/8 method. And the best part is, it’s beginner-friendly!

Benefits

  • Weight Reduction: This method works well if you’re trying to slim down your waistline. It restricts your food consumption to 8 hours, organically cutting down your calorie intake.
  • Flexible: You can easily incorporate this into your fast or slow-paced lifestyle.
  • Diabetes Management: Fasting for 16 hours improves insulin sensitivity, helping prevent or regulate Type 2 diabetes.
  • Easy To Follow: Compared to other fasting methods, this one is much easier to follow, which makes it beginner-friendly.
  • Ease of Use: Compared to other forms of fasting, intermittent fasting is relatively easy to follow, making it a popular choice for newcomers.

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Eat-Stop-Eat

A little more challenging and demanding than the 16/8 one, the eat-stop-eat is a 24-hour fast. You’re supposed to do this anywhere between 1 and 3 times a week. Although this is a lot more difficult, it boosts your weight loss and offers several health benefits. However, you must practice this responsibly to avoid any drawbacks.

Benefits

  • Weight Loss Boost: Fasting for 24 hours 1-3 times a week can create a calorie deficit, which boosts weight loss.
  • It’s Simple: Although this is not easy to follow, it is simple. You don’t have to develop a plan or count calories, and you also don’t need to prep smaller portions.
  • Cellular Repair Process Enhanced: The longer fasting period will improve your cellular repair process and decrease any signs of inflammation.

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5:2 Diet

In this intermittent fasting schedule, nothing out of the norm is happening. You’re supposed to consume your meals normally for 5 days a week. However, for any 2 days within the week, you should cut your calorie consumption to 500 or 600 kcal. This decrease in your calorie intake charges up your weight loss process.

Benefits

  • Caloric Management: You’re only cutting back your calories two days a week, which isn’t too stressful and is doable practically.
  • Improved Metabolism: This intermittent fasting schedule helps regulate your blood sugar levels, increasing your insulin sensitivity on days when your caloric intake is less.
  • Good For Long-Term Practice: This diet isn’t as limiting as others, so it’s much more sustainable and easier to incorporate into your lifestyle.

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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

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Intermittent fasting leads to weight loss by boosting your body’s fat-burning process. It also amps up your metabolic rate, which improves your overall digestion. While fasting, the insulin levels in your body decrease and the human growth hormone levels rise. This leads to fat burn and muscle gain.

Moreover, this process improves your metabolism, leading to consistent weight loss. This is a long-term strategy, which makes this a sustainable lifestyle.

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How Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Your Hormones?

Here’s how intermittent fasting impacts the hormones and cellular procedures in your system:

  • Lower Insulin Levels: With reduced insulin levels, fasting boosts the fat-burning process.
  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH): As this hormone’s production increases, it leads to effective muscle gain and fat loss.
  • Cellular Repair: As cells go into repair and regeneration mode, there’s no more buildup of old protein. This means your overall body function improves.
  • Gene Expression Improvement: Your lifespan will likely extend as many of your genes and molecules transform. In addition, this also protects you from diseases.

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Intermittent Fasting And Weight Loss

A study suggests that intermittent fasting improves your body’s metabolism, leading to effective weight loss. Here’s how it boosts your weight loss process:

  • Faster Metabolic Rate: Fasting improves hormone function, leading to a faster metabolic rate, which allows you to burn more calories.
  • Reduces Insulin Levels: Since your insulin levels decrease during this diet, your fat-burning process increases, allowing you to lose weight in a sustainable and effective manner.
  • Decreases Calorie Intake: You consume fewer calories with a more restricted eating window. This creates a deficit, setting you on your way to weight loss.

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What To Eat During Intermittent Fasting?

Day 16/8 Eating Window 24-Hour Fast 5:2 Diet (500-600 calories)
Monday 12pm: Chicken salad, 3pm: Yogurt with berries, 7pm: Grilled fish with vegetables Normal Eating Day Whole day: Mixed vegetable soup (2 servings)
Tuesday 12pm: Vegetable stir-fry with tofu, 3pm: Apple, 7pm: Beef and broccoli No food intake Normal Eating Day
Wednesday 12pm: Turkey wrap, 3pm: Carrot sticks with hummus, 7pm: Baked salmon with salad Normal Eating Day Whole day: Greek salad with chicken breast
Thursday 12pm: Grilled chicken with quinoa salad, 3pm: Orange, 7pm: Pork chops with asparagus No food intake Normal Eating Day
Friday 12pm: Spinach and feta omelette, 3pm: Banana, 7pm: Shrimp stir-fry with mixed veggies Normal Eating Day Whole day: Cottage cheese with sliced peaches
Saturday 12pm: Tuna salad, 3pm: Mixed nuts, 7pm: Chicken curry with cauliflower rice No food intake Normal Eating Day
Sunday 12pm: Mushroom soup, 3pm: Greek yoghurt, 7pm: Grilled lamb with roasted vegetables Normal Eating Day Whole day: Protein smoothie with spinach, banana, and protein powder

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting makes losing weight easy thanks to its flexibility and health benefits. The best part is – you can choose the intermittent fasting schedule that fits your lifestyle and works for you. However, it’s not only when you’re eating something. It’s also what you’re eating. Make sure you consume a nutrient-dense and high-protein diet while intermittent fasting. Remember, how you practice intermittent fasting depends on your activity levels and whatever is easier for you to follow. Therefore, instead of doing everything at once, try to follow a sustainable routine so you can follow it in the long haul.

FAQs

What is the best intermittent fasting for weight loss?

The best method for intermittent fasting for weight loss is the 16/8 schedule. This schedule allows you to have an 8-hour eating window while fasting for 16 hours. This schedule is good for beginners or newcomers as it aligns well with your daily routine, making it easier for you to follow it in the long run. Several studies reveal that this method of intermittent fasting helps you lose weight and get a slimmer waist, especially when you exercise as well.

Is it better to fast 12 or 16 hours?

It’s better to fast for 16 hours because it speeds up your metabolic rate and helps you lose weight effectively, as compared to the 12 hour fasting period. The longer your fasting duration is, the more your body’s stored glucose will be used up. This starts the fat-burning process, allowing you to lose weight and improve insulin sensitivity. Of course, the results depend on your fitness levels, age, and lifestyle habits. However, it typically takes 3-4 weeks for you to start seeing the changes.

What are the rules for intermittent fasting?

The rules of intermittent fasting are simple – you just have to stick to your routine and be consistent. While fasting, you shouldn’t eat anything. However, you can consume water, black coffee and other zero-calorie drinks. During the eating window, you should eat balanced meals that are nutrient-dense and high in protein. Make sure your meals also comprise of healthy fats and fibers, giving you sustenance for the day.

What are the best hours for intermittent fasting?

It depends on your lifestyle and your routine. Most people prefer fasting between 8 PM to 12 PM the next day, which also includes their sleeping hours. This is the popular 16/8 method. You can adjust this window in a way that works for you.

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