Are you looking for a new method for fast weight loss? Intermittent fasting is one of the best methods for weight loss. Check it out here.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a new trend. Some religions – such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism andBuddhism – have used intermittent fasting for centuries.
In the last few years, the practice has become more popular. People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles.
The name may sound scary and you may think that you’ll starve. You won’t!
You’ll be able to lose weight, gain muscle mass and increase your energy levels. Let’s see how that happens.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
For those who don’t know, intermittent fasting is not a type of diet. It’s an eating pattern that changes when you eat and not what you eat. It’s the process of cycling in and out of periods of eating and not eating.
Does this mean you will not eat anything during non-eating periods?
Yes and no!
In some of the IF variations you cannot eat any solids, but you can consume water, tea and coffee. In other variations you can consume some food, but you will have calorie restrictions.
Intermittent fasting seems abnormal to those who defend the 6-meals-per-day system to gain muscle and/or burn fat.
Many people ask about what they should eat when they are engaged in intermittent fasting. The answer is clear. You can eat whatever you want! The purpose of IF is not to establish foods to eat and to avoid; it’s to boost your metabolism. You can apply your diet type (keto, vegan, paleo, whatever) to an IF pattern.
There are primarily three types or variations of IF. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Intermittent Fasting Variations
Before you start intermittent fasting, you should determine which variation best suits your lifestyle. The three main variations are:
- The 5:2 variation involves eating 5 days a week and fasting for the other 2 days. It’s probably the hardest variation to implement. You can eat normally 5 days, while on the other 2 days you can consume only 500 calories if you are a woman and 600 calories if you are a man.
- The 16/8 variation is the most popular one. It is also called the Lean Gains protocol. This is where you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat only during the other 8 hours. The typical schedule for this variation is to skip breakfast and then restrict your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as from 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for the next 16 hours.
- The Eat-Stop-Eat variation involves fasting for a 24-hour period once or twice a week. Typically, people schedule this variation by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day. It’s easier because you have a sleeping period in between when your body will not need to consume calories.
All these variations will work for weight loss by reducing your calorie intake during the eating periods. Don’t try to compensate by eating much more during those periods. Otherwise, IFwill not be efficient at promoting weight loss.
Let’s see how IF can help you lose weight.
How Does It Work for Weight Loss?
The number one reason why people get into intermittent fasting is weight loss.
Several studies have been conducted and a lot of proof exists that IF really helps you lose some pounds. One review showed that IF can reduce body weight by 3-8% over a period of 3-24 weeks. Another study showed that IF can be a great tool for losing weight.
How does IF make you lose weight?
The IF process by itself causes you to eat fewer meals and consume fewer calories. This, of course, is an important principle for weight loss.
Additionally, IF changes hormone levels, which leads to greater weight loss.
Let me explain.
Your body stores fat for energy. When you fast, your body changes a few things to optimize its access to your stored energy. This means your metabolism changes. Here are the 3 major changes in your body:
1 – Insulin: When you fast, your insulin levels decrease dramatically. One of the major factors that leads your body to burn fat more efficiently is low levels of insulin. Therefore, we can say that IF helps get your body ready to burn fat and, thus, to lose weight.
2 – Human Growth Hormone (HGH): Growth hormone, as the name says, helps with muscle gain. However, it also promotes fat loss. This study showed that during fasting, the levels of this hormone increase. This turns your body into a fat-shredding “machine”.
3 – Norepinephrine (noradrenaline): Norepinephrine is the fat-burning hormone. When you fast, the release of this hormone increases, leading your body to burn more fat and to do so more efficiently.
With intermittent fasting, your body undergoes some changes in hormones that increase your metabolic rate. Combining this with a healthy diet (the keto diet is a great one) and exercise can create great weight loss results in a short period of time.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
In addition to being great for weight loss, IF has many other health benefits.
- Increases brain health: A study conducted on mice showed that IF can slow the aging process in the brain and also protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, more studies are needed on humans.
- Reduces bad cholesterol: A study showed that IF may reduce cholesterol by decreasing LDL cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations. The same study also demonstrated that IF reduced the systolic blood pressure. By reducing bad cholesterol and insulin resistance, you are drastically reducing your risk for heart disease.
- Reduces insulin resistance: As previously stated, IF can reduce insulin resistance and insulin levels. This may help protect you against type 2 diabetes, as indicated in this review.
- May prevent and help treat cancer: A study showed that IF may improve outcomes of cancer chemotherapy, decrease morbidity and increase cure rates. One review of several studies showed that IF may reduce the risk of cancer. Of course, this requires more study and backup in the form of medical experiments.
With so many health benefits, we may say that IF can extend life expectancy. Nevertheless, keep in mind that many of the studies were small, short-term or conducted on animals.
3 Important Tips to Begin Intermittent Fasting
Go ahead and start your first day on IF. I recommend that you start with the 16/8 variation. As far as I know, it’s easier than it sounds.
Starting something new usually leads us to make some mistakes. It’s part of the learning process! With these 3 tips, I intend to help you start with an advantage and avoid common beginner mistakes.
Tip #1– At first, you may feel starved and anxious for the next meal. Be careful; don’t eat everything you see. Remember, in addition to engaging in IF, you should follow a healthy diet that contains quality foods.
Tip #2– Like the quality of the food you eat, you should be careful with calories. Your eating hours are intended for “normal” meals, not for huge amounts of food that compensate for the time you have been fasting.
Tip #3– Last but not least, be consistent and patient. Don’t expect that your body will easily adapt. Even when things are tough, don’t give up; stick with it. If you are consistent and patient every day, you will see results.
Your body will thank you for this “journey” that makes the digestion process easier. In addition, when you eat at the end of your fast, your body will more easily absorb nutrients.
Let’s face it: there are probably thousands upon of thousands of diet programs out there and it’s very difficult to decide which one you need to follow in order to finally achieve your goal… to lose weight and burn extra pounds as fast as possible.
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