Fasting – a faster way to weight loss?
Intermittent fasting is a form of dietary restriction that involves limiting your food intake for a substantial period of time. There are many different approaches to intermittent fasting. Here are a few examples:
‘Lean Gains’ - 16 hour fast with an 8-hour eating window.
‘Eat-Stop-Eat’ - 24 hour fasting for one or two days a week.
Warrior Diet – 20 hour fast with a 4-hour eating window.
Another very popular fasting approach is the 5:2 diet. Although not technically a fast, two days a week you limit your calorie intake to 500 calories (600 for men) and the other days you can eat ‘normally’.
There are many other fasting approaches that can be taken but what are the possible benefits?
- It can be very easy. Personally, if I don’t eat for a few hours I get a little bit cranky and don’t feel too great, but it depends on the individual. Some people find not eating for a short period of time very easy.
- If you have a busy work schedule where you are required to work for long hours without breaks, fasting may be something that suits your lifestyle. It may also work for those that really don’t like to consume breakfast.
- Fasting encourages both apoptosis and autophagy, which are processes inside the body for cell regeneration. Your body also becomes more insulin sensitive. This is beneficial as insulin resistance is a leading risk factor for type II diabetes.
So why does fasting work for some people, and not for others?
Intermittent fasting works by restricting the amount of calories that you consume within the 24-hour window. This, in theory, creates the calorie deficit that is required to lose body fat. If you restrict your calories throughout the fast, but then over-consume during the eating window, then this approach WILL NOT WORK. If you successfully complete a fasting period and then reward yourself for doing so by over eating, this would completely void your efforts.
The biggest factor of your diet approach is how many calories you consume within that 24-hour window. Fasting works for some because you are limiting time you can eat, so calories are usually lower than normal.
As we have mentioned before, there is no ‘magic’ approach. Fasting isn’t generally something we encourage our clients to use but if you believe that fasting is something that might suit your lifestyle, we won’t stop you. Always focus on long-term sustainability. If it works for you, then we applaud your success. Just don’t punish yourself with an approach that doesn’t work for your body.