How much weight can you lose in a month with intermittent fasting?
How much weight can you lose in a month with Intermittent Fasting? According to a review study conducted in 2014, intermittent fasting was found to reduce 1kg weight in a month (at a rate of 0.25 kg per week). This is about the type of intermittent fasting involving time-restricted eating. However, from alternate day fasting (the kind of intermittent fasting in which you fast on alternate days of the week), you can lose about 3kgs in a month. I believe these figures are already pretty good to get you motivated about weight loss from intermittent fasting, right?
But, here's even better news:
These numbers are not constant, and it doesn't mean you can only lose about 3kgs (at maximum) from intermittent fasting. Your weight loss rate depends on several factors, including diet, consistency and determination to lose weight, and the strategy you adopt to make your weight loss more effective and pronounced, such as fasting coupled with a workout or a diet plan, etc.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Before we dive into the intricate details concerning intermittent fasting, including its benefits, how it works, and safety aspects, let's get a review of what intermittent fasting itself is and its types so you could decide which method you want to adopt for weight loss.
In simple words, intermittent fasting means fasting for a short period, followed by eating for a short period. It doesn't involve continuous long-term fasts; it is a cycle of short-term fasts at regular intervals.
Types/method of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting for short periods, at regular intervals, is an umbrella term and can be observed in several different manners. However, there are three most common types of intermittent fasting:
- Time-restricted eating, the 8/16-hour approach
This method of intermittent fasting involves time restriction. This means that you're allowed to eat in a specific period of the day, usually 8 hours, followed by a straight 16-hour fast.
Many people customize this method as per their feasibility and routine, making sure to maintain the 8-hour eating window and 16-hour non-eating window, but most people follow a smart approach. This smart approach is to commence eating hours at a time where they directly have lunch, such as from 12 pm to 8 pm. This allows them to skip breakfast (which contains the most calorie-rich food) and directly have lunch and then dinner, following a 16 hour fasting period. Most individuals prefer this method because it allows them to be consistent with fasting without influencing their eating habits much.
Another type of intermittent fasting involves fasting for straight 24 hours, once or twice a week. This can be done by fasting from meal-to-meal. For example, you can start fasting from dinner onwards one day until the next day, or from breakfast one day until the breakfast of the next day, or however you like.
This method can be hard to follow and isn't preferred by many people because fasting 1 or 2 days per week may break their pace, and they may end up being inconsistent with the plan, leading to little or no result.
- The calorie restricting approach, the 5:2 diet
This type of intermittent fasting focuses on your calorie intake, rather than your eating or fasting hours. It involves keeping your calorie intake minimal, restricting it to 500-600 calories on 2 days of the week. However, you are allowed to eat normally the other 5 days of the week.
This method can only be effective if you keep your calorie intake moderate for the rest of the days too. If you compensate for the low-calories the other 5 days of the week, it would be useless to consume minimal calories those 2 specific days.
How Intermittent Fasting results in weight loss
Fasting, in general, has many benefits associated with it. Intermittent fasting, in particular, is a smart way of burning those fats that sit stubbornly in your body, making you appear fat and leading to many health problems. But the question is: How does intermittent fasting help lose weight? What's the mechanism that it employs to burn that extra fat in your body?
The answer is that it allows the fats (stored calories/energy) to be more accessible to the body. Its working mechanism is based on the concept of burning fats to derive energy from it when primary energy sources (food) are not available.
The second and most important reason for weight loss due to intermittent fasting is reduced calorie intake. When you fast, you skip meals. Skipping meals means you're consuming fewer calories than usual. Although the 5:2 diet requires you to restrict your calories consciously, the other methods of intermittent fasting do just the same.
Whether you adopt the 8/16-hour approach, the 24 hours method, or the 2:5 diet, the resultant weight loss is because of the low-calorie intake and fat burn.
How fat burns while fasting?
When you're fasting, your body brings about many changes to derive the energy stored in the form of body fat. These include significant changes in your metabolism and nervous system and the production and release of some important hormones. These changes, collectively, affect your body weight and result in an overall reduction in it.
Some weight-altering changes that occur in the body due to intermittent fasting are as follows:
Fasting causes a dramatic decrease in the insulin levels of the body. This is a favorable change for weight loss because lower levels of insulin support fat burning.
The effect of fasting on human growth hormones (HGH) is enormous. According to research, human growth hormones spike-up while a person is fasting, increasing up to 5 times its average concentration. This, again, is a favorable change because HGH facilitates fat burning.
Every change made in your body is a result of your nervous system's commands. For fat burning, the nervous system releases norepinephrine and sends it to the fat cells to break the fat into fatty acids. These fatty acids are free and can be burnt to obtain the energy needed by the body while fasting.
How to make intermittent fasting a success for weight loss
Losing weight with intermittent fasting is no rocket science. You just need to make sure you're achieving the real goal: Eating fewer calories. If you consume a massive amount of calories on the non-fasting days or in the non-fasting period, you'll be compensating for the calories lost on the fasting days/periods. This will make all your efforts go in vain. You don't want to experience that, would you? Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your intermittent fasting experience:
Observe what you eat during the time you're allowed to eat, and evaluate its effects on your weight. If you're eating fatty food or a lot of carbohydrates, you're just making it difficult for your fasting to work. Try to stick to a healthy diet consisting of whole foods. For better results, you can get a diet plan made from a certified nutritionist to help you lose weight faster and better, without it affecting your health as a whole.
Be consistent and dedicated to your plan. Just like other weight loss methods, intermittent fasting won't work magically and reduce your weight overnight. If you really want to lose weight, you need to stay dedicated to your goal and employ intermittent fasting for a reasonable period if you want to see its results. Reading success stories on the internet will help you boost motivation towards your goal and help you restore faith in your efforts.
Other health benefits of intermittent fasting
Apart from weight loss, there are other potential health benefits of intermittent fasting, including:
Intermittent fasting may help lower systolic blood pressure (the pressure in your blood vessels). It's a risk factor for heart diseases. In addition to blood pressure, it may also decrease the risk of other heart disease markers. It may reduce the bad (LDL) cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. It may also increase the good (HDL) cholesterol a little bit. All of these changes lead to better cardiovascular health.
- Decreased Diabetes Risk Factors
Intermittent fasting may also prove beneficial in reducing risk factors for diabetes. It may help decrease insulin levels as well as insulin resistance.
Intermittent fasting improves metabolism. According to a study, you can boost your metabolism by 3.6-14% by fasting for 48 hours. With that said, it also implies that fasting may decrease the risk factors for metabolic diseases.
- May reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress.
Oxidative stress caused by free radicals is the reason for developing many diseases. Inflammation is the natural immune response our body generates to fight these diseases. Both oxidative stress and inflammation affect the body negatively. Intermittent fasting may decrease oxidative stress and lower inflammation leading to better health.
Intermittent fasting has become a popular way of losing weight for all the right reasons. It helps you lose weight without putting your health at stake. However, it's recommended to talk to your doctor before starting it.