Intermittent fasting (IF) has been gaining popularity in recent years. From celebrities to athletes, the use of intermittent fasting is quickly becoming yet another diet option that is touted is the next miracle weight loss method. With this surging popularity, also comes studies that show some of the benefits of IF. For example, a study in Harvard School of Public Health showed a weight loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks on intermittent fasting (1). All this is very compelling to take on IF in hopes of seeing fast weight loss. While I personally know people that have been successful in losing weight using this method, I always proceed cautiously with anything new in the fast-paced world of dieting.
Today, I want to go over what is fasting, how it started, what are the benefits, disadvantages, and how it may help some people lose weight.
Background of fasting:
Fasting is basically an abstinent from eating for a specific period of time. Religions like Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all have some rituals that involve fasting. From a religious point, fasting can be a rewarding, emotional and spiritual cleansing experience.
In the medical field, fasting is also prescribed to prepare the body before any checkup or medical procedures such as surgeries or colonoscopy.
Fasting health benefits have been extensively researched and documented. Below are some examples of these benefits:
Why do people choose this approach to diet?
Proceed cautiously. It’s not for everyone.
Fasting for prolonged periods of time can trigger negative health effects like headaches, lethargy, nausea and constipation. Always consult with your doctor before starting a fasting regiment, especially if you have certain conditions like diabetes or if you are taking medications for blood pressure or heart disease. (8)
Excessive fasting may also cause some muscle mass loss. This can negatively impact your metabolic rate and affect your chances of keeping the weight off over longer periods.
How to go about IF for weight loss:
If you still think intermittent fasting can be a helpful tool to your weight loss, then my recommendation is to start by easing into the process with shorter periods of fasting (10-12 hours) and limiting that pattern to 1 or 2 days a week. On the days you fast, start with a wholesome and healthy breakfast, then end it with a healthy and light dinner. For those of you who are on the TTC program, follow the program’s nutrition guidelines for Breakfast and Dinner.
There are other ways to approach IF like the 16-8 method, 5:2 diet, and the Warrior method. One quick search on google and you will get more details on these methods.
In closing, always remember nothing trumps a healthy and balanced nutrition habit. Losing weight and successfully keeping it off requires much more than just fasting. Staying active, building strength and following a consistent healthy eating pattern is much more sustainable and successful over the long term.
Let me know your thoughts on IF!
Happy Healthy Transformation!