Dr. Anthony Gustin is a board-certified sports chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, entrepreneur, podcast host, and founder of Perfect Keto.
Many people are trying intermittent fasting. It’s a popular method these days for many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons people use intermittent fasting is for weight loss.
This article will cover how to use intermittent fasting for weight loss, including how it can be helpful if you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a version of fasting in which you’re only eating within a certain amount of time and fasting the rest of the time. It allows you to experience the benefits of full-on fasting while still eating intermittently.
Benefits of Fasting
Many studies have documented the benefits of fasting on health. Besides weight loss, there’s also the chance of lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, protecting the body from oxidative stress, reducing cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and decreasing the risk of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Check out some of the ways fasting can benefit you:
There are a few different ways someone can do intermittent fasting.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are different ways to do intermittent fasting. Here are some options, starting with the most common method:
- DAILY WINDOW FASTING: This method feels the most natural for most people and is used most often. Basically, you eat as you normally would but within a certain daily window of hours. For example, you could only eat between 12pm and 8pm each day. That’s an 8-hour window in which you’re eating with 16 hours of fasting. Some people will shorten this window to anywhere between six hours and one hour per day.
- SKIPPING MEALS: Some people will simply fast by skipping a meal during the day, like breakfast or dinner. This is a good way to give your body a break from food without making it too complicated, plus it works well if you’re traveling and don’t have access to healthy foods.
- FASTING ON ALTERNATE DAYS: Choose a few days eat week to fast or reduce caloric intake. For example, someone might choose two days each week to eat about ¼ of total calories, or they might fast completely on those days, then eat normally the other days.
- 24-HOUR FASTING: This is just as it sounds: choosing a 24-hour period to fast before resuming normal eating.
The daily fasting window is the most popular form and often brings good results when used for weight loss purposes. What’s most important with any type of intermittent fasting is that caloric intake and nutrition is still sufficient enough to prevent any metabolic damage. Those who are interested in fasting for a longer period of time could try fast mimicking.
Now, let’s talk about how intermittent fasting is typically used for weight loss.
Using Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
No matter what type of intermittent fasting you do, it can be helpful for weight loss in several ways. Mainly, it provides a degree of control over your eating. For example, reducing your eating window helps you naturally reduce the total amount of calories you consume, since our bodies can only take in a certain amount of energy (calories) comfortably at one time.
Any diet will focus on counting calories, but since not all calories are created equal, this isn’t an effective method on its own. Instead of being purely focused on what you eat, intermittent fasting focuses on WHEN you eat. For those who are used to snacking late at night or eating sporadically throughout the day, the change can make a huge difference.
Fasting for a Weight Loss Plateau
If you’ve been trying to lose weight for a while but hit a plateau, intermittent fasting is a good way to work through that. As mentioned above, it can help reduce any snacking early in the morning or late at night, which is common and adds unnecessary calories. Plus, most people tend to eat mindlessly at that time when they aren’t actually hungry.
We should also note here that although intermittent fasting is great, it’s not a free ride to eat whatever you want if you’re trying to lose weight and improve your health. It’s still important to focus on whole, low-carb foods and reducing processed foods. For those who want to step it up even further, aketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting can be very helpful for weight loss.
Intermittent Fasting on the Ketogenic Diet
Many people following a ketogenic diet will incorporateintermittent fasting. In fact, the high-fat and low-carb nature of the keto diet make intermittent fasting more pleasant. Cravings are reduced and satiety is typically higher on the keto diet, which makes it easier to go extended periods without food and dips in blood sugar. This can be a nice contrast from intermittent fasting on a diet full of carbohydrates that makes it more uncomfortable to go longer amounts of time between meals.
Plus, a ketogenic diet is essentially already fasting your body of carbohydrates so it can purely run on fat for fuel. Just as intermittent fasting is a nice “hack” to reduce caloric intake and improve health, the keto diet allows you to experience the benefits of fasting while still eating high-nutrition foods.
Those on a ketogenic diet can use something called fat fasting to enter ketosis faster and speed up weight loss, too. Fat fasting involves eating 80-90% of calories from fat and reducing caloric intake for 3-5 days. Combining this with intermittent fasting can further speed up weight loss results, even if you aren’t changing how you eat.
Who Can Fast for Weight Loss?
For the average person, intermittent fasting is safe and healthy. However, it’s not recommended for those who are pregnant, children, or those with a history of an eating disorder. Talk with your doctor if you’re unsure.
Bottom Line: Intermittent Fasting Can Be Great for Weight Loss
If previous forms of dieting have failed you and you’re looking for something new (and backed by science) to lose weight and improve your health, try intermittent fasting. Not only can it help you naturally reduce the amount you eat per day in a more natural way than traditional dieting, you can still enjoy normal meals and enjoy the simplicity of the process. And if you combine it with a ketogenic diet, you’re golden.