intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting: How to lose weight without changing what you eat

Posted by Kylie Sampson

Summer bodies are made in winter. As the warm sunny days approach, you might want to lose the quarantine kilos you’ve amassed over these last few months, get healthier or simply undergo a lifestyle change. Intermittent fasting has become more than a diet for some, it has become a lifestyle.

What is Intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting involves alternating between periods of eating and fasting.

Unlike most diets, it doesn’t focus on what you should eat, but on when you should eat.

With different possible eating patterns, you can choose which works best for you.

Intermittent fasting: You can do it in three ways

The three eating patterns most used in Intermittent Fasting are:

Eat-stop-eat

This method involves fasting for 24 hours about twice a week. So, if your last meal was at 20:00 on Tuesday, you would skip breakfast and lunch on Wednesday and only eat again at 20:00.

The ’16/8′ pattern

With this method, you will fast for 16 hours and only eat during an eight-hour window. Say you fix your eating window between 12:00-20:00, you can eat normally only between these hours and you will fast from 20:00-1200.

This method, also known as the Leangains protocol, is the most popular as people find it the easiest to stick to. 

The 5:2 ratio

This fringes on a traditional diet as it involves some calorie restriction, but rest assured, only for short periods.

This method entails limiting your calorie intake to 500-600 calories a day for two non-consecutive days of the week.

If you choose Monday and Thursday as your restricted days, then you will consume no more than 500-600 calories on those days.

For the other five days of the week, you may eat normally.  As long as, during your eating intervals, you don’t overcompensate by eating way more than you normally would, you should observe weight loss.

Intermittent fasting benefits: Are there any? What are they?

Besides weight loss, intermittent fasting has quite a few other pros: 

  • Faster metabolism: Intermittent fasting lowers insulin, increases human growth hormone (HGH) levels and increases the release of noradrenaline, a fat-burning hormone. By short term fasting, all of this reportedly results in a 3.6-14% increase in your metabolic rate. 
  • Reduced Insulin resistance: By fasting, you can lower blood sugar by 3–6% and insulin levels by 20–31%. This can offer protection against type 2 diabetes.
  • Improved heart health: By intermittently fasting, you not only reduce insulin resistance but various other heart disease risk factors such as “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar. 
  • Improves brain health: The increase in the brain hormone BDNF aids the growth of new nerve cells and therefore might also help against Alzheimer’s disease.

Who should not adopt intermittent fasting?

Although intermittent fasting has a great safety profile, certain people should consult a doctor before adopting this eating pattern.
This is especially the case if you:

  • Are underweight
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Are a woman who is trying to conceive
  • Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Have problems with blood sugar regulation
  • Are diabetic
  • Have a history of eating disorders
  • Are currently on medication