Weight loss is often a “first step” toward creating health in your life.
Our eating habits tend to range from very unhealthy to unhealthy and we suffer the consequences with our health and wellness.
When you are moderately overweight, which is having a BMI of 30 to 34.9, you risk the chance of developing:
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Pre-Diabetic or Diabetes
There are BMI calculators that will help you determine your BMI, but the easiest way to determine if you need to take action is to measure your waist. For a woman, if your waist size is greater than 35 inches/89 centimeters, it’s time to make changes to your daily diet.
As a health coach, I do not promote unhealthy dieting. I teach how to change your eating habits one food choice at a time so that you learn how to swap unhealthy food choices for healthier choices.
There are so many diet fads, and I will admit to trying many through the years, you may become confused at what is a fad and what is a healthier approach to eating. I encourage the concept of eating smaller meals and healthy snacks every three hours throughout the day. This allows your blood sugar to stay stable and you’re not inclined to overeat.
Many doctors recommend that you add fasting to your daily diet plan in order to stabilize your blood sugar. Intermittent Fasting has shown to help with keeping your blood sugar stable, improved blood pressure and heart rate, and with weight loss in the abdominal area.
Let’s look at what intermittent fasting is and how it can benefit your health.
Eating is one habit that we are good at.
We eat for energy and you may have noticed that you need to eat more often to keep your energy levels up. Sometimes this is due to eating too many simple carbs and not eating a well-balanced meal of complex carbs, protein, and fiber.
Your digestive system is a well-oiled machine and determines how the food you eat is to be processed by your body. When you overload your body with unhealthy fats and sugar, your liver will send the excess to store as fat with the idea that it will use it later for energy.
Today we continuously eat, and our liver continues to store the excess as fat and we become overweight and unhealthy.
You can determine if this is happening to you by checking your waist size. Your waist is one of the storage areas that your liver uses to store the excess fat. The larger your waist, the more fat your liver has stored.
Your liver is doing all it can do with what you’re eating, you’re just not allowing your liver to need to access your stored fat.
This is where intermittent fasting can help you.
Your body requires energy and utilizes the food you eat to create the needed energy. Fasting from food allows your liver to draw energy from stored fat.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are three types of intermittent fasting that many health professionals recommend:
Alternate Day Fasting
Fasting two days each week
Alternate Day Fasting is exactly what it says, you will fast every other day. This plan allows you to drink calorie-free liquids throughout the day. You may choose to add healthy snacks to your fasting day keeping your calorie intake to 500 calories.
Fasting 2 Days Each Week is the most popular intermittent fasting plan, that allows you to eat normally five days per week and restrict your calorie intake to 500 to 600 calories per day on the days you will fast. With this plan, you choose any day of the week to fast, as long as you have a non-fasting day between your fasting day.
Daily Fasting allows you to eat normally during a few hours of the day and fast the remainder of the day. The longer you fast, the more stored fat your liver will use to create the energy your body requires. The 16:8 plan involves you fasting for sixteen hours and eating normally during an eight-hour window. The 20:4 plan involves you fasting for twenty hours each day and eating within a four-hour window.
When considering intermittent fasting, choose a plan that works well for your lifestyle. You may find it easier, to begin with, the daily fasting plan. Eat your last meal of the day prior to 7 p.m., no eating and snacking until 11 am the next day. Always stay hydrated with water or other no-calorie liquids.
Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss
Does intermittent fasting lead to weight loss?
Maybe, maybe not.
This is a plan that restricts your daily calorie intake on your fasting days.
What you eat on your non-fasting days or non-fasting daily window, will greatly impact any weight loss you may experience.
As I researched for this blog, I noticed that most research stated “eat what you want” or “eat normally” on non-fasting days or time periods.
I would ask, “what do you normally eat?”
If you’re eating highly chemically processed foods, then I wouldn’t expect you to lose much weight. You’ll get discouraged and give up. It’s when you eat healthy non-chemically processed foods that your body will be nourished properly and you may find yourself losing .5 to 1 pound per week.
Intermittent Fasting and Side Effects
The first side effect is that your hormones will adapt to less food. Your hormones will cause your body to draw energy from stored fat and your insulin levels will decrease.
As you begin to fast you may notice
Elevated Blood Sugar
Low Blood Sugar
Always discuss any weight loss plan with your primary physician. Some of these side effects could be due to being diabetic or hypoglycemic. Hunger is a natural side effect, but if you suffer any of the other side effects, you should break the fast.
Intermittent Fasting and You
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone and not everyone should consider fasting as a weight loss plan.
If you have any of the following, intermittent fasting is not recommended:
You are underweight
Suffer from any form of an eating disorder
Children or Adolescents
Pregnant or breastfeeding
Trying to conceive
Fasting triggers binge eating
You know your body better than anyone and whether this plan is right for you.
Intermittent Fasting Success
As with any weight loss plan, your success is dependent upon the choices you make.
This plan encourages us to eat normally on non-fasting times. The quality of the food you eat will greatly impact your success. Keep your meals healthy and balanced. Keep you snacks healthy.
A calorie reduction plan, intermittent fasting requires you to track your calories. Some intermittent plans advise keeping your calories to 500.
As with any weight loss plan, you must stay consistent. Before you begin, determine your “why” and if it is strong enough to keep you consistent.
Know this, you must be patient. Your body will need to adjust to this style of eating and this takes a few days. Because your weight fluctuates daily and can cause you to become discouraged quickly. I recommend that you weigh when you begin, then weigh yourself once per week – not daily. When I was in a weight loss plan, I determined that my true weight was on Wednesday morning. Pick your day and let that be the only day of the week you weigh.
Your health matters and your weight affects your health daily. When you determine that it’s time to lose weight, intermittent fasting may be a plan that works for you. What I would suggest is to skip the weight loss plans and learn to eat healthier. You’ll lose weight and create habits for a lifetime.
Whether you choose intermittent fasting for weight loss or another plan, carbs tend to be the hardest challenge you face. Our diet is full of simple carbs, which leads to weight gain. When learning to swap unhealthy foods for healthier foods, let carbs be the first on your list. Request this easy Carb Swap List to help you get started.
Click to request your copy >> Healthy Carb Swaps