Can you lose weight by intermittent fasting? Such question is among the common queries newbie fitness buffs ask. Intermittent fasting (IF) is a widespread practice and popular for its seemingly positive effects. But like any other weight loss method, the results vary per person.
In case you’re planning to incorporate the fasting method on your diet plan, fret not as it can still be as effective as other weight loss systems. You just have to make sure that it will work for you and your current routines. Fasting means that you’re not going to consume food for a specific time. That could result in lethargy that may affect your work or school performance.
So how can you lose weight with this popular method called “intermittent fasting”?
IF isn’t actually a diet but more of an eating pattern. There’s a specific time window for the day where you’re allowed to eat and not allowed to eat. The most popular one is the 16/8 protocol where you’re going to fast for 16 hours and eat your meals within the 8-hour window. But that doesn’t mean that you can splurge on unhealthy foods and expect yourself to lose weight. It should still follow your healthy eating plan.
Practitioners of IF called the process as the “feasting” and “fasting”. Some can stretch their fasting time up to 18 hours and in extreme cases, 20 hours.
The good thing about intermittent fasting is you can adjust the pattern as long as it suits you. One thing is for sure: you either have to miss breakfast or dinner. But if I have to recommend, I’ll suggest that you skip dinner.
Scheduling your intermittent fasting
Fasting is difficult but you can make it work for your life. So can you lose weight by intermittent fasting? You’re free to adjust the eating windows, for example:
7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
6 p.m. to 2 a. m.
For me who has a work-from-home job, it’s effortless for me to stick to the 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. eating window. My day officially starts at 12 noon after fixing and convincing myself that I have to work. But this will surely differ from yours depending on your activities and energy needs.
The issue of skipping meals
I’m certain that I’ve mentioned about not skipping your breakfast when trying to lose weight. I still stand by it but if you think intermittent fasting can help suppress your cravings, then do follow the method. Sometimes, people just need a structure to follow to reduce their food consumption. I’m, for one, have to be pushed with the idea of “weight loss rules” before I can actually skip a big cup of ice cream in the middle of the night.
So can you lose weight by intermittent fasting? Let’s take it from a practical point of view. Skipping meals is a big challenge as it will surely take its toll on your energy level. Less food, less energy source. But you can still make it work by picking that one meal you can ditch.
As much as possible, I encourage my readers to eat a hearty breakfast no matter what. This is the most important meal of the day where you’ll get most of your energy to go to work and finish your tasks. However, if you have a late night work, skipping breakfast is effortless to do.
As far as eating windows are concerned, lunch is pretty safe from the skipping. It would just be moved to a late schedule and might not be far from the 12-noon habit if you pick the 2 p.m. starting time of your eating.
If there’s one meal I can’t skip no matter what, it would be dinner. You can ask me to skip breakfast and lunch and I’ll still come out alive. But not dinner. If you’re like me, you should prefer an eating window that starts late. The 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. window will not work its magic to me.
You don’t have to do it every day
Can you lose weight by intermittent fasting? Okay, so after racking your brain on how you can survive without the usual eating pattern you practice, there’s something you need to know. Intermittent fasting isn’t practiced every single day. Most IF practitioners do fasting twice in between days. Never do IF in two consecutive days as it will wreak havoc on your metabolism.
A good start is during your off from work. Lethargy won’t be an issue on such a day since you can lie down and do nothing. You can test what window works for you best. But before you feel “super” about intermittent fasting, never go beyond the usual 18-hour fasting time. Don’t force your body to the extreme if you’re just starting out.
So how can you survive the 18-hour no eating challenge?
If you’re not at work, sleep! For example, if you prefer the 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. window, you can wake up late, say 10 in the morning or 11. In my case, this isn’t a task at all since I really binge-sleep during my day off (which isn’t healthy if you don’t do IF, by the way).
It’s best if you eat five to six small meals during the eating window so you can scatter the food consumption. Still, ensure that the calorie intake falls within the range you’re allowed to based on your diet plan.
You can also gulp water from time to time after the eating time window. It’s safe to drink a small cup of tea if want something with taste. If you don’t have anything to distract you from possible hunger, sleep is the answer.
So can you lose weight by intermittent fasting? Of course, you can. You just have to ensure that it will work for you. If you need help, just chat with us below and we’ll talk to you!