Practicing intermittent fasting for weight loss is one of the best ways to lose weight. There are many benefits to intermittent fasting and eating within a shortened eating window, such as allowing the body to focus on detoxification and using body fat and worn-out cells for fuel.
A huge benefit of following an intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss is easy and fast weight loss. One of the quickest ways to lose weight and tap into fat stores is through practicing intermittent fasting.
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What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating style where you eat all your food within a specific time frame then practice fasting for the remainder of the time. There are many different ways in which you can implement an intermittent fasting schedule to achieve your weight loss goals.
Finding a fasting schedule that suits your lifestyle and goals is the most important factor when deciding upon an intermittent fasting for weight loss schedule. The key to long-term success with intermittent fasting is finding what is sustainable and works for you.
How to do intermittent fasting for weight loss
There are many ways to implement intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, such as practicing a 6-hour eating window and fasting for 18 hours or practicing an 8-hour eating window and fasting for 16 hours, or a 10-hour eating window and fasting for 14 hours.
Depending on your weight loss goals and how well your blood sugar is balanced, someone may wish to eat one meal per day and fast the remainder of the time. Eating only one meal a day and fasting for the remaining 24 hours is for the person who wants to lose weight as quickly as possible.
If you are new to intermittent fasting, it is a good idea to ease into fasting to allow your body to adjust slowly by starting with a 12-hour eating window and a 12-hour fasting window which most of us naturally do. Once you can easily fast for 12 hours, extend the fasting period and shorten the time frame in which food is consumed.
Ease into extended periods of intermittent fasting by practicing a 10-hour eating window and fasting for the remainder of 14 hours. Once this feels comfortable, you can extend the fasting period to 16 hours. One of the easiest ways to ease into intermittent fasting is to eat your breakfast a bit later or eat an earlier dinner.
How intermittent fasting burns fat
When we understand the hormones that regulate our blood sugar balance and how that relates to whether the body is getting messages to burn fat for fuel or make fat for storage, it is much easier to lose weight without any crazy diets. Intermittent fasting stimulates the release of hormones that signal the body to burn fat instead of storing fat.
Hormones released during periods of fasting allow the body to burn fat and stored glycogen for fuel. The key to easy weight loss with intermittent fasting is lowering insulin levels and tapping into fat stores.
You can learn how to tap into the body’s own ability to burn excess body fat for energy by allowing the body to do so by implementing an intermittent fasting schedule for weight loss that allows for extended periods of fasting.
On a basic level, the two primary hormones that regulate blood sugar balance are insulin and glucagon. These two hormones are produced by the pancreas and signal the body to store fat or burn fat.
Insulin is the hormone that transports glucose (sugar) inside cells for energy or storage of glucose. Insulin levels rise every time we eat food. Whenever processed sugar and refined carbohydrates are eaten, insulin levels rise higher and quicker. When it comes to weight loss, there is a massive difference between good carbs vs bad carbs.
Insulin is the hormone that tells the body to store fat because there is plenty of glucose available in the bloodstream. Therefore insulin is the fat-storage hormone.
When insulin rise due to eating, the body is in fat storage mode. The body is getting the message to turn excess sugar from the bloodstream into fat and glycogen (the storage form of sugar) to bring our blood sugar levels down to normal ranges.
Glucagon is the hormone that is secreted by the pancreas during periods of fasting and in between meals. The hormone glucagon is released to maintain and raise blood sugar balance when glucose is not available from the diet. Glucagon tells the body to burn stored glycogen and fat for fuel in periods of fasting.
You can think of glucagon as our fat-burning hormone that the body utilizes during fasting to maintain blood sugar balance. The body is always looking to maintain normal blood sugar levels, and both hormones are critically important.
The body will also use stored forms of glucose (glycogen) for energy before tapping into stored forms of fat, as glycogen is more easily accessible. To tap into stored body fat for fuel, you can practice an intermittent fasting schedule that allows for an extended period of fasting.
We all practice fasting naturally every day as most of us eat in the daytime and then have 12 hours during the night in which we do not eat. But, practicing intermittent fasting for weight loss often requires extended fasting combined with a shorter eating window.
As everybody is unique and depending on how well your blood sugar is regulated (which is directly impacted by the foods you eat), fasting is not always my first step. Before practicing intermittent fasting, I like to start slow by balancing blood sugar levels through dietary changes.
Once you have implemented dietary changes, slowly start implementing longer fasting times by delaying breakfast by an hour every three days or eating an earlier dinner. Listen to your body and find a time frame that works for you.
An example of an intermittent fasting for weight loss schedule would be working your way up to only eating within a 6-10 hour eating window and fasting for the other 14-18 hours.
Intermittent fasting tips for beginners
Here are some tips to balance blood sugar levels and make intermittent fasting an easier transition and practice.
#1 – Ditch the refined carbohydrates and sugar. These foods have the most significant impact on stimulating high insulin levels (the fat-storage hormone) and throwing our blood sugar levels out of balance.
#2 – Eat plenty of high-fiber healthy carbohydrates that are low glycemic and nutrient-dense. Fiber slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and makes you feel full. There are also zero calories in fiber. High fiber plant-based foods are your best friend when it comes to weight loss and reversing insulin resistance.
#3 – Slowly and only when blood sugar levels are balanced, start to implement longer periods of fasting with a shortened eating window to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
#4 – If you love your morning coffee or tea, you can still have black coffee or tea to help make intermittent fasting enjoyable practice.
To help the body utilize fat for fuel when fasting l-carnitine can be very helpful as it is needed to transport fatty acids across the cell membrane so that fatty acids can be used to make energy. Magnesium and B vitamins are needed to utilize glucose and L-carnitine to transport fatty acids.
Supplementing with both a multivitamin that contains B vitamins and magnesium plus L-carnitine will provide the body with the necessary nutrients to tap into stored glucose and fat for energy production when practicing intermittent fasting for weight loss.
If you find intermittent fasting challenging, you can always substitute your breakfast or lunch with a detox shake that contains vital nutrients for energy production. Mixing a scoop of optimal detox protein powder with nut milk, ice cubes, and cinnamon is a great weight loss drink.
Cinnamon is also phenomenal for lowering blood sugar levels and insulin levels which is why adding a tsp into the detox shake is great for weight loss.
If you are looking for intermittent fasting for weight loss books, I highly recommend reading the complete guide to fasting by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.
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