Eat less portions, drink lots of water, eat less carbs, do not eat late at night etc. These are some of the old weight loss eating habit tips we have probably heard a couple of times, and honestly, they are effective because they have been proven to work. The latest tip that is starting to gain popularity is the phrase “Intermittent Fasting”, and we are going to find out here if it actually works.
Intermittent Fasting “IF” as it is popularly called is basically an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It does not say much about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.
There are many variations of Intermittent Fasting, some of which includes;
12-hour fasts (12-12)
This one is probably the most beginner-friendly fasting method. A 12-hour fast means that you eat within the first 12 hours of the day and abstain from food for the next 12 hours.
For example, if you eat three meals a day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., then you should
fast from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
16-hour fasts (16-8)
16-hour fasts are a bit more complex than 12-hour fasts, but in return, they lead to even better results.
As the name states, you should hold off from any food for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 hours of the day. With this method, there is a cavear that you have to consume lots of high-protein foods which take longer to digest.
20-hour fasts (20-4). A.K.A “The Warrior Diet”
A 20-hour fast is considered to be one of the oldest methods of fasting. As the name also implies, you should eat within a four-hour period and fast for the remaining 20hours. High protein meals are also encouraged here.
24-hour fast, or the One meal a day diet (OMAD)
A 24-hour fast means that you fast from breakfast to breakfast, from lunch to
lunch, or from dinner to dinner – whichever you prefer.
For example, if you have dinner at 7 p.m. on Day 1, you should fast until 7 p.m. on Day 2.
Alternate day fasting
This plan allows you to eat every alternate day or every second day.
For example, on Monday you would eat anytime between 7-8 a.m. and 7-8 p.m., then you would fast on Monday night and all day and all night on Tuesday. You would start eating again from Wednesday at 7-8 a.m. and continue in that same order. It’s definitely not a good choice for beginners.
The 5:2 fast
This is one of the most popular methods of fasting. The 5:2 fasting method allows you to eat normally for five days and then restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the other two days.
This fasting method is highly flexible because you can choose any two days you prefer to fast. Whichever one of them you prefer, or whichever one you are already on, the big question remains, is it going to work?
Well here’s you answer;
Research has shown that the amount of weight lost through intermittent fasting is individualized, it greatly depends on; your starting weight, current medical conditions, the quality of food eaten at non-fasting periods, the IF plan you choose to start and your discipline in adhering strictly to the plan.
If you have a sweet tooth or teeth, and choose to load up on sugary desserts, drinks and carbs during your non-fasting periods, a fast will most likely not have the desired effects.
A systematic review of 40 studies completed by Harvard’s School of Health found that intermittent fasting can be responsible for a typical weight loss of 7 to 11 pounds over 10 weeks, that is 3-5 kg.
Which means that for an individual weighing about 91kg, he should drop to about 86kg. This rate of weight loss equates to losing 5% of your total body weight in just 10 weeks!
Now here’s another amazing research finding, when you combine IF with about 2-3 hours of daily exercises, the 3-5% weight loss, bumps up to a frankly amazing 10-15 kg loss in 10 weeks! That is roughly 1.5 kg loss a week, which, get this, is also is the average amount of weight loss that is considered safe by the UK national health service (NHS), so you also get to lose the weight healthily.
So after all that, it’s pretty safe to assert that IF alone works, and the best part is, it’s not a very cumbersome plan to follow. But if you want to lose more, just combine it with exercise and you are good to go. For people not actively planning to lose weight because they don’t have much weight to start with, an IF lifestyle, albeit the easier ones like the “12-12 diet” would be a good way to maintain your healthy weight, because as we all know, it is so much easier to gain weight than to lose it.