Fasting To Lose Weight-The Formula

Fasting to Lose Weight

Fasting to lose weight is one of the fastest weight loss strategies possible. Intermittent fasting is also a very good way to reset your cells’ insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance. Not all fasts are equal, though, and there are some guidelines to make fasting easier and more successful.

First, some definitions.

What Counts as a Fast?

Any period of time in which you voluntarily are not eating is considered a fast. The first meal of the day is traditionally called “break-fast” because you are breaking your overnight fast.

Fasting for periods of 6 to 24 hours can have significant health benefits, not least of which are weight loss and decreased insulin resistance.

Start Simple

Fasting to Lose WeightHere are three simple ways to begin incorporating fasting to lose weight into your life, along with some tips to make it easier and considerations to keep it safe.

Begin by fasting between meals. This is so simple that many folks overlook it. However, many of us get significant calories from snacking, nibbling, grazing, and “energy-boosting” throughout the day.

Fasting between meals allows your body to relearn how to recognize hunger signals and gives your system a break from the constant blood sugar surges caused by frequent eating.

Eat a late breakfast to kick it up a notch. By pushing out your overnight fast, you can gain many of the benefits of a longer fast without significant effort. For example, if you have dinner at 7 pm, and wait to eat breakfast until 10 or 11 am the next day, you will automatically have a 15 or 16 hour fast!

On the opposite side of the overnight fast, you can stop eating earlier in the evening, with tremendous benefits. First, there is the simple factor of fewer calories (particularly from highly processed “snack foods”).

In addition, by abstaining from food several hours prior to going to bed, you give your body time to do the heavy-duty part of digestion before you go to sleep. This means better cellular repair and whole-body restoration during sleep.

There you have it: three simple ways to begin incorporating fasting without significant effort.

Getting Serious(er)

Fasting to Lose WeightNow you realize you have been fasting every night, perhaps without ever considering that this counts as a fast. You may have experimented with cutting out food between meals and after supper, and you have pushed back breakfast to lengthen the overnight fast. The next step is to combine all of these.

Eat an early dinner and fast until late breakfast next day and don’t eat between meals. It really is that simple. And lifestyle changes like this are going to be an important part of your healthy life, even if you use other shorter-term strategies for weight loss.

Safety Considerations

Before we look at some of the more heavy-duty ways to fast, there are some important safety factors to consider.

Check with your doctor or other healthcare professional before you begin fasting. Certain medical conditions can be contraindications for fasting, or you may need to fast under medical supervision when taking certain medications.

In particular, if you are an insulin dependent diabetic, DO NOT undertake a fast longer than sixteen hours (that is, overnight or a bit more) without your physician’s knowledge and approval.

Fasting can be combined with almost any diet or nutritional plan. An important consideration, in fact, is to be getting ENOUGH calories. For most people, that means 1,500 to 2,500 calories, depending on how fast your body burns energy (metabolism) and your activity level.

Fasting to Lose WeightMost women, on average, will maintain weight on 2,000 calories, and lose weight on 1,500; most men will lose weight on 2,000 calories and maintain at 2,500. If you drop to much below 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day, your body will get the message that you are starving and will begin to hang on to all available energy and fat, which isn’t exactly a desired outcome.

Drink plenty of water while fasting. A total fast means abstaining from all foods and liquids, including water. For the occasional short fast, or when fasting for religious reasons, this can work. However, if you are making fasting a long-term lifestyle, doing repeated fasts, or fasting for longer than twenty-four hours, a total fast is probably not a good idea.

At the least, I strongly recommend drinking generous amounts of pure water as it is more of a natural weight loss plan. This will prevent many of the side effects of fasting, such as fainting, low blood pressure, toxin overload, constipation, dehydration, headaches, dry mouth, and so on.

Black coffee or green tea is a good choice of additional liquids (as a bonus, both coffee and green tea will increase your metabolic rate and improve weight loss) but do remember to drink plenty of water too since the caffeine in these drinks can have a dehydrating effect.

Fasting to Lose WeightPsychologically, most people will do better with restricting either the time or the type of eating, not both. What this means practically is that if you are fasting regularly for a portion of the day, you are far more likely to stick to the plan and feel satisfied if you do not also restrict what you can eat during your meals.

However, eating whatever you feel like eating (during a defined window of time) may not work for everyone. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and honor your need for good nutrition. For the best long-term health effects, choose a diet rich in whole foods and especially in fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid saturated fats and high-salt foods; but do get healthy fats and use sea salt in moderation.

Recognize that your body reacts in its own unique way to various foods and pay attention which foods make you feel bloated, heavy, irritable, foggy-brained, sleepy, or otherwise less than your best. Avoiding those foods is not deprivation, obviously. Avoiding food that don’t make you feel well is saying YES to good health and vibrant living, so don’t apologize for it.

Getting Serious About Fasting to Lose Weight

Now that you know how to fast for short periods of time, and you are getting nutritious food (real food, not fake food!), and you are getting enough calories but not too much—let’s look at stepping up the fasting game even more.

Lose Weight-Manage Insulin-Improve Your Health Dramatically!!

Intermittent fasting is the most popular way to incorporate fasting into your life. Here’s how.

Put all your eating for the day (24 hours) into a four or six-hour window. For example, if you eat brunch at 11 and dinner at 5, that is a six-hour window. If you eat lunch at noon and dinner at 4, that becomes a four-hour window. This is known as intermittent fasting, or IF. Other terms you may hear include restricted feeding, time-restricted eating, or one-meal-a-day.

You will probably want to begin intermittent fasting by having two meals a day and gradually moving them closer together until it makes sense to have only one meal that’s spread out over several hours. Doing it this way is the safest way and is least likely to leave you feeling “hungry” or nauseous.

Alternatively, you can fast one, two, or three days a week, and eat “normally” the rest of the week. Or you might choose to do intermittent fasting Monday through Thursday, and leave the weekends open to less restrictive options.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, so if your physician recommends you avoid fasting, you feel worse instead of better, or you are an insulin controlled diabetic, you may find much better success with other weight loss tools and techniques. That said, intermittent fasting is a safe and effective way to lose weight for most people. The key is to start slow and build gradually.

Really Serious Intermittent Fasting

Caution: This level of fasting should only be attempted after building up to it over several months or years. DO NOT jump straight into entire or multi-day fasting.

After doing one meal a day, the next level of fasting is to skip one of those meals. Doing this will effectively give you a nearly forty-eight hour fast. For example, if your eating window for Monday begins at noon and ends at 4 pm, skipping Tuesday’s meal means fasting until Wednesday at noon, which is forty-four hours later.

Healthy Options Online Daily Health Tip – “LIKE & SUBSCRIBE”

Occasionally, you may be able to push it out even further, doing multi-day fasts. For obvious reasons, including the risk of serious health issues or even death, fasting repeatedly for more than three or four days is not recommended. In fact, longer fasts like this should only happen several times a year, and only if your doctor approves.

If you do choose to fast for more than a day, preparing for the fast becomes very important. Eat a light meal, preferably vegetable based, for the last meal prior to beginning a longer fast, and break the fast with a small portion of cooked or steamed vegetables to avoid cramping and nausea. Wait several hours before eating more, and at least a day before eating heavier foods. Your body will thank you for the consideration!

Go Do It

There you have it, the secrets of fasting, or at least enough to get you started. For a much more in-depth look at the science and practice of fasting, I recommend picking up a copy of The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Kung.

What are your thoughts on fasting for weight loss? Have you tried it before or know someone who has? Give me your thoughts below and don’t forget to share this article if you found it helpful.  Be Well 😊

 

10 Comments

  1. Hi, Nate, I feel like you seriously wrote this for me :). I have been looking into fasting because of a friend and I am still not convinced. So what I mean by this is I have a friend that has been getting me to fast she does the one meal a day thing. I would be hangry! if I don’t have at least 3 meals in the course of a day. I know a lot of people that fast and I do hear there are a lot more benefits to fasting than what I can imagine. BUT… I am still just not totally convinced its a healthy alternative to weight loss. But then again I am no expert at this. Is juicing still considered fasting?

    • Hi Viviana,

      Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your kind words. Yes there are surely many more benefits to fasting than probably the obvious reason most people fast. I hope this article gave you a little bit more insight.

      I definitely can understand you being worried about doing so. I would say continue to educate yourself on this topic and gradually give it a try and see if it works for you. There are so many effective weight loss ideas out there so it is important to do what works for your body.

      Thanks again for visiting today and offering your opinion on this topic. I am truly appreciative. Hope to see you again soon.

  2. Nate!
    I feel like fasting is a good way to lose weight with safety in mind. I practice fasting as well for religious purposes but also if I feel like I ate too much junk the day before. Folks who need to lose weight can practice fasting for sure:) thanks for your post!

    • Hi Bobby,

      Thank you for visiting. When many think of fasting it is for religious reasons which I truly agree with. But, fasting can be used as a resource to lose weight as well. I hope I have provided some useful ideas how this can be an effective way to lose weight and live a healthy life in the process. Thanks for stopping by and providing value today.

  3. Hi Nate, a very informative article on fasting. I have tried the 5:2 diet in the past it worked well for a while but I could not keep it going. My wife on the other hand found it a lot easier and lost a fair bit of weight doing it.

    I don’t think fasting for more than 24 hours can be any good for you. How do you function at work when all your thinking about is food. I would not recommend the 48 fasting to anyone.

    I did finally overcome my weight problem by changing my eating habits and sticking to a mediterranean type diet. I wanted to lose weight slowly as I had lost it quickly in the past but always put it back on. This way I lost 56lb over a year and I have kept it off for 7 months now.

    I did enjoy your post though as fasting could be the way to weight loss for a lot of people.
    Thanks, Frank

    • Hi Frank,

      Thanks for visiting. I appreciate your kind words. I truly believe each of our bodies are different and therefore we react differently to a variety of things to include diets.

      I am glad you overcame your weight problem. Changing your eating habits can definitely be effective. Congrats on the 56 pounds. That is super awesome. I am glad you found some useful data from the post today. Thanks for sharing your valuable input today and I hope to see you back again soon.

  4. Hi Nate,

    Another great article, good explanation of how fasting works and what you can do to support your success. I’m personally a big fan of intermittent fasting, I’ve found it helps with increasing testosterone production (my area of expertise) on top of the T boost, I’ve also found it helps keep me lean and I feel far more energetic.

    • Hi Nate,

      Thanks for your kind words. That is interesting – your comment about intermittent fasting. I was not aware it increases testosterone production. I have also noticed my energy level when I have went on a fast as well. I will do a bit more research on the testosterone aspect. Thanks for stopping by and adding your awesome thoughts today. Hope to see you back again soon.

  5. Hi Nate, I have been fasting for months now . I haven’t really lost any weight, and I guess I know why. I snack, and am so glad that you brought it out because it helped me realize that snacking can definitely add a great amount of calories. Anyway, I just changed my fasting hour to 10am-4pm. It’s hard not to eat after 6pm but i believe that having a later dinner and fasting between meals will help me get great results. Great post!

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thank you for visiting. Yes those snacks can be a killer for weight loss, depending on the type of snack. I am glad you are trying different methods/times of fasting.

      You will find what best works for your body. I am looking forward to hearing about your results. Thanks for stopping by today and adding value to this topic. Be Well!

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