Intermittent Fasting for Permanent Weight Loss-5:2 Diet

“Oh sure,” you think, “Starve yourself, lose 2 pounds, gain 5. No thanks!” You would be wrong. Intermittent fasting is not “starving yourself”.

It’s a proven eating pattern and lifestyle change that has helped tens of thousands of people shed a massive amount of stubborn body fat.

Many celebrities like Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, and Hugh Jackman, to name but a few, absolutely rave about it.  Social media is full of before-and-after pictures of men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes proudly displaying their newly trim and toned bodies thanks to Intermittent fasting.

Furthermore, numerous studies have shown intermittent fasting to be completely safe with many amazing health benefits. That’s why People the world over are hopping on the intermittent fasting band wagon to lose weight, boost their health or simply to make their lives easier.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of a healthy way to lose massive weight, you will find here all the information you need to get started:  what exactly is intermittent fasting, all the science and hype behind it, how to choose the right plan, some motivational true stories to inspire you, and much, much more. Let’s get started!

Could Intermittent Fasting be Your Simple Solution for Permanent Weight Loss

So, what exactly is intermittent fasting anyway?

Intermittent fasting is about alternating between periods of fasting and eating. Specifically, it means eating all your daily meals during a limited window of time, and not eating at all until the next window. Sounds impossible? You can feel your stomach rebelling already?

It’s much easier than you think. Consider this: being at least semi-health conscious (maybe), you probably try to eat dinner around 7-8 PM. Right? Assuming the midnight munchies don’t crash through your doors (pesky little buggers!), you’ll go to bed, sleep soundly, and not think about food until breakfast sometime between 6 AM and 8AM. Right again?

Congratulations, you’ve just fasted a good 10 hours.

Intermittent fasting simply extends that basic fasting period so your routine includes regular short term fasts: usually 16 hours, or 24 hour fasts once or twice a week.  Let’s break it down.

Intermittent fasting Plans

These are the basic intermittent fasting plans:

  • Daily 16/8 Method – (AKA the Leangains Method):

This is the most popular method, likely because it’s the easiest to follow long term.  It involves simply eating all your meals during an 8 hour window, and fasting for the remaining 16 hours (remember that you are asleep for 8 hours anyway, so think of it as 8 hours of actual fasting).

For example, you can have your eating period between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, or 10:00 am and 6:00 pm, or 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm. You get it. Essentially, you can choose to either push back “breakfast” or have an early dinner.  It’s totally up to you!

  • Eat-Stop-Eat:

With this one, you do actually fast, as in eat nothing at all for a full 24 hours, but don’t freak out, you only do it once or twice a week.  For example, you eat dinner and fast until dinner the next day.

That’s crazy? Actually, the biggest hurdle to a 24-hour fast is mental. Once you complete your first one, you’ll see it’s totally doable, and it gets easier and easier (again remember: you’re asleep for 8 of those hours).

Eat-Stop-Eat is actually a great way to start off the week after weekend indulgences. For one thing, it gives your body a chance to eliminate the extra calories. It also puts you right back into the weekday discipline mind-set.

  • The 5:2 diet (AKA Modified Alternate-Day Fasting or Fast Diet):

With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days (for example Mondays and Thursdays) of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days. This method is closer to typical reduced-calorie diets, with similar weight loss results, but it’s much easier to follow.

Kick it up a notch for added health benefits: according to a Healthline article: “the 4:3 diet may help reduce insulin resistance, asthma, seasonal allergies, heart arrhythmias, menopausal hot flashes and more”.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss

Here’s how intermittent fasting helps you lose weight:

  • First of all, you are eating fewer meals, so automatically less calories, provided you don’t overeat during eating periods. That’s great, but also just the tip of the iceberg.
    • 1) Intermittent fasting helps your body burn more of your stored body fat.
    •  You see, after a meal, your insulin levels rise automatically. When your insulin levels are high, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because it burns the glucose from your last meal instead. But in the fasted state, which your body enters about 12 hours after your last meal when your insulin levels are low, your body then mobilizes your stored fat for fuel.
    • 2) Intermittent fasting helps your body burn more of your stored body fat . You see, after a meal, your insulin levels rise automatically. When your insulin levels are high, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because it burns the glucose from your last meal instead. But in the fasted state, which your body enters about 12 hours after your last meal, when your insulin levels are low, your body then mobilizes your stored fat for fuel.

     

    3) There’s more: intermittent fasting also increases human growth hormones (HGH) and other marvellous fat burning hormones, which increase your metabolic rate 3.6–14%.

  • In essence, intermittent fasting puts your body in its natural, optimum fat burning mode. Picture it: you automatically eat less AND burn more actual fat! You really can’t beat that! Or can you?

Intermittent Fasting + Keto: The Turbo Fast Blaster

People typically lose weight with intermittent fasting without changing the types or quantities of food they eat, or their exercise levels, as long as they don’t make their eating periods a perpetual feast of indulgence.

But if you’re serious about weight loss, combining intermittent fasting and keto is your express ticket to Sexy-Ville. If intermittent fasting puts your body in optimum fat-burning mode, injecting keto into the mix sends it straight into fat-burning over-drive. Halle Berry for example is big on the Intermittent Fasting – Keto combination
It makes sense doesn’t it? They both keep your insulin levels low and mobilize stored body fat for fuel so you are basically burning fat all day long.

In fact, intermittent fasting and keto are often done together. According to Kelly Roehl, R.D.N., an advanced level dietitian at Rush University Medical Centre, intermittent fasting may help you enhance ketosis or jump start ketosis after a fall out or deviation .

What about working out on intermittent fasting?

Can you work out on intermittent fasting? The answer is an emphatic YES! Of course it will greatly boost your weight loss results. But you’re probably wondering how working out with intermittent fasting will affect your performance.  There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that weight training in the fasted state leads to superior results.  In fact, the Leangains method is built on a combination of intermittent fasting, endurance and strength training.

The best practice is to fit your workout (especially weight training) either right before or within your eating window. It is important to eat soon after a work out because it helps reduce hunger pains, decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle protein synthesis (growth), and restore glycogen stores. Another common practice is to stick to moderate cardio on full-fast days.

You will most likely have to adjust your workout time and intensity, especially in the first couple of weeks when you begin intermittent fasting.  You may feel weak and unmotivated. But rest assured: after the transition period, your energy comes roaring back.

What about working out on intermittent fasting?

Can you work out on intermittent fasting? The answer is an emphatic YES! Of course, it will greatly boost your weight loss results. But you’re probably wondering how working out with intermittent fasting will affect your performance. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that weight training in the fasted state leads to superior results In fact, the Leangains method is built on a combination of intermittent fasting, endurance and strength training.

The best practice is to fit your workout (especially weight training) either right before or within your eating window. It is important to eat soon after a work out because it helps reduce hunger pains, decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle protein synthesis (growth), and restore glycogen stores. Another common practice is to stick to moderate cardio on full-fast days.

You will most likely have to adjust your workout time and intensity, especially in the first couple of weeks when you begin intermittent fasting. You may feel weak and unmotivated. But rest assured: after the transition period, your energy comes roaring back.

Special Considerations for Women on intermittent fasting

Some women report that their menstrual period stopped when they started doing intermittent fasting and went back to normal when they resumed their previous

eating pattern. This is likely due to the fact that reduced caloric intake may disrupt the secretion of GnRH, a hormone that helps release two reproductive hormones: luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These are mostly anecdotal, but some special considerations apply for women:

• Ease into the practice and consider shorter fasting periods or fewer fasting days: start with 12-16 hour fasting periods on alternate days and build up from there. This is known as the Crescendo Method”.

• If your period stops, resume your normal eating pattern immediately and consult your physician;

• Do not start intermittent fasting if you are trying to conceive, have fertility issues, are pregnant or breastfeeding;

The best intermittent fasting methods for women are typically:
• The 5:2 Diet: Eating about 500 calories for two days a week and eating “normally” the other five days with at least one day between fasting days.

Health benefits of intermittent fasting

Not only is intermittent fasting completely safe for both men and women; numerous studies conducted in recent years have yielded some very promising results showing all sorts of powerful health benefits from intermittent fasting which the scientific and medical communities are increasingly recognizing:
• It helps your body repair itself: the fasted state triggers your body’s cellular repair processes such as autophagy, which is your body’s way of eliminating damaged cells and regenerating newer, healthier ones

• It can help your body fight disease, inflammation, and maybe even cancer s: studies show that fasting helps the systems in the body work to maximum efficiency (homeostasis), protects healthy cells from harmful metabolic conditions. It may help ward off inflammation and harmful free radicals that cause many chronic diseases. It decreases the incidence of cancer-causing carcinogens and could even slow tumour growth .

• It reduces the risk of heart disease: One 8-week study found that intermittent fasting reduced harmful high blood pressure by 6%, high LDL cholesterol by 25%, and high triglyceride concentrations by 32%, all of which are the top risk factors for heart disease.

• It helps reduce some of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes by reducing insulin resistance, insulin levels, and high blood sugar levels.

Ready, Set, Go! Your step-by-step guide to getting started on Intermittent Fasting

  • Research, research, research: Before you jump right in, invest a good amount of time in research.  Read about the different intermittent fasting protocols, what results and benefits other people have gotten from it, lessons they’ve learned, how intermittent fasting affects your body, mind, life, etc. Going into it armed and ready will make it easier for you to weather the transition period.
  • Set your goals: Consider what your goals are: Do you want to lose weight? Improve your health? Clean up your diet a little.
  • Know Your WHY: Dig deeper to find your motivation. How is your health or weight affecting your life? What is it preventing you from doing? How would your life be impacted if you achieved your results? When you articulate both a rational and deeply personal emotional WHY statement that you can refer to during tough times, you will find the motivation to keep going.
  • Pick your plan: Choose the one that fits your life and your goals. The great thing about intermittent fasting is that you can completely tailor it to your schedule and your lifestyle. If you like to wake up and work out early in the morning, than you can begin your eating window mid-morning and have your last meal around 4:00 pm. If you want to have dinner with your family, then it makes more sense to start around mid-day.  Or you can choose to incorporate a single 24-hour fasting day into your weekly routine.
  • Prepare yourself mentally: Expect some discomfort at first. Yes, you will be hungry in the first few days. Yes, you might feel a bit light-headed and weak. But it will pass. Moreover, your body will adapt to this new schedule quicker than you think. Ever wonder why your stomach starts growling as your regular meal time approaches? That’s because your body is used to a rhythm. It will adapt to this one too.
  • Ease into it, experiment and adapt: If you’ve never done a fast, ease into it with the crescendo method. The best way to start is to try to extend your overnight fast to 10, then 12, 14 and 16 hours. Experiment until you figure out what works for you: e.i. what you can tolerate, and what works with your schedule, lifestyle, and goals. Adapt as needed. There is no one-size-fits-all. Get creative!  It might take you a couple of tries until you can complete a 24-hour fast, but anything over 12 hours is a small win.
  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate to Mitigate Hunger: The best way to mitigate hunger is to drink lots, and I mean LOTS, of water. Water keeps you feeling full. In fact, you can drink water, coffee, tea, and other non-caloric beverages. Do not add sugar to your coffee. Small amounts of milk or cream may be okay. Coffee, in particular, can blunt hunger during a fast.
  • Eat well during the non-fasting periods: A calorie is a calorie even during fasting. You may not experience the same weight loss and health benefits if you eat huge amounts of unhealthy, high-calorie foods during the non-fasting periods,.

Consult your doctor before starting Intermittent fasting if you have any of these conditions:

 diabetes, problems with blood sugar regulation, low blood pressure, take medication for chronic illnesses, are underweight, have a history of eating disorders, are a woman trying to conceive, with a history of amenorrhea, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Be kind to yourself: This is a big change, in mindset and eating habits. Give yourself time to adjust and cut yourself some slack if you slip up.

  • Conclusion:  

    The best reason to try intermittent fasting is that it is much easier to implement than traditional low-calorie diets, produces superior results, and much easier to adopt as a lifestyle change. That’s because it doesn’t require you to give up any foods (unless you go turbo with the keto), and there are no complicated calorie or nutrient calculations. Mostly, whichever method you choose, you can completely adapt it to fit your lifestyle and schedule.

  • Even if you choose to only skip a couple of meals per week, you can still get some of the weight loss and health benefits from intermittent fasting. Who knows, like so many IF fans worldwide, you may finally find the one “diet” you can actually do for the rest of your life.