The Scoop on Intermittent Fasting and How it Can Benefit Your Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting is becoming a hot topic especially as it pertains to weight loss. Most people know that this type of intermittent fasting is based around the idea of reducing how many hours per day that you are eating. There is more to it than skipping breakfast or not eating past 7pm. In this blog we will take a deeper dive into the WHY behind this style of eating, and the HOW, in order to ensure you are receiving the most health benefits from this style of eating and whether or not it is a good fit for you.
What are the health benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
This can be a loaded question, because research is finding that it can support many different areas of health – ranging from inflammation, cognitive function, Diabetes, Heart Disease, hormone imbalance, and weight loss. Intermittent fasting and health is still a fairly new area of study and has only begun rising in interest within the last decade. Although the research is in its infancy the initial results show that intermittent fasting is quite valuable for weight loss and general health.
There are 2 pieces of information that stand out about intermittent fasting for weight loss:
- It helps maintain healthy, lean muscle mass – key for increasing your metabolic rate (how many calories you burn at rest) which increases fat loss.
- Helps to reduce your hunger which keeps you feeling full and satiated longer.
Lean muscle is a major player in efficiently burning calories, because it increases our baseline energy needs. So, while in a healthy caloric deficit to support weight loss, your body will more easily tap into those fat stores to nourish your body’s energy demands. To help put this into perspective, think back to a time where you started working out more regularly, maybe that is what you are doing now. Ever notice how hungry you started to get, and more often? Well this is part of that reason why!
Did you ever feel like that hunger you started to feel was getting out of hand, and just felt like it was overwhelming? Intermittent fasting can be a useful tool to help you reduce that hunger and find control while working towards your weight loss goals. Eating within a shorter time frame, but with slightly larger, less frequent meals can lead to higher satiety – feeling fuller, longer. So rather than eating small meals and snacks all day from 6am to 9pm, you eat from 10am to 6pm. Allowing you to focus on how you are building your meals (with less prep), and making sure they are higher in volume, and higher in nutrient density. So quality is just as much part of the equation as quantity.
Granted, this is not the end all be all of controlling your hunger and losing body fat – there are tons of evidence-based approaches to reach the same outcome. However, fasting is definitely a viable option that works for many people.
What does intermittent fasting actually look like?
Let’s start by describing the different time frames and frequencies, then some steps you can take to set realistic goals around giving this a try, by learning to go with your natural tendencies!
The most commonly practiced form of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 window. An 8-hour window to consume your meals, followed by 16 hours of fasting (which includes your sleep time of course). You can still fit 3 meals within an 8-hour window, and possibly just 2 with a snack. This can easily be done daily, and made part of an everyday lifestyle, or done cyclically (two to three days per week).
The two less common approaches of intermittent fasting are the 18:6 and 24-hour. These are used more so on the cyclic side, or sporadic side – meaning an 18:6 may be practiced every few days, instead of daily, while 24-hour fasts are used on occasion and for more specialized reasons.
Generally speaking, daily caloric budgets may need to be more closely monitored and tailored with these narrowed windows of eating and would be recommended to get proper guidance. If you’re not sure where to start that we would be honored to guide you on your health journey.
Action items to think through for yourself:
Here are some key questions to ask yourself before diving into trying one of these styles of intermittent fasting.
- When do I notice my hunger cues throughout the day currently?
- Do I usually skip dinner and get to bed early? Or do I tend to skip breakfast?
- Is meal planning and prep something I struggle to stick with because there are too many meals to plan and prep for?
- Have I tried what feels like everything for weight loss, but haven’t found anything sustainable?
If any of these questions have led you closer to thinking that intermittent fasting could be a good fit for you and your weight loss goals, that’s exciting! You could be one step closer to finding a sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off, but it can be nerve wracking too. We understand the challenges that come with weight loss, and how it can sometimes feel like it’s just another thing to try. Here at STRONGLIFE, we help our patients implement strategies for LONG-TERM success.
Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool that we frequently use with our physician supervised weight loss program at STRONGLIFE. If You have struggled with weight loss, then you are not alone. In our experience there is usually more to the problem than “eat less, move more”. Underlying health issues that frequently are missed in the medical system can create a roadblock to weight loss and improved health.
At STRONGLIFE Functional Medicine in Lithia, FL, Dr. Justin Scott can help you address any underlying issues, whether you realize they’re there or not, and improve your overall health
“I hope that you found these tips as valuable as my patients have over the years. If you’re interested in a patient-centered process that takes into account all aspects that affect your health, then I would encourage to visit our website at www.stronglifefunctionalmedicine.com to see how we help our patients improve their health and to find if you are a good candidate for a Functional Medicine approach.
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