If you’ve ever tried to diet, you know that in the long run, dieting does not work. Research shows that "you can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on a number of diets” but ultimately the weight not only comes back, but people tend to gain more. If you find yourself stuck in the cycle of dieting, losing weight and then gaining it back, it might be time to change your approach.
Instead of trying a new diet, another option to lose weight is intermittent or time-restricted fasting. The practice of fasting has been around for thousands of years within various cultures, but intermittent fasting is a slightly different take on the fasting you might be familiar with.
Intermittent fasting (or IF) is a type of eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and periods of overnight fasting. Eating typically happens during an 8-10 hour window of your choice to suit your schedule. Fasting usually occurs between dinner and breakfast the next day- for example, eating dinner at 6 pm and then fasting until 11:00 am the next day.
So now that you understand a little bit more about what intermittent fasting is, what are the benefits and why should you try to implement this type of eating pattern?
For starters, intermittent fasting can help promote weight loss and boost your metabolism. One study found that intermittent fasting for 3-12 weeks was effective for weight loss and can decrease body weight and fat mass up to 16% and that intermittent fasting was a more effective weight loss strategy than simply restricting calories.
Other benefits of IF include improved mental clarity and concentration, lowered blood insulin and sugar levels, prevention of type 2 diabetes, increased energy, increased fat burning and reduction of inflammation in your body.
So, how does intermittent fasting work to help burn off your excess body fat? Studies have shown that fasting allows your body to metabolize excess body fat for energy by tapping into that stored fat during fasting periods, as opposed to your body using muscle mass for energy.
Although there are various ways to utilize IF, we suggest trying the 16/8 method which means fasting for 16 hours each day, and having an eating window of about 8-10 hours at a time. This type of IF is a good place to start for beginners, and those who are interested in IF but don’t want to fast for days at a time! Give this a try, and see if it works for you!