Will Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight Safely & Healthily?

When most people think of intermittent fasting they usually just think that it means skipping a meal, most commonly breakfast. There are many ways to practice intermittent fasting and some might work better than others for different people. One schedule might be a better fit for someone while a different approach may work the best for another person's weight loss goals. The range in various intermittent fasting approaches spans from a few hours of withholding from all or most foods and beverages to going days without food intake through the mouth. Can intermittent fasting really help you lose weight, though?

Most medical professionals won't recommend long term fasting practices as there can be side effects and medical drawbacks, but short term intermittent fasting is becoming more and more widely accepted in the medical community as safe and effective.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Intermittent fasting is based on the idea that you can quickly lose weight or gain health benefits by merely withholding from eating for longer than normal time periods. The science behind intermittent fasting and weight loss is simple: after hours of fasting the body uses up its stored supply of sugars and begins to burn fat for energy. There is much more to it than that though! Recent studies have found that weight loss is just the beginning to uncovering the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

The Many Types Of Fasting For Weight Loss

It is important to check with your doctor or healthcare professional before starting fasting. Starting out with smaller periods of fasting to begin with is recommended. 

  • Daily Approach - This approach is a good starting point. People talk about how it’s easier to stick with, long term. You’ll be restricted to eating only one 6-8 hour period each day which means the other 16-18 hours you’ll be fasting. Within the eating window you can fit in as many meals as you can. It doesn't have to be any more difficult than halting your caloric intake after dinner in addition to skipping breakfast.
  • 5:2 Approach - Eating regularly five days a week and limiting caloric intake for the other two is the split you’ll want to follow here. Also known as the fast diet, this form of fasting will only allow for 500 calories per day for women and 600 for men on the two fasting days. 
  • Eat Stop Eat - Eating regularly again 5-6 days a week here, but instead of counting calories on those 1-2 fasting days you’ll actually be cutting out food all together. A popular way to go about this is eating dinner and then not eating again until dinner the next day. If dinner isn’t your main meal of the day you can implement this strategy with your choice of time to eat.
  • Alternate Day Fasting - Just like the name suggests, this method will restrict food intake every other day to 500-600 calories similar to the 5:2 approach. We wouldn’t recommend this one for beginners as it can be somewhat extreme and hard to stick with right off the bat.
  • Warrior Diet - You’re pretty much fasting all day long and then having a giant feast for dinner with this approach. Some fruits and veggies are acceptable to snack on during the day but only when the situation is dire. This is a very popular one because it allows a bit of wiggle room and looks something like a paleo diet when it comes to the actual food intake. It focuses on the actual foods being wholesome and unprocessed along with the fasting aspect as well.
  • Meal Skipping - When you’re not hungry or just don’t have time to cook, don’t eat. That's the genius behind this method as it’s definitely more spontaneous and doesn’t hold tight to a strict schedule. This is actually the basis behind the Retrain Phase of the Skinny Up!® protocol: the idea that you should eat when you're hungry and not eat when you're not hungry. 
  • Fasting is a part of our history and is still practiced in many religions around the world today

    A Brief History Behind Fasting

    One might think that because of it’s recent popularity, intermittent fasting is something new. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. It has actually been used as a medical practice since the 5th century when the great physician Hippocrates prescribed abstinence from food or drink as a cure for certain physical conditions. The physiological effects of fasting began to be studied in the early 19th century and studies began to take place on the side effects and benefits derived from fasting. As those benefits became more obvious, the practice of fasting for medical or health purposes was more and more widely used as time went on.

    Fasting And Religion

    The practice of fasting for religion started as a way for priests and priestesses to cleanse themselves as they attempted to get closer to gods or deities. Many times, after a fast, the god’s would approach mortals in dreams and reveal divine messages. In some cultures fasting was a way to appease an angered deity and was seen as a small sacrifice. This idea is seen more in modern religions before or during sacred holidays in order to reach a transcendent state.

    Are Modern Eating Habits Really Sustainable?

    Early humans relied on hunting and gathering for nourishment. As time went on, farming became common practice and people had more availability to more volume and different varieties of food, but for the most part, overeating was reserved for the elite, wealthy and royalty. 

    Over the past century, the eating habits of the world have changed dramatically. With the introduction to indoor lighting, easily accessible entertainment, social media, and the internet, people are up earlier and awake later. The modern man is also more likely to have a job inside with less outdoor activities and exercise. This translates into more time to sit at your desk working, streaming or gaming, and more availability to large portions of unhealthy food.

    Other Benefits From The Most Effective Intermittent Fasting Methods

  • Blood Sugar Control has been found to be a positive result from many forms of fasting. This is a big one if you’re at risk of diabetes. Fasting has shown to be effective at reducing insulin resistance which allows the body to transfer insulin more efficiently.
  • Fighting Inflammation is important in fighting chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Recent studies have found that fasting can decrease markers of inflammation.
  • Improving Blood Pressure is something that fasting may be able to do for you. Studies show that in obese adults, fasting can significantly decrease high, unhealthy blood pressure levels.
  • Cholesterol Levels and blood triglycerides can also be reduced to healthier levels with many forms of fasting.
  • Boosted Brain Function could also be a benefit of fasting. Research is sparse but in many animal studies brain function and brain structure are improved by intermittent fasting. Studies also suggest that fasting could protect against or improve outcomes for neurodegenerative orders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease.
  • Weight Loss is the most relevant topic of discussion for this blog and it definitely needs to be highlighted.
      • Reduced chance of heart disease
      • Joint relief
      • Increased lung capacity
      • Better sleep
      • Improved Mood

      A Beginners Guide To Fasting For Women Vs. Men

      Intermittent fasting is likely to affect women differently than men. It also may have different benefits for women than those found in fasting for men. Studies show that increased heart health and a decreased chance of diabetes are among the most substantial side effects of long term intermittent fasting. It is also likely to decrease appetite which makes maintaining a healthy weight more obtainable. After the fasting or dieting is halted or a break from the intermittent fasting is taken you can still reap the weight loss benefits from this period of decreased appetite.

      There is no “one size fits all” model that works for everyone so if one method just isn’t working, it’s ok to try another. Women are usually instructed to take a more relaxed approach to fasting than men, especially when starting out. This should likely include shorter periods of fasting or fewer days out of the week to fast. It is also beneficial to try and eat well when you are allowed to eat as this will aid in the weight loss process. 

      The 5:2 diet or a modified version of alternate day, (eating about a quarter of your normal intake during fasting days) work well for many women so those might be a good starting point. When it comes down to it though, the best approach is the most life-giving approach that can be incorporated into your life in the long-run.

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      Can Skinny Up!® Be Helpful While Intermittent Fasting?

      Skinny Up!® does recommend while you’re on our plan and protocol to stick with our food intake. Just like all these other methods, however, there isn’t a magic formula that works for everyone when it comes to losing weight. If you feel like you’ve gone through the full Skinny Up!® protocol and you could eat less or maybe just want to try something different, it’s ok to try one of these fasting methods to go along with taking the Skinny Up!® brand supplements. Don’t, however, stray away from the types of foods and vegetables we have recommended for you as they were specifically included to help in cutting weight quickly.

      For more information about how to follow our recommendations while also incorporating intermittent fasting, feel free to contact our team and we’ll be happy to help you in any way possible. Remember, try your best to achieve your weight loss goals and we guarantee that you’ll be happy with the results!*

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