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How to Use Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

Published March 05, 2019 (Revised: August 13, 2019)
<article> <section> <p>If you’re looking to lose weight, you’ve probably got some questions about intermittent fasting. Fasting in general can sound scary to a lot of people. Nobody likes going extended periods of time without eating. That’s when you skip breakfast and have to dodge cravings all day and struggle through fatigue and mood swings, right? Not necessarily. In fact, we’re going to discuss the ins and outs of how you can use intermittent fasting for weight loss… get ready for fasting 101.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What is Intermittent Fasting?</header> <p><i>Intermittent fasting</i> is a weight loss technique where you limit your hours of eating in cycles on alternate days. There are different intermittent fasting methods, but they all utilize an alternating cycle of fasting and eating windows. Intermittent fasting has proven to be a very useful tool in weight loss; some studies show that people can lose 3 to 8 percent of their body fat in less than a month<sup>1</sup>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Using Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="woman-waking-up-in-bed-0097"> </picture> <p>Traditionally, when we think of weight loss, we think of calorie restriction. Who hasn’t heard the age-old logic of <em>calories in versus calories out</em> in order to lose weight? But in actuality, limiting calories has proven to be far less effective in managing weight loss than intermittent fasting, in both the short and long term<sup>2</sup>.</p> <p>How does this happen? Well, it all relates to your hormones. You see, when you cut calories the body produces high levels of the stress hormone <i>cortisol</i>. Cortisol signals your body to hold onto fat as a means of survival if it sticks around for too long, creating <i>chronic stress</i>. If you’re not eating enough food, your body assumes you are in a world without food. When you fast intermittently, your body still produces cortisol during your fasting windows. But because the fast is intermittent, the hormone cortisol doesn’t stick around, this mimics <i>acute stress</i>, to which the body responds positively with weight loss.</p> <p>Cortisol isn’t the only hormone that intermittent fasting helps to regulate. Along with your main stress hormone, intermittent fasting also helps to regulate <i>norepinephrine</i>, growth hormones, and even insulin levels. In fact, people who use apply intermittent fasting to their eating habits can see a 20 to 30 percent improvement in their insulin levels<sup>3</sup>.</p> <p>Intermittent fasting also preserves muscle mass far better than cutting calories. In calorie restriction diets, the body scrambles for energy sources so desperately that it will break down your muscle tissue to provide itself fuel. Intermittent fasting forces your body to do the opposite by raising your <i>ketone levels</i>. <i>Ketones</i> are the energy source our bodies use when we eat more fats and less sugars, and ketones are known for their ability to preserve muscle mass.</p> <p>So why not fast for a long time then and really go big? Well, long-term fasting for more than three weeks has actually been proven to really hurt your metabolism<sup>4</sup>, sometimes to an irreversible point, while short-term fasting, on the other hand, has been shown to increase people’s metabolisms by up to 14 percent<sup>5</sup>. Changing up the amount of calories you’re eating keeps your body guessing, so it doesn’t have time to put up defenses and hold on to your body’s reserves of energy (fat)-instead, you lose weight!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Health Benefits Outside of Losing Weight</header> <p>Intermittent fasting is not only handy to help people lose weight, there are many more health benefits. For example, did you know that intermittent fasting can help your body heal from disease? It’s true! It happens because of something called <i>autophagy</i>, which literally translates to the body eating itself. This can sound even scarier than fasting did before we started this discussion, but your body is smart. When it undergoes autophagy, it doesn’t eat healthy cells or tissues, it eats the damaged or sick stuff that is detrimental to your health.</p> <p>Intermittent fasting gives your body a break from constantly having to digest food. Digesting the food you eat requires a lot of energy, and sometimes the body needs a break so it can invest that energy into cleaning house and repairing your health. The state of autophagy promotes good health because it clears out the gunk that builds up, all the damaged cells and sickly tissues, so that new health cells and tissues can take over<sup>6, 7</sup>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Best Method of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="small-clock-in-hand-0097"> </picture> <p>There are a few different methods of intermittent fasting, but as we recommend in our 14-Day Diet Protocol the best method for any busy lifestyle is to devote one day to fasting every two weeks. In our protocol we also recommend taking a cheat day and eating a keto diet for the rest of the two weeks, you can find out more about that <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">here!</a></p> <p>The most commonly referenced intermittent fasting method is the <i>16/8</i> rule, where people eat within an eight-hour eating window and fast the rest of the day, usually overnight. However, we here at Warrior Made don’t recommend this method for two reasons.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="empty-plate-sad-face-0097"> </picture> <ol> <li>We don’t think this method is easy to keep up with. You are busy! Do you really want to keep after the clock all day just to know if you can eat something? Of course not! That’s very stressful! Instead, spend one day fasting every two weeks. This way you have almost two weeks to set up your fast day for success!</li> <li>We find fasting once every two weeks brings more success than the 16/8 rule. This is due in part to its ease on your schedule, but also because it really drives home all of the benefits of fasting that we talked about earlier. The benefits like the balancing out of your hormones, the autophagy and repair, and weight loss take time to take full effect, they don’t all happen in a quick little window. By fasting for an entire day, you are ensuring that you will get all of the health benefits that you are after.</li> </ol> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>How to Fast</header> <p>We’ve compiled an easy list of the dos and don’ts of intermittent fasting to help you get a healthy start.</p> <p>DO drink lots of water! On average, it’s recommended that people drink about half their weight (measured in pounds) in ounces. So a two-hundred pound person should drink at least one hundred ounces of water each day. When you are fasting, you should aim for three-fourths of your body weight, so that same two-hundred-pound person should consume around one-hundred-and-fifty ounces of water a day.</p> <p>Getting enough water is important for two reasons. The first being that on a normal day, you are getting a big portion of your hydration from the food you’re eating. When you fast, you lose out on that hydration source, so you have to be mindful to pick up the slack. Second, as autophagy occurs, your body needs water in order to flush out the gunk it gathers up. When people get sick, the two things that are always recommended is to get rest and water; the same principle applies to your day without eating!</p> <p>DON’T drink artificial beverages. In fact, it’s best to steer clear of entirely all artificial foods and drinks before and after a fast. One of the great benefits of intermittent fasting, the autophagy, is that the body is cleaning itself out and trying to run more efficiently. If you drink artificially flavored water, then you are giving your body more gunk to clear out. What your body really wants during a fast is pure H2O; it doesn’t need anything else!</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="food-on-cutting-board-0097"> </picture> <p>DO eat nutritionally dense food groups straddling your fast. Another key benefit of intermittent fasting is how it affects your stress-hormone, cortisol. When it comes to eating, your cortisol levels are trained to react to starvation and famine. When we eat nutritionally dense meals, we are providing our bodies with a massive flush of key <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">micronutrients</a>, telling the stress hormone that we are living in a time of abundance. The more we can get our cortisol levels to relax before and after fasting, the more work your metabolism has to do to keep up with the quick and drastic change in your diet-and a hard working metabolism leads to fat loss.</p> <p>Another reason you should be eating nutritionally dense foods around a fast is because you won’t be eating or have not been eating. Before a fast, it’s wise to stock up on <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">micronutrients</a> that you won’t be getting once your short-term fast starts. And after a fast, you need to make up for all of the nutrients your body used up during the fast. Eating nutrient-dense foods in your eating window and elsewhere is the best way to give your body all of the resources it needs to sustain a fast and to recover from not eating.</p> <p>With these simple dos and don’ts under your belt, and full understanding of the process your body will be undergoing, you can rest easy that a day without eating can be a breeze! Alongside the knowledge provided in our Warrior Made Membership 14 Day Diet Protocol, you can really kick your weight loss into high gear by only fasting for one day every two weeks. We here at Warrior Made want to support you on this leg of your health journey so it can be as uplifting and successful as possible.</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health.</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Metabolic adaptation to caloric restriction and subsequent refeeding</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">An overview of autophagy</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Autophagy in health and disease</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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