If you struggle with extra weight, you know how hard it can be to get back in top shape. We often hear different tips and tricks for weight loss, but not everything works. Our bodies are different, and therefore some diets work better than others. The truth is, every well-planned eating pattern will have some effect if you stick to it long enough. The same goes for intermittent fasting. As a trending diet, this eating plan provides some of the best results for a short amount of time. Still, even with the best recommendations, we wonder how long does it take for intermittent fasting to work? To help you find out, here is everything you need to know about this particular dietary regimen.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Unlike other diets that focus on what you eat, intermittent fasting is more about when you eat. It is an eating pattern where intervals of fasting and eating take turns. Usually, the standard is to have 16 hours of fasting, during which only water and beverages without calories are allowed. This diet has a couple of variants where the most common are:
- 16/8 – 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating,
- 5:2 – a mild version of intermittent fasting where you eat normally five days a week, and then fast for two days by consuming only 500-600 calories,
- alternate day skipping – this regimen implements fasting every other day,
- eat, stop, eat – includes fasting for 24h once or twice per week,
- the warrior diet – this dietary plan includes eating a small number of raw vegetables and fruits during the day, allowing only one protein meal during the night.
Each of these is recommended for different body types. Still, the 16/8 method is most commonly used and probably easiest to keep track of.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
The concept is based on reducing the eating window to eight hours, where we would lower the insulin levels and accelerate weight loss. Instead of having multiple meals a day, a limited number of calories is consumed so your body could burn calories faster. For centuries, our bodies have been evolving and adapting to changes. As the perfect nature’s machine, the body’s survival mechanism accumulates fat in case we run out of food. That fat is being burned through the fasting period.
Best Ways to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting
Jumpstarting a healthy change in your life always starts with a single most significant step – determination. Before you choose the best type of diet for you, make sure to research each of them so you’d know what’s ahead of you. It’s going to be a bumpy road, but working on ourselves should always be our priority. If you’re a beginner to this eating pattern, we’d recommend going with the 16/8 method. In this case, first, you need to decide on your 8 hours eating window. Usually, people go with 9 to 5, but you can choose whatever works for you best. It’s ok to experiment with the timeframe in the beginning, but once you’ve found the right one, stick to it. This diet is all about consistency. Start gradually, to adapt to this life change more easily.
What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Usually, when going through complex dietary regimens, we have a hard time focusing and being persistent. However, we must realize the benefits of intermittent fasting. Like every hardcore routine, there are good and bad sides to this practice. Still, there are more pros than cons. Our bodies and minds also thrive during the process. This diet doesn’t only improve physical performance, heart health, skin, and prevents diabetes, but it also boosts our working and verbal memory!
Type of Foods that Work Best with Intermittent Fasting
Even though this eating pattern focuses on time instead of ingredients, it’s important to emphasize that paying attention to what you eat during this process will speed up weight loss and give better results. During the fasting period, only water and zero calory beverages like green tea and coffee are allowed. As for the eating window, there are no restrictions when it comes to the type of food. Still, it’s recommendable to avoid junk and high-calorie food. Healthy meals with lots of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and fats are always a good choice.
Intermittent Fasting Results and Weight Loss
The best thing about this diet is that it gives first results after only 24h. First, it removes the bloating we often experience as a consequence of poor dietary habits. Then, after only a couple of days, we will gain an increase in energy. These are all excellent beginner steps, but we are not going to lie. Every significant change of habit is challenging, so you will have to be persistent. It will take at least a week to reduce sugar cravings and jumpstart more consistent bowel movements. After a month, you’ll lose a couple of pounds, but it will all depend on the strictness of your diet regimen and weight.
Other Intermittent Fasting Results
Starting this eating pattern, you will notice a significant change in your life. Intermittent fasting will cut down the amount of money and time you spend preparing food. Also, this new diet will improve your overall health. In the modern age of unhealthy foods and stress lurking around every corner, almost every person faces issues with insulin at some point in their life. Intermittent fasting can lower insulin levels by 30%! This will decrease the risk of diabetes and reduce blood sugar by approximately 5%.
Reasons Why Intermittent Fasting Can Give Slow Results
The reason why this diet has the best results is its flexibility. Unlike other dietary patterns, you can choose when and what you want to eat. However, this flexibility can be a two-edged sword. People can forget that such freedom in deciding what to eat is there to help them adapt to changes faster. Continuing to consume unhealthy food will hardly get you anywhere.
On the contrary, subconsciously, you might want to eat more during the 8-hour window, which may lead to gaining weight instead. This can also cause you to develop poor eating habits and digestive problems.
How to Maximize the Effects of Intermittent Fasting?
To achieve the desired weight loss most efficiently, we need to work on other factors that will help us get there easier. To maximize the health benefits of your diet, stick to nutrient-rich food and beverages. This will significantly increase your chances of success and help you see results sooner. But like with any other diet, there is no better way to maximize the effects than by doing some exercises. Choosing the right daily workout will help you burn calories faster and improve your energy levels.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Everyone who Wants to Lose Weight?
No matter the reasons you want to try out this method, it’s essential to know that not every diet is for everyone. Before embarking on such a change, it’s vital to check with your primary care practitioner for symptoms of diabetes, blood sugar problems, eating disorders, or pregnancy. People with these conditions should avoid intermittent fasting. But also, even if you don’t have any health issues, make sure to take it slow until you find the best weight losing pace for your metabolism. Some people may experience short-term side effects when getting started, like fatigue, weakness, and hunger. This is all normal, but it will take some time to adjust your organism to a healthy change.
Intermittent fasting is one of the most efficient diets nowadays. It is a sustainable eating pattern that helps us lose weight naturally. Like with any other diet, to succeed, you will need to look at the bigger picture. A lifestyle change, like starting a healthy morning routine, exercising, sleeping more, is imperative. If you are one of the lucky ones, you may notice some changes after only a week or two, but keep in mind that significant results usually show after eight weeks. Therefore, arm yourself with patience and positive thinking. It will not be easy, but seeing the energy increase and other positive effects this diet has on you will help you stick to your goal of becoming the healthiest version of yourself.
Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in medicine and currently pursuing a house job at a well reputed hospital in California, I decided to utilize my spare time in sharing knowledge with others through my blog. Apart from my time spent in the medical field, I love to read fiction novels and go on long drives.