Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work?


One of my clients lost about 30 pounds and kept it off.


She did so by reducing her portion sizes and practicing Intermittent Fasting.


“I just don’t eat until 1:00 in the afternoon,” she said. “I don’t get hungry and when it is time for lunch, I eat.”


For her, it was a no-brainer. She didn’t wake up hungry and had no problem going all morning without eating. When lunch time rolled around, she ate but didn’t find herself binging or struggling to control how much she ate.


In this situation, for this individual, Intermittent Fasting was a fantastic weight loss tool.

Another client wakes up starving. She likes to workout in the morning and finds herself hungry and shaky if she doesn’t eat. By mid-morning, she’s headed for the first high-sugar snack she can find because she’s crashing, and at lunch she overeats because she’s so hungry she’s lost her natural satiety cues.


For this individual, Intermittent Fasting is a disaster.


When new dietary trends emerge they are often touted as the “secret” or magic pill for losing weight and keeping it off. Intermittent Fasting has come on the scene and is being promoted by a number of celebrities and health and wellness figures.


So what exactly IS intermittent fasting??


Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.


It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.


There are several different ways of doing intermittent fasting — all of which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods.


During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.


These are the most popular methods:

  • The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.

  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.

  • The 5:2 diet: With this methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

By reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss as long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.


Many people find the 16/8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to. It’s also the most popular.


The research shows some benefit to Intermittent Fasting, however we forget that most people practice IF every night when they sleep. If you eat dinner at 7:00 p.m. and don’t eat again until breakfast at 7:00 a.m., you’ve practiced a 12 hour fast.


For many people, this is enough to get the benefits found in research.


Fasting has been shown to have a sometimes negative effect on women specifically, as going without food can spike cortisol and send our hormones on a tailspin.


Some individuals are going to be more sensitive to this response than others.


My advice to anyone who asks about fasting is this: if you find it easier and less stressful to skip breakfast and not have to think about food until lunch and you do not overeat or make poor dietary choices due to being overly hungry, fasting may be a great tool for you.


If you wake up hungry, will find yourself white-knuckling your way through a fast and are likely to eat more or lack willpower because of the fast, then it is not going to be successful for you.


The only “diet” which will work for you is the one you can do consistently.


Anything that adds stress to your life or make you feel or perform poorly is not going to be sustainable and therefore, doesn’t work for you.


So does Intermittent Fasting work for weight loss?


Yes.


And also, no.


If it makes sense for you, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. You HAVE to find a system that works for you personally, and a system that YOU can enjoy and convert into a lifestyle.


If it's not maintainable, its not realistic.


That’s really all you need to know.


Until next time,


Britt



Train with Britt, 1:1 Coaching

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