Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss
You might consider starting intermittent fasting for weight loss, but actually, there are other health benefits to fasting. As a Holistic Los Angeles Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist, I would like to discuss with you several tips on intermittent fasting and weight loss.
Topics and Highlights:
- Weight Loss and Anti-Aging
- Methods of Fasting
- A1C, Diabetes and Blood Sugar Benefits
- How to Start Intermittent Fasting
- When NOT to do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting Definition
What is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting are cycled periods of fasting and eating. There is no particular food you should be eating, but rather it is more about WHEN you should eat. Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but it is a pattern of eating. Fasting has been shown to improve the biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress as well as preserve learning and memory function.
According to Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, part of the US National Institutes of Health who states why fasting can provide physiological benefits, “The one that we’ve studied a lot, and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under mild stress,” he states.
Mild stress is not a bad thing if you think about working out and putting stressors on your muscles to build them. As long as you give the body enough time to recover, it will get stronger. Mattson further states, “There is a considerable similarity between how cells respond to the stress of exercise and how cells respond to intermittent fasting.”
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
One of the many health benefits of intermittent fasting includes your hormones. Your body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible.
- HGH (Human Growth Hormone) – Intermittent fasting causes HGH levels to increase, which help in fat loss and muscle gain.
- Insulin Sensitivity – Intermittent fasting improves insulin sensitivity by decreasing insulin levels, which then make stored body fat more accessible.
A1C, Diabetes and Blood Sugar Benefits
- A1C is the measurement amount of hemoglobin in the blood that has glucose attached to it.
- If the amount of glucose is normal, your A1C will also be normal.
- The A1C test is used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and provides an average of blood sugar readings for the prior three months.
- Intermittent fasting can help lower A1C levels.
- Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce insulin requirements in type 2 diabetes.
- Regular monitoring is essential for those taking sulfonylureas, insulin, or both.
- Intermittent fasting has been shown to have a significant impact on insulin resistance and had a marked reduction in blood sugar levels.
- On fasting days, the body is forced to use stored up energy from the body, fat and stored sugar (glycogen), which can help with weight loss and may improve blood glucose (blood sugar) and cholesterol levels.
Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss: The Benefits
- The premise for intermittent fasting for weight loss is that it allows insulin levels to go down far enough and long enough that we burn off body fat.
- If you don’t eat for 10-16 hours, your body will have no other option but to go into the fat stores for energy.
- Intermittent fasting boosts hormone function, which facilitates weight loss. All of the following occurrences due to intermittent fasting increase the breakdown of body fat:
- Lower insulin levels
- Higher growth hormone levels
- Increased amounts of Norepinephrine (noradrenaline)
- Short-term fasting such as intermittent fasting increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, so you burn even more calories.
Intermittent Fasting and Working Out
While you are in the “fasting-state” your body has used up its stored carbs (glycogen) and will be relying mostly on stored fat for energy. Exercising in the fasting-state will require even more stored fat to be utilized for the energy needed for your workout.
When doing exercises such as interval training where you alternate between high and low intensity, you’ll be burning a substantial amount of fat during that training session. That, combined with intermittent fasting, will further increase fat oxidation. For more on fat oxidation or fat loss tips click here. For more on interval training or weight training see this blog: Part 2 – Strength Training and Weight Loss
For this tip, make sure you listen to your body. Intermittent fasting is not for everyone or that needs to be used on a daily basis. Some people train harder and have more energy when they eat and then workout compared to working out in the fasted state. For example, for myself, I can do intermittent fasting before cardio and interval training, but prefer not to do intermittent fasting before weight lifting. I feel stronger when I eat breakfast and then lift weights, but for cardio, I can exercise in a fasted state.
So the goal is to experiment and to see what works for you…
- Research has shown that as we age, the number of essential metabolites decrease, such as leucine, isoleucine, and ophthalmic acid and fasting boosts these vital metabolites.
- According to Dr. Takayuki Teruya, a professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, “These are very important metabolites for maintenance of muscle and antioxidant activity […]. This result suggests the possibility of a rejuvenating effect by fasting, which was not known until now.”
- Scientists believe that a hike in antioxidants could be a survival response which is triggered by intermittent fasting.
- Intermittent fasting increases the length of our telomeres, which protect the ends of our chromosomes much like the way the plastic casings protect the end of shoestrings.
- The length of our telomeres is vital as the shorter they are the shorter our lifespan.
- Also, eating the right amount of calories helps to keep your telomeres nice and long.
How to Start Intermittent Fasting
For a typical 12 to 15 hour fast, there are two ways to do this.
- Stop eating at 7 pm and start at 10 am or
- Stop eating at 9 pm and start at 12 pm
Each one is different. People that workout in the morning might do better with either one, and this probably depends on genetics and health factors. You’ll have to experiment. Some might do better with only doing intermittent fasting on the weekends, as this could be easier if you find it hard to do it during the week due to low energy, tiredness, or low blood sugar.
Also, you can experiment with how many days you do intermittent fasting. For days that you have a busy morning, you might do better with eating breakfast. Simply listen to your body, if you’re hungry, then eat breakfast.
The amount of days that you do intermittent fasting can vary from one day a week up to 7 days a week. Most importantly, find what works best for you.
“Stop eating at 7 pm and start at 10 am” – This tip may not work for people who have problems falling asleep or wake up at 3 or 4AM. They may need to eat a snack before bed to help them with sleep.
It’s important to note that intermittent fasting is not about under eating. Essentially, you would be eating the same amount of calories, but within a smaller window or time frame. For example, if you are a female on a 1500 calories diet, if you use intermittent fasting, you would eat the same amount of calories but within a shorter window. You want to make sure you’re not starving your body. For more on metabolism and eating the right amount of calories, please refer to this blog: Part 1 – Metabolism and Weight Loss
When You Should NOT do Intermittent Fasting
- If you feel dizzy
- If you have low blood sugar issues
- If it makes you feel tired or if you have sleep issues
- Low blood sugar during sleep can cause an adrenaline and cortisol spike to raise blood sugar usually happening around 3 or 4 am. So, a long period without eating might not work for you. You might need a snack before bed if you’re having issues with sleep.
- Don’t under eat, refer to thyroid and calories article – part 1 – Part 1 – Metabolism and Weight Loss. You will be eating the same amount of calories to lose weight, but have a shorter window to eat.
- If you take medication for high blood pressure or heart disease, you should consult with your doctor first.
Intermittent fasting has an abundance of health benefits, and if done correctly, can help you lose weight as well as look and feel great! Listen to your body, and make sure you consult with your doctor before incorporating any dietary change, especially if you are currently taking prescribed medication.
Incorporating healthy food choices during the non-fasting phase is vital, so make wise decisions. I incorporate a holistic approach in my program so, for a jump-start, you can get my 8-week health and body makeover where you can learn how to make the necessary changes to lose weight and feel great.
Contact me today, and get started on a healthy workout and diet plan to help make 2019 the year you made yourself fit and fabulous!
WEIGHT LOSS IS THE #1 HEALTH GOAL IN AMERICA
Weight Loss is the #1 Health Goal in America. And, there is a strong correlation between belly fat or a large belly and degenerative disease. Whether you want to look great naked or simply just want to live longer, getting leaner and healthier has to be one of your priorities in life. If you interested in learning more about getting lean and healthy, please check out my 10 part series on the science of weight loss.