What is Intermittent Fasting?: A Reminder
Intermittent fasting is a globally popular nutrition system. Its fame has now spread beyond the boundaries of Hollywood, for its numerous health benefits as well as the bonus benefits of weight loss and weight control.
There are two different periods in intermittent fasting: the eating period, during which you eat your meals, and the fasting period, when you only consume zero-calorie beverages.
What happens to your body when you fast?
After you have your last meal of the day and start your fast:
1. Digestion begins:
After you have your last meal, your body starts to digest the food you ate. This is the anabolic (growth) stage of your body.
Carbohydrates, protein, and fats are broken down into glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids to be used for energy and muscle building, or stored for later use.
2. After 4 hours of fasting:
Your body enters the catabolic (breakdown) phase, which means your body starts to use the stored nutrients for energy.
Glucose is your body’s first choice. When the body runs out of glucose, it starts to consume glycogen (the stored form of glucose) to keep your energy at normal levels.
3. After 12 hours of fasting:
Your body enters the long-awaited fat-burning phase, because by now you have run out of your glycogen stores.
The fat burning stage continues until you have been fasting for 18 hours.
In other words, staying hungry for at least 12 hours or more is key for losing weight, as you lose your excess body fat during this stage of fasting.
If you’re following a fasting plan that has a fasting window longer than 12 hours, such as the 14/10, 16/8, 18/6, or 20/4 plans, you burn fat and begin to lose weight! (1)
4. After 18 hours of fasting:
Your body has already started using fat as its main energy source, but as fasting continues, the body starts to transform fatty acids into small particles, called ketones or ketone bodies, in the liver to produce an alternative energy source, because fatty acids are too big to cross the blood-brain barrier. This way they can reach every cell in your body.
How does fasting boost weight loss?
- Apart from its fat-burning function, fasting reduces the daily eating window and therefore decreases your daily calorie intake. This naturally results in weight loss.
- Fasting also reduces levels of insulin (the hormone that decreases blood sugar levels and makes you feel hungry). You crave less sugary food and feel full for a longer period, which makes it easier for the body to use stored fat.
- Your stomach starts to feel full faster as your body adapts to fasting because you secrete a hormone called leptin more quickly. Leptin is the satiety hormone, which controls your appetite. You also secrete less ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and therefore have fewer cravings.
Fasting Weight Loss Results
Most traditional diets lead to the yo-yo effect, which simply means regaining weight after a diet and being in a never-ending dieting cycle.
With intermittent fasting, you can have your favorite hamburger or pasta and still lose weight – and there’s no yo-yo effect.
Although every individual’s physiology is unique, most people start to lose weight and see a difference in their bodies in the first few weeks.
The best part of losing weight with intermittent fasting is that you mostly preserve muscle mass if you combine fasting with light cardio exercises such as brisk walking. You can also try Fitness Kompanion’s bodyweight cardio exercises to boost weight loss.
Plus, fasting is a sustainable method that can easily become a lifestyle and can help you manage your weight for good. All you need is a suitable intermittent fasting plan for you.
Fasting Kompanion can help you find the most suitable plan for you, or can customize a new plan just for you. You can also pick a plan from our article: Intermittent Fasting Schedules for Weight Loss.
Whether your weight loss goal is a few pounds or around 20 pounds, intermittent fasting will make this journey easier for you.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The benefits of fasting aren’t limited to weight loss. Thanks to the break your digestive system is taking, your body starts to detox.
Your cells activate autophagy, where damaged and unnecessary components within the cells are broken down and consumed for energy.
Autophagy starts by the 14th hour of the fast. Fully-fledged autophagy starts after a 24-hour fasting period and peaks after 48 hours of fasting.
You can get more autophagy benefits with longer fasting periods. But you should bear in mind that this is a very advanced version of intermittent fasting.
- Reduces loose skin.
- Enhances longevity.
- Protects you from serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Can sometimes be used to help in cancer treatment.
Fasting is a sustainable weight loss and health-boosting approach that can be adapted to almost every lifestyle. Simply re-organize when you eat your meals to see the difference in your body.
Bear in mind that it isn’t ideal to eat too much junk food even if you’re following an intermittent fasting plan.
Try to add healthy proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole carbs to your diet for a healthier fasting experience. You can check out our article Intermittent Fasting Diet Meal Plan for more information.