Intermittent fasting for weight loss

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What is intermittent fasting for weight loss?

The main reason that intermittent fasting helps you lose weight is that it reduces your calorie intake. All of the different types of intermittent fasting involve skipping meals during the fasting periods. Unless you compensate by eating much more during the eating periods, you’ll be consuming fewer calories thus helping you in your goal of weight loss.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss cycles between brief periods of fasting, with either no food or eating very few calories, and periods of unrestricted eating. Intermittent fasting can change your body composition through loss of fat, and improve markers of health such as improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

The root of intermittent fasting for weight loss derives from traditional fasting, a universal ritual used for health or spiritual benefit as described in religious texts from antiquity. Fasting typically means you don’t eat food and beverages, ranging from 12 hours to one month. You may need to completely stop eating or allow a reduced amount of food and beverages.

If you don’t eat food or are on a low-calorie diet for long, your body goes through physiological changes that may cause the body to adapt to the condition and stop the further weight loss. Intermittent fasting for weight loss attempts to address this issue by cycling between a low-calorie level for a brief time followed by normal eating, which may prevent these adaptations. However, research has not confirmed that intermittent fasting is superior to continuous low-calorie diets for weight loss efficiently.

How does intermittent fasting for weight loss work?

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intermittent fasting for weight loss

Intermittent fasting for weight loss works by prolonging the period when your body has burned the calories you ate during your last meal and begins burning the stored fat tissues. It’s important to check with your doctor before starting intermittent fasting since if you are diabetic then fasting has an effect on spiking your blood sugar levels. However intermittent fasting can regulate your blood sugar if planned properly and help you in fighting against diabetes. 

Of the various intermittent fasting techniques, the most popular is fasting within a time window of about 16 hours. To start with the 16/8 intermittent fasting program, you only have to skip breakfast.

This fasting period ensures that the gut and digestive tract can rest after 8 hours of sleep (or before that) for further 8 hours a day.

Breakfast is only the most important meal of the day for the food industry. Since many people don’t have time to prepare food in the morning, highly processed products dominate breakfast. Which you skip if you do intermittent fasting with skipping breakfast option.

Different types of intermittent fasting

There are three types of intermittent fasting: 

  • Whole-day fasting 
  • Alternate-day fasting 
  • Time-restricted eating.

Whole-day fasting (5:2 diet)

For 1-2 non-consecutive days per week, you consume just 500 calories. The other five or six days a week, you can eat your normal diet.  You should obviously eat nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

The longer the fasts, the better. Since it is most beneficial for boosting your metabolic rate and fat burn. Since you have flexibility, you also have control over pairing heavy lifting days with regular eating and rest days with fasts.

Whole-day fasting is difficult and you’ll probably not be in a good mood because you’re going a full 24 hours without food.

Alternate-day fasting

Similar to the whole day fasting, for the first day, you consume water plus 500 calories, either in one meal or spread out over the day. For the second day, you eat your normal diet. Repeat the cycle every two days.

Every other day, you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight. A study found that people who ate their normal diet and didn’t track their calories but tried alternate-day fasting for one year lost 6% of their body weight. Which is roughly the same amount as people who restricted their calories for the same period of time.

Since the day when you are on 500 calories, you cannot do heavy lifting or HIIT sessions due to less fuel.

However, if you like routine but want the freedom to indulge regularly, one day on this might be a good choice.

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Intermittent fasting for weight loss

Time-restricted feeding

This is one of the most popular types of intermittent fasting. Every day you fast for 16-20 hours, drinking nothing but water or zero-calorie tea. Then you eat your normal diet for a four- to an eight-hour window, like 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. while most people opt for an eight-hour feed option.

Time-restricted eating is easier for adherence so you probably will continue it for longer periods. Also if you tend to get hungry, this one will keep you happier than other types of intermittent fasting.  A study found that if you consume all your calories within an 8 hour time window, and fast for the other 16, you will lose more fat while maintaining muscle mass over eight weeks compared to guys who ate normally.

What are some side effects of intermittent fasting?

  • Hunger and cravings. It may be no surprise that hunger is one of the most common side effects related to intermittent fasting.
  • Headaches and lightheadedness. When you do not plan well you may encounter headaches due to changes in blood sugar levels or cravings. 
  • Digestive issues. You need to be careful if you already have digestive issues since intermittent fasting affects your digestive system.
  • Irritability and other mood changes. 
  • Fatigue and low energy. 
  • Bad breath. 
  • Sleep disturbances. Since you need to follow strict diet regulations you may lose sleep.
  • Dehydration. You need to drink water at a regular interval.

Which intermittent fasting for weight loss is effective?

Meal skipping is likely to be most successful when individuals strategize to lose weight. Essentially, you will want to skip the meal when you are not hungry. While using this style of intermittent fasting you need to be mindful to eat a balanced diet when you compensate for the nutrients. This way of intermittent fasting is more natural for most people than the other fasting methods.

Can I eat fruits during intermittent fasting for weight loss?

While doing intermittent fasting it’s important to consume highly nutritious food. Fruits and vegetables are generally highly nutritious and packed with antioxidants that reduce the body’s oxidative stress. The fiber in vegetables and fruits helps your digestive system.

Can you exercise during intermittent fasting for weight loss?

Yes, it is completely fine to exercise while doing intermittent fasting because the key to weight loss and muscle gain is not just calories and exercise, but hormones are also important. Studies show amazing benefits to intermittent fasting alone, but combining fasting with exercise takes the benefits to the next level.

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Intermittent fasting for weight loss

Does intermittent fasting for weight loss balance hormones?

Intermittent Fasting can also help balance hormones, even it can release human growth hormone which is a key hormone if released naturally.  The study has found that intermittent fasting may help to improve hormonal balance. This can in turn help regulate your metabolism,  sleep, leave you feeling more energized, and help you effectively burn more calories.

How much weight can you lose in a month with intermittent fasting?

Between 2 to 6 kgs a month

You are expected to lose 2-6 kg of weight which can be regular since you tend to follow it for more than 6 months normally. So you tend to lose more weight in the long run. If you plateau for some reason you can maneuver your strategy to reach the goal.  


Intermittent fasting for weight loss is an easy way to lose weight without restricting calories. Many studies found that it can help you lose belly fat and is an effective means to lose weight. So what are you waiting for? Why not give it a try.

By John Gurung

A former software developer who is now a blogging enthusiast. A true digital nomad.

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