How to lose weight by Intermittent Fasting Results

Intermittent Fasting Results
Credit: @sumayakazi

 

Thanks to intermittent fasting, in seven and a half months, I lost about:

  • 22 kg
  • 10.5% body fat
  • 100 centimeters of the waist

I owe these results entirely to intermittent fasting since, in the first months, I could not even exercise due to a foot fracture.

After college, I was in the "overweight" category for at least five years ( due to bad habits, too much traveling, and eating out), before switching to the next category, "obese," where I stayed for another five years (thanks to the onset of stress, working late and traveling).

And now, according to my BMI, I am finally in the normal weight category.

I have tried everything from Jenny Craig (considered in America a weight loss guru) to going to the gym 4-5 times a week to preparing my meals weekly.

I won't say that I didn't get results with these attempts. I even saw some progress, but I couldn't keep a routine, and then I got into the "accordion effect" (lose weight - gain weight - lose weight...).

Intermittent fasting was the most straightforward way I found to improve my health and the easiest way to keep a rhythm by incorporating it into my routine.

This is a simple guide to how I adopted intermittent fasting into my routine.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting has been around for thousands of years and is often practiced by religions and used by doctors.

Many studies prove the benefits of fasting. Among them are:

  • Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reducing cholesterol levels
  • Increasing the body's resistance to oxidative stress (which is linked to aging and many chronic diseases)
  • Reduce inflammation (essential for preventing common diseases);
  • And... weight loss!

The weight loss benefit is what sparked my interest in intermittent fasting.

As with most weight loss approaches, the goal is to reduce calories without malnutrition. However, intermittent fasting focuses on when to eat and when not to eat.

There are several types of intermittent fasting, but I will only share the style I used in this quick guide.

What You Need to Know Before Starting Intermittent Fasting

I know many are eager to start right away, but intermittent fasting is not for everyone.

The fasting practice is not recommended for:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women who are breastfeeding
  • People with diabetes or other people need to regulate their blood sugar frequently

In addition, there has been no conclusive research with participants who are underweight, ancient, or very young (under 18), and these people are at greater risk of experiencing the negative consequences of intermittent fasting.

So please, before you start:

See a doctor: Talk about your interest in intermittent fasting. Make sure it's okay for you to fast.

 Research intermittent fasting: Learn beyond what I will share here. See if there is a different style of intermittent fasting that is more suitable for you and your needs. 

While there is a lot of research on the benefits of fasting, also try to be aware of the potential negatives of fasting, which can affect sleep, alertness, cognitive-motor performance, mood, and even evidence of eating disorders.

 Watch the BBC documentary "Eat, Fast, Live Longer": If you want to understand how a full day of fasting works. 

The documentary focuses on a specific style called "alternate day fasting." It was this documentary that helped me decide to make intermittent fasting a lifestyle.

Measures and Tools to Track (And Motivate) Weight Loss

Here are some tips that have helped me along the journey.

Balance Scale:

I use the "Weight Gurus" digital scale that has a smartphone connection. It measures weight, body fat, muscle mass, and more. A simple digital scale will also do.

Weight Loss Tracking App:

I love the Happy Scale app. It shows you how your weight loss is going, allows you to break down your weight loss into goals and even small, achievable goals, and can predict based on your current rate of weight loss when it will be possible to reach your goals and more.

Intermittent Fasting Results
Credit: @sumayakazi

The two items above are the most useful, and my friends and I use them daily.

The following items are different things I use to measure "success," but they are not things you necessarily need to do or postpone starting your fasting practice for.

I love data, so I chose to record a few more things:

Visual Progress:

Take pictures of the beginning. It can be uncomfortable, especially now that you are starting, but you will be grateful for them later.

Measurements:

I also chose to take measurements with a tape measure. I took the measurements when I started and then repeated the process every four weeks or so. Sometimes the scale doesn't show all your progress.

Calorie App:

I use the MyFitnessPal app to track my calories in "meal windows," but I don't use it all the time. I only use it to get a sense of how much I am eating and make sure I am eating enough.

Detailed Spreadsheet:

I created a spreadsheet where I lay out all of the above to track daily and weekly trends and help me figure out how to improve my intermittent fasting experience.

My Style of Intermittent Fasting: The 4:3

I have adopted what they call the 4:3 style of intermittent fasting. This means that I eat four days during the week and fast three non-consecutive days.

My weekly 4:3 schedule looks like this:

 Sunday: meal window. I usually eat all day and start my fast at 9 pm (this means I stop eating or drinking anything with calories).

 Monday: fasting day. I only drink coffee, tea, non-calorie drinks, and water (sparkling and flavored water has been excellent during fasting). I add a little cream to my coffee, and those are the only calories I consume on a fasting day. If I feel hungry during the fast, I drink a bottle or can of sparkling water, which helps me get through the day.

 Tuesday: Meal window. I end the fast at 9 am. I eat my meals for the day as usual. The total calories I eat is my entire daily energy expenditure range (I use this tool to calculate my TDEE). I start my fast again at 9 pm.

 Wednesday: fasting day. Same as Monday.

 Thursday: meal window. Same as Tuesday.

 Friday: short day. Same as Monday and Wednesday.

 Saturday: mealtime window. Same as Tuesday and Thursday.

 Sunday: Meal window. Same as Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

In Summary:

 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: fast day

 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: meal window.

Repeat week by week, and you will notice the difference.

I start my fast at 9 pm and end it two days later, at 9 am, these times can also be changed. Some of my friends prefer 7 am / 7 pm, others 8 am / 8 pm. You can adapt your schedules according to your routine.

I have found that 4:3 style fasts have worked well for my friends and me based on our work schedule, family life, and personal health goals.

I like this full-day fast because it works like an on/off switch - I don't think about eating on fast days, and on food days, if I overeat, I don't feel guilty about it (since I'm eating at a deficit during the week).

I find it easier to reduce calories over a week (using the 4:3 style of intermittent fasting) rather than every day (trying to eat less daily).

Tips for The First Two Weeks of Intermittent Fasting

The first two weeks may seem challenging as your body is trying to adjust, but fasting will become a habit once you get through it. Below are some tips.

On Fasting Days:

 Always have water around (incredibly sparkling water); it helps a lot. Tell friends, family, colleagues that you are trying intermittent fasting. You will be shocked how much people will support you.

 If you need "help" to get through a day of fasting, you can eat up to 500 calories without technically breaking the fast. These 500 calories can serve as a backup crutch to get you past the first few days of fasting. But after two weeks you should no longer need this.

 If, for some reason, you break your fast (and eat more than 500 calories), count the day as an eating day and eat the total calorie value of your day (your TDEE). Don't try to fast the next day and stick to your weekly schedule.

On Meal Days:

 I have found that eating plenty of protein, especially during my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, keeps me more satiated on my fasting days.

 It is essential to eat your entire days’ worth of calories since you are already eating a deficit on your fasting days. Don't skip meals or try to eat less.

Intermittent Fasting Support Network

Intermittent fasting can be challenging, especially at the start, so getting support early on is essential. I am lucky that my sister, brother, and good friends are all fasting with me now (which makes the lifestyle easier).

I encourage you to introduce intermittent fasting to a friend, family member, or colleague so you can try it together!

This article was originally published on Medium by Sumaya Kazi.