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How to improve energy and lose weight with intermittent fasting

Looking to lose weight and improve your energy levels? Intermittent fasting is a technique that can help you achieve both of these goals. Here are some tips to get you started.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner nor an expert in intermittent fasting. I’m just a regular guy who discovered an effective way to improve my own energy and lose some weight. So I’m sharing it here on my personal blog.

Fasting is an ancient practice, but it’s also been studied extensively in recent years by scientists worldwide.

This article will introduce intermittent fasting and explain why this diet works so well for many people who want to lose weight or increase their energy levels.

We’ll look at how it works, how much you should do, what foods are best during your fasts, and other strategies for success with this popular form of calorie restriction. ​

My intermittent fasting experiment – the results

Here’s a post that I shared on social media that details the experiment and what I observed:

As you can see, multiple factors led to me achieving these results. So it will be different for you and your specific body, situation, and lifestyle.

What is intermittent fasting, and how does it work

Intermittent fasting is a dietary plan that involves alternating between periods of eating and abstaining.

It takes advantage of the body’s natural hunger signals to help you safely lose weight without going hungry or giving up foods entirely like other diet plans require.

Intermittent fasting is an ancient practice, but it’s also been studied extensively in recent years by scientists worldwide.

What is the warrior diet?

Some folks may refer to intermittent fasting as the “warrior diet”. Here’s the background story.

In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of a group of people in northern Africa called the “Libyans.”

The Libyans ate only one large meal per day and fasted for 20 hours each day. This may be one of the earliest recorded instances of intermittent fasting from Western culture. ​

Fasting was introduced to ancient Hindu practices over 3,000 years ago.

Hindu religious texts contain instructions on when and what to eat during periods of fasting.

There’s also evidence that Buddhists have been practicing intermittent fasting for over 2,000 years. Fasting is a part of many Buddhist rituals, like doing a 24 hour fast before starting an important meditation or eating vegetarian.

Why should you consider intermittent fasting for weight loss

Fasting for weight loss is a growing trend in the health and fitness industry with many advocates, including several celebrities.

This plan works for everyone from busy professionals to homemakers, as long as it is paired with a sensible exercise program and healthy eating habits.

Intermittent fasting is a dietary pattern that allows for lower calorie intake and a reduced frequency of eating. A typical eating window for intermittent fasters is 6 or 8 hours, and this schedule may be followed daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the diet plan.

Research shows that it’s around 12 – 24 hours of fasting when our body enters the “fat burning zone”.

(Image source: ZeroFasting.com)

If you’re a busy person who has a hard time regularly eating throughout the day, it might seem like intermittent fasting would make your life more difficult by adding an extra step to your routine. But the opposite is true because fasting simplifies things by giving you a routine and removing the guesswork.

You can choose which days of the week to fast and which days to eat normally, but most intermittent fasters stick to a specific eating window that fits their lifestyle, like 10 am – 6 pm for working people.

Intermittent fasts are most often used by people who want to lose weight or those with health conditions caused by obesity, diabetes, and cancer risks.

It also has many other benefits, including mental clarity, better skin complexion on your face because you’re not producing more sebum oil due to excess sugar consumption too early in the morning.

Warning: Intermittent fasting should only be done in consultation with your doctor.

Some people have experienced side effects of intermittent fasting, such as feeling cold, low energy levels, and headaches. In most cases, these symptoms go away within a few days or weeks.

You must also be careful of doing the wrong type of intermittent fasting for your goals; many different plans claim to work, but they won’t if you do not match them with your specific medical situation and objectives.

Related: Which Type of Fasting is Right for You?

Health benefits of intermittent fasting

Some of the reported health benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  • You’ll have more energy
  • Your mind will be sharper
  • You won’t get sick as often
  • It’s a great way to break food addictions and cravings that can lead to overeating or binge-eating
  • Living longer

Intermittent fasting is a dietary plan that involves alternating between periods of eating and abstaining. It takes advantage of the body’s natural hunger signals to help you safely lose weight without going hungry or giving up foods entirely like other diet plans require.

Why does intermittent fasting give you more energy?

Intermittent fasting gives you more energy because you’re giving your cells a rest.

Every time you eat, you stimulate insulin and other growth hormones, making your cells work harder.

When you do this often enough, it can cause oxidative stress in the body, which is at the root of many common chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. ​

Fasting helps improve cell repair functions so that when they have activated again by eating, there is minor damage to your DNA and better overall health and vitality.

How does intermittent fasting help sharpen your mind?

When you fast, your body breaks down the fat stores, and ketones are produced as a byproduct. Ketones trigger the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is responsible for helping to create new neuron connections in regions of your brain linked to memory, mood, and learning.

The research shows that BDNF also helps preserve existing neuron pathways, allowing them to work more efficiently. This preserves your mental clarity.

Research indicates that intermittent fasting can be used as a strategy to increase cognition because of the significant mental clarity and energy boost. Studies have shown that individuals who engaged in a 24-hour fast had improvements to memory, motor skills, and judgment.

How can fasting affect blood pressure?

Intermittent fasting can reduce blood pressure because it puts your body into a fat-burning state. When you’re in this state, your cell receptors are recharged by ketones, and there’s less oxidative stress on the body.

When there is less oxidative stress, the production of nitric oxide rises, which keeps blood vessels dilated and lowers blood pressure. Fasting can help reduce your blood pressure up to 30 percent when done correctly.

If you have high blood pressure, intermittent fasting may not be for you; talk to a doctor first before trying any diet plan.

How can fasting affect blood sugar levels?

Intermittent fasting stimulates the secretion of growth hormones and increases your body’s ability to use insulin. It also lowers the level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is linked to cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, arthritis, and accelerated aging.

How can intermittent fasting affect inflammation?

Many people with chronic inflammation have found that when they fast, their symptoms lessen or disappear altogether. Some folks have healed from common conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, hepatitis C infections, allergies, asthma, eczema, and psoriasis. They are also able to stop taking medications.

How can fasting affect muscle mass?

Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

Intermittent fasting is excellent for building muscle mass. When you fast, your body starts to break down the fat stores necessary before it begins to build new tissues like muscle. As you become leaner and lose weight, your body will replace fat cells with lean, metabolically active muscle tissue.

This also helps prevent diseases that occur when excess abdominal fat like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

How can intermittent fasting help cure anxiety?

Fasting has been used since ancient times as a remedy for anxiety because of how it soothes the nervous system; reduces feelings of panic and worry; calms frantic thoughts, and energizes without caffeine or other stimulants.

How to get started with intermittent fasting

It is crucial to start with a fasting window of 12 hours and gradually move up to 16 hours of fasting after the first few weeks.

To get started with intermittent fasting, experts recommend starting at one day per week of abstinence from food consumption followed by an alternate eating day where you can enjoy your favorite foods in moderation or eat all that you want.

If your goal is weight loss or fat burning, then you should gradually increase the number of days with consumption and decrease the number of days without food in your eating schedule.

This may be a hard practice to stick to for some people, especially if you’re used to snacks when hungry or go entirely without food for long periods.

Some people find it easier to fast during specific times of the day, such as early morning until noon, while others choose the complete opposite, like fasting from 4 pm to midnight.

You must do what feels suitable for you and your lifestyle; choosing an eating window that fits into your schedule will make intermittent fasting more enjoyable and sustainable. There is less room for excuses if you have limited time available to eat each day.

Also, remember that weight loss is often the result of various factors, including diet, exercise, sleep, hydration, and stress reduction measures.

Intermittent fasting can be a great addition to your routine if appropriately done, but it is not an alternative to regular exercise or healthy eating.

There are many different ways to practice intermittent fasting. For example, some people eat within an 8-hour window whereas others fast for 16 hours a day.

Ten Tips for time-restricted feeding

1. Experiment with different eating times to find what works best for you

2. Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep and exercise each day, or your body won’t be able to benefit from intermittent fasting fully

3. Don’t consume any food after 6 pm

4. Eat slowly, enjoy the food that you eat, and savor every bite in its entirety

5. Know the difference between being hungry and being thirsty – they are very different experiences!

6. If your goal is weight loss, then try not to focus too heavily on how fast you’re losing weight; instead, just pay attention to the changes in your waistline over time

7. Keep a daily log of your meal timings so that you can see when you’re doing your best and when you’re struggling to stick with it

8. Learn to listen to your body, especially during fasting periods – if you feel lightheaded or experience weakness, then eat something or drink water immediately

9. Drink plenty of water throughout the day so that you don’t become dehydrated or faint while trying to fast

10 Use a fasting app to help keep you on track. My favorite app is Zero Fasting. The app gives you expert guidance, insights, and accountability to unlock a longer, healthier life. The content inside the app and on their website and newsletter is pretty awesome toom.

zero fasting app - intermittent fasting tracker
Zero fasting app – intermittent fasting gamified!

What is alternate day fasting?

Alternate-day fasting is the easiest to understand and requires that you fast for a day, then eat normally the next. Sometimes called the 24-hour fast, you’ll simply skip an entire day of eating.

The following examples illustrate how to alternate days of eating and fasting:

  • – Fasting day: eat after 8 pm the previous evening, and don’t consume any food until 2 pm.
  • – Fasting day: eat between noon – 8 pm on a particular day, and then not eat any more of your allotted foods for 24 hours.

When you’re fasting in this way, you can still consume drinks such as coffee or tea without calories (cream/sugar). Some people choose to add lemon juice or vinegar to their water instead.

This type of fasting is best suited to individuals who have worked with alternate-day fasting before; if you haven’t already done this, it’s best to start with 16/8 intermittent fasting as described above first.

Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

Important things to remember about intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular diets with benefits such as weight loss, better cognitive function, and mood improvement; however, it’s essential to follow specific safety rules before you start to minimize side effects.

When following a strict fasting regimen for weight loss that involves calorie restriction, it’s important to remember the risks associated with skipping meals. Such as:

  • There is a risk of developing gallstones if you go for long periods without eating foods high in fat.
  • You may experience muscle loss if you go too long without eating protein (your body requires dietary protein to maintain muscle)
  • Consuming no calories could make your blood sugar levels drop, possibly leading to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a dangerous condition where your blood sugar plummets to abnormally low levels.

You should only fast if you are fully aware of these potential health consequences and don’t have any underlying health concerns that make intermittent fasting unsafe for your body.

If you’re looking into an alternative diet plan or just want something different in your life, then try giving this one a shot!

Fasting is more accessible than most people think because all three main meals can be replaced by healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, and veggies, making eating less even more doable for those on-the-go lifestyles we often lead today.

Tips on sticking with intermittent fasting long-term

The best way to stick with intermittent fasting is by making it a habit.

It might feel unnatural at first – many of us are used to eating three meals throughout the day, but once you start doing it consistently for two weeks, your body will adjust and stop craving food as much.

If you’re struggling, try setting the alarm every morning that goes off between 8 am – 10 am when breakfast would traditionally be served in order not to give yourself any excuses about being hungry late into the morning!

As I mentioned earlier, using a tracking app like Zero Fasting can really help with consistency too. It’s free to download, so give it a go!

Related: 7 Intermittent Fasting Tips And Tricks For Better Results

Final thoughts on intermittent fasting for weight loss and improving energy

Intermittent fasting provides multiple benefits, such as:

  • Promotes weight loss and improved energy levels simultaneously
  • Lessens chances of developing an illness because you are eating a sensible diet
  • Improves insulin sensitivity, reduces the risk of diabetes by 30%
  • Beats other diets: fasting is three times more effective than traditional calorie restriction.

If you’re looking for a way to lose weight that will also give you more energy, intermittent fasting may be worth your consideration. Follow the tips outlined in this article to get started.

Have you tried intermittent fasting or are you considering it? Got some tips to share on this topic? Let me know in the comments! 

(Featured image by Dmitry Osipenko on Unsplash)

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