Fasting as a diet: how to lose weight with intermittent fasting
The benefits of fasting without all the constraints. This is the best of fasting (intermittent fasting in English), a very flexible program that skillfully combines complete calorie restrictions and gourmet meals. The result is weight loss and Olympic form.
What is the Fasting method (fasting as a diet)?
The basic principle of intermittent fasting? Do not eat anything (but continue to drink above all) for a determined period of time, depending on the formula chosen. But it also means simultaneously reducing the period of nutrition and the number of meals. And eat better, without excluding food groups. Some adopt fasting almost every day of the year. Others organize ad hoc cures over one or more weeks (in spring for example), or reserve the fast for weekends. No problem, because one of the great qualities of the program is its flexibility.
1) Determine the duration of the fast and the frequency of meals
And adapt them according to lifestyle and habits. The most followed fasting, the 16/8, involves a 16 hour fast followed generally by two meals. But there are many other formulas that can answer everyone’s problems.
2) Start with an adaptation period
Putting the fasting in place very gradually helps the body to get used to it little by little. Less sugars, fewer meals, a few short periods of fasting … Good to know: the alternation of fasting-meal periods is far from unknown. The body goes through it every night, and it’s going very well!
3) Drink water very regularly
To allow the body to eliminate waste related to the burning of fat reserves. We also know that the feeling of hunger is often due to a phenomenon of dehydration. The instruction: always have a bottle of water on hand.
4) Eat your fill
By favoring the right nutrients (complex carbohydrates, vegetables, good fats, etc.). And remaining free to choose its menus, including desserts.
With moderation. According to JB Rives (author of Le Fasting, Thierry Souccar editions), the solution is not to always do more, but just what is needed. Exercising every day and doing an hour of sport per week would be enough to obtain satisfactory results and preserve metabolism.
Why does fasting work?
Because reducing the number of meals, no longer snacking or eating at the slightest peck allows you to absorb fewer calories in total. This rhythm would also be better suited to our real physiological needs. As proof, our ancestors the hunter-gatherers who did not eat cereal when they jumped out of bed and only tasted their first meal in the middle of the day. Literally, eating lunch means breaking the fast.
Because fasting puts the body in fat-burning mode. After several hours without food intake the blood sugar level drops (analyzes supported), insulin spikes disappear and glucagon takes over. Also produced by the pancreas, this hormone has the role of maintaining a minimum level of sugar in the blood to nourish the organs, in the absence of food intake. When the reserves are used up, glucagon draws on the fat from adipose tissue to transform it into energy. In summary, the more the pancreas secretes glucagon, the more the extra pounds fly away.
Because fasting is an adaptable formula and not complicated to follow. A la carte timetables, zero deprivation during meals (we are not talking about a kebab but healthy food …), free menus with cheese and desserts. Life can go on normally, with family, like at a restaurant or with friends.
Because, apart from losing weight, other positive effects are quickly perceptible and favor the continuation of the experience. In fact, in addition to regulating the insulin level and reducing fat, the metabolism works wonderfully. We feel in great shape.
How to do it?
1 / I choose my intermittent fast
To find the formula that is hers without making a mistake, we take everything into account: her professional and family constraints, her lifestyle and preferences. Some people can’t stand to skip breakfast; others experience no difficulty in not having lunch, there are no rules… And we are not locked into a rigid time shackle either: we can very well, without compromising the results, start your fast a few days later, or have an extra meal because you are with friends. The four basic diagrams:
The 16-hour fast with two integrated meals (lunch-dinner or breakfast-dinner or breakfast-lunch)
16/8 is according to JB Rives the most common fasting, the best for the organism and the most compatible with a social life. Most of the benefits (health and slimming) would also be obtained with this duration. On the program, a daily fast of 16 hours so (we start it around 20 hours or more, until the next day around 12 hours or more). We then skip breakfast, which is not a bad thing: too often loaded with carbohydrates it leads to spikes in insulin. Then we have lunch and dinner normally. But breakfast addicts can also keep this first meal, balancing it properly, and dine late in the evening (6 am / 10 pm). Or, adopt the breakfast-breakfast formula, and fast between 1 p.m. and 7 a.m. the next morning.
Detox mode, with a meal
Ideal for express fitness. It consists of observing a 24-hour fast, once a week. For example, we stop eating on Friday evening after 7 p.m., then we take the next meal the next day at the same time. Where we stall on lunches around 1 p.m.
The 13-hour fast, with two meals
Perfect for starting. It is not the most efficient fasting but it already gives some results and, above all, it allows you to get used to it gently.
Fasting from 6 to 8 p.m., with a single meal
More difficult to hold, it is a formula that is aimed at fasting regulars.
2 / I start crescendo
We do not rush headlong, especially if we are used to eating too much and poorly (snacking, industrial dishes, sweets …). Nutritionists recommend doing a trial period for a week or two to set the record straight (or nearly so!) And prepare the body. We already start by reducing the sugar, especially at breakfast (no more cereals and jams). We then skip this first meal every third day, then every other day. Once the habit has been established, a trial fast of 13 to 14 hours is scheduled for a weekend, then for several days in a row. After only, the duration of the fast is gradually increased to 16 hours. And we choose our meals.
3 / I eat much better
Although fasting is independent of diet, it would be a shame to put in so much effort and keep bad habits! Without completely eliminating them, we continue to reduce all sugars during the day (cereals, honey, fruit juices, pastries, etc.) because they have a direct impact on insulin and weight gain. For the same reasons, you do not eat starchy foods with each meal (potato, pasta, rice) unless you are really very athletic and have significant energy expenditure. As a general rule, we also consume them in the evening, at the end of the afternoon or for dinner “because glucose indirectly facilitates the production of melatonin, and improves the quality of sleep, explains JB Rives”. We avoid industrial preparations often rich in added sugars and processed fats, and we prefer small homemade dishes. Finally, we eat at least one portion of vegetables per meal (tomatoes, beans, zucchini, asparagus, eggplant, carrot, etc.). And we drink more water.
Is Fasting a method for me?
Yes, if I have been insidiously gaining weight for a few years, with fat which is localized especially around the waist and on the thighs. Despite my regular sports sessions, I can’t lose more than 500 grams. I feel that nothing helps, and yet I am rather attentive to what I eat (but not every day of course!).
If I no longer support the idea of dieting, weighing and calculating everything, depriving myself of cheese or desserts. Above all, I no longer believe in it! Because diet after diet, I see that I am getting more and more rounded. I would like to find a “diet” that is not a diet. A new rhythm, which is imposed on my body.
If I’m hungry all the time and I’m very attracted to sugar. Despite all my good intentions, I always end up cracking in the afternoon, or when I get home, just before dinner. In the evening, watching TV, I can’t help but snack on something sweet.
Losing weight with intermittent fasting
Does intermittent fasting help you lose weight? How to practice it? Answers and explanations.
Fasting is on the rise. It is credited with benefits on the line and probably on cardiovascular risk. But it is not always easy to stop eating for several days by drinking clear broths. Or to follow a low-calorie diet: feeling deprived, cravings, not to mention social constraints. To combine the benefits of fasting with the absence of deprivation and restraint, many choose to follow an intermittent fast.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting consists of alternating periods when you eat with those when you do not eat (but continue to drink), on a regular basis.
We naturally fast 6 to 10h every night. A longer fast can be practiced in different ways: eating 25% less (calorically) every other day, skipping a meal every day, fasting 24 hours at least once a week (from 2 p.m. to 2 p.m. or from 7 p.m. to 7 p.m. the next day), or eat enough for 5 days then for two days eat only 25% of the usual calories.
What does the research say?
Most of those who do intermittent fasting do so to lose weight. There are many studies on the slimming effects of intermittent fasting.
Here are what recent studies show:
According to a 2016 study, limiting food intake to a period of 8 hours a day or less (which is equivalent to fasting for 16 hours) both helps to slim down and improves your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes (1). Whether the weight is normal or too high.
In another recent study, American researchers compared the effects of intermittent fasting with those of a low-calorie diet in obese people (2). Their conclusion: “Intermittent fasting is an effective slimming method, and perhaps superior to the low-calorie diet because it is easier to follow, leads to more loss of fat mass and better preserves muscles”.
Taken collectively, studies indicate that intermittent fasting can decrease body fat and waist circumference within a few weeks. Researchers believe that intermittent fasting helps you lose weight, either because you reduce energy consumption since there are fewer eating opportunities, or because you lower insulin (a hormone that promotes fat storage), or because we restore a circadian rhythm favorable to weight loss.
Intermittent fasting also lowers insulin and insulin resistance as well as blood sugar. However, studies have sometimes reported a deterioration in blood sugar and glucose tolerance depending on the type of intermittent fasting (for example every other day). Intermittent fasting is accompanied by positive changes in the genes associated with longevity and immunity, a decrease in oxidative stress and inflammation.
How to set up an intermittent fast in adults
First, check with your doctor that there are no contraindications. If your blood sugar is a little high or is markedly high, it will be necessary to monitor it: there is a good chance that it decreases, but in some people, the blood sugar level can on the contrary on the contrary deteriorate.
In his book The Fasting, JB Rives tells us that he chose, based on published scientific data, to fast 16 hours. He, therefore, advises to set up an intermittent fast between 20h and 12h the next day at least. But everyone can find the 16h period that suits them best. A 16h fast per day is not very restrictive, and compatible with social life.
It can be associated with the 16 hours fast of physical exercise. It is recommended for general health, but not essential for losing weight. Intermittent fasting is usually accompanied by an increase in hormones that promote fat mobilization, such as growth hormone (in response to lower blood sugar). It is also most often accompanied by an increase in basal metabolism (calories burned at rest).
JB Rives has been practicing fasting for more than 5 years, every day. Thanks to his method, he lost his extra pounds (the weight loss stopped when he reached his ideal weight), his recalcitrant bulges on his stomach and, according to him, acquired a physical and mental form never attained.
Choose the method that’s right for you
- – Fast every other day: eat nothing (and drink only water or unsweetened, unsweetened drinks) for 24 hours, then eat normally for the next 24 hours.
- – The 5: 2 diet: we fast two days a week.
- – Fasting: fast 16h / day every day.
- – Partial fasting: alternate a day where you consume only 25% of your usual calorie intake with a day of normal eating.
The benefits of fasting over dieting
Fasting is the oldest dietetic practice in the world. The many aspects that distinguish it from conventional diets give fasting several valuable benefits. Here they are in this excerpt from the Complete Guide to Fasting.
Advantage # 1: it’s simple
Lack of consensus on what constitutes a healthy diet often causes confusion among patients. Should they be on a low-fat diet? Low in carbohydrates? Low Calorie? Low in sugar? Low glycemic index? The radically different approach to fasting makes it easier to understand. Two sentences are enough to explain it. Do not eat anything. Drink water, tea, coffee or bone broth.
That’s all. Diets can fail because of their ineffectiveness, but also because they are not followed properly. The most obvious benefit of fasting is its simplicity, which is the main reason for its effectiveness. In terms of dietary rules, in fact, the simpler it is, the better.
Advantage n ° 2: it’s free
Of course, in an ideal world, everyone would eat organic vegetables and organic beef that had grazed near them rather than white bread or ultra-processed foods. The fact remains that these healthy products can cost up to ten times that of industrial food.
Cereals are subsidized by the government, making them much more affordable than other foods. It’s for this reason that a kilo of cherries can cost 8 or 9 euros while a baguette is worth about 1 euro and a packet of pasta even less. It’s much easier to feed a family with pasta and white bread on a tight budget.
No matter how effective a scheme is if its cost is prohibitive. Its price makes it inaccessible to those who cannot afford it. This should not condemn them to live with type 2 diabetes and the disabilities it causes.
Fasting (fasting as a diet) is free. In fact, not only does it cost nothing, but it saves you money since you don’t have to buy food at all! No expensive products. No overpriced food supplements. No meal replacement or medication. It’s free.
Advantage n ° 3: it is practical
Eating raw products cooked by yourself is good for your health. However, many people have neither the time nor the inclination to prepare food every day. Time is short between work, school, family, children, extracurricular and personal activities. Cooking takes time, you have to do the shopping, prepare the meal, without forgetting the cooking time and the time to clean everything. Everything takes time, and time is a scarce commodity that is generally sorely lacking.
Even if it is with the best intention in the world, advising everyone to cook is not the best strategy if you really want to get results.
Fasting, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: more errands to do, more ingredients to prepare, cooking and cleaning. It’s a way to make your life easier. Fasting is simplicity itself, there is nothing to do. Most plans give directions. Fasting requires nothing. It’s hard to make it simpler!
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