Is it healthy to fast frequently to lose weight?

Fasting for weight loss has become a popular and very effective way of losing body fat and weight, without too much of an effort. The reason for it’s effectiveness is due to the restricted feeding period, followed by the feeds.

The reason why fasting is so beneficial, is that it’s easy and achievable, even for those that are not strong willed at all.

I fast daily because I like the benefits I get with weight training, and the ability to cease inflammation within my body. The weight loss has become part and parcel of the journey, which is of course amazing. But we all tackle this lifestyle for many reasons. For me it was also to decrease the inflammation in my gut, and diminish any immune responses that I have to foods and the environment. It’s worked wonderfully in that area.

Here are some pros and cons of fasting for weight loss

  1. Your hunger hormones are reduced.
    You may notice that when fasting, your appetite generally decreases, and the hunger hormones are not as enraged as they once would have been. You will be able to sustain longer periods of fasting, without the side effects that it brings. Your gut also produces a short term feeling of satisfaction and inhibit the activity of hormones that turn the need to eat right on. This can give you a false sense of fullness, which is beneficial when you are trying to sustain weight loss.
    The bad news is that because your hunger is reduced, these hormones can get out of balance, leading you to become unresponsive to cues that will tell you you’re full, and stop eating. Your brain cannot register satisfaction and hunger will remain elevated. I personally do not experience this, and still need less food when I am breaking the fast. This is just something to monitor and become aware of.
  2. It can elevate your stress levels and cause you to experience a bit of insomnia.
    Now, this isn’t the case for everyone long term, but in the beginning when getting used to the routine of fasting, it can increase your stress levels and cause you problems with sustaining a restful sleep. This is activated during long periods without food, increasing the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system. This increases cortisol secretion to mobilize energy stores. This is great for people that are overweight, but not for those who already experience a lot of stress in their work, or family life. It can lead to strong cravings and produce obsessive thoughts about food.
    To combat this, ensure you have a regular intervals of food consumption, basing your nutrition on an optimal level. Lots of high grade protein, vegetables and nutritious carbs such as sweet potato and oats. Start off fasting during smaller periods of 12–15 hours, and then increase that to longer ranges, such as 17–24. Find what timing works best for you, and gives you the most results, and pivot between a couple of different alternatives.
  3. Faster fat loss – and ability to sustain it for longer periods.
    There is no denying that fasting produces the fastest and most sustainable form of fat loss. This is music to most peoples ears as conventional dieting produces such an appalling rate on investment of time and effort. The great news is, that you don’t really have to fast every day to receive the fat loss benefits. Some people prefer to fast all week, and eat regularly on the weekend’s, whilst others prefer fasting for longer duration’s during the wee (24 hours or more) a couple of times, and still get great results. The wonderful thing about fasting is that you can base it around your own lifestyle, goals and health too. It has been shown that fasting for longer periods of time helps your body heal, and combats inflammation and the normal signs of ageing.
  4. Developing metabolic flexibility & fat burning.
    Fasting improves your metabolic health by restoring your insulin sensitivity, lowering glucose and reducing belly fat.
    You want your cells to be sensitive to insulin to prevent diabetes and allowing your body to burn more fat than it wants to store.
    Slowly over time, you will notice that you can eat certain things your body would not agree with, in terms of body composition. Foods such as carbohydrates can be tolerated, as well as indulging in a cheat meal or two. They do not have the same effects as they once did. This is because your body is now able to metabolise foods better, allowing for complete flexibility. The only drawback is not to get too used to this, and begin eating crap on a daily basis. The need for self awareness is crucial, as we do want to make sure longevity is part of our overall health plan.
  5. It’s so easy and so cheap to do, and better for our mental health.
    Think of it this way, eating the IF way means less money wasted on food you don’t even need, and your body doesn’t even want. We have conditioned ourselves for so long to eat at a certain time, a certain amount and when this doesn’t’ happen, we go into hunger overdrive. This is not a sustainable way to live, and fasting allows us to take a break from the obsessive conditioning of our own accord. We eat less, we become more self-aware of what our body needs and hunger isn’t something that controls us anymore. We are finally free from the clutches of extreme and indulgent behavior. No more feelings of guilt and the fear of our trashing out dieting efforts because we had one so called bad meal. Just think, to be free of those constant thoughts that can upset your mental balance, just by abstaining from food at regular intervals. It’s that simple, anyone can train themselves to do it.

Results with IF will differ from person to person, and the restricted eating can be shorter or longer. There is really no right or wrong with this. What works best for you is the right way, and you should continue to challenge yourself and find what’s most beneficial long term.

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