Success along your weight loss journey depends on a few essential factors
I’m biased in writing this piece because I love intermittent fasting. It’s worked wonders for my body composition and health. Throughout the last year, I’ve been a little more relaxed with my fasting regime, as I don’t want to lose any weight — but aim to gain and maintain my muscle mass. However, it’s been a bit of a challenge recovering from surgery that shaved six weeks out of the gym. I was recently sick with the flu, which diminished my energy levels for three weeks. Throughout those challenging times, fasting has been my saviour. That helps to help my body combat inflammation and sweep out toxins. Fasting is very popular because of the ease and flexibility it provides. In the simplest form, fasting can either happen in the early parts of the day or during the evening. Anyone can make it work successfully according to lifestyle and preferences. Although lots of scientific evidence has deemed it not better than any other diet method — from a person who’s tried almost every diet, I can safely say it is considered better by my standards! Once you try intermittent fasting, I’ll leave you to judge its efficiency too. Many other studies have said that fasting is as effective as counting calories (without having to count them) for weight loss. This study here proves that by following study participants for over a year.
Here are some popular fasting alternatives
- Alternate day fasting. That method entails you fast or restricting calories for a couple of days.
- The 5:2 diet, where you usually eat for five days and fast or restrict calories for 2.
- Time-restricted eating (16:8) — fasting for 16 hours and eating for eight. (This is the most popular method)
Fasting works well because you are forced to reduce the calories you eat. Fasting can sometimes cause us to lose our energy and perhaps restrict how hard we work in the gym. But many underlying factors might make this happen for you. Usually, if you are fasting effectively and eating the right amount of food — this should not be a problem.
Here are some reasons why you may be lacking energy
- Lack of sleep might cause you to underperform and become a lot more lethargic during training
- Eating less protein, fat and carbs within your eating window might cause you to experience lethargy
- Performing too much cardio, as this might diminish your muscle mass and lower your energy expenditure
That’s why it’s imperative to look at the broader picture rather than assuming fasting itself is the primary cause. You will benefit a lot more by using resistant training in conjunction with your cardio workouts to burn more body fat, tone up and ignite that sluggish metabolism. These details take some time to understand and practice but are well worth it and very effective when integrated with intermittent fasting. One way I have gotten around the need for optimal energy for a particular session is to skip fasting the day before my session and replenish my glycogen stores with enough macros for exceptional performance.
What else can fasting help you with?
Fasting provides many health benefits as well as weight loss. For instance, a review recently found that fasting helps improve blood pressure and insulin sensitivity (which is very important for weight loss and building muscle). In addition, cholesterol levels are also lowered due to caloric reduction. Studies show promising results from early time-restricted eating — this involves eating your day’s calories during the morning hours and then, from 4 pm onwards, not consuming anything. Eating early in the day aligns with our body’s natural circadian rhythms. Some people may be opposed to that because we don’t all prefer to eat in the mornings. The great thing about fasting is that when you eat and fast is a result of your preference. The above is just guidance according to a particular study, and it’s not set in stone for everyone.
Why Intermittent fasting is so amazing
One thing is sure; fasting helps to improve your insulin sensitivity, making it easier to burn fat. It’s also fantastic for people like me, who have tried and failed many diets over the years. I have found that not eating for long periods is a lot more manageable and more straightforward than sitting down to count calories. I always overeat! Let’s not forget how effective fasting is regarding health, longevity and ageing. The process of renewing cells whilst creating new ones happens when we aren’t eating. So, you are giving your body and health the added benefits of repairing and eliminating inflammation.
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