Intermittent fasting seems to be the diet of the moment, literally! With limited regulations on what you eat and a focus on when you eat, intermittent fasting has become the diet of choice for many. However, is it that simple? If you find yourself in a situation where you are doing intermittent fasting but can’t lose weight, you are doing something wrong! Read on to find out why intermittent fasting might not work for you.
What is intermittent fasting and how does it work?
Intermittent fasting allows you to divide your day into two parts; your fasting window and your eating window. Explaining how it helps in weight loss, dietician Garima Goyal tells Health Shots: “The mechanism of action behind the intermittent fasting of the IF diet is complex and multifactorial. During the fasting period, insulin hormone levels decrease and the body begins to use stored fat as an energy source. Additionally, a process called autophagy begins during the fasting period, during which the cell functions by removing its damaged components. Thus, cellular longevity is improved.
Why am I not seeing results from intermittent fasting?
- Unsustainability: There are no cheat meals on IF days! If you have not followed this diet religiously and do not eat even during the fasting period, you may not get the desired results.
- Power quality: If the foods you eat during your eating period are not nutrient-dense, but calorie-dense, then fasting will not work.
- Eat too much: Feeling an extreme urge to eat everything you can during the eating window will lead to overeating and therefore weight gain.
- Dehydration: Consuming insufficient water during the fasting period can dehydrate the body and negate the effects of IF.
- Skipping Meals: You don’t need to skip meals if you’re doing IF. Just eat 2-3 large meals and 1-2 snacks. Eating less won’t help here.
- Calorie counting: IF works well if you also monitor your daily calorie intake and keep it at the maintenance level, rather than consuming too much.
What to do if intermittent fasting doesn’t work?
- Calorie-restrictive diet: You can develop a diet plan that is 300 to 400 calories less than the maintenance calories needed to aid weight loss.
- Mediterranean diet: This includes all healthy food groups rich in complex carbohydrates, lean protein and fiber. This includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fat sources such as nuts and seeds, etc.
- Low Carb Diet: Limiting your carbohydrate intake to 60 to 65 percent of calories from these and increasing the value of protein may be effective for you.
- Portion control: If you think you’re eating everything healthy, try reducing your portion sizes because you may be consuming more calories than you think.
How to follow intermittent fasting?
- Method 16/8: This diet can be implemented in different ways and the most common form implemented by individuals is the 16/8 method. This diet divides the day into two parts, with an 8-hour eating window and a 16-hour fasting window.
- 5:2 method: Here you have a normal diet 5 days a week and for the next two days, drastically reducing your calorie intake to 500-600 calories for an entire day.
Variations of Intermittent Fasting
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This includes fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.
- Fasting every other day: In this you fast one day and eat another and so on.
- Warrior Diet: This involves fasting for 20 hours and eating a large meal within four hours.
- OMAD (one meal per day): This is an extremely restrictive diet that follows a 23-hour fasting window and eating a large meal within an hour.
- TRE (limited time meals): You can change the 16/8 method to 12/12 (12 hours fasting and 12 hours eating) or 20/4 depending on your preference.
What should you remember when following intermittent fasting?
Although intermittent fasting seems simple enough for anyone to follow, there are some things to keep in mind. “IF has its own types such as the 16/8 or 5/2 method. Choosing the right method that suits you best based on your lifestyle is what you need to experience for yourself,” says Goyal.
Formulate your meal times so that the last meal of your day is between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the latest based on your body’s natural internal clock.
And take it easy! “Start by choosing a short fasting window and gradually increase it,” says Goyal.
Another point to remember is that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, diabetic, or suffering from any chronic illness, fasting should always be done only after consulting your doctor.
Select the topics that interest you and let us personalize your feed.