Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: 4 Reasons Why It Works so Well

Updated on May 7, 2018
dwelburn profile image

David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.

Intermittent fasting is great for weight loss
Intermittent fasting is great for weight loss | Source

Fasting for Weight Loss

Many people struggle with their weight for their entire lives. They try diet after diet, and although they may lose some weight for a while, it usually just goes right back on again. But successful weight loss really just comes down to one thing - consuming fewer calories than you expend (i.e. eating at a calorie deficit). And the easiest way to do that is to use intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting works so well because it’s not a 'diet' as such. It's more of a lifestyle. You simply choose to go without food for a set period of time on a regular basis. This could be about 24 hours once or twice per week, or just 16 hours each day - which is basically just skipping breakfast.

During the fasting period all you will consume is water, or perhaps a little black, unsweetened tea or coffee. But the real beauty of this is it's so flexible. You can do it as and when you want, and fit it into your lifestyle in a way that best suits you. On your non-fasting days, you can eat pretty much what you want, although you will obviously have more success if you stick mostly to healthy food choices.

There are a number of reasons why fasting for weight loss works so well. But here are the top 4 of them:

1. You Consume Fewer Total Calories Per Week

To lose weight you obviously need to consume fewer calories than you expend. But it's much better to think of your calorie consumption in weekly terms rather than in daily terms. That way if you do overeat on any one day it doesn't really matter, as you can easily make up for it the next day. And if you practice intermittent fasting you'll be eating fewer meals each week, so you'll be taking in less total calories - even if you eat just as you normally would the rest of the time.

2. You Produce More Fat Burning Hormones and Enzymes

Most of our bodies metabolic activities, including fat burning, are controlled by hormones. And hormones, in turn, need enzymes in order to work properly.

Fasting causes you to produce much higher levels of growth hormone, which is our main fat burning hormone. It also causes an increased production of two of the most important fat burning enzymes. These are hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), which aids in the release of fat from fat cells, and lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which aids in the uptake of fat by muscle cells, where it is used for energy.

You also produce much less insulin when fasting, which means you’ll be able to burn off body fat much more effectively. In fact, it’s almost impossible to burn fat when insulin levels are high.

3. You Burn Off Fat Rather Than Burning Sugar

When you eat your body normally burns the carbohydrate (sugar) from your meal first, and then it starts to burn fat. But any calories that are not used up within a few hours are just stored on your body as fat.

In the fasting state this changes however, and your metabolism shifts from burning sugar to burning most body fat for energy. And this effect increases over time; so toward the end of a fast (particularly one lasting 24 hours) you will be burning far more fat than you ever would during a normal day of eating.

4. It's Easy to Stick to

This is perhaps the most important point. With intermittent fasting you only need to deprive yourself for short periods of time, and the rest of the time you can eat as normal. So that means you can still eat all your favorite foods, and you won't have to concern yourself with trying to follow any particular "diet". And although at first, you might find going without food for a while a bit of a challenge, it will get easier, and you will soon come to enjoy it.

All this means you’ll find it very easy to stick to, so you’ll be able to lose weight easily and then keep it off - for life!

It's a myth that going without food for short periods of time will cause your metabolism to slow down, or put you into 'starvation mode'. It takes a lot more than 24 hours for that to happen. And in fact during a short fast your metabolism may actually increase a little, and you'll burn fat whilst preserving muscle tissue. This is something which cannot be said of your typical calorie restriction diet.

Intermittent fasting is a part of many popular and effective dietary regimens, such as Martin Berkhan's Leangains and Jason Ferruggia's Renegade Diet, which both employ 16 hour fasting periods, done on a daily basis. Brad Pilon on the other hand recommends 24 hour fasts, done every 3 to 7 days, and his book Eat Stop Eat gives a huge amount of information on the benefits and practice of periodic fasting.

If you choose to use intermittent fasting for weight loss you'll find it's the simplest way to achieve your ideal weight there is. But more importantly, it's the most effective way to maintain it. And apart from that, it has a number of exceptional health benefits too. So why not give it a go?

What do you like best about fasting for weight loss?

See results

© 2012 David

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, caloriebee.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://caloriebee.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)