Many of us have heard about intermittent fasting and it’s benefits. We’ve spoken to people who have lost weight by adopting this new lifestyle. Or we’ve seen inspirational before and after pictures showing transformations!
So why does it feel like you’re being left behind and not losing weight!? Before you lose heart and go in search of the next bandwagon to jump on, read our guide on how to start losing weight with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting seems to have made its way onto everyone’s lips recently. Mainly due to how simple it is. Where other diets focus on food and nutrients, intermittent fasting focuses on the timings of meals. So how come the scales aren’t shifting? Why is the weight not falling off with intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting defines the ‘when’ and the diet defines the ‘what’.
When it comes to deciding what to eat in order to lose weight, the most important factor is eating less. When you consume less calories than you spend, you will lose weight! Fact.
Intermittent fasting is one step towards eating less and so by default, will set you off on the right path, as shown in one study where participants simply skipped breakfast (1). However, in the same trial, there was no restriction in what they could eat the rest of the day which runs the risk of sabotaging all the good work.
The key to success here is to choose a diet that allows you to consume less calories (2) without causing you too much distress or tiredness. Choose one that works for you and that you can stick to.
TOP TIP: If you’ve started intermittent fasting but are not paying attention to what you’re eating during your ‘feeding window’, buddy up with a friend and swap food diaries each week to hold each other accountable.
While the goal for many people is to lose fat rather than weight, our bodies are reluctant to give up their reserves of energy (fat) and all too quickly use our hard-earned muscles. Maintaining our muscle mass is crucial for overall health and movement and so we want to preserve this as much as possible.
The good news is that what you eat can affect where the weight loss comes from. A diet high in protein has benefits with regards to energy metabolism, your appetite and retaining that all important muscle and has been proven to reduce your appetite (3).
Even better news for us ladies, is that we also benefit, as demonstrated in a recent trial where 11 women were put on a high-protein diet which led to a greater weight loss, most of which was fat! (4).
TOP TIP: Aim for 1g of protein per 1lb of our ideal body weight every day.
To really see a difference on those scales, we must exercise. However, before you walk away and head to the nearest duvet to hide under, stick with me for a minute here.
Have you ever looked at a slim person and thought ‘why isn’t my metabolism as fast as theirs’? In its simplest terms, metabolism is the total sum of all chemical processes (when our body changes food into energy) that keep us alive. Paradoxically, obesity is linked with a higher rate of metabolism (5) because a heavier body needs more energy to do anything from walking, down to keeping upright.
Outside of this, anywhere between 15-50% of our energy burn comes from activity. From lifting weights to fidgeting (6) or getting up from your desk, it all counts!
Exercising increases our metabolic rate and continues way beyond your session at the gym depending on what kind of exercise we do. Anaerobic activity - things like HIIT, weight lifting, pilates and other forms of strength training - is the most effective form of exercise, coupled with the addition of the previously discussed protein (7), you are onto a winner!
TOP TIP: Exercising while intermittent fasting stimulates those nasty fat tissues and ultimately fat loss (8).
Intermittent fasting plays a major role in losing weight but there are other influences that have an effect, such as how much you eat, what you eat and how you move.
So fear not dear friend, we’ve got you! Now, come join our community for full support and to get that needle moving.
If you want to read more about intermittent fasting and plateau, read our dedicated article !
1. Ganessan, K. Habboush, Y. Sultan, S. Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle. CUREUS. 2018;10 (7) E2947. Doi:10.7759/cureus.2947
2. Ganessan, K. Habboush, Y. Sultan, S. Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle. CUREUS. 2018;10 (7) E2947. Doi:10.7759/cureus.2947
3. Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S, Nieuwenhuizen, A. Tome, D. Soenen, S. Westerterp, K.R. Dietary protein, weight loss and weight maintenance. ANNUREV-NUTR. 2009;29 (21) 41. Doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-080508-141056.
4. Labayen, I. Diez, N. Gonzalez, A. Parra, D. Martinez. A. Effects of protein vs. carbohydrate-rich diets on fuel utilisation in obese women during weight loss. Forum Nutr. 2003;56 (168-70).
5. Bosy-Westphal, A. Braun, W. Shautz, B. Muller, M. Issues in characterizing resting energy expenditure in obesity and after weight loss. Front physiol. 2013;4 (47). Doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00047.
6. Johannsen, D. Ravussin, E. Spontaneous physical activity: relationship between fidgeting and body weight control. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2008;15 (5). Doi: 10.1097/MED.0b013e32830b10bb.
7. Phillips, S. The science of muscle hypertrophy: making dietary protein count. Proc Nutr Soc. 2011;70(1):100-3. Doi: 10.1017/S002966511000399X.
8. Zouhal, H. Saeidi, A. Salhi, A. Li, H. Essop, M. Laher, I. Rhibi, F. Amani-Shalamzari, S. Abderrahman, A. Exercise Training and Fasting; Current Insights. Open Access J Sports Med. 2020;11:1-28. Doi: 10.2147/OAJSM.S224919
Fasting may cause unwanted loose skin when losing weight. Long and short fasts, exercise, and healthy eating can offset this.