Thursday, 14 August 2014

Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss: 5 Reasons Why It’s So Effective

If you want to lose weight there are a great many different approaches you could take. But unfortunately most of them will turn out to be nothing more than short term fixes. You may get some good results for a while, but when you return to your normal eating habits all the weight you have lost will just go back on again. But successful long term weight loss really boils down to just one thing – you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. And the simplest way to do this is to use intermittent fasting for weight loss.

Intermittent fasting is not really a diet; it's more of a lifestyle. There's no calorie counting or restrictive eating plans involved, and you don't need to worry about combining foods in any particular way. All you need do is stop eating food for about 24 hours one or two days per week.

This means that from dinner one day until dinner the next day all you will consume is water. But the real beauty of this is its flexibility. You can do it as and when you wish, fitting it into your lifestyle in the way that suits you best. And on your non-fasting days you can eat as you normally would if you wish; although you’ll obviously have more success if you stick mostly to healthy food choices.

There are a number of reasons why intermittent fasting is so effective for weight loss, but here are the top five of them…

1. You Consume Fewer Calories Per Week

To lose weight you obviously need a calorie deficit. But it's better to think of your calorie consumption in weekly, rather than daily, terms. So if you do overeat on any one day it doesn't really matter. All you need do is cut back a bit the next day. And if you practice intermittent fasting you'll be eating fewer meals per week, so you’ll be taking in less total calories – even if you eat as you normally would the rest of the time.

2. You Produce Higher Levels Of Fat Burning Hormones And Enzymes

Hormones control most of our bodies metabolic activities, and that includes fat burning. And hormones in turn require enzymes in order to function properly. In the fasting state you produce higher levels of growth hormone (our most important fat burning hormone). And you also produce higher levels of certain enzymes which are responsible for both the release of fat from fat cells and the uptake of fat by the muscle cells where it is used for energy.

3. You Produce Less Insulin

Insulin is the hormone that takes the calories from your food and stores them – as glycogen and as body fat. It also prevents the release of fats from your fat cells. So it’s almost impossible to burn fat in the presence of high insulin levels. But when you fast your insulin levels remain low, so you can burn fat much more effectively.

4. You Burn Fat For Energy Rather Than Sugar

When you eat your body will normally burn the carbs (sugar) for energy first, and then it will start to burn the fat from your food. But any calories that are not used within a few hours are just stored as fat - on your stomach, hips, thighs, etc. In the fasting state however your body shifts toward burning fat for energy instead of sugar. And this effect increases over time, so toward the end of a 24 hour fast you'll be burning far more fat than you would on a normal day of eating.

5. It’s Easy To Stick To

This is probably the most important point. Most diets fail because they are too restrictive, which makes them hard to stick to. But with intermittent fasting you can still eat your favorite foods, so you’ll never feel deprived. This means losing weight will never be a chore again. And although your first few fasting days may be a bit of a challenge, once you've done a few you'll probably find you look forward to them. So you'll be able to stick to it easily, and once you've reached your ideal weight, you'll be able to maintain it - for life!

Contrary to what you may have heard, going without food for a short time will not cause your metabolism to slow down, you will not go into ‘starvation mode’ and you will not lose muscle tissue. It takes much longer than 24 hours for this to happen. 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 normal calorie restriction type diet.

If you decide to use intermittent fasting for weight loss, you'll find it's probably the simplest way there is to reach your ideal weight. And it's easily the most effective way to maintain it. Apart from that it's also one of the best things you could do to benefit your long term health and increase your life expectancy too.

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