Is intermittent fasting just another weight loss fad?

Is intermittent fasting just another weight loss fad?

Weight loss is a top concern for most of my clients. Since their concerns come up so often, I found myself wanting to delve deep into research, to be able to give them scientific and sustainable means of weight loss.

Fasting and Insulin 

Research shows that caloric restriction doesn’t work long term. Nor does exercise or excess energy expenditure.  Yet many practitioners and trainers still recommend this. 

During my research, both fasting and insulin’s roles in weight loss came up. Fasting, in particular, has become a trendy phenomenon. Have you heard the term intermittent fasting? Many wonder if intermittent fasting is just another weight loss fad, or if there is any evidence that it works actually works.  

Insulin’s Role in Weight Loss 

There are a lot of hormones that regulate feeling full and hungry.  When some of them were discovered, they were thought to be the magical solution to help with weight loss.  Yet none of them alone have been shown to be the answer— except insulin.

Insulin is produced at various levels depending on the types of food we eat. It tells the cells to take in the sugar and to store fat if no more sugar is needed. If you take away insulin, the cells don’t know to store anything.  And the longer insulin is absent, the more likely we are to use fat cells as our energy source.

Intermittent Fasting 

To be clear, intermittent fasting is not about calorie restriction.  Not at all. It is about reducing the amount of time the body is exposed to insulin in a day. A number of studies show that time-restrictive eating is helpful in preventing weight gain and assisting with weight loss.

After my research, I decided to commit to 6 months of intermittent fasting. I started off with fasting for 18 hours, leaving a 6-hour window for eating.  I have always been an avid breakfast eater, so I was a bit hungry at first. I slowly pushed back my breakfast time and the results have been great. I find that my energy is more stable throughout the day, and I don’t get hangry anymore (even with longer fasts). My husband used to joke that he needed to travel with nuts and berries for when I got hangry. I now tell him I carry them for when he’s hangry!   I have found it much easier to listen to my hunger signals, which altered for me due to breastfeeding. Also, I have lost inches, which was needed after finishing breastfeeding and pregnancy. I stopped weighing myself months ago because I was feeling good. I am currently 8 months into my original 6-month experiment and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. 

There are many other things that affect the ability to lose weight, such as hormones, inflammation, and digestive issues. These items need to be considered when coming up with the right plan for you. If you have questions on whether intermittent fasting is right for you, schedule a visit to discuss it today!