Intermittent Fasting: Top Questions and Benefits

Hi there. Today, I’m going to discuss some more useful information regarding intermittent fasting. One of the biggest questions and concerns people discuss with me is … is it actually healthy? Is this a safe and healthy way to achieve weight loss? This was certainly one of my main concerns when I first heard about the intermittent fasting, when I was at a conference talking with some colleagues about this topic. If I hadn’t been with those particular people whom I have a lot of respect for, I honestly may have thought it was ridiculous. 

“What do you mean you’re not having breakfast? 
What do you mean you’re not eating for 16 hours?”
People are losing all this weight so quickly, that can’t be healthy!” 

However, this is because I was looking at intermittent fasting from the mindset of traditional weight loss, where you use food for fuel and want to lose weight slowly, burning a little bit of fat each week. That thought process is not wrong when you’re using food for fuel.  Alternatively, the whole idea of intermittent fasting is using your body fat for fuel. So, upon first hearing about intermittent fasting, I was a little skeptical and concerned about the health aspect. However, once I did my own research and understood the science behind it, I realized this is just a different way of fueling  the body. The protocols for healthy weight loss between using food versus using fat are simply and justifiably different.

Will I Loss TOO much weight TOO quickly?
People may be concerned, with intermittent fasting, that they are losing too much weight too quickly, and that the body will go into “starvation mode”. This is true when using food for fuel, unlike intermittent fasting. In traditional weight loss, losing weight too quickly may cause the body to go into starvation, which then means you are hanging onto fat rather than losing it. This also raises the concern that if the body enters starvation mode it may begin breaking down protein for fuel. This would mean the body is holding onto fat, losing muscle and subsequently slowing down the metabolism, so when you return to a regular eating you would actually gain weight more rapidly. These are all things that you do not desire when you’re trying to lose weight, so it’s understandable to have these concerns, but fortunately they do not apply to intermittent fasting.

Intermittent Fasting vs the Yo-yo Effect of Traditional Weight Loss
We often hear when people lose weight very quickly, they then gain weight back very quickly as well. The interesting thing with intermittent fasting is that this doesn’t happen, because your body has been using fat for fuel. This means that your body becomes used to burning more fat, which will help maintain blood glucose levels. Your body will also preserve and protect muscle. Therefore, when your primary source of fuel is your body fat, it will burn 1,000-3,000 calories worth of fat a day. Your body’s breaking down a large amount of fat – half a pound a day or in some cases a full pound per day – which is a lot of weight loss, but it is just fat loss, which is healthy. 

As long as you are losing fat and preserving muscle, which is what happens when you’re doing intermittent fasting properly, then it’s completely healthy. Your body has fat for fuel, so it’s not going into starvation mode. When you reach your weight loss goal, you may want to start eating more food or even stop doing intermittent fasting, as long as you’re having an appropriate amount of food for your body type and metabolism. Since you have been preserving muscle and therefore haven’t slowed your metabolism, you are much less likely to pack the weight on, which is a major advantage of intermittent fasting.

Waking Up Insulin Receptors
Another healthy benefit of intermittent fasting is that it really helps to wake up your insulin receptors, which means that your body becomes better at managing your blood sugar levels. So, if you do go back to previous eating routines, your body can handle carbohydrates much better, breaking them down and allowing the glucose to enter the cells more efficiently. This means glucose won’t be building up in your bloodstream, in which case it would eventually be stored as fat … which is not the goal.

For these reasons, intermittent fasting is very healthy and very safe to do. Of course it may not be suitable for everyone, such as people with significant health issues, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Those who have significant issues with their blood sugar levels and require medication will likely need supervision if using intermittent fasting, particularly because medications will need to be appropriately managed. Otherwise, it’s a very healthy strategy to use for weight loss.  If you are not sure it is always best to check with a health professional.

Will I be Hungry All the Time?
Another common concern people have is that they are going to feel hungry all the time. Most of us feel that we can’t go more than three hours without feeling hungry, so how are you supposed to go without food for 16 hours? 

Well, once the body gets into fat burn (called ketosis) which can happen quickly when done properly, it is now being fuelled so ones appetite hormone is naturally suppressed. I had this concern as well, I thought I’d be starving all the time and couldn’t believe I wasn’t even hungry. Particularly, people that have challenges with cravings are shocked that the cravings mostly go away. People are often also concerned that they’ll feel really tired and foggy in the brain because they aren’t eating for an extended period of time. In fact, when your body is burning ketones, it wakes up your brain and you have lots of energy. Most people, myself included, find they become much more productive when doing intermittent fasting. 

I know many people have these concerns when it comes to changing their eating habits, so I hope that this information helps to put your mind at ease and this is something that you’re willing to look into. Intermittent fasting is a great strategy for weight loss purposes and for overall health. 

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