How to Do Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
By: Emma Rose
- Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool for successful and sustained weight loss.
- Fasting gets you into ketosis quicker — it drains your glucose reserves, forcing your body to reach into its fat stores for energy.
- How to get started: Swap breakfast for Bulletproof Coffee, and eat your remaining meals within a 6-hour window.
If you really want to lose fat, intermittent fasting is the perfect tool. Research shows that intermittent fasting — cycling in and out periods of fasting and eating — has huge benefits for your body and brain. It can ward off chronic disease, improve memory and brain function, and boost your energy levels. What’s more, intermittent fasting is a powerful hack for losing weight quickly, and keeping it off.
Intermittent fasting can fast-track your weight loss goals by busting stubborn fat, reducing calories, and rewiring your metabolism for better performance. Read on for the science behind intermittent fasting and weight loss, how to maximize your fast, and a sample schedule to start you off.
Intermittent fasting for weight loss
When you’re intermittent fasting, you eat all the food your body needs but during a shorter period of time. There are many methods, but the most common involves eating during a 6- to 8-hour window, and fasting the remaining 14 to 16 hours. It’s not as bad as it sounds, especially when you add Bulletproof Coffee to keep hunger levels in check (more on that later).
Studies show that intermittent fasting accelerates weight loss. In a 2015 review pooling 40 different studies, participants shed on average 10 pounds in a 10-week period. Another study found that obese adults following an “alternate day” intermittent fasting schedule (eating 25 percent of their daily calories on one day, and eating normally the following day) lost up to 13 pounds over 8 weeks.
Intermittent fasting also succeeds where many weight-loss regimes fail: by targeting and reducing visceral fat. Visceral fat is the stubborn, internal fat packed deep around your abdominal organs. During a period of six months, people on an intermittent fasting diet were able to shed four to seven percent of their visceral fat.
How does intermittent fasting boost weight loss?
If you think about it, fasting isn’t all that unnatural. Your ancestors evolved to thrive in situations when food was scarce. On top of a slew of other health benefits, intermittent fasting triggers a perfect storm of metabolic changes to tackle weight loss and fat reduction. How does it work?
The fat-busting benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- Kickstarts ketosis: Usually, reaching full ketosis takes careful planning and extreme carb limiting, but intermittent fasting provides a shortcut to this fat-burning state. Once your body drains glucose — its primary source of energy — it is forced to burn through its fat reserves for energy in a process called ketosis. Ketosis improves your blood chemistry, reduces inflammation, and helps you drop weight fast. To really burn through extra fat, combine your intermittent fasting with a keto diet. Learn more here about why keto is more effective with intermittent fasting
- Lowers insulin levels: Intermittent fasting acts on insulin in two ways. First, it boosts your adiponectin levels, which helps restore insulin sensitivity to prevent weight gain and diabetes. Second, fasting decreases your fasting insulin levels. Lowered insulin is the cue your body needs to make the switch to burning stored fat instead of glucose.
- Improves cholesterol: Intermittent fasting diets impact cholesterol by decreasing your levels of LDL and VLDL cholesterols (the bad stuff). While improving your cholesterol won’t directly lead to weight loss, overweight and obese people are more likely to have dangerously high LDL and VLDL cholesterol, and the cardiovascular risk that comes with it.
- Reduces inflammation: Lowering inflammation is key to losing weight, boosting longevity, and reducing your risk of major illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. That’s why it’s at the core of the Bulletproof Diet. Intermittent fasting decreases oxidative stress and inflammation across the board, including inflammatory markers such as adiponectin, leptin, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
- Boosts metabolism: Intermittent fasting also boosts protein, fat, and glucose metabolism in animal studies. Boosting your resting metabolism helps your body burn more calories throughout the day, even while you rest. Fasting also increases your levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that help your body free up more stored energy (that’s your body fat) during a fast.
How to start intermittent fasting
When it comes to intermittent fasting, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting fits all your eating into a 6-hour window, leaving you with an 18-hour-fast each day. This is often called “18:6” fasting. You can also try variations such as the one-meal-a-day method, or fasting every other day. The key is to experiment and listen to your body to see what works best for you. If intermittent fasting causes fatigue or other negative symptoms, try fasting just once or twice a week, and build up from there.
“I used to crave foods like crazy when I first started,” says Dr. Sylvia Tara, author of The Secret Life of Fat, in a Bulletproof Podcast episode. “after six to eight weeks, I didn’t feel it anymore.” Dr. Tara kept a journal or foods and schedules to find how fasting worked for her. Her advice for weight loss with intermittent fasting? “For people who have those 20 pounds, know, number one, it can be done. Number two, it might be a bit more effort than you thought it was going to be… Third, know that it gets easier with time and you can maintain it. It really isn’t as bad once you get into it, and it’s extraordinarily effective.”
Increase weight loss with these additional intermittent fasting hacks
- Drink Bulletproof Coffee: Skipping breakfast isn’t easy for everyone. If an 18-hour fast sounds daunting, never fear: there’s a hack for that. Instead of skipping breakfast, you replace it with a cup of fatty, satisfying Bulletproof Coffee. This simple hack keeps you in a fasted state and keeps the “hangries” away, while nourishing your body with good fats. Learn more here about boosting your intermittent fasting results with Bulletproof Coffee
- Eat low-carb: Follow the Bulletproof Diet during your eating periods. Restricting carbohydrates will decrease your appetite (goodbye cravings), and make it easier for your body to shift into fat-burning ketosis.
- Break your fast with the right fats, high-quality meats, and vegetables: Towards the end of your fast, those sweets and snacks start looking mighty tempting. Prepare healthy options ahead of time to avoid binging on carbs or junk food.
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