When practicing intermittent fasting, the results of weight loss are constant and long-lasting, yet the key is to know how to do it right. Many crash diets can help users lose weight quickly, only to relapse once the diet is over.
Intermittent fasting avoids the one-time benefits of fad-diets and focuses more on creating a sustainable and stable eating schedule. Using this eating pattern, users lower calorie intake and instead improve personal nutritional intake over time, leading to long-lasting weight loss results and a better, healthier self. But how does it do this exactly?
3 Factors Causing Widespread Weight Gain
To successfully keep the weight off and make sure it doesn’t come back, three main factors might be getting in the way:
- Excess Calorie Intake
- Low-Value Meals
- Hidden Sugars
Sounds complicated? All three of these factors are explained in detail to help you understand where you might be taking the wrong turns.
Excess Calorie Intake
Next to regular daily schedules, we can plan a few thought-out meals that are balanced and aligned with personal weight loss goals. Everything seems perfect, and the plan is flawlessly laid out until you start reaching for the granola bar in your bag.
Weight loss results are crucially affected when excessive snacking enters the frame.
Let’s paint a picture. You’re rushing in the morning to leave home and start work. No time for breakfast? A bagel with a slab of cream cheese is your go-to.
At work, you notice a dozen donuts up for grabs in the break room. You split the donut in half because eating the whole thing would be a bit too much on your consciousness.
During lunch, you grab a chocolate-coated granola bar because the salad you prepared wasn’t large enough to get you full.
On the way home from work, you stop for gas and grab some pistachios to snack on during the traffic jam.
Later, after dinner, you sit down with your favorite book or TV show and snack on some popcorn.
While you may have planned out healthy meals for lunch and dinner that day, mindless snacking that happened during the day lead to a boosted caloric intake that is a cause of lack of weight loss or even weight gain.
One snack may be harmless, but one by one, they all add up.
Very frequently, we only focus on calorie intake and forget about the satiety factor of foods.
Satiety is the physiological factor that limits how much food we intake, long before the food is digested. Several factors determine the amount of food you feel you need. Sometimes it’s the feeling of fullness caused by the distention of the stomach or emotional factors. A handful of foods score high on the so-called satiety index, such as potatoes, eggs, vegetables, oatmeal, greek yogurt, meat, and fish.
When we decide to have high-calorie foods during meals instead of those ranking high in satiety, we risk additional snacking to feel fulfilled. Foods that are too high in carbohydrates will not affect hunger levels for very long, and before you even know it, you’re back at the refrigerator looking for something sweet or savory.
Focus on complex high carbohydrate foods such as whole grains, vegetables, or beans. High in satiety foods reduces the chances of overeating, which results in maximum weight loss results.
There are so many ways that sugar sneaks into your diet! Plenty of well-intentioned dieters add in around 2 oz. of sugar a day in ways that they don’t even know.
When making a salad, you drizzle some of that tasty raspberry vinaigrette. When making coffee each morning, you pour a bit of vanilla bean coffee creamer. When eating a lean cut of steak for dinner, you unintentionally drench it in ketchup. Sound familiar?
Obese individuals underreport high-sugar and high-fat foods regularly. While you may not be obese, there is a high chance that you are consuming more sugar than you might realize with condiments, additives, and marinades that wouldn’t even cross your mind.
Too much sugar leads to excessive insulin production, which drives fat storage. It also leads to increased sugar cravings. The more you eat, the more you crave!
How Intermittent Fasting Solves These Problems
While it is possible to overeat with intermittent fasting, the smaller eating window will help you to eat foods that keep you fuller for a more extended period. Typical fasting schedules include:
- 12 hour fast, 12 hours eating
- 16 hour fast, 8 hours eating
- 20 hour fast, 4 hours eating
- Fasting every other day
These fasting schedules have merit and help reduce calorie intake: the smaller your eating window, the less chance of excessive snacking and overconsumption of calories.
Many people plan out meals to hit their macronutrient goals each day but later on snack outside meal times and over-consume calories with carbohydrate and sugar-rich foods.
When fasting for most of each day, the eating window becomes small, meaning the meals become larger, and snacking is no longer desired since the satiety levels have increased. That leaves less of a chance for empty-calorie snacks with excessive sugar.
While it may sound like fasting would create more cravings for low-quality junk foods, insulin regulation from fasting reduces cravings significantly. In short, insulin is produced to take care of and regulate the blood sugar in your system since high blood sugar is toxic.
During the periods of fasting and with high-quality food intake during eating windows, insulin levels stay low. Lower insulin levels lead to less fat storage and more mobilization of fatty acids from the body’s fat cells.
While breaking down and regulating blood sugar levels, the blood sugar breaks down faster than it takes insulin to clear out of your system. This delay leads to a craving for more sugar to reduce the body’s excessive insulin levels. Taking out the initial snacking that causes these spikes to reduce subsequent cravings.
A smaller eating window means fewer snacks throughout the day and fewer cravings afterward. It builds momentum and creates a successful fasting experience over time with a smaller appetite overall.
This intricate combination of effects is responsible for the weight loss results that most people who use intermittent fasting enjoy!
Intermittent fasting isn’t magic and doesn’t always have a 100% success rate. You can still over-consume calories when eating only 4-12 hours a day and gain weight. However, with intermittent fasting, many mechanisms are working in your favor. It is one of the most useful tools for improving health and boosting weight loss available right now!