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How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight

nutrition May 14, 2024
How to Use Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight | Arangio

Intermittent fasting is a popular nutrition strategy that has been gaining popularity in recent years.

It involves alternating periods of eating and fasting, with the aim of improving overall health and promoting weight loss. 

If this sounds like a fancy way of saying "skipping meals so you can eat an entire plate of chocolate-chip cookies," you're right.

One time a client summarized intermittent fasting:

"It's like trying to find your car keys in the dark, but instead of keys, it's food. And instead of finding them, you just go to bed hungry."

There are many different ways to do intermittent fasting, but the three most popular methods are the 16/8 method, the 5:2 method, and alternate day fasting.

The 16/8 method involves eating during an 8-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.

This can be done by skipping breakfast and having your first meal at noon, and then having your last meal at 8pm.

If you sleep in on the weekends, you're already practicing this technique.

The 5:2 method involves eating normally for 5 days a week and restricting calories to 500-600 on two non-consecutive days.

Some clients call the lower-calories days "intermittent starvation" and "days you shouldn't talk to me."

Alternate day fasting involves fasting every other day.

My personal style is eating for 8 hours and then fasting for 16, but experiment with each method and see what works best for you.

How to Use Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight

Intermittent fasting can help promote and maintain weight loss; however, it's important to remember that you still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.

Just because you're fasting doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want during your eating periods. Make sure you're still eating a balanced diet and staying within your calorie goals. 

One of the biggest benefits of intermittent fasting is that it can help reduce inflammation markers in your body. Inflammation is a key driver of many chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart issues, so anything you can do to lower inflammation is a good thing. 

Here are 10 tips to make intermittent fasting work for you.

1. Ease into it

If the thought of going without food for 16 hours makes you want to eat an entire pizza right now, you're not alone.

Beginners should start with a shorter fasting period, such as 12 hours, and gradually increase it over time.

Don't try to jump into a 16-hour fast right away if you've never done it before.

Give your body time to adjust to the new eating pattern.

2. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water, herbal tea, or other non-caloric beverages during your fasting periods to stay hydrated and help stave off hunger.

Avoid sugary drinks or caffeinated drinks that can cause dehydration.

3. Make sure your meals are balanced

Intermittent fasting can also help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels because, when you fast, your body has a chance to use up stored glucose and burn stored bodyfat as a fuel source. 

This break can help improve digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and help you burn unwanted bodyfat.

It's like a snooze button for your digestive system.

During your eating window, make sure you're getting enough nutrients by eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

4. Be flexible

You may be thinking, "What about brunch? That's the best meal of the day! Who's gonna give that up?"

But intermittent fasting doesn't have to be a rigid schedule.

If you have a special occasion, like brunch on Mother's Day, or some other event, it's okay to adjust your fasting schedule accordingly.

Don't stress too much about sticking to a specific schedule if it's not working for you.

5. Listen to your body

Nutritionists say intermittent fasting can improve your focus and productivity.

But in the first week, when you're hungry, it may be tough to focus on anything except the nearest sandwich shop.

If you feel lightheaded or dizzy during your fasting period, it's okay to break your fast early.

Don't push yourself too hard and listen to your body's cues.

However it may be tough to hear these cues because your stomach will growl so loud, it might set off car alarms.

6. Stay busy during your fasting periods

If you're used to snacking or eating out of boredom, find other activities to keep yourself occupied during your fasting periods.

This could be going for a walk, doing some light exercise, or trying to remember where you hid that stash of glazed donuts.

7. Plan your meals ahead of time

One approach is to do a traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can eat at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. for an eighteen hour fast and a six hour eating window. But the key here is that you plan your meal times.

Another proven fat-loss strategy I teach my clients is to do a 24-hour fast once a week. Right about now you're probably thinking, "No thanks, I'd rather just eat a bagel."

If you're doing the 5:2 method or alternate day fasting, plan your meals for your non-fasting days ahead of time so you don't end up overeating or making unhealthy food choices.

8. Make sure you're still in a calorie deficit

Intermittent fasting is like a relationship. You think it's a good idea at first, but then you realize you can't live without your partner, I mean, pancakes.

Seriously, intermittent fasting can help promote weight loss, but you still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.

Calories still matter, just like they always have. I can't emphasize this point enough.

Make sure you're still eating a balanced diet and staying within your calorie goals.

9. Don't use intermittent fasting as an excuse to eat unhealthy foods

Just because you're fasting doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want during your eating periods.

Overdoing things during mealtime, like going elbow-deep in a bag of potato chips, may sabotage your progress (and lead to things like intermittent burping).

Make sure you're still eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed foods and foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

10. Stay consistent

You know what's the hardest part of intermittent fasting? Trying to explain to your Italian grandmother why you're not eating her lasagna.

Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Make it a habit and stick with it.

It may take some time to see results, but if you stay consistent, you'll eventually reach your health and weight loss goals.


Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you alternate periods of eating with periods of fasting. This may sound like something your great grandpa used to do in the old country when they didn't have food. It can help you lose weight by reducing calorie intake and boosting metabolism. By restricting the time frame for eating, it can promote fat burning and prevent overeating. It can also improve insulin sensitivity and regulate hunger hormones, leading to sustainable weight loss. 

To your success,

Coach Joe



Joseph Arangio helps 40+ men and women get leaner, stronger, and happier. He's delivered over 100,000 transformation programs to satisfied clients around the globe. If you want to lose weight from home, with the best online longevity personal trainer, or you want to visit the best age-management personal trainer in the Lehigh Valley, you can take a free 14-day trial.

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