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Intermittent Fasting: Fasting to Lose Weight, Does It Work?

 Among the current dietary trends is intermittent fasting. More than a diet, this new way of eating would have many health benefits. Fasting to lose weight has even become the new slimming secret. In this article, learn about the real benefits of fasting and how to practice it with a typical day special menu fasting. 

The health benefits of intermittent fasting:

What is intermittent fasting? 

This type of diet consists of alternating between periods of fasting of varying lengths and periods of food intake. Much more flexible and accessible than strict fasting which does not allow any food intake, intermittent fasting allows you to enjoy the same health benefits. There are different ways to practice intermittent fasting: partial fasting, 5: 2 method, fasting, etc. 

Health benefits of fasting: 

Fasting would have many benefits for the body. Especially in our society where overeating and junk food are two common facts. 

Here are the main health benefits of fasting: 

  • Decreases the production of insulin and the storage of fat and sugar in the body
  • Stimulates the destocking of fats 
  • Better control of food sensations 
  • Stimulates the secretion of growth hormone
  • Improves physical and intellectual performance and decreases recovery time 
  • Promotes cell regeneration 
  • Allows the cleansing of the organism and stimulates the autophagy or self-cleaning function of the organism by its own cells 
  • Decreases cellular oxidation and premature aging of cells 
  • Prevents overweight and certain associated pathologies: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.

Fasting to lose weight: the opinion of a dietitian?

Fasting to lose weight is the new trend. As mentioned above, the health benefits of fasting are numerous and very interesting. However, in the context of weight loss you have to be careful. Indeed, an unsupervised and badly conducted intermittent fast can cause more damage than benefits. Fatigue, frustration, food compulsions, cravings, etc. are all negative effects that can put the body to the test.

To avoid them, it is necessary to seek medical advice before starting the fast and to be accompanied by food professionals. Also, keep in mind that fasting is not a diet but a way of eating. Losing weight doesn't have to be the only motivation - it can make things difficult and mistakes frequent. 

The main mistakes to avoid for a successful intermittent fasting:

Fasting to lose weight is not as easy as it sounds. This is because there are some very common mistakes that can ruin all your efforts and make intermittent fasting counterproductive.

Here is a list of the main mistakes to avoid for a successful fast.

Not drinking enough water:

The elimination of metabolic wastes and toxins requires sufficient hydration. During intermittent fasting, this hydration must be even more important for the body to support the fasting periods and continue to function optimally. When you fast, your thirst is often much less. It is therefore imperative to pay attention to this point and drink at least 2 liters of water per day, spreading the intake over the day.

Eat twice as much during times of food intake: 

When fasting, it can be difficult to maintain a balanced diet during periods of food intake. Indeed, it is very tempting to pounce on food, eat in larger quantities and turn to pleasure foods. Now, this is a big mistake. To reap the health benefits of fasting, the quality of the diet during periods of food intake matters as much as the fasting periods themselves. Thus, it will be necessary to promote meals rich in plants, whole grains, lean proteins and essential fatty acids.

Set goals that are too difficult to achieve:

 Fasting is a complicated exercise. To avoid missteps, it is recommended to take it gradually and to listen to your body before anything else. If this is your first time on a fast, try to set goals in stages. Start by moving your mealtime forward in the evening, move your breakfast time back a little in the morning, etc. In this way, you can slowly increase the fasting time without hurting your body.

Fasting to lose weight only

Intermittent fasting is more of a lifestyle than a diet. Its purpose is not weight loss, although it does help. Summarizing fasting to that one goal can make it a lot more complicated. This is because you risk missing out on all the other benefits of fasting (physiological and psychological) and giving up more quickly. Also, it can be frustrating and guilty if a dietary gap or weight loss is deemed too slow. 

A typical day of special fasting menu:

To help you build a practical day menu, here is an example of a special fasting food plan. Fasting is the most well-known and widely used method of intermittent fasting. This method consists of alternating an 8-hour food intake period with a 16-hour fasting period. Here, the last meal of the day is therefore consumed before 8 p.m. and the first meal of the day is that of the next day at noon. 

Lunch (at 12 noon) - Snack (at 4 p.m.) - Dinner (before 8 p.m.)

Raw vegetable salad with walnut oil 

150 to 200 g of meat, or substitute 

200g green vegetables 

200g of cooked whole starches 

30g cheese 

Seasonal fruit 

Tea or infusion 

Honey yogurt 

Handful of oilseeds 

40g muesli with red fruits 

250g vegetable soup

150g of white fish or salmon, white cheese sauce and olive oil

200g of cooked starches 

Homemade fruit compote 

2 squares of dark chocolate 

To better match your habits, it is possible to postpone dinner time and therefore lunch time. The important thing is simply to keep a fasting period of 16 hours alternating with a food intake period of 8 hours.

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