Intermittent fasting is a very convenient tool to lose weight.
When I first started my weight loss journey, intermittent fasting was one of the primary methods I used to quickly and easily drop body fat.
To this day, I'm still a big fan of intermittent fasting and use it to keep stubborn fat off year-round.
It's my go-to strategy to use when I go on vacation and stay lean. I just limit myself to eating two meals per day, but I'll eat whatever I want!
I went on a cruise back in January 2020, and all I did was ate two large, satiating meals per day.
Most people gain an average of seven pounds on a cruise, but not me! I didn't gain a single pound.
Intermittent fasting allows you to eat large, satisfying meals, and it also eliminates the obsession of always thinking about food.
When you learn how to go for an extended period without eating, you start to appreciate food much more!
However, you must realize that intermittent fasting does not create fat loss. Eating in a calorie deficit creates fat loss.
Intermittent fasting is simply a tool that makes eating in a calorie deficit very easy and enjoyable.
When you limit yourself to eating two meals per day, it is almost challenging to spill over into a calorie surplus!
Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting involves alternating between a fasting window and an eating window. A popular method is to fast for 18 hours then eat your allotted calories within a 6-hour window.
You can adjust the window hours to meet your preferences. During your fast, feel free to consume zero-calorie beverages like black coffee or sparkling/mineral water.
Both black coffee and sparkling water are excellent hunger suppressors, and I highly recommend drinking them during your fast.
They are especially useful while your body adjusts to your new eating pattern.
Don't drink coffee after you break your fast. The caffeine can lose its ability to suppress your hunger if you continue to drink it throughout the day.
Caffeine consumption in the afternoon can also inhibit sleep because caffeine stays in your system for about 5-7 hours.
The approach I take is to simply skip breakfast. I drink black coffee throughout the morning and eat lunch and dinner as usual. I do not track the hours I fast, I just eat lunch and dinner.
As you can tell, I'm a huge advocate of simplicity because simple is sustainable.
You can drink diet sodas if you want, but I generally avoid them because they are high in artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners can upset the bacterial balance within your gut, which can lead to digestive problems. However, a diet soda every now and then won't kill you.
A pretty straightforward plan is to wait 5-6 hours after you wake up to eat your first meal and then have your second meal 5-6 hours later.
I cannot overstate how important it is to track your calories. Again, intermittent fasting does not cause weight loss.
A calorie deficit causes weight loss. Intermittent fasting is a tool.
I have heard stories of so many people failing to lose weight with intermittent fasting because they didn't track their calories.
You can fast for 20 hours per day and eat for only 4 hours, but if you consume 4000 calories in that window, you won't lose weight.
Don't make the same mistake!
Also, don't force yourself to not eat if your body is clearly indicating that it wants food.
Listen to your body. It's on your side. Slowly introduce intermittent fasting into your routine.
Start off by fasting for only a couple of hours after you wake up, then eat something. As the weeks go by, steadily increase that time to 5-6 hours. Ease your way into it.
I already liked black coffee when I started intermittent fasting, so it was an easy adjustment for me.
The black coffee suppressed my hunger enough for me to fast for 5-6 hours when I first started, but I realize that not everyone likes black coffee or even drinks coffee at all.
Calorie for Weight Loss
For calories, shoot for 1800-2100 calories per day. A simple calculation is to multiply your current body weight by 12. The result is how many calories you should consume to create a mild calorie deficit.
Eat a proper mix of fats, carbs, and protein. Please do not restrict a macronutrient group. Don't cut carbs or fats. The key to weight loss is balance.
I never recommend eating fewer than 1700 calories per day. Do not fool yourself into thinking you will get faster results by reducing your calories further.
I promise you that you will not maintain a 1200-1500 calorie diet for very long. You will mess up because your body will fight back. You will experience ravenous hunger and cravings, and you will be left with only your willpower.
Trust me, making things easy is how to maintain a successful diet. I'm not sure who said this, but the wisdom in this saying is profound:
"Take the long road because it's shorter."
I'm also paraphrasing it, but make small changes that are easy to sustain for weeks, months, and even years.
It took years for you to reach your current state, and you need to accept that it will take time to reverse the process. So make that time enjoyable!
For more information on fat loss, check out this video!
Sample Intermittent Fasting Schedule
- 7 am: Wake up
- 7 am - 11 am: Drink black coffee, sparkling water, zero-calorie drinks, etc.
- 11 am: 700 calories lunch
- 11 am - 6 pm: Fast, sparkling water, non-caffeinated beverages
- 6 pm: 1300 calorie dinner.
- 6 pm - 11 pm: Fast
- 11 pm - 7 am: Sleep
Adjust the hours according to your schedule and liking.
I also recommend adding 2-3 weight lifting sessions per week!