“What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting?”. This is verbatim a question I have gotten in my DM box on Instagram and my email inbox many times over the last month, so I thought it was time to address the subject in full. So, is intermittent fasting for weight loss the only way to go to achieve results?
But first, a little story for you, because, I love stories and this one has a lot to do with intermittent fasting for weight loss.
Once, there was a girl, who, about a year previous had given birth to a baby. She had a 2 and a half year old son, but this pregnancy was different.
She wasn’t able to stay active and keep moving during her pregnancy because of medical reasons and ended up gaining a lot of weight.
After she had her baby, she was medically cleared at the 6 week point to dive right into exercising and weight loss.
Within about a 6-8 month period she lost close to 40 pounds. She still had about another 20 to go, but as with most things, life got in the way and she looked up a few months later and realized her baby is turning one and she still has this 20 pounds she wants to get rid of.
Then she heard about intermittent fasting for weight loss and that it would supposedly boost your metabolism and make you lose weight faster.
So she thought she’d give it a try.
She chose an aggressive eating window with only eating between noon and 6:30pm. Her target calories were 1600 to be in a fairly aggressive deficit.
About 10 days in she was irritable and everyday around 8:00 pm, she felt hungry.
She felt so hungry, that she felt the need to go to bed early once she and the hubs got the kiddos down just to avoid the hunger pains.
15 days in and she was tempted to binge because she felt so hungry and she was having a hard time getting the calories she needed in that small window.
She was loosing weight, but she didn’t know how much longer she could keep on this schedule.
So. Let’s discuss a couple of things about this situation.
There’s nothing magical about the eating window.
For years we have been programmed to think that if we eat after a certain time that it will store as fat.
I used to believe that too and not that long ago! It was when I started really studying nutrition and how baseline calories work and how the body uses calories that based on those studies, my opinion is that it is false!
Your body has a baseline of calories, what this means is that these calories are the amount of calories your body needs to maintain where it is.
A calorie deficit is going below these baseline calories to achieve weight loss. A calorie deficit is what is needed to achieve weight loss. Not eating at a certain time of day.
Why was our friend loosing weight if weight loss has nothing to do with time? Well, she was in a calorie deficit.
Remember how I said she was having a hard time even reaching her deficit calorie goal of 1600? 1600 was an aggressive deficit for her based off of her TDEE so if she was having trouble teaching that in her time frame, then she was in an even more aggressive deficit. Make sense?
Let’s assess the lifestyle of this specific situation. My goal is to teach you, my reader, a lifestyle.
Can our friend make a lifestyle of eating only between noon and 6:30?
She made that apparent within the first two weeks because she was super hungry and even irritable. If she really wanted to do intermittent fasting for weight loss, then a better window would probably be 10:00am-8:00 or 8:30pm.
Again, weight loss has nothing to do with time windows of eating.
It has to do with calorie deficit and her noon-6:30 isn’t working for a lifestyle.
Remember, create success for yourself. When you create success for yourself, you stick to learning new things, longer, which in turn becomes a habit. AKA – lifestyle.
So, what does work? A calorie deficit.
Each and every single person is different which is why I hate one size fits all diets. This is another reason I don’t have a nutritionist to provide meal plans to clients or readers. Because they will have long term success if they learn how to eat for their body.
Learn how to count calories and once you achieve your weight loss goal, slowly adding calories back into your diet until you reach your baseline. (Go to TDEE to figure your baseline calories). This helps you overcome your metabolic adaptions that you achieved during your deficit.
Here’s the deal, mama.
You have to decide what kind of eating schedule is going to work for you and your lifestyle. It’s completely up to you. I can provide you with information that I have learned, but ultimately, you make the decision on what works for you and your schedule.
You’re busy, right? You’re a wife, you’ve got kiddos, plus you have an outside the home, job! You’re CRAZY busy.
What you have to decide is what eating schedule is going to work for you and your schedule.
I have a hubby, and a little boy, and I own my own business. Meal prep is the easiest way for me to stay on track. Eating within a specific time frame of day just isn’t going to cut it for me because my schedule is so nutty.
My calorie goals are met through the day as I eat when I can and when I’m hungry.
Remember, there isn’t a one size fits all solution.
That’s why I recommend each and every woman learn and listen to their bodies.
You should know your TDEE, and what your body is capable of in regards to workouts.
This is something that you learn over time and it is not a beginning and end process. As your body changes, so will your workouts and your eating and calorie habits.
My final opinion on intermittent fasting for weight loss?
And this is strictly what it is – an opinion- but here it is…
If eating within a specific window works for you, do it. Make sure you hit your calories and don’t go hungry!
However, if you get into intermittent fasting and realize that it doesn’t work for your lifestyle, then for the love of dumbbells, don’t do it!
Because ultimately, it comes down to a calorie deficit not the time of day that you eat.
Bottom line? Your diet should be a lifestyle. Ultimately it comes down to what works for your schedule.
You’re not going to get it right the first time, but that’s okay. Live and learn.
You’ve totally got this.
Don’t fall for “quick fixes” such as juice cleanses and some magic pill of unicorn hair and olive oil.
Learn a healthy lifestyle, and you will achieve lasting results.