How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight? 

intermittent fasting for weight loss

Intermittent fasting (IF):  

The type of eating plan that is designed in a way that the period of eating and fasting are switched periodically is known as intermittent fasting. Regular and short-term fasts are the key method of IF. Usually, it is a time period of a few hours in which the person avoids eating anything. It involves a cycle of fasting and non-fasting voluntarily in a given time period. Liquids are allowed to be taken, but solid food is not permitted. Intermittent fasting doesn’t focus on the nature of the food you are going to eat, but on the time at which the meals are taken. Unlike other diets, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat rather than what you eat. This process is done by reducing the eating window, which means that you only eat during a specific time.  

There are multiple ways of doing intermittent fasting, but all of them include fasting and not eating anything in between that time period. In this way, the calorie intake is lowered automatically. It is proven to be very helpful in reducing belly fat as the belly area usually has higher fat reserves. The storage of the body of energy is the body fat. When needed, the body needs to make multiple changes to change these fats into useful energy sources. Several metabolic changes happen in the body that helps in getting rid of the extra fat in the body. When the calorie intake is low, the body automatically starts to use fats as an energy source after a certain time period. Fats are not easy to get rid of. It takes some time for the body to understand the changes being made and then after some time the results start to show.   

Intermittent fasting is proven to help the body burn fat. When you stay hungry for a long time period, the body uses the calories from the last meal, and then it starts to burn the fats stored in the body. In this way, the reserves of fat are burnt down at a faster rate.  


Scientific evidence has proved that intermittent fasting along with weight loss also offers a number of benefits. Extra fats and calories stored in the body can increase the risk of multiple chronic health issues such as cardiac and cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, obesity, age-related neurodegenerative diseases, organ damage, inflammatory bowel disease, and even some cancers. IF may be helpful in reversing these problems. This type of fasting is believed to not only reduce weight but also aid in better health of the overall body and brain because of the new metabolic changes going on in the body. It also improves memory and overall mental health. General physical performance is also seen to be enhanced. The key to availing of maximum benefits is consistency. Whatever plan you are following, if you follow it religiously and for a long time the results will be multiplied. Intermittent fasting combined with exercise gives excellent results. Because generally when you lose weight, along with losing body fat you also lose muscle mass. So by doing strength training, you will be able to maintain your muscle mass too.   

Is it safe? 

Intermittent fasting is thought to be safe generally. A lot of people have had fruitful benefits from it, however it is recommended to always consult your physician first before starting it. Most people start it to manage their weight, but it may not be safe for everyone. People with type 1 diabetes, pregnant women, and underage children may not respond to it properly. The thing to keep in mind is that it will show different effects on different people. So, it is important to always design a customized plan for yourself rather than going for a ready made plan. It will not be as effective as everyone’s body is different and everyone’s goals are different. You cannot follow a standard plan and expect to get your desired results.  

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Side effects:  

Like any other diet plan, intermittent fasting may show side effects in some individuals. In the start, it can be difficult for most people. After some days, the body starts adjusting to the new changes being made and the metabolic changes occurring in the body. These effects may include nausea, vomiting, headaches, hunger pangs, insomnia, or irritability. These side effects are normal and usually go away in a few days. Some individuals need to do it under the supervision of a health professional who has diabetes, trying to conceive, is pregnant or nursing, has eating disorders or is underage and underweight. The key is to keep following the plan and not switch between different plans. Stick to one plan and your body will get used to it. A strict diet can cause some serious health problems such as severe dehydration and malnutrition. Older adults should also take proper measures and precautions if they are willing to go for it as their body is already not strong enough.  

Effect on hormones:  

In addition to weight loss, intermittent fasting also affects your hormones. When you fast, the body sends signals to noradrenaline to accelerate the fat-burning mechanism in order to provide enough energy to the body. When the body starves for a long time period, all the energy from the previous meals is used first, then fat reserves are broken down in order to provide enough fuel for proper body functioning. Weight loss and hormones go side by side. There is no way that weight is lost without the action of hormones. The plan must be designed in a way that is useful for the working of the hormones too.  

After having a meal, insulin levels tend to increase in the body. Insulin can also affect weight and fats in the body. While staying hungry, the level of insulin drops in the body hence providing aid in the burning of fats in the body. 

Lifestyle changes:  

Weight loss plans may seem difficult and complicated, but intermittent fasting is famous for its simplicity. It simplifies your time a lot, by allowing you to manage time efficiently. The number of meals to prepare and plan is less, and you have a lot more time to focus on other things in life. The best part about it is that it doesn’t even require counting the calorie intake.  

Methods of Intermittent Fasting? 

Choosing a method of intermittent fasting is a personal choice. The only thing that is common is to stay regular with the time period. You can choose a plan according to your own needs and wants.  

  1. The 16/8 intermittent plan:  

This method allows you to have an oral intake of solids or liquids in an 8-hour time period of your own choice. Other than that in the remaining 16 hours, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything. This method is based time-restricted feeding (TRF) model and is very famous among individuals who want to lose weight. Individuals who are used to skipping breakfast usually choose a time between midday and night. While those who avoid eating at night, choose the time period from morning to evening. This method is proven to help in weight loss efficiently and to prevent hypertension too. While following this plan, however, you are not supposed to count the calories. Still, it is advised to eat healthy and a balanced diet. Otherwise eating junk food and fast food will hinder the benefits of the plan.  

  1. The 5:2 intermittent fasting plan:  

This plan is very simple and to the point. You are allowed to eat everything 5 days a week and then for two days, the intake of food is cut to one-quarter of your daily needs. Even if cutting the calories is for 2 days only, it is still not easy and not everyone can do it. You still need to consult your doctor before starting it.  

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  1. Eat stop eat method: 

This method allows one to choose one or two days that are not consecutive, and then refrain from eating anything for 24 hours on those days. You can eat on other days but on those chosen days you are not allowed to eat anything. This method is also effective but again it depends on personal choice and the physical health and endurance of the individual. Staying hungry for straight 24 hours may cause irritability, and the person may binge eat after that day.  

  1. Alternate-day fasting: 

It is a very easy plan in which you have to fast every other day. And you are allowed to eat everything on the non-fasting day.  It accelerates weight loss benefits and outcomes in many individuals. The results can be enhanced by adding an exercise plan to this regime. Staying active and eating healthy will always multiply the goodness of the outcomes. It can be hard for someone who is not used to fast.  

  1. The Warrior diet:  

This plan is derived from the eating patterns of ancient warriors which was created in 2001 by Or Hofmekler. It allows you to eat very less in 20 hours and then you can have your favorite food in the next 4 hours only. This diet plan is a bit strict as it allows you to consume eggs, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables during the 20 hours. In the other 4 hours anything can be eaten but again eating healthy is recommended.   

Planning an intermittent fasting plan:  

People who aim to lose and maintain their healthy weight usually choose the intermittent fasting plan because of its numerous benefits other than just weight loss. Promoting overall good health, improving the immune system, improving gut health, detoxification of the organs, and a lot more. When a person plans to follow intermittent fasting, he/she is required to set certain goals and aims for himself.  

Proper meals should be taken to provide the body with all the healthy ingredients to work efficiently. The meals taken in the eating window must be balanced well with all the nutritious foods needed for the body.  

Calories need to be kept in a measure even if this plan doesn’t require them to. You need to know your maintenance calories according to your BMI, then the fasting should be customized according to the need of how much weight loss you want in how much time. Your weight, height, gender, and age everything should be kept in mind before starting the fasting plan. A proper customized plan should be designed by a health care professional that contains a proper routine and schedule of everything according to your health and the needs of your body and mind. You need to be emotionally and mentally satisfied with the changes otherwise the outcomes would be altered. You must be psychologically prepared for the upcoming changes in your body and mood. Little mood swings or irritability may be experienced, but it all goes over with time. Just staying calm and giving yourself and your body some time will do wonders! 

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Fasting is an effective and beneficial plan to follow for several individuals. Intermittent fasting is proven to be helpful for people who are aiming to lose weight healthily. It is not exactly a diet plan, but a lifestyle change that allows the body to alter its metabolic changes according to the diet schedule. The eating window must be used smartly, and a healthy and balanced diet should be taken at that time to accelerate the effects. Fruits, vegetables, fibers, fresh juices, and dry fruits should be included in the meal plan. A smart blend of carbohydrates and proteins should be administered. Drinking plenty of water is important to avoid dehydration. Low or no-calorie fluids are recommended. A lot of people usually fast unintentionally when they take long pauses between their meals, such as skipping a meal. Though usually, a minimal number of people experience any side effects from it, yet if you have a previous medical condition you should consult your doctor before starting this diet and throughout the time as well.  

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