One of my clients lost about 50 pounds and kept it off. She did so by reducing her portion sizes and practicing Intermittent Fasting.
“I just don’t eat until 1:00 in the afternoon,” she said. “I don’t get hungry and when it is time for lunch, I eat.”
For her, it was a no-brainer. She didn’t wake up hungry and had no problem going all morning without eating. When lunch time rolled around, she ate but didn’t find herself binging or struggling to control how much she ate.
In this situation, for this individual, Intermittent Fasting was a fantastic weight loss tool.
Another client wakes up starving. She likes to workout in the morning and finds herself hungry and shaky if she doesn’t eat. By mid-morning, she’s headed for the first high-sugar snack she can find because she’s crashing, and at lunch she overeats because she’s so hungry she’s lost her natural satiety cues.
For this individual, Intermittent Fasting is a disaster.
When new dietary trends emerge they are often touted as the “secret” or magic pill for losing weight and keeping it off. Intermittent Fasting has come on the scene and is being promoted by a number of celebrities and health and wellness figures.
The research shows some benefit to Intermittent Fasting, however we forget that most people practice IF every night when they sleep. If you eat dinner at 7:00 p.m. and don’t eat again until breakfast at 7:00 a.m., you’ve practiced a 12 hour fast.
For many people, this is enough to get the benefits found in research.
Fasting has been shown to have a sometimes negative effect on women specifically, as going without food can spike cortisol and send our hormones on a tailspin.
Some individuals are going to be more sensitive to this response than others.
My advice to anyone who asks about fasting is this: if you find it easier and less stressful to skip breakfast and not have to think about food until lunch and you do not overeat or make poor dietary choices due to being overly hungry, fasting may be a great tool for you.
If you wake up hungry, will find yourself white-knuckling your way through a fast and are likely to eat more or lack willpower because of the fast, then it is not going to be successful for you.
The only “diet” which will work for you is the one you can do consistently.
Anything that adds stress to your life or make you feel or perform poorly is not going to be sustainable and therefore, doesn’t work for you.
So does Intermittent Fasting work for weight loss?
And also, no.
If it makes sense for you, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t.
That’s really all you need to know.