At this point, I have written so many articles on how to do intermittent fasting for weight loss that I wasn’t sure what new angle to address. I decided to start by discussing the most common pitfalls women face when they try to lose weight with intermittent fasting. Then, I will review my step-by-step intermittent fasting for weight loss framework to get you started with the right tools.
3 Most Common Pitfalls to Avoid
Women who wonder how to do intermittent fasting for weight loss need to avoid some common pitfalls to ensure their success.
Not Going All In
If you are anything like me, you have likely tried all kinds of reset-your-metabolism diets and weight loss programs. The trouble is, you can’t seem to stick to anything long-term. To see and maintain weight loss, you need to go all in and trust the process.
Not Fasting Long Enough
Not going all-in will mean that you make excuses. You don’t fast for long enough or frequently enough to experience the all-important metabolic switchover that will enable you to trust your body again and listen to your hunger cues. There are some ways to ensure you are fasting long enough; we will address these methods in the next section.
Not Trusting the Process
Sometimes, women worry that fasting will slow their metabolism or wreck their hormones. They are worried that fasting will harm their bodies. They wonder if intermittent fasting is a fad or if it will cause them to overeat later. In this case, the best piece of advice I can give you is to do some research. Many studies demonstrate that fasting heals your body, helps you live longer, lose weight while preserving muscle mass, and will not cause you to overeat later.
After doing well for a while and losing some weight, it is pretty standard for women to return to their regular eating style. Remember that whatever tool you pick to lose weight, you must commit to it forever. Going back to your old ways will mean gaining weight back.
Many of us will start on our weight loss journey with unrealistic expectations. Women who wonder how to do intermittent fasting for weight loss are no exception.
Wanting to Lose Weight Too Fast
When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race, particularly when you have less than 20 lbs to lose. I would surmise that a weight loss of 2 lbs a month is a reasonable goal. Furthermore, don’t panic if you don’t lose weight in one month. Weight loss doesn’t usually follow a straight downward line. Instead, it will go up and down. Some months, you will experience more weight loss, while some months, you will not lose weight at all.
Not Learning to Listen to Their Bodies
Before healing your body with intermittent fasting, your body gives you false clues. For example, you feel hungry when you are not, and you feel tired after eating a wholesome meal. However, after a month of intermittent fasting with the right fasting window, you can start listening to your body’s cues. You need to pay attention to optimize your results. Stop relying on others to tell you what to do. Instead, tune into yourself, and you will discover that you know just what to do.
You will know:
- How to break your fast
- How to adjust your eating window
- What whole foods your body need at any given time
- When to break your fast early
- When to fast longer
- How to track your sleep
How to Do Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
Now that you are aware of the common pitfalls you must avoid. Let’s consider my 5 step framework to enable you to achieve your desired results.
1. Get Started to Maximize Your Success
This step is simple enough. Take measurements, write down your starting weight, take before and after pictures, ensure you have realistic weight loss expectations, and create a mindset for success.
2. Kickstart Your Weight Loss
That’s where things get interesting. Yes, you can jump in with your chosen intermittent fasting window, but I advise you to kickstart weight loss with a 5-day modified fast or a 7-day keto cycle to start switching from using glucose to using ketones for energy. This will enable you to start listening to your body’s cues as these cues become more reliable.
3. Become Metabolically Flexible
As you experiment with intermittent fasting, you will learn the signs that your body uses ketones for energy. Teaching your body to switch from glucose to ketones is what it means to become metabolically flexible. Over time, you can truly feel the difference. You notice that:
- Hunger doesn’t make you “hangry”
- You feel energetic
- Your sleep improves
- You feel more focused
- Your food cravings no longer control you
To experience this, your fasting window has to be long enough to get you in optimal ketosis (1 mmol/L) at least once a week.
4. Exercise Just Enough
Whether you like it or not, fasting is a stress on your body. Fortunately, not all stresses are bad! Exercise is also a stress, and so is low-carb eating. Some stress is beneficial as your body will release just enough cortisol to decrease inflammation and promote weight loss. However, you don’t want to stress your body too much. That’s why I encourage women to eat carbs, snack during their fasting window, and pick a form of exercise that is not too intense. Yoga (read my article Starting Yoga at 40 or Later: Everything You Need to Know) is one of my first choices, and so are bodyweight workouts.
5. Maintain Your Weight Loss
Believe it or not, once you achieve your goal weight, you may find it challenging to stop losing weight. You will want to keep practicing some form of intermittent fasting to maintain the health benefits, but you will need to tweak it to stop losing weight. I find that one 24-hour fast a week usually works pretty well.
How to Do Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss Video
The combination of avoiding the most common pitfalls and knowing the five-step framework to learn how to do intermittent fasting for weight loss is an excellent starting point. Now, you just need to take action. Go for it!