If you are looking for a simple step-by-step process that outlines how to start intermittent fasting for weight loss, you will love this post! Fundamentally, I will summarize the first three modules of my 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Transformation: Get Started to Maximize Your Success, Kickstart Your Weight Loss, and Become Metabolically Flexible With Intermittent Fasting.
How to Start Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
Whether you have tried intermittent fasting for weight loss before or not, this strategy will help you finally achieve the results you want. What makes it different is that it ensures you become metabolically flexible. Once you are metabolically flexible, you are no longer controlled by your cravings because your body is not relying on glucose for energy. You don’t depend on willpower alone. Now, you can learn to listen to your body’s cues as you discover true food freedom!
Get Started to Maximize Your Success
There are two essential things you need to do when you start intermittent fasting for weight loss:
- Set realistic expectations
- Record your starting point
I am often amazed at how many women start with unrealistic expectations and fail to record their starting point properly. Make sure you read this section carefully and heed my advice.
Setting Realistic Expectations
So far, most women I have helped lose weight were women who didn’t have a whole lot of weight to lose (between 10-20 lbs). That’s also how much weight I had to lose, so I speak from experience. As it turns out, the closer you are to your goal weight, the longer it is going to take. You need to be patient and trust the process. I have found that a weight loss of about 2lbs a month is a realistic expectation. If you have more than 20lbs to lose, then you can expect to lose more, but either way, don’t obsess over the scale! Yes, those numbers will help track your progress, but they are not everything!
Record Your Starting Point
Recording your starting point accurately will enable you to track your progress in other ways than just those numbers on the scale. Here are some useful benchmarks:
- Pictures: Take before and progress pictures. You will notice changes in the way your face looks and in your body composition.
- Sleep: Aside from weight loss, for me, one of the most notable benefits of fasting was improved sleep. Tracking your sleep can be very encouraging.
- Energy: Of course, improved sleep will help with your energy level, but aside from that, you will notice that when you are functioning on ketones, you have more energy.
- Measurements: Mesure your waists and hips.
- Mood: How do you feel each day? Your mood can tell you about your overall well-being.
- Glucose/ketones: The basis for becoming metabolically flexible. You will learn to know how you feel when your body is switching to ketones, but tracking those numbers can also help.
My 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Transformation Program includes a Daily Journal that you can use to track your progress, a Getting Started Checklist, and quick videos where I coach you along the way.
Kickstart Your Weight Loss
Since I told you that you may lose only 2lbs a month, you might be curious about how to kickstart your weight loss. Yes, there is something you can do that not only can enable you to lose a few more pounds at first but will also encourage a faster metabolic switchover. The metabolic switchover from glucose to ketones is key to your success. That’s why I recommend you kickstart your weight loss with a modified fast or a keto cycle.
A modified fast is a 5-day fast based on the principles of the Fasting Mimicking Diet by Dr. Valter Longo. The idea is to heal your body and achieve ketosis through severe calorie restriction (you will be eating only 40 percent of your regular calorie intake) as well as a specific macronutrient ratio that is low in protein and carbs.
Read Modified Fasting: How You Can Benefit From Fasting Without Starving to learn more.
If you are worried about feeling too hungry and not sticking it out, if you hate the types of foods that are included in the menu plans, or find modified fasting too confusing, I have another option for you: a 7-day keto cycle.
A 7-Day Intermittent Fasting Keto Cycle is another effective way to start becoming metabolically flexible without going hungry. The keto diet is effective for weight loss because when your body runs on ketones, you don’t feel as hungry and you become free from your food cravings. However, not many people can sustain the keto diet long-term. That’s why I like using the keto diet as a temporary tool to kickstart weight loss and enable you to understand the fuel switchover before you pick your intermittent fasting method.
If this method sounds right for you, don’t forget to get my free 7-Day Intermittent Fasting Keto Meal Plan. Furthermore, please be aware that most “keto” recipes and meal plans online are not truly keto (20 grams or less of net carbs a day).
Become Metabolically Flexible With Intermittent Fasting
Did you know that once you have been into ketosis, it’s easier to get back into it? That’s why you just kickstarted your weight loss with a modified fast or a keto cycle. After that, you need to pick a fasting window that will enable you to achieve ketosis any time you fast. A ketone monitor is helpful but not essential. You will know you are deep enough in ketosis by the way you feel.
Picking Your Fasting Window
Becoming metabolically flexible with intermittent fasting is all about picking a fasting window that takes you back and forth from using glucose to ketones for energy.
You will need to make sure your fasting window is long enough to sustain optimal weight loss ketosis for at least 2-3 hours. Technically, you are in ketosis when your ketone reading is above 0.5 mmol/L, but you will most likely notice the signs of ketosis when you are in optimal weight loss ketosis, which is around 1 mmol\L.
Signs of Ketosis
Here’s what you will notice:
- Your hunger won’t bother you as much.
- You will feel energetic and focused.
These telltale signs mean that you have experienced the metabolic switchover.
Deciding How Often to Fast
The frequency of your fasts will depend on two factors:
- The length of your fasts: My favorite fast length to try first is 20 hours. I recommend you fast 4-5 days a week. If you fast for 24 hours, no more than 3 days a week.
- How you feel when you fast. As you become metabolically flexible, your body sends you more reliable cues. Some days, you may notice you don’t feel as good. It’s ok to break your fast.
Once you have determined the length and the frequency of your fasting window, you are good to go! All you need to do is schedule it to make sure it happens and enjoy your favorite foods when you are in your eating window.
For more tips on what to eat, read What to Eat on Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss.
Don’t forget to track your progress to stay motivated.
As you consider how to start intermittent fasting for weight loss, remember the key to your success lies in teaching your body to switch from one source of fuel to another. Once you accomplish that, you no longer need to depend on willpower alone. Your hormones will help support the process by reducing the need for insulin and reducing your food cravings. You learn to discover true food freedom and well-being for a more vibrant life.