Each day, thousands of people turn to dangerous weight loss methods due to the sheer frustration they face from traditional diets. While countless health blogs and magazines have recommended simply cutting calories to shed pounds, most people find themselves “yo-yo dieting” — trapped in a cycle of losing weight, regaining it and then dieting again. That is until they experimented with intermittent fasting (IF).
Intermittent fasting and weight loss results typically go hand in hand. This is because IF isn’t just a run of the mill diet. Intermittent fasting is an entire reconstruction of your lifestyle, the foods you eat, and the way you eat them that can help you lose weight and keep it off.
In this article, we dive deep into the average weight loss intermittent fasting creates as well as hear from an intermittent fasting influencer to learn more about her weight loss journey. Let’s get started!
What’s the Best Protocol for Weight Loss?
When it comes to weight loss, there is no singular “best” protocol. Truthfully, the best protocol is one you can stick to. For some people, this means keeping their fasting window to a minimum. For others, it means fasting for the majority of their day.
Common intermittent fasting protocols consist of:
- The 5:2 or Fast Diet: Eat normally the five days and limit daily calories to 500-600 in order to “fast” two days of the week.
- The 16:8 Method: Fast completely for 16 hours and eat all of the day’s food within eight hours, seven days a week.
- The 23:1 or One Meal a Day (OMAD) Diet: Fast for 23 hours and eat one daily meal within a one-hour timeframe.
- Alternate Day Fasting: Fast for one whole day, eat normally the next and repeat.
- Eat, Stop, Eat: Similar to the Alternate Day Fast, but you choose to fast for one whole day once or twice per week, and return to routine eating habits the other days.
For an in-depth look at the various types of intermittent fasting protocols, check out this guide to learn more about which regimen might be the best fit for you.
How Much Weight Is Lost With Intermittent Fasting?
The amount of weight lost through intermittent fasting is individualized, relying heavily on your starting weight, medical conditions, and quality of food eaten on non-fasting days. For example, if you choose to eat sugary desserts or drinks and load on carbs during your non-fasting days, a fast will likely not have the desired effects.
However, if a lifestyle of intermittent fasting is paired with healthy eating, participants can experience healthy weight loss. In fact, a systematic review of 40 studies completed by Harvard’s School of Health found that intermittent fasting can be responsible for a typical weight loss of 7 to 11 pounds over 10 weeks. For an individual weighing roughly 200 pounds, this rate of weight loss equates to losing 5% of your total body weight in just 10 weeks.
While some individuals might be looking for a quick fix to weight loss, experts recommend against trying to speed up the process. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) recommend losing a safe rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
According to the CDC, those who lose weight gradually and safely are more successful at keeping it off. This makes the average weight loss per week with intermittent fasting safe, effective and long-term.
Losing Weight vs. Losing Fat: What’s the Difference?
Watching the numbers on a scale begin to drop can be exciting, but that doesn’t reflect if you’ve lost weight or body fat. We often view the goal of our health journey to be losing weight, when, in fact, you want to be losing fat instead. The reasoning is simple: When you lose weight, you’re losing a combination of muscle, fluids, fat and even organ size.
If your goal is to become more toned and healthy, losing muscle and fluids likely isn’t your goal. Instead, you should be aiming to lose fat. Therefore, you don’t want to be losing more than two pounds each week. According to Doctor Joel Seedman, when you begin shedding upwards of five pounds per week, you’re likely losing water weight and muscle. This is dangerous, as it puts you at risk of gaining the weight right back.
To combat this, incorporate strength training into your workout routine. While cardio can promote fat burning, without muscle in place, the weight you’ve lost can return when workouts stop. Simple strength training exercises, such as squats, lunges, and push-ups can add muscle and improve your body fat composition ration.
Lessons From Krystal’s Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Journey
To give our readers a better idea of what intermittent fasting weight loss is like in real life, Simple recently spoke with Krystal, a weight-loss influencer and intermittent fasting advocate. Krystal uses her platform of over 30,000 followers to encourage others to begin their path to wellness through the handle @KrystalLoses on Instagram.
On Choosing Your Best Protocol
Krystal began her intermittent fasting journey close to one year ago, experimenting with various protocols until she found what was right for her.
“I alternate what kind of fasting I do. Sometimes I stick with a traditional 16:8 fasting period, other times I will do a longer time frame,” she says. “My longest fast was five days.”
Though five days might seem a bit intimidating to a beginner, Krystal urges readers to find what’s best for them. For her journey, Krystal admits, “I read a lot about the health benefits of fasting, plus with following a ketogenic diet fasting came naturally as my hunger levels decreased.”
How to Stay Focused on Your Journey
With so many resources pertaining to intermittent fasting, not all the information you find online can be trusted. Poorly informed or false sources can give IF a bad rep, which Krystal felt firsthand.
“The biggest challenge is probably other people’s perceptions of fasting and overcoming the idea that not eating is dangerous or an eating disorder,” said Krystal. “I’ve found that having a research and a lot of information about why I do what I do helps me stay focused.”
Staying Healthy With Intermittent Fasting
What about the misconceptions that intermittent fasting isn’t great for your health? “I had my annual checkup a couple of months ago and did blood work,” explains Krystal. “I’m in perfect health!”
Krystal has been sharing her progress with her Instagram followers, who leave encouraging comments such as “Amazing!!!” “You’re so inspiring!” and “#GOALS!” And she’s sure to take them along every aspect of the journey, including sharing breaking her fasts, easy ketogenic recipes and “workout fasts” which are workouts she completes while fasting.
Keeping Others Encouraged
She pins all relevant information to her fasts, current diet and workout routines to her Instagram Story Highlights for easy retrieval for her followers. But of course, Krystal wouldn’t leave intermittent fasting beginners without a bit of advice:
“Start slow! Build up to longer fasts. Fasting is a muscle you have to exercise and grow,” she encourages. “Supplement electrolytes while fasting! It will make you feel so much better. Drink plenty of water. Challenge yourself, but stop when your body is ready!”
To learn more about how intermittent fasting works for weight loss, study the other chapters of our Weight Loss Guide.