How to Intermittent Fast to Lose Weight (16/8 Diet Plan)

If you want to lose weight as fast as possible, it’s important that you learn how to intermittent fast and add a 16/8 diet plan to your daily routine.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss is not the typical method for many of us wanting to lose a few extra pounds.

The idea of consuming little to no calories for several hours and then eating your goal caloric intake in a short period of time goes against much of what’s believed to be the best strategy for fat loss and muscle growth.

However, intermittent fasting hails several bodily benefits that makes losing weight much easier.

When done properly, intermittent fasting can be a great way to help you lose weight and belly fat faster over the long haul.

How much weight can you lose in a month with intermittent fasting?

According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can promote weight loss of 3-8% in a 3-24 week time span. The weight loss rate on average was about .55 pounds per week using intermittent fasting. Use an alternate day fasting approach and you could get up to 1.65 pounds lost per week.

In a months time, you will likely lose between 2 and 7 pounds. Expand that to a year and you could lose 84 pounds or more!

Some of the other:

Intermittent Fasting Benefits Include:

  • The reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
  • A reduction in insulin levels
  • A reduction in insulin resistance
  • Improved blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, blood triglyceride and sugar levels
  • An increase in growth hormone
  • Induced cellular repair responses

One study showed how fasting enhances growth hormone secretion. Higher levels of human growth hormone in the body facilitate fat burning and muscle gain.

Another study shows how alternate day calorie restriction reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight adults. 

Not only does intermittent fasting do all these great things, it also helps you live longer. You can get some of the same benefits of fasting, with the ability to still consume the same foods, all while consuming the same number of calories as you did before.

One study showed that intermittent fasting extended the life of rats by 15-20%. This means if you were going to live to be 75, you now have the possibility of making it to your upper 80’s or even 90’s.  

With all these amazing benefits that fasting provides, let’s look at what intermittent fasting actually is.

What is Intermittent fasting?

If you want to lose weight through intermittent fasting, you must first learn what intermittent fasting is.

Intermittent fasting is an eating protocol where you consume all your calories in a specific window or timeframe and fast for the rest of the day.

There are several intermittent fasting protocols that you could partake in including alternate day fasting, 24-hour fasts, the 20/4 fast, and the one I like to recommend, the 16/8 fast

If you’re looking for the most effective weight loss fasting plan, look no further than the alternate day fasting plan.

One study showed that alternate day fasting over a 22-day period resulted in a 3-5% loss in fat mass and between 2-3% loss from their initial body weight.

If your goal is to minimize fat loss and maintain or gain muscle, then I highly recommend you stick with the 16/8 fast. This will help you burn the fat, while maintaining or gaining muscle mass.

The 16/8 fast split involves fasting for 16 hours and consuming your meals in an 8-hour timeframe.

It could mean you only eat from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or maybe from noon to 8 p.m.

You don’t have to immediately start with an 8-hour window, you could simply build up to it, because it takes about 2-3 weeks for your body to adjust to the change in eating habits.

Try a 10/14 split to begin with and build yourself up to the 16/8 fast.

What happens when you intermittent fast?

The theory behind intermittent fasting being an excellent source of fat loss stems from the fact that when you exercise in a fasted state, your body burns more fat for energy because your insulin and glycogen levels are low during this time period.

When you eat before you work out, your body tends to utilize less fat and more carbs for energy than if you were in a fasted state.

The problem with this theory is, research says your body is more likely to burn more carbs and less fat through the rest of the day.

One study showed that the decreased rate of carbohydrate oxidation observed during a fasting period was compensated by an increase in fat oxidation later in the day to cover energy needs. 

By the end the day, you’ve basically burned the same amount of fat as you would have if you had eaten during the fasted time period.

Does intermittent fasting work?

An intermittent fast to lose weight with a 16/8 diet plan works, just not in the way you might think it does.

Research has found that intermittent fasting indirectly decreases your calorie consumption and makes it easier for you to create a calorie deficit since your meals are pushed closer together during the today.

If you want to create an even bigger caloric deficit, try adding some foods before your meals that will suppress your hunger.

Your body is going to take about 20 minutes to recognize that it’s full once you have started eating. Why not start the process, just before your meal, with appetite suppressing foods?

High protein foods, apples, water, and vegetables before your meal are all effective at decreasing your hunger.

One study showed that higher protein intake was associated with greater feelings of fullness.

Use this to your advantage. Decrease hunger while getting closer to your daily protein intake.

Secondly, fasting first thing in the morning creates a habit, helps you with consistency, diet and workout adherence, and gets your mindset going in the right direction.

The more you can keep up with a certain routine, the more successful you will likely be in accomplishing your fitness and fat loss goals.

What should I eat and drink during my fasting period?

During your fasted/little to no calorie intake section, you should only consume, water, coffee, tea, and anything that does not spike your blood sugar.

If you really need to eat something to help you pass the time, grab an apple, some almonds or raw vegetables.

These are great appetite suppressants that can help you make it through the tough times.

During your eating time, consume what you would regularly consume to lose weight and put on muscle.

Remember, you don’t have to reduce caloric intake, you just need to rearrange the time in which they are consumed.

I recommend a high protein diet, consisting of fresh and frozen foods.

If your focus is to put on muscle mass, aim for .73-1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. 

Also, if you’re trying to shed fat, you need to create a caloric deficit.

As a rule of thumb, multiply your body weight in pounds by 13. If you weigh 150 pounds, try to consume fewer than 1950 calories per day to create that caloric deficit.

Should I add fasted cardio to the weight loss plan?

Doing fasted cardio right away in the morning will not only get your day started in the right direction, it will boost your mood, productivity, and will get you in the habit of getting your cardio done early.

The longer you wait throughout the day, the more unlikely you are to do your cardio and convince yourself to skip it all together. 

When deciding on what kind of fasted cardio you want to accomplish, you’ll want to focus on low to moderate intensity cardio sessions, lasting less than an hour.

Jump on a bike, elliptical or treadmill. Or better yet, take a brisk walk to get in your morning bout of fasted cardio.

Even though I recommend you doing fasted cardio, it unfortunately does not have any significant fat loss effect on its own accord.

It is, however, useful for its indirect benefits.

Fasted cardio can be an excellent sidekick for dieting, often resulting in lower calorie intake throughout the rest of the day.

One systematic review and meta-analysis showed that weight loss and fat loss from exercise is more likely to be enhanced through creating a meaningful caloric deficit over time.

The Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss Plan (1-day)

For exercisers who want to shed the extra weight and gain the benefits of a fasted state, start by sticking to the 16/8 fasted plan from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Then follow this general layout to establish your first day in your intermittent fasting weight loss plan:

  1. Wake up and go straight to your fasted cardio. Get an hour-long cardio-based workout, drink lots of water and focus on your plan for the rest of the day.
  2. Go to work, eat your appetite suppressing foods, use your standing desk with some standing desk cardio equipment and get things done.
  3. 11 a.m. is breakfast. Eat 1-2 boiled eggs and Greek yogurt with blueberries.
  4. 3 p.m. is lunch. Consume baked chicken and steamed veggies.
  5. At 5 p.m. head to the gym and get an excellent traditional or HIIT workout in. Immediately follow it up with a protein smoothie, some almonds and avocado.
  6. 7 p.m. is dinner. Grab some baked salmon and asparagus to complete your day.
  7.  Drink water the rest of the evening, read a good book and relax. You’ve done well.

Check out my article: The 10 Best Pieces of Exercise Equipment You Need for Your Office Cubicle to see the standing desk I use to get a little extra exercise at the workplace.

In this example we see a range of 4 meals over an 8-hour period.

If you want to maximize your protein intake, it’s best you do it over the course of 4 meals.

One study showed that in order to maximize anabolism, you should consume protein at a target intake of 0.4 g/kg/meal across a minimum of 4 meals in order to reach a minimum of 1.6 g/kg/day.

Use this plan as an example to set one up of your own. Only you will know what works best for you, the timeframe you can achieve, and the food you should be eating.

What are the side effects of intermittent fasting?

With all the benefits of intermittent fasting, it isn’t entirely risk free.

Some of the side effects of intermittent fasting include:

  • A feeling of hunger and food cravings, especially at the beginning
  • Dehydration is you are not monitoring your water intake
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Low energy in the beginning
  • Heartburn

Like anything health related, you should always consult a physician before trying any health, diet, fitness, or weight loss program.

My 16/8 intermittent fasting success story

As far as intermittent fasting success stories go, I’ve personally done this type of fast for a long time, to a certain extent.  

My 16/8 usually ranges from about 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

I typically eat very little in the morning, often just an apple, banana, lots of water and cup of coffee and tea.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do it, you get in a routine and it’s hard to go back.

I work out over the noon hour almost every day and can easily lose/maintain my body fat.

Fasting in the morning is one of those things that helps me keep the body composition I strive for on a weekly basis.

Summary: How to Intermittent Fast to Lose Weight (16/8 Diet Plan)

Fasting in general is fantastic for the body. It’s hard to do, but if you can get over the irritability, headaches and low energy in the beginning, you will start to see how beneficial it can be in your life over the long term. Remember, intermittent fasting is not a diet. It is a timed approach to calorie consumption.  Intermittent fasting can add to your consistent routine, making it much harder for you to break. Use this and every opportunity you can to give yourself the best chance for success.

Have you tried intermittent fasting? What have your results been?  Let me know below!!

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