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There are a variety of reasons why you might want to lose weight, including improving mental health, reducing disease susceptibility, and increasing productivity. It’s no secret that there are a variety of techniques to reduce weight, but intermittent fasting is one of the most popular these days.

Intermittent fasting is a type of eating regimen that involves eating at specific times and fasting at other times. Fasting focuses on ‘when you eat’ rather than ‘what you eat’; however, you should be aware of what you consume. As a result, many people find fasting to be more manageable than diet-specific weight loss strategies.

A growing body of data shows that fasting can help you lose weight. This article aims to explain how to lose weight by fasting. This starts with understanding the different types of intermittent fasting and choosing or adapting one to your schedule.

Does Fasting Help Lose Weight? Separating Fact from Fiction

The fundamental principle of weight loss is creating a caloric deficit—burning more calories than you consume. Fasting inherently reduces calorie intake for a certain period, contributing to a caloric deficit.

Fasting can also impact hormones like insulin and norepinephrine, which play roles in weight loss. Lower insulin levels facilitate fat burning, and higher norepinephrine levels may increase metabolic rate.

Additionally, fasting can induce a cellular process called autophagy, where the cells remove damaged components. Though not directly linked to weight loss, autophagy is thought to improve metabolic efficiency, which could indirectly aid weight loss over time.

  • Nutritional Deficiency 

Extended fasting without medical supervision can lead to dietary deficiencies.

  • Disordered Eating Habits 

Fasting can trigger disordered eating patterns in susceptible individuals.

  • Medical Conditions

People with certain medical conditions or those on particular medications should only fast with medical advice.

How Metabolism Affects Your Weight Management?

Weight management essentially boils down to caloric balance—calories in versus calories out. Your metabolism determines the “calories out” part, which can vary from person to person. But, if you consume more calories than your body burns (metabolizes), you’ll gain weight. Conversely, you’ll lose weight by consuming fewer calories than your body needs.

Not a Silver Bullet. While boosting your metabolism can aid in weight loss, it’s not a magic solution. A balanced approach that includes diet, physical activity, and lifestyle changes is most effective for shedding body fat effectively.

Your body is not a passive machine; it can adapt its metabolic rate in response to caloric intake. For instance, if you reduce your caloric information drastically, your body can decrease its metabolic rate to conserve energy. This phenomenon, known as “adaptive thermogenesis,” can make weight loss progressively harder.

How Autophagy Can Contribute to Weight Loss?

Let’s begin with what autophagy means. The term derives from the Greek words “auto” (self) and “phagein” (to eat), essentially meaning “self-eating.” In cellular biology, autophagy refers to a process where cells degrade and recycle their components. Think of it as your body’s way of doing some internal housekeeping. This process is vital for cell survival, development, and homeostasis.

It’s usually triggered when an organism experiences stress, like nutrient deprivation. Fasting, or intentionally abstaining from food for specified periods, is one form of stress that can stimulate autophagy. Various types of fasting protocols induce autophagy, such as intermittent fasting (IF), alternate-day fasting, and more extended forms of fasting.

1. Enhanced Fat Oxidation

By activating autophagy, fasting may help promote fat oxidation, aiding in weight loss.

2. Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Autophagy helps remove damaged mitochondria and enhance cellular function, which could improve insulin sensitivity. Better insulin sensitivity can support weight loss by helping your body to store less fat.

3. Reduced Inflammation

Reduced inflammation can improve metabolic functions, indirectly aiding weight loss.

How Fasting Can Improve Your Body’s Response to Insulin?

The term insulin sensitivity refers to how well the body reacts to the hormone insulin. When insulin sensitivity is high, the cells in the body can use blood glucose more efficiently, which reduces the amount of insulin required. Conversely, insulin resistance occurs when muscles, fat, and liver cells don’t react nicely to insulin and cannot utilize glucose from the blood for power.

When you use fasting as a strategy to lower your weight, several things happen in your body:

  • Decreased Insulin Levels. The most immediate effect is reducing insulin levels, which encourages fat breakdown—lower insulin levels during fasting help to improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Glycogen Depletion. As you fast, your glycogen (stored carbohydrates) reserves deplete, forcing your body to burn fat for energy. This switch also aids in making your body more responsive to insulin.
  • Cellular Repair. Fasting triggers a cellular repair process known as autophagy, which may remove dysfunctional components within cells, including those contributing to insulin resistance.
  • Hormonal Adjustments. Other hormones like norepinephrine also rise during fasting. This hormonal change can enhance metabolic rate and improve insulin sensitivity.

One study published in Obesity in 2018 showed that intermittent fasting for 12 weeks effectively decreased insulin levels and sweetened insulin sensitivity in adults with prediabetes.

Cracking the Code: Best Fasting to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

Intermittent fasting comes in various forms, all of which are quick and efficient ways to lose weight. Your lifestyle and tastes influence the type you choose. For people looking for natural ways to lose weight quickly, there are numerous types of fasting listed below:

  • The 16:8 method

The 16:8 approach, one of the most popular methods of intermittent fasting, entails eating for 8 hours and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. For many people, the 8-hour eating schedule is quite flexible and convenient.

You can choose your 8-hour eating window, making the 16:8 technique simple. You can eat between 9 am and 5 pm, 7 am and 3 pm, 2 pm and 10 pm, and 12 pm and 8 pm, then fast the rest of the day. It’s entirely up to you. Look into the 16:8 fasting method if you’re looking for a simple way to reduce weight. 

  • The 5:2 diet

This method involves eating normally for five days and then cutting your calorie intake to a quarter (about 500 calories) of your daily needs for the remaining two days. You must track your calories to know precisely how much to cut down on your fasting days. 

It’s not easy cutting your calorie intake down to a quarter of what you take in usually, even if it’s just for two days. Chat with your doctor to inquire if the 5:2 diet is for you. 

  • Eat Stop Eat

This approach includes intermittent fasting to lose weight between 24 hours on two non-consecutive days a week. You’ll need much willpower to pull off the Eat Stop Eat approach. To get the most out of the process, you must not overeat after the fasting time. The Eat Stop Eat is not for everyone. 

  • Alternate Day Fasting 

Here, you fast every other day and eat whatever you like on fasting days. A version of this fasting involves eating around 500 calories on fasting days. 

how to lose weight with fasting

How to Start Fasting to Lose Weight: A Beginner’s Steps to a Fitter Future

The scrolls of time and the whisperings of science have led you to this ancient yet ever-evolving spell—fasting. This isn’t merely a modern potion peddled by fitness influencers; it’s a ritualistic art form steeped in millennia of culture and sacred practices. 

A Kaleidoscope of Fasting Paths

You can see fasting isn’t a monolith; it’s more like a magical library with various scrolls to choose from. 

Begin as a Fledgling

Your fasting adventure mustn’t be a labor from the get-go. Start as a novice would—with a simple 12-hour fast, encompassing the hours you’re off in dreamland. Then, scale the mountain gradually, guided by your body’s whispers.

The Power to Pause or Pivot

Should you find your mana running dangerously low or your mirror showing no transformation, it’s no shame to sheathe your sword, recalibrate, and seek more celestial advice from your healthcare provider to find the ideal length of fasting for weight loss results.

Elixir of Life: Hydration

Even as you abstain from feasting, ensure your chalice is filled with the elixir of life—water. Bal teas and bone broth can also be great companions. However, be sure to avoid… Avoid potions laden with sugar or jolting caffeine spells.

Chronomancer’s Meal Planning

To defeat the demon of binge-eating post-fast, plan your feasts with the meticulousness of a chronomancer. Choose from various nutrients, ensuring your post-fast dinner isn’t just a gorge of sugary doom.

Chronicle Your Quest

Keep a magical diary of your numbers and well-being—pre-, mid-, and post-fasting phases. Your triumphs and tribulations can offer wisdom for future fasting adventures and keep your morale soaring.

The Fellowship of the Fasting

Are you venturing alone? It need not be so! Seek fellow pilgrims in online covens or hire a nutritionist-sorcerer who specializes in the mystic arts of fasting.

How to Fast for Weight Loss – Your Blueprint to Dropping Pounds 

Now that you know how to fast occasionally for weight loss, there are a few things you need to do to achieve your objectives. The first step is to stick to your fasting schedule, which might be more difficult to state than done. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that differs from what you’re used to. Your body will take some time to acclimate to a new eating routine, but it will get easier. 

Keep track of what you eat and prevent overeating during mealtimes. Reduce sugar consumption and increase your intake of healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lentils, beans, lean meats, and healthy fats.

Although intermittent fasting benefits people who want to lose weight in a month or less without exercising, adding exercise to the mix will result in faster and longer-lasting effects. Some people like to learn how to lose weight quickly on keto and fasting, but you should consult your doctor before doing so.

Also, read – How to Find Motivation to Lose Weight

How to Structure Your Fasting Periods for Optimal Weight Reduction?

Let’s be honest—Fasting isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. You might be scratching your head, wondering how long you should fast or if you should try intermittent Fasting, alternate-day Fasting, or go for a longer fast. We’ve got you covered! 

Choose the Right Fasting Method for You

Intermittent Fasting (16:8 or 14:10)

  • Pros: Easier to integrate into daily life.
  • Cons: A shorter fasting period may result in slower weight loss.

Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF)

  • Pros: More practical for weight loss.
  • Cons: Might be hard to sustain.

Extended Fasting (24-72 hours)

  • Pros: Potentially significant weight loss and health benefits.
  • Cons: Requires professional guidance, only for some.

Consider Your Lifestyle 

Work Routine: Got a 9-5 job? Fasting as an effective method for weight loss could work better for you.

Physical Activity: Love to work out? Don’t forget to schedule eating periods around your exercise time for optimal performance.

Tailor the Timing 

Morning Person: Consider starting your eating window early if you love a hearty breakfast.

Night Owl: Feel free to have a later eating window if you prefer late dinners.

Track and Tweak 

Monitor Weight Loss: Keep an eye on your progress.

Adjust as Needed: Not seeing results? Maybe it’s time to try a different fasting method.

How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting? 

First, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer because several factors come into play. Your starting weight, activity level, the type of intermittent fasting you’re doing, and your gender can affect how quickly you lose weight. But here’s a general idea based on scientific studies:

  • Short-Term: According to a 2015 review published in Obesity, people lost 7-11 pounds over ten weeks when practicing intermittent fasting.
  • Long-Term: Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016 found that alternate-day fasting didn’t produce superior weight loss results compared to daily calorie restriction, but it was still effective. Participants lost about the same weight over one year.

So, experts recommend giving it at least 4-6 weeks to start seeing noticeable weight loss results from intermittent fasting. 

Intermittent Fasting Side Effects: Know for Prevention

Knowing these can help you avoid pitfalls and make your IF journey smoother!

1. “Yarrr, I Be Hungry!” – Hunger Pangs

What’s Happening: It’s natural to feel hunger when fasting, mainly if you’re used to regular mealtimes. 

Prevention Tip: Drink water herbal teas, or chew on some ice. Sometimes, thirst disguises itself as hunger!

2. The Moody Pirate – Mood Swings

What’s Happening: Irritability and mood swings can pop up like a pirate ambush, especially during the first few days. 

Prevention Tip: Keep some healthy snacks for your “eating windows” and try engaging in activities that uplift your mood. 

3. The Scurvy of the Modern Age – Nutrient Deficiencies

What’s Happening: Fasting periods could mean fewer nutrients, leading to nutritional deficiencies if you’re not careful. 

Prevention Tip: Eat nutrient-dense foods during your eating window. For shedding body fat effectively, throw in a multivitamin if your doctor gives you the go-ahead.

4.”Walkin’ the Plank” – Fatigue and Weakness

What’s Happening: Feeling like you’re walking on shaky legs? Fatigue can occur, especially if you’re not eating enough or staying hydrated. 

Prevention Tip: Rehydrate and consider a balanced meal with protein and healthy fats to restore energy. 

5. Socially Shipwrecked – Social and Lifestyle Impacts

What’s Happening: The fasting window can sometimes make social eating tricky. Don’t want to be the person sipping water at a brunch, do you? 

Prevention Tip: Plan your fasting windows around your social life when possible, or choose a flexible IF plan. 

6. “Abandon Ship!” – Gastrointestinal Issues

What’s Happening: Digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea can occur when your eating patterns shift. 

Prevention Tip: Fiber and probiotics, my friend. Make them your first mates on this journey! 

Setting Yourself Up for Success with Best Fasting Method to Lose Weight

We’ve got the inside scoop on how to set yourself up for the ultimate success. So grab a glass of water (because hey, you can have that anytime during fasting!), and let’s dive in. 

The following tips help you stay consistent with fasting:

  • Motivate yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment to choose the best fasting method. 
  • Take it as a new habit. 
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Get enough sleep. 
  • Don’t obsess over food. 
  • Eat high-volume food. 

Final Thoughts

All in all, is fasting a good way to lose weight? It’s an incredibly effective way to shed those extra pounds if done correctly. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution or magic bullet to weight loss – with some simple strategies implemented into your lifestyle, you can unlock the secret of healthy, sustainable weight loss. Fasting can be a great start and a fantastic tool. 

Add some light exercise and get hooked on a healthy diet that suits your personal goals and lifestyle to make it work better for you. 

Everyone needs a little help now and then; check out Lasta to get started with intermittent fasting. Subscribe to our email to stay updated on the latest topics and advice on losing weight while maintaining health.

Proofreader and Content Consultant / INHC&CIHC

Kimberly Tytyk is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (INHC) and a Certified International Health Coach (CIHC). Following decades of personal experience transforming her personal health and achieving remission of autoimmune thyroiditis and PCOS, Kimberly completed her formal coaching training in 2021 at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Her passions include deep nutrition, holistic and balanced living practices, regeneration, community-building, and finding bliss — usually in a cuddle with her husband and dog.

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