Although most commonly used as an anti-aging method, alternate day fasting has also shown promise at both inducing weight loss and allowing you to maintain your weight loss.
Alternate day fasting, which is a sub-section of intermittent fasting, is one of the more favorable weight loss methods; and for good reason.
It allows your body to get all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, prevents metabolic slowdown and the loss of lean body mass, and allows you to continue eating all of the foods you currently enjoy.
About Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate day fasting is a way of eating in which you fast every other day. On fasting days, you consume nothing but water and tea. On non-fasting days, you can eat as you normally would.
Unlike other weight loss diets, alternate day fasting is a lifestyle which can be maintained even after you've reached your weight loss goals.
This and the fact that periodic fasting is an effective weight maintenance tool makes it less likely that you'll regain the weight later on.
Alternate Day Fasting and Weight Loss
Alternate day fasting induces weight loss mainly by causing a caloric deficit. If your body needs 2000 calories each day to function, you would eat 2000 calories on non-fasting days.
Because your caloric intake on fasting days is zero, your caloric intake would average out to 1000 calories. This results in two pounds of fat loss per week.
A big benefit to using alternate day fasting for weight loss is that your weight loss will be almost purely fat loss, because intermittent fasting prevents your body from cannibalizing your muscle tissue.
In an average weight loss diet, 25 percent of the weight you loss is muscle tissue. That means if you're losing two pounds each week, only 1.5 pounds is fat.
With alternate day fasting, a two pound weight loss would result in the loss of 1.95 pounds of fat. Losing an extra half pound of fat each week can make a big difference in terms of inches and appearance.
Intermittent Fasting and Exercise
Exercise and alternate day fasting go well together and regular exercise will allow you to lose fat more quickly and effectively.
There are certain rules you'll want to follow so you get maximum benefits and don't inadvertently damage your body.
Cardiovascular activity can be done everyday, depending on intensity. Light to moderate cardio, such as power-walking and swimming, can be done on fasting days.
You'll want to save high-intensity cardio - like running and spinning - for the days you're eating. You should also limit the amount of cardio you do on fasting days to one hour.
If you exercise too much or too strenuously on fasting days, you may mitigate the muscle sparing benefits of this diet.
Weight or strength training should also be done on eating days. This way, you can take in protein and carbohydrates as soon as you are done working out.
This will replenish your muscles glycogen stores and promote faster healing. If you work your muscles hard and don't nourish them afterward, you're more likely to experience severe muscle soreness, a longer recovery period and even loss of strength.
Other Intermittent Fasting Plans
Alternate day fasting is the way to go if you want to drop weight fast. However, there are other intermittent fasting schedules if you're looking for something less intense.
A more periodic fasting, in which you fast once or twice a week, will result in slow, consistent weight loss. This is ideal if you're already lean and just want to get rid of stubborn fat, or if you have physically or mentally challenging job.
People have also experienced success with a daily intermittent fasting plan. You fast for 18 hours each day, leaving a six hour window in which you can eat.
Many people do this to learn to control their eating and change bad habits. For example, if you crave junk food and sweets at night, you can have your six hour window in the morning and fast the rest of the day. Eventually, your body will stop craving food at night, including unhealthy food.
Whether you go with alternate day fasting, periodic fasting or some other kind of intermittent fasting schedule depends completely on how much weight you want to lose, how quickly you want to lose it and what plan works best for your schedule.
In reality, all of them will provide great results.