How Much Weight Can You Lose Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting through gas on the flame of my low carb diet and I lost 10-15 pounds a month during my most intensive weight loss period. Overall, I lost 140 pounds. 100 pounds of that was in an 8 month period, from September of 2017 through April of 2018. (That’s 45 kilos in 8 months lost with intermittent fasting, for those of you in the rest of the world!)
Combined with a low carb / keto diet, I have found intermittent fasting to be the most effective weight loss program I’ve tried. At 50 years old and being overweight my whole life, I’ve tried them all.
In the beginning 2-3 months of the intermittent fasting plus the keto diet, I lost about 15 pounds a month — 1/2 pound a day!) It slowed down to 10 pounds a month until I had lost about 125 pounds and weighed 165. From there, it slowed further. At 140 pounds (down from 280), I am 30 pounds below my lowest weight as an adult. You know that adult weight you always fight to get back to? Mine was 170 at a height of 5’3″. Obviously, I’ve always been a bit chunky. You can see what I look like now in my “before and after” collection (here).
In the days of simply low-carbing it, I would tend to lose about 5 pounds a month. Clearly, adding the intermittent fasting was a game-changer for me.
The intermittent fasting is easier and more effective, though keeping it low carb is the winning strategy — under 20 grams or so of net carbs a day.
You may lose more or less depending, of course, we are all wired a bit differently. You may be under a lot of life stress. Stress (and the stress-related hormones you produce as a result) is a fat magnet. Some medications, notably steroids, are fat magnets. I was lucky enough to be able to take time in my life and focus on my goals, sleeping and resting regularly as I needed. I did not need any pounds-positive, fat magnet medications during that weight loss period. During the 8 months in which I lost 100 pounds, my most aggressive months, my progress was slowed when my dad faced a life-threatening health event. I stayed on the diet in that time but my weight loss did slow, a testament to the role of stress in our weight loss struggles.
In general, however, in those 8 months and 100 pounds, I ate one meal a day (OMAD) in a one-hour window. I ate low carbohydrate foods in that window (a keto diet) to ensure that I stay in ketosis, forcing my body to burn fat for fuel rather than relying on sugar fuel from simple sugars and carbohydrates. If you eat a burger in your eating window, your body is going to start burning that hamburger bun instead of your fat and it may take two to three days to earn your way back into ketosis, slowing down your overall weight loss.
Watch your carbs.
In fact, if you find your weight loss has stalled or slowed, your carb intake is the first thing I would look at. The second thing is your overall calorie intake.
That said, some of us need to lose quite a bit of weight. I go through phases where I try to lose a lot quickly — “high days” and “low days” as I call them. Coming back from a family vacation I announced: “I’m going in for another 20!” All I mean by this is that I am stepping things up and going through days of cutting my calories for a short period of time. I do this in two ways:
1) I skip a meal — I go on a 2-day water fast.
2) I eat a calorie-restricted meal in my one meal a day (OMAD).
Both approaches cut calories. The first is just an extreme version. I don’t do either for long, more just to break through a stall or speed things up. I return to eating my bigger 1200 (or so) calorie meals. I actually rarely count.
As an aside for how shocking this calorie restriction may appear, I had been approved for bariatric surgery when I launched into this whole diet, leading me onto a path where I no longer qualify for the surgery. Under that plan, I was to eat 800 calories a day for a year and then step it up to a banquet-like 1200 calories. I lose weight now on 1200 calories, diving into some days with fewer calories than that. My maintenance calories are closer to 2000 whereas they would have been 1200. If you are concerned that I am depriving myself of nutrition with such a radical diet, I was on the path to something more restricted and approved of almost completely by the medical community.
Just to clarify, during my initial weight loss, my exercise routine has been fairly minimal. The weight loss is due to the eating and fasting program rather than exercise. If you are exercising (good for you!), you will lose more.
Find out more about what I ate (keto diet foods) and when I ate (intermittent fasting) to lose 150 pounds (dang!). I lost 100 of those pounds in only 8 months, relying on keto salads. (See meal ideas here.) You might take a look at the before and after photos as well.
Amanda Rose, Ph.D. lives in the Giant Sequoia National Monument with her husband and two sons. She founded the Eat Like A Bear website to support the awesomely inspiring community on Facebook, Eat Like A Bear!
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