So I’ve been quite fascinated with the idea of intermitted fasting for a while now and decided that I’m going to try something a little different – I’m going to do Weight Watchers and intermittent fasting at the same time (which has currently been rebranded as WW)
I’m currently following the WW program, and while I do like it and I have been losing weight, I want to experiment with IF (intermittent fasting) as well.
There’s no reason why these two methods can’t be combined, since IF is really just controlling when you eat, and WW is how much and what you eat.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
First, let me talk about what intermittent fasting is. Now I’m definitely not an expert on this, but I’ve been researching this topic for a couple of years actually. So I probably know more than most people.
Aside from weight loss, more and more studies are showing really positive health benefits to intermittent fasting and I find that really fascinating.
IF is more of a term to describe a pattern of eating, rather than actually fasting for a long period of time.
Intermittent fasting is NOT starvation!
There are several different ways to do this. Some methods involve fasting for up to 2 days (24 hours each) per week, and not restricting food on other days.
Others involve eating within a certain window each day – for example, fasting for up to 16 hours a day and only eat within an 8 hour period.
Another method involves fasting for 20 hours and eating within a 4-hour window. And yet another I heard about is where you fast every other day.
During your fasting periods, you’re allowed to drink zero-calorie drinks like water, coffee or tea.
Health benefits of intermittent fasting
The science behind intermittent fasting is that when you stop eating for a long enough period of time, your insulin levels go down low enough that it helps your body burn off stored fat.
In turn, that produces several health benefits that have been shown through scientific research.
In addition to reduced body weight, this fasting can help lower cholesterol, improve glucose control, reduce liver fat and improve blood pressure. Patients tell me they have increased endurance, better motor coordination and improved sleep. Eating according to your circadian rhythm (eat day/sleep night) helps promote deep sleep. Studies have also shown that fasting, which leads to caloric restriction, increases the lifespan of even healthy people. Studies also suggest that fasting may reduce tumor growth and could help prevent recurrences of breast cancer.source: UofMhealth.org
I have been reading about such benefits from sources like Harvard and the University of Michigan’s websites, so not just some random blog. So I know these claims have actual scientific backing.
The fact it has been shown by a Harvard research study that it slows down the ageing process and increases lifespan is a pretty compelling reason for me to give it a try.
The 16:8 intermittent fasting method
I think that the 16:8 method, where you simply limit your eating window to 8 hours a day is probably the easiest form of this to do. At least, for me.
All you need to do is set an 8-hour window during the day in which you can eat your meals, and that’s it. The window can be whatever you want, just as long as you’re fasting for 16 hours.
So for me, I’m going to it set between 11-7 pm. If I know I’m going to be eating a later dinner, I can make the window between 12 – 8 pm.
I’m not going to stress about an hour difference from day to day.
So basically the only things I’ll have to do differently are skip breakfast and stop eating after dinner.
That is a lot easier said than done, though!
I have done this a few times but I never stuck to it consistently. I’m the type of person who likes to snack after dinner, and I also tend to be hungry in the morning – so fasting for 16 hours a day will be tough.
The nice thing about fasting like this is it’s flexible – you can fast for the length of time you want and set your eating window to whatever works for you!
How much should you eat during the open eating window
So if you want to follow an intermittent fasting method for weight loss, it’s important that you don’t over-do it with calories and junk.
I mean, you can’t expect to eat 5,000 calories and STILL lose weight.
Because ultimately calories still matter, even when you follow this method!
The thing is, the reason why this may be enough for many people to lose weight all by itself (without counting calories or restricting their eating in any other way) is that most people are going to naturally eat less when they can only eat in such a small window of time.
When you cut out the night time snacking, that’s going to eliminate a lot of extra food that you might normally consume.
Not everyone is going to be able to naturally regulate that, and some people need more restrictions, which brings me to why I’m following this method on the WW program…
Why I’m doing intermittent fasting with the WW program
I’m the type of person that if I’m not tracking my food somehow- whether it’s with the WW program or calorie counting, I tend to go off the rails. It’s sort of this “all or nothing” mentality.
Like, if I’m not tracking, it doesn’t count – so I should just eat as much as I want!
The reason why I’m trying intermittent fasting with Weight Watchers is that I’m the type of person that wants some restrictions and guidance with what and how much I’m eating.
After all, calories still matter and I think that following WW will keep me in check with how much I’m eating, as well as make sure I’m limiting things like sugar and fat.
So, yes, I only will be able to eat 8 hours a day, but I still want to hold my diet accountable and will track my food with WW.
And seeing as how there is a ton of scientific backed evidence about the benefits to IF, I would love to maximize any health benefits I can get seeing as that’s the reason I started this journey in the first place.
In theory, this could be a great way to lose weight and improve your health
The health benefits alone are enough to make me want to at least try this.
I think this may also help some people lose weight easier if they find themselves having a difficult time dropping some pounds.
WW is a great way to track your food intake, and pairing it with fasting could help the program work better for you. Especially if it helps cut down on the night time snacking!
I’m really excited yet also nervous to try this. But I’m going to do it and try and follow this for a month before I share any results.
… update soon!