New year, new habits, new weight loss plans. For many of us, without fail, the first months of the year remind us that we should do something to improve our wellbeing. And, most often, that “something” is losing weight.
But when it comes to shedding our unwanted kilos (or lbs), the variety of diets and methods can seriously make our heads spin. Detox for weight loss? Check! Water fasting? Sure! Intermittent fasting? Well, it’s not the latest trend for no reason.
The good news is that the best weight loss diets have been revealed. While they might have raised some eyebrows, they confirmed, once again, that a plant-based diet is the way to go.
Make use of the fasting benefits and combine it with a plant-based diet to achieve weight loss.
What exactly do I mean by fasting?
Fasting is something we all have heard of. Maybe our parents and grandparents fast for religious purposes, maybe we’ve even fasted on Good Friday, or we might just have heard about it from friends.
In any case, we all know that fasting includes restricting calories intake. It is a proven way to combat jet lag and motion sickness. It is also recommended by doctors in certain cases.
But in this article, we won’t be talking about religious fasting or the types recommended by doctors. What we’ll be talking about is intermittent fasting (IF). It refers to limiting the hours when we feast and increase the hours when we fast. Among the multiple benefits of this way of eating, weight loss always seems to take center stage.
While IF has been around for centuries, it became popular in 2012 in the UK, when the 5:2 method was used in the documentary “Eat, Fast and Live Longer” aired by BBC. The doctor who created IF as we know it today is Dr. Michael Mosley and he used the method to cure his own diabetes. The effect was also drastic weight loss. ( If you are interested to learn more about him, check out this article. )
How to use fasting for weight loss
Should you decide to use fasting for weight loss, the first thing to keep in mind is to choose the type of fasting you want to do. The recommended method for weight loss is 5:2 which means, on two days, you can eat 500-600 calories, whereas on the other 5 days you eat a normal diet. Note that “normal” doesn’t mean excessive eating of unhealthy food.
A very popular way to do intermittent fasting is also my favorite: fast for 14-16 hours each day. In reality, this means you will eat an early dinner and late breakfast. We naturally fast when we sleep so just add to those 7-8 hours. Black coffee and unsweetened tea do not break the fast but can make your hunger pangs go away.
Now that you’ve chosen the fasting method, it’s time to add some details to the plan. Start with an inventory of your pantry and fridge. Get rid of processed foods and anything unhealthy. Stick to foods you can cook from scratch. Favor frozen over canned goods.
You also want to stock on some teas that you enjoy. It’s a bad idea to have black tea in the evening, but feel free to enjoy it in the morning. Teas are excellent to detox . A favorite combo of mine is lemon-ginger which is not only excellent for detox but also minimizes the hunger.
Ready to fast for weight loss? Here are some tips & tricks to make your life easier:
- Use a tracking app so that you know how many calories you are having, especially on fasting days. Make sure you track the protein you eat.
- Drink lots of water as it has zero calories. The above-mentioned teas are also great (skip the sugar or honey). And if you want something warm, a clear vegetable soup is a great option. And before you ask, a glass of milk (whether animal or plant) is a much better choice than a glass of fruit juice.
- Aim to eat real food. While smoothies and shakes seem like a good idea – and easy to put together – you want to eat foods that keep you full for a long time and offer a lot of nutrients, too.
- Try to stick to a plant-based diet or, if you must have animal protein, then include sea-food in your dishes.
- The rate of weight loss varies for each person, but you can expect to sustain a healthy 1-2 lbs per week loss.
Incorporating detox foods into your fasting
When you are planning your meals on fasting days, make sure to include not only vegan protein sources, such as quinoa, beans, and leafy greens but also make room for detox foods. Beets, cabbage, and leafy greens are three of the most valuable foods you can add to your daily repertoire. The easiest way to make use of all three is to throw together a salad. You can even make beet sour kraut and store for later.
If these don’t float your boat, a vegetable soup is not only filling but also helps with the detox. Include carrots, celery stalks, kale, onion, vegetable broth, and beans. Season to taste and enjoy. Or you can try this heartier detox soup !
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