Everyone wants to look like their best selves on their wedding day—it’s only natural when there will be hundreds of photographs documenting the day. If you’re committed to losing weight before your wedding (note: you are in no way required or pressured to do so), then the intermittent fasting method may work for you in the months and weeks leading up to the big day. Let’s go over what intermittent fasting is, why it works, and why other intermittent fasters swear by it.
First, What Is Intermittent Fasting?
We’ve always been taught that getting three square meals a day is the key to a healthy body—and that breakfast is by far the most important meal of the three. We’ve also been told to lose weight that we might want to try six mini meals throughout the day so that our metabolism is always active and working. But what intermittent fasting proponents argue is that the body is actually at its most optimal physical and mental state when you strategically space out your meal times. The most common types of intermittent fasting include daily 16-hour fasts or bi-weekly 24-hour fasts. Essentially what this means is that if you eat dinner at 7 p.m., then you shouldn’t eat your next meal until at least 11 a.m.
Intermittent Fasting Methods
Unlike other dietary guidelines, there isn’t just one specific way to follow intermittent fasting. Here are a few ways to do intermittent fasting.
The 16/8 Method
This way of doing intermittent fasting is one of the most common methods. It involves restricting your eating to only one eight-hour period of the day (such as 12 p.m.–9 p.m.) while fasting in between.
The 5:2 Diet
This method of intermittent fasting involves a little bit more math. On two days of the week, you restrict your eating to only 500 or 600 calories, and then the other five days you eat just as you normally would.
In this method of intermittent fasting, you fast for two days out of the week. You can do this by eating dinner one night and then not eating again until dinner the next evening.
The theory goes that as long as you don’t overfill on extra calories in the non-fasting portions of your week, that these methods should all lead to weight loss. When most people talk about the intermittent fasting method, they typically associate it with the 16/8 method because it’s the easiest to follow (and let’s face it, not many of us have the willpower to fast for an entire day).
Why It Works
Of course, restricting your calories and increasing your daily exercise routine will typically lead to weight loss, but why is it so effective when you are manipulating your meal times? Fasting leads to a decreased amount of calories, but it also leads to changes at the cellular level in your body. Fasting can lead to increased human growth hormone levels and dropped insulin levels.
Intermittent fasting also sets itself apart from other traditional weight loss programs because it typically has the most longevity for those who are participating. Studies have shown that intermittent fasters are less likely to drop this dietary plan versus others like Atkins, the Zone, keto, or other fad diets. Many experts also cite the fact that humans have been fasting for generations, and that our bodies are well equipped to handle going without food for short bursts of time.
Why Intermittent Fasters Love It
Intermittent fasters love this method of diet and weight loss because there aren’t any diet restrictions or much calorie counting involved. All that’s needed is a quick calculation of hours, which makes it easier to stick to when your friends invite you out for a dinner or you have a big celebration coming up. There’s not as much guilt associated with the type of foods that you choose and less boredom when it comes to menu choices.
Remember, You Don’t Have to Lose Weight Before Your Wedding
While eating well and exercising is a great way to feel good in our own skin and keep our bodies healthy, there is a lot of focus on brides trying to lose weight before the wedding in order to fit into their dresses and look perfect for pictures. However, there is no rule book stating every bride must do this or that they won’t look beautiful unless they drop 15 or 20 pounds before walking down the aisle. However, if you were set on losing a few pounds before you got engaged and your upcoming wedding day is your motivational tool, then intermittent fasting can be a great method of achieving weight loss.
As with any other diet or exercise method, consult with your physician if you have any specific questions or concerns before you begin the plan.