How to Lose Weight-Part-Time Diet

You know what dieting demands: cut calories, go hard on veggies, exercise, and repeat, well, forever. But what if you could hit pause on dieting once in a while, but still reap weight-loss benefits?

That’s the premise of part-time diets. “ ‘Part-time dieting’ is an umbrella term for eating styles that let you be flexible with the hours, days, even weeks that you cut calories,” explains Courtney Peterson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And recent research is starting to uncover how different methods may make it easier to shed pounds and improve health.

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No, dieting part-time doesn’t mean you can go crazy on burgers and fries when you’re not watching your calories as closely—and there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. Here, our experts dive into ways you can try this trend and how to customize it just for you.

The fasting-mimicking diet

Despite the name, the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) doesn’t actually involve fasting. You restrict your calorie intake for five consecutive days, every three to four months, on average. The evidence behind the method: In a clinical trial, when healthy adults did FMD (eating around 1,100 calories on the first day, and about 750 calories on days two, three, four, and five) once a month for three months, they saw drops in body weight, total body fat, and blood pressure, while the people who followed a normal diet did not. How does it work? FMD puts the body in a fat-burning, ketogenic mode over the “fasting” period, explains Valter Longo, Ph.D., professor and director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and author of the new book The Longevity Diet ($27; amazon.com). “The average healthy adult can do an FMD cycle a few times a year and reap the benefits,” says Longo, who worked on the aforementioned trial. The caveat: Any diet that involves fasting or major eating changes is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. And it’s always a good idea to talk to your doc before making significant diet changes.

Time-restricted feeding

The time-restricted feeding (TRF) concept is simple: Narrow the window when you consume food. A recent small study conducted by Peterson with the Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center suggests that eating within a six-hour window may boost fat burn. Two other small studies found that even eating meals within an eight-hour period may promote fat loss. If this narrow time frame sounds like a freaky fad diet, don’t worry—Peterson says that a 10-hour window, like 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., is very doable and still works.

Keep in mind that shifting your entire meal schedule can be a tricky behavioral change. “Fasting isn’t for everyone,” says Stephanie Middleberg, RD, owner of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City. “I am a fan of people working on eating less at night. Even stretching your fasting period from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. could have tremendous benefits.”

Two-week cycling

A study in the International Journal for Obesity found that obese men who dieted two weeks on, then two weeks off for 30 weeks lost more weight than those who dieted continuously. These intermittent dieters kept the weight off for the long term, too. The mechanism at play isn’t totally clear, but it’s possible that “the body may not fully adapt to intermittent dieting in a way that would permanently slow down your metabolism,” Peterson says.

You don’t even have to do two-week cycles. “We don’t know at this point what the ideal schedule is,” Peterson notes. “To a degree, I think the scheduling depends on the person and her preferences.” So if, say, one week on, two weeks off seems more realistic for you, it’s fine to tweak the format to fit your needs. Peterson recommends giving it a couple of months for your body to adapt.

Before you try this on-off strategy, remember this: You can’t eat whatever you want during your no-dieting period. “Consuming 5,000 calories just because it’s a ‘free’ week is not efficient. You still want to think about filling your body with whole foods,” says Jennifer Cholewka, RD, a senior clinical dietitian at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Going vegan… until dinner

Popularized by the book Eat Vegan Before 6:00, by Mark Bittman, this scenario eliminates all animal products and focuses on eating vegan protein sources, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats until your evening meal. Plus, swapping animal protein for vegan sources slashes calories and saturated fat and has real weight loss potential. “When my clients break from consuming animal protein at all meals, they also realize how full they get when reintroducing it, so they often have a lot less at one sitting,” Middleberg says.

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On the flip side, she points out that you need to make sure you’re still getting enough protein, carbs, and fat during the day so you aren’t ravenous at dinner and end up overeating.

The 5:2 diet

This plan is named after a book by the same name. (Benedict Cumberbatch and Jimmy Kimmel have both tried it.) A few studies have linked the regimen—which calls for eating normally five days of the week and only 25 percent of your typical calorie intake for two days of your choice—to weight loss and lower insulin levels. “If I were to try any part-time diet, the 5:2 plan would be my pick,” says Cholewka.

“You’re responsible for remembering your eating schedule and keeping an eye on calorie counts, but you aren’t burdened by strict food lists.” However, keep in mind that, as your body adjusts, you may feel the effects of hunger more acutely, she adds.

Worried that severe restriction will get to you? Peterson reversed the plan a bit for herself. “In the past, when I lost weight, I did an approach where five days a week I would cut down about 15 percent of my calories,” she explains. “Then I would eat healthy but normal for two days each week.”

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Vegan Diet for Weight Loss: All You Need TO Know

Is weight loss possible?

If you’re looking to shed some pounds, you may have considered trying a vegan diet. Vegans don’t eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products. Instead, they eat things like fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, as well as plant-based milks, other nondairy products, and meat alternatives.

Although some people choose the vegan lifestyle out of ethical concerns for animals, the diet itself can have some health benefits. Ac, Is this  Approach healthy?cording to recent studies, being vegan may even help you lose a significant amount of weight.

How exactly? More research is needed, but it’s thought that going vegan may lead to reducing the number of high-calorie foods you consume. With a vegan diet, you may end up replacing such foods with high-fiber alternatives that are low in calories and keep you fuller longer.

IS IT HEALTHY?But is this approach healthy?

Cutting out some of the main food groups in your diet may seem unhealthy. And unless you carefully pay attention to your nutrition, it can be.

Some worry, for example, about getting enough protein or other essential nutrients, like vitamin B-12. This vitamin is found naturally only in animal products, and if you become deficient, it may result in anemia. Vegans need to supplement their diet with vitamins, vitamin-fortified cereals, and fortified soy products to avoid deficiencies.

Others may have trouble with yo-yo dieting after going vegan. What does this mean? It’s when you go through cycles of losing weight and then regaining all or more of that weight, possibly after having trouble sticking to vegan-only foods. This type of dieting is associated with some serious health consequences, like an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Regardless of these and other possible pitfalls, you can eat a vegan diet healthily and lose weight. The key — as with all diets — is focusing on nutrient-dense foods versus empty calories. For vegans, these foods would include things like:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • beans and legumes
  • nuts and seeds

Limit or avoid vegan processed foods that contain these added ingredients:

  • fats
  • sugars
  • starches
  • sodium
  • food additives

OTHER WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT

Tips for weight loss

Women generally need to eat 2,000 calories each day to maintain weight. To lose weight, this number drops to around 1,500 calories a day. Men generally need to eat 2,500 calories each day to maintain their weight and around 2,000 calories a day to lose weight.

A junk-food calorie doesn’t equal a whole-food calorie as far as nutrition goes. Even if you stay below your calorie goal, filling up on all Nutter Butter cookies, which happen to be vegan, is very different from filling up on buckets of fresh produce.

There are many factors that affect weight loss, including:

  • age
  • height
  • current weight
  • diet
  • physical activity levels
  • metabolic health
  • other medical issues

Although you can’t control all of these factors, you can control your diet and exercise. Regardless of the type of diet you choose, you should follow these guidelines for healthy eating

1. Time your meals

Grazing throughout the day isn’t good for weight loss. Timing your meals is essential to boosting your metabolism and promoting healthy eating habits.

In general, try eating meals at the same time each day to get your mind and stomach into a predictable pattern. Munch on a larger breakfast in comparison to the other meals in your day. This may mean shifting your lunch a bit earlier and eating a smaller dinner.

If you’ve exercised, try eating within 45 minutes of finishing. This will help feed and repair your muscles.

When shouldn’t you eat? Within two hours of bedtime. Consuming calories too close to bedtime is associated with weight gain and sleep disturbances.

WATCH YOUR PORTIONS

2. Watch your portions

Portion sizes matter with any of the foods you eat — vegan or not. The United States Department of Agriculture’s My Plate suggests that average women and men get the following number of servings of these foods each day:

Food group Servings for women Servings for men
grains 6 9
vegetables 3+ 4+
fruits 2 3
dairy or dairy alternatives 2–3 2–3
meat and beans 5 ounces 6 ounces
fats/oils 5–6 6–7

Here are examples of single servings of different foods in each group for vegans:

grains • 1 slice bread
• 1 cup cold cereal
• 1/2 cup cooked cereal, pasta, or rice
vegetables • 1 cup raw leafy greens
• 1/2 cup raw or cooked veggies
• 3/4 cup vegetable juice
fruits • 1 medium piece whole fruit, such as an apple, banana, orange, or pear
• 1/2 cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
• 3/4 cup no sugar-added fruit juice
dairy • 1 cup nondairy milk
meat and beans • 1/2 cup cooked dry beans
• 1/2 cup tofu
• 2-1/2 ounces soy burger
• 2 tablespoons peanut butter
• 1/3 cup nuts
fats • 1 tablespoon oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/2 medium avocado
• 1 ounce nuts
• 2 tablespoons nut butter

3. Make sure you’re getting enough protein

Current recommendations for protein intake are around 5.5 ounces per day, or around 0.41 grams per pound of body weight. This means a 150-pound woman should consume approximately 61 grams of protein each day. A 175-pound man should consume around 72 grams each day.

When you break this down into calories, there are about 4 calories per gram of protein. So the woman in this example would need to get 244 calories from protein each day, and the man would need to get 288 calories from protein.

Good sources of plant protein include:

Food Serving size Grams of protein
tempeh 1 cup 31
soybeans 1 cup 29
seitan 3 ounces 21
lentils 1 cup 18
beans, such as chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans 1 cup 15
tofu, firm 4 ounces 11
quinoa 1 cup 8
textured vegetable protein (TVP) 1/2 cup 8
peanut butter 2 tablespoons 8

4. Pass on “healthy” drinks

Before you sip that store-bought smoothie, consider how many calories it might contain. Even so-called healthy drinks and energy mixes can pack quite a caloric punch.

First, let’s take a look at a beverage most people know to steer clear while dieting: A 20-ounce soda contains around 240 calories and 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar.

But what about that freshly squeezed orange juice? It contains about 279 calories per 20 ounces. That acai smoothie? It may contain 460 calories per 20 ounces.

Read labels carefully and consider saving these drinks for special occasions.

Sticking with water is typically your best bet when trying to lower the number on the scale. It’s hydrating and contains zero calories. If you don’t like plain water, you might consider adding a squeeze of lemon or lime or trying herbal teas and sparkling waters.

DON’T BINGE

5. Don’t binge on plant-based desserts

The same rules apply to vegan and non-vegan desserts: Eat them in moderation. The average American eats a whopping 22.2 teaspoons of sugar each day. Whether that comes from a decadent ice cream sundae or a batch of vegan cookies, it’s still 335 calories that contain little nutritional value.

Sugar can actually disrupt your metabolism and lead to health issues beyond weight gain, including high blood pressure, inflammation, and elevated blood triglycerides. How much of the sweet stuff is enough? Women should try to limit their daily sugars to around 6 teaspoons or 100 calories each day. Men should aim to get fewer than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories each day.

If you’re looking for a healthy vegan dessert option that’s relatively low in calories without added sugars and fats, try fresh fruit. Otherwise, eat a small portion of a vegan dessert and save the rest for tomorrow or next week.

TAKEAWAY

The bottom line

Eating a vegan diet may help you lose weight. Still, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor or a dietitian before making big changes to your diet. You should discuss how you’ll get critical nutrients, like protein and B vitamins.

Your doctor may also have other suggestions for how you might lose weight, like keeping a food diary or engaging in a regular exercise routine.

How to Lose Weight Fast Based on Science

There are many ways to lose a lot of weight fast.

However, most of them will make you hungry and unsatisfied.

If you don’t have iron willpower, then hunger will cause you to give up on these plans quickly.

The plan outlined here will:

  • Reduce your appetite significantly.
  • Make you lose weight quickly, without hunger.
  • Improve your metabolic health at the same time.
  • Here is a simple 3-step plan to lose weight fast.

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