Common Misconceptions about Fasting for Weight Loss: Busting the Myths

Intermittent fasting has gained significant attention in recent years due to its perceived ability to help you lose weight. But does it work? Well, it greatly depends on your nutrition and exercise routine when you're not fasting.

Alon Laniado
August 30, 2023

If you're trying to lose weight, chances are you’ve heard about fasting for weight loss. Intermittent fasting is a weight loss strategy that has gained significant attention in recent years due to its perceived ability to accelerate weight loss. While fasting does have potential, it’s important to understand the difference between intermittent fasting facts versus fasting myths. 

At Fitmate, our coaches recognize that fasting can be a good tool in your weight loss arsenal, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why they create realistic weight loss plans tailored to your individual needs. Our one-to-one coaching helps you navigate your weight loss journey with guidance and support so you can use tools like fasting in an effective way that fits with your lifestyle. 

One of the major keys to successful fasting lies in the meals you consume when you’re not fasting. It is important that when you’re not fasting, you’re consuming nutrient-rich foods that keep you satiated and nourished. If you fast and then consume calorific foods that don’t fill you up your fasting period can backfire.

The Challenges of Fasting in Isolation

If you are using fasting as your primary technique for weight loss, it can get tricky. That’s often why you’ll see people penning articles like, “Why I stopped intermittent fasting,” as they don’t get the results they expect, but their results may be flawed due to their strategy. 

Weight loss requires a holistic approach, so if you’re fasting while also focusing on a healthy diet and exercise regime, fasting can work. However, if you’re using fasting in isolation without addressing other factors in your lifestyle, the benefits of fasting may elude you.

Using Fasting as a Compensatory Mechanism

People can get into the habit of using fasting as a way to compensate for the high-calorie foods they consume. This can work for some people, but the dangers of using this method are plenty. First off, if you consume more calories than you save on fasting, your approach will not work.

For example, let’s say for dinner you eat a whole medium pepperoni pizza that clocks in at 1600 calories. Then you fast in the morning by skipping breakfast - a meal in which you would’ve consumed 250 calories. You can see that the math doesn't add up there. 

Inability to Get into a Calorie Deficit

When you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. When you burn more calories than you consume, you get into a calorie deficit and that’s when you lose weight. If you are trying to get into that calorie deficit by fasting, but are not paying attention to the foods you are eating when you’re not fasting, it can be difficult to get into that calorie deficit. 

Fasting into Starvation Mode

If you don’t eat foods that are nutritionally dense and satiating before and after fasting, your body can go into starvation mode. That causes your metabolism to slow down which means whatever you eat is no longer breaking down efficiently. On top of that, when your body is feeling starved during fasting, you can easily overeat after your fast is over, which negates any benefits you would have gotten from the fast.

The Sustainability Issue

When you start with fasting, it may not be too difficult, especially if you’re doing short fasts like skipping breakfast. However, fasting over the long term can become grueling. Whether it’s a holiday breakfast with family or a celebratory dinner with colleagues, trying to maintain fasting over the long term comes with many challenges.

You may start to avoid socializing simply so you aren’t tempted to break your fast. The challenges of fasting may cause you to miss out on crucial moments with family and friends. Over time, that stress can have an overall negative impact on your health, and stressed-out bodies do not work efficiently to lose weight. 

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Intermittent fasting can be an additional tool in your weight loss journey, but it in order for it to be effective, nutrition and exercise must also be factored in.

Making Fasting Effective for Weight Loss 

If you are set on fasting for weight loss, many of the above issues can be overcome by combining fasting with sound weight loss principles. 

Consume Nutrient-Rich Meals

Consuming nutrient-rich foods like those high in proteins and fiber, such as chicken, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains, can keep you fuller for longer. That means you won’t get as hungry when you’re fasting and it also means you won’t trigger starvation mode. On the flip side, if you eat high-calorie nutritionally-deficient foods like a burger and fries or mac and cheese, you become hungry again quickly. That means you end up eating more than you should and don’t receive any of the benefits from your fasting. 

Integrating Physical Activity

Physical activity not only helps burn calories but also reduces hunger. 

Suppress Appetite

study looking into the way exercise impacts hunger discovered that when your body heats up during exercise, it impacts neurons that play a role in appetite suppression. Therefore, physical activity can be a valuable ally in the fasting process by making fasting easier and reducing the desire to overeat after fasting. 

Helps with Calorie Deficit

Additionally, physical activity burns calories, which of course is what you want to achieve your calorie deficit. Regular exercise coupled with intermittent fasting packs a double punch in helping you move forward on your weight loss journey. Using both of those techniques can help you eliminate obsessive calorie-counting of your food and rather focus on the healthy ways you can burn calories.

Balancing Food Quantities for Success

For fasting to be an ally in your weight loss journey, you need to be cognizant of what you’re consuming when you’re not fasting. If you find you’re not making progress with your fasting regime, it may be because your total calorie intake is too high. If that’s the case, consider reducing the amount of high-calorie, non-filling foods you’re eating.

Foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats like cakes, donuts, chips, and other fried foods are also high in empty calories that don’t fill you up. For example, a small bag of potato chips is approximately 240 calories with most of the calories coming from carbs and fats. You can eat the whole bag and still feel hungry after.

On the other hand, a baked 4 oz chicken breast is approximately 200 calories, low in fat, high in protein, and will keep you fuller for much longer. Try replacing your calorific foods with filling foods high in protein and fiber so you can get the full benefits of fasting while still being satiated. 

You can lose weight without fasting by incorporating a diet of lean protein and high-fiber foods like oatmeal and berries for breakfast.

Fasting: A Tool, Not a Requirement

Fasting can be a useful tool to use on your weight loss journey, but it's not a requirement for weight loss. 

Achieving Calorie Deficit Without Fasting

Creating a calorie deficit is possible without fasting and while eating three meals a day plus snacks. The key is to consume lean, filling foods and engage in regular physical activity. For example, a typical 1400-calorie day for women could include a breakfast of oatmeal with berries, a lunch of grilled chicken salad, an afternoon snack of Greek yogurt with almonds, and a dinner of baked salmon with quinoa and steamed vegetables. For men aiming for 1800 calories, the same meals could be consumed in slightly larger portions, or a snack like a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts could be added.

In fact, if you’ve wondered how to do intermittent fasting for weight loss while still eating three full meals and snacks, the abovementioned key to success is the way to do it. Intermittent fasting just means that you fast for a short period of time so let’s say you fast for 14 hours and eat for 10 hours. You have plenty of time to eat three meals and snacks that are high in lean protein and fiber. That allows you to get all the nutrition you need, feel satiated, and intermittent fast if you want to. 

Adopting Flexible Fasting Tactics

Fasting can be a flexible tool in your weight loss journey so you can use it when you need to instead of daily. For instance, if you overeat one night, but the foods you consumed were filling foods, that means you likely won’t be hungry the next morning which gives you a great opportunity to fast for breakfast or choose a lighter option.

Additionally, if you indulge in a social dinner that results in overeating, you can adjust the next day’s calories with a fast in the morning.

Connect with a personal weight loss coach

A coach can help you create a sustainable weight loss plan that utilizes intermittent fasting in an effective way for your lifestyle

The Role of a Weight Loss Coach in Your Fasting Journey

Navigating the role of fasting alone can be tricky, and that's where a weight loss coach can be invaluable.

Guiding Sound Weight Loss Habits

Fasting on its own is not usually an effective method for weight loss. Building healthy habits and using fasting to increase the effectiveness of your health habits is usually a better approach. Your weight loss coach can aid in building those healthy sustainable weight loss habits and show you how to incorporate intermittent fasting effectively. And most importantly your weight loss coach keeps you motivated and accountable, which ensures you have the support you need to turn an action into a habit and a habit into a lifestyle change that maintains your weight loss. 

Personalizing Your Fasting Approach

Having a coach to design a fasting strategy tailored to your individual needs is beneficial, especially when life throws curveballs. Your fasting strategy has to fit with your lifestyle and it needs to be accordingly flexible. Your coach takes into account everything from children, work, family, extracurricular activities, and more when creating a fasting strategy that’s going to work. Additionally, regular contact with your coach allows for adjustments when unexpected events occur, ensuring your weight loss journey stays on track.


While fasting for weight loss can be an effective tool, it's essential to pair it with comprehensive nutrition changes for sustainable results. Whether you're wondering, "Is fasting good for weight loss?" or you're ready to start your weight loss journey, remember that support and guidance from an expert can make all the difference. Learn more about what it's like to work with a 1:1 coach, by checking out Fitmate success stories and take our quiz to see if you're right for the program.

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