Intermittent fasting hailed by trainers, doctors as easy weight loss program that works

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Can you imagine losing weight by not really changing what you eat but when you eat it?

Intermittent fasting isn't a new idea, but it's becoming more popular. Now there's some scientific evidence to back it up.

Michelle Marshall has been a personal trainer for a decade, and she's worked with Sheri Burrell for about five years.

Sheri Burrell incorporated intermittent fasting into her workout routine. Her trainer said it could help.

"My husband and I, we have done everything," Burrell said. "We have done every fad. We have tried everything. We just got to the point, like, something is not working."

So as part of their training and nutrition and fitness plan with Marshall, they incorporated intermittent fasting.

"Intermittent fasting is basically a window of when you eat," Marshall said.

Her clients follow the 16/8 rule. They eat during an 8-hour time period and then don't eat for 16 hours.

"Your body's in two states," Marshall said. "It's either in a fed state or a fasted state."

To put it simply, when you're fasting, your body burns fat that's inaccessible when you're eating.

For Burrell, it's working.

"During the fasting time, I can still drink water and have hot tea," she said. "I can even have coffee in the morning."

So we asked a doctor: Is it healthy?

"It's safe for most people," said Dr. Matthew Lindquist with KU Health System.

Of course, like any diet plan, check with your doctor before starting intermittent fasting.

Studies show intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, but what you eat and how much you eat still matters.

"Within a healthy meal plan, I think this is a really easy concept for people to stick to, which in theory makes it easier to stick to long term," Lindquist said.

That's key. Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle.

We wanted to see if it worked for someone who isn't following a strict eating plan and gym workout.

Mary Bridges says she lost 4 pounds by intermittent fasting. The new diet craze is hailed by doctors and coaches alike.

Mary Bridges is a single mom with a busy life at work and at home. She put intermittent fasting to the test.

"I didn't really alternate from my normal diet. I did try to eat smaller portions, but I didn't exercise any more than I normally would," she said.

The results after a week?

"I did lose 4 pounds," the metro mom said.

Bridges found herself cutting out those late night snacks because her 8 hours were up.

She did vary her eating times from day to day depending on her schedule, but she wants to be more consistent. Now she sets an alarm on her phone so she knows exactly when she starts and stops eating each day.

Research backs up the results Bridges and Burrell are seeing.

"It helps with your metabolism. It's gonna help with fat loss," Marshall said. "There are other benefits of longevity in life. It helps with diabetes, heart disease, inflammation."

And according to Lindquist, it's pretty easy to follow and understand, which makes it sustainable.

And that is the key to success in any weight loss journey.

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