Fasting diets—diet that closely restrict the consumption of calories—have sort of a bad rep. No one wants to starve themselves in the name of an over-stereotyped #bikinibody (completely unhealthy), and who really gets jazzed about the idea of cutting down on mealtimes—even if it is done the healthy way? (Psst... Count This Instead of Calories to Lose Weight In 4 Weeks.)
But doing the fasting thing the right way might deliver more gains than just the weight you lose, according to new research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Tesearchers found that adhering to a fasting-style diet improved not only the waistlines of participants but also their sex lives, their sleep quality, and their overall mood. Okay, we're listening...
Researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana had 218 healthy participants (who fell in a healthy weight range at the start of the study) slash their calorie intake by 25 percent over the course of two full years. First, they found that, as you can probably guess, the participants lost weight—about 10 percent of their starting weight, or 16.5 pounds on average. (Check out The Pros & Cons of Fasting for Weight Loss.)
But they also found some other unexpected effects. After a year of the calorie restricted diet, participants had a better outlook on life, reported less tension, and experienced improved sleep quality. And after two years, they even had hotter sex lives, reporting increased desire and better encounters between the sheets.
Of course, two years is nothing to bat an eye at—that's a long time to be anal about watching your portion size. But according to the researchers, this is more proof of the benefits of losing weight beyond just shedding a couple pounds. Another great reminder to make sure our health #goals are about more than the number on the scale.