Calorie restriction is still critical

“I always let my clients know that there’s no quick fix for weight loss,” explained Rautela, adding that she often dispels myths about intermittent fasting.

“Intermittent fasting is not just about when you eat,” she explained. “It does still matter how and what you eat. The quality and the quantity of your calories do matter, even if you’re fasting.”

Rautela noted there is big difference in processing the calories from a Big Mac compared to a well-balanded meal comprised of fresh, whole foods.

Manasseh suggested three basic approaches to reducing your calorie intake: consuming low-calorie foods with more fiber, eating smaller portions at meals, and eating less often — which includes intermittent fasting.

“You can use one, two, or all of these methods to achieve calorie restriction,” she said.

Like Rautela, Manasseh cautions against intensely restrictive diets.

“Highly restrictive diets — which have been the mainstay of the diet industry — often involve cutting out whole food groups,” she said. “Diets like 5:2, which involve people having to fast for two whole days a week, are unsustainable long-term.”

Effectiveness of dieting differs from person to person

Hunger cues and ideal eating patterns also vary from one person to the next.

“I have patients who never eat breakfast because they just don’t feel hungry early in the morning,” explained Manasseh. “For these patients, I advise them to continue not eating breakfast and just have lunch and dinner when they are hungry. These patients are following a fasting schedule, but it suits them because it fits with the pattern of their internal hunger cues.”

“Culturally, we’re constantly surrounded by food,” said Rautela, adding that following a fasting schedule has helped some of her clients re-learn how to recognize genuine hunger cues.

Rautela said she tries to embrace her clients’ enthusiasm for any nutrition or weight loss approach.

“If they’re eager to try something, it shows they care about their health and want to explore it further,” she explained. “My job is to build their knowledge base so they are empowered to make the right and safe decision with support from their healthcare team.”

Like Rautel, Manasseh said mindless eating when you’re not actually hungry is a consistent challenge that fasting can help address.

“Emotional eating and stress eating, or excessive alcohol consumption, are also major factors for the majority of my patients,” said Manasseh. “This needs to be addressed.”

Manasseh and Rautela both expressed the importance of helping each individual develop an approach to nutrition that suits their goals, habits, lifestyle, and personality.

“I start with the patient’s normal diet and help them make improvements to reduce calories while ensuring it’s sustainable long-term,” said Manasseh. “Providing regular support and accountability with progress visits is critical to their success.”

“Over the years, I’ve moved away from a one-size-fits-all approach,” added Rautela. “I’ve seen the most weight loss success with clients when we have frequent check-ins to work through challenges and behaviors while identifying their progress.”

Losing the weight, of course, is only step one. Maintaining it comes next.

“The door never closes when it comes to maintaining your weight loss,” said Rautela. “But that’s a whole different story.”