When I first started out figuring I read an article a few years back about how important meal frequency is for your metabolism. The article recommended that you eat about 5 to 6 small meals a day to boost your metabolism and to keep it high. The information seemed sound, so from that point on, I made sure to get my five meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack in between each. As body got used to the small meals, I would get hungry every couple of hours. I took that as I sign that the small meals were working and my metabolism. However, as I reflect back on it now, I think my body was just getting used to being fed often. When I started working, it became harder and harder to stick to the multiple small meals a day, but I always managed to find a way somehow. At this point, I was spending a little bit of extra money on food, but I was OK with it as long as if I was working toward my goal. Eventually, though, I came upon times where I was unable to keep the eating schedule, and it resulted in me psychologically kicking myself each time because I messed up. I know that there are always a few bumps in the road, but that was my way of thinking back then and even now at times (I have gotten a lot better though, I promise). A few months ago, while researching other alternatives and ways to speed up the process as quickly as possible, I came across a post about intermittent fasting and weight loss and how it was greatly superior to eating 5 to 6 small meals a day. If you’re like me, you would’ve probably gotten upset about finding out this kind of information this late in the game, however, that was the moment I realized that sculpting your perfect body takes time. It’s a journey and a marathon, not a sprint. So I took a few breaths, researched this topic a bit further, and found a holy grail of information that I would like to share with you today…
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
We know that regular fasting consists of just restrict your calorie intake on a daily basis, but intermittent fasting changes the game a little bit. Intermittent fasting is a schedule where go between a period of fasting and a period of eating day to day where the window of fasting is longer and nearly twice as long than the window of eating. At first discovery, I thought that this method couldn’t be good for fat loss, but I later discovered that the whole “eating multiple small meals a day” for metabolism was just another way to apply the thermic effect of food. The thermic effect of food is about the amount of calories you eat and not the frequency. If you’re one who also implents the multiple small meal option but finding it difficult to maintain or just looking for a change, you’ve come to the right place. So with this tidbit of info, I continued my research. into IF (Intermittent Fasting). One way that people have been implementing intermittent fasting without knowing it is by skipping breakfast. We’ve all heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Society claims that eating is necessary for weight loss, however, a study conducted in 2014 by the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition showed that there was no difference in weight loss between the group who ate breakfast and the group who didn’t. The skipping breakfast was made popular by fitness expert Martin Berkhan and is more commonly known as the 16/8 method or Leangains protocol. With this method, you would fast for up to 16 hours of the day, and use the remaining 8 to take in your daily calories. The other two most popular forms of intermittent fasting are 1) The 5:2 diet and 2) The Eat, Stop, Eat method. With the 5:2 diet, you eat the way you normally would 5 days a week, and eat only 500 – 600 calories on the remaining 2. It was made popular by Dr. Michael Mosley and is also called the Fast Diet. And last but not least, the Eat, Stop, Eat Method involves fasting for a full 24 hours once or twice a week. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, and was made popular by fitness expert Brad Pilon. Now I know what you must be thinking, Who in their right minds would practice any of these options? But before dismissing this info, you should know that IF comes with a whole heap of health benefits that may intrigue you, I know I was
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Reduce Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
As you are already aware, Type 2 Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels in the form of insulin resistance, which gives the body difficulty in processing glucose. Intermittent fasting has been shown to greatly reduce blood sugar levels. According to this study, intermittent fasting has revealed to decrease blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. So, whether you have Type 2 diabetes or not, intermittent fasting can help you manage it if you have it, and prevent it if you don’t. Lower blood sugar levels also help to promote fat loss
Help You Lose Weight
Study shows that short term starvation in people caused an increase in metabolic rate by up to 3.6%. Another study shows that after 24 hours of fasting, growth hormone production increased dramatically by up 2000% from the baseline. In other words, for men, testosterone levels are increased dramatically from intermittent fasting, which makes burning fat (and building muscle) easier. Because of all this, intermittent fasting has the ability to shift your body into fat burning mode and make stored body fat much more accessible. If you work out in this “fasted state” as it’s called, you can lose weight and burn fat much more quickly. More on this topic at another time.
Activate The Process of Autophagy
Autophagy is process of breaking down cells and removing the waste in them that builds up over time. Intermittent fasting is shown to induce the process within us. When we fast, we essentially refresh our bodies and reduce our risk for diseases.
Help You Live A Long Healthy Life
A study done with rats showed that intermittent feeding increased their lifespan by up to 83%. Yes, I know rats and humans are completely different, but given the above information and if implemented properly, we can at least see that intermittent fasting can help us live a healthier lifestyle.
I was also skeptical of intermittent fasting when I first heard of it, but as the saying goes “curiosity killed the cat”, so I gave it a shot. My first attempt was doing the 24 fast from Saturday afternoon into Sunday afternoon and then the 16 hours from Sunday night in Monday afternoon. Because I didn’t know my body’s daily energy expenditure or calculate my calorie and macronutrient intake back then, I can’t attest to the weight loss aspect, however I did notice a huge energy increase throughout the day. Normally, I would feel groggy, especially during the work day. I soon learned that it was because of my high carbohydrate intake at breakfast, which can induce feelings of drowsiness. I mentioned earlier that training in a “fasted state” can result in quicker weight loss, however it can lead to muscle breakdown, which is the enemy to fitness. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid muscle breakdown so you can reap the benefits of fasted training. Today completes my second week of fasted training. Even though it’s short, I can see the results and so can my family. When it comes to intermittent fasting, you always want to work your way up to certain points and just dive right in. See what works for you, and then build up from that point on. If you think intermittent fasting is not for you, or you are just more comfortable with the meal frequency option, don’t fret. This is just another means to an end. Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, however if you are willing to give it a try, you just might get to your weight loss goals faster than normal. Every little bit helps, right?
Have you tried intermittent fasting? What was your experience? Have you tried another form of IF that wasn’t mentioned here? Drop a comment below and lets get a discussion going.