Monday, March 31, 2014

The Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /
I'm sure you have all heard that in order to maximize your fat-burning and muscle building potential you must eat six small, healthy meals consistently throughout the day. This is great and has worked for me in the past. However, this time around I am having the hardest time shaking off the last five pounds. Heck, it's always the LAST FIVE POUNDS that I need to lose. I can never seem to get myself back into the shape I was in about four years ago when I weighed about 118 pounds. Of course I don't desire to be that skinny again; it is more like I want to be that size with muscle. 

So this week I have decided to try a different approach to my health routine. My husband is a big fan of the Hodge Twins (they have great workout and eating advice, however if you are sensitive to vulgarity, you probably won't want to watch them) and told me that they practice intermittent fasting. He recommended I try it out.

At first it sounded weird and almost ritualistic, kinda like something I would think a hardcore yogi practiced. I mean, the only fasting I have ever known of came from religious practices. And fasting??? You mean, starving myself to lose weight? Isn't that against the rules? I don't think I could not eat, let alone until I reach my goal weight.Yet, intrigued, I started researching a bit on my own to see what it was all about.

Apparently, intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern, so you actually aren't starving yourself (whew!). You still eat the normal amount of food that will get your body into a caloric deficit (whatever amount of food you must eat in order to lose weight), but the only difference is you eat all your meals within a 6-8 hour window and are done eating until that same window the next day, which will equal to about a 16-18 hour fast

What is it about intermittent fasting that will get me better, faster results, you ask? Well, from my research and what the Hodge Twins suggested, the results of intermittent fasting are due to the fact that during the "fasted" state, your body will have nowhere to pull energy from except your fat stores. Normally, when you consume a meal, your body pulls energy from the quickest, easiest outlet it can which will be from the food you just ate. However, when you are "fasting," your body can only pull from your fat.

Sounds pretty good, right? It gets better!

Intermittent fasting helps the production of muscles. The body produces insulin with every meal you consume. Intermittent fasting teaches the body to use the insulin produced more efficiently, thus resulting in weight loss and muscles (ooo la la!).

IF is not a rapid weight loss diet, but more of a way to train your body to use the food you consume more effectively. Weight loss and muscle creation is a result of that. As far as I have read, those who have followed this eating pattern for years have loved it, noticed an increase in energy, weight loss and muscle creation, and it has in no way affected their long-term health for the negative.
To be completely honest, it sounds like a wonderful idea to me. I always struggled with trying to fit 6 small meals into my day. My work schedule is not one that has a consistent break/lunch period, so trying to fit my 4-5 meals in before dinner is sometimes not possible or it's rushed. 

I like the idea that I can eat my meals within a certain time-frame and not have to worry the rest of the day about what I am going to eat. For me, I would start out with breakfast from 4:30-5:00am and end with my last meal about noon-1:00pm. Skipping dinner would be a benefit to me as I tend to over-eat during that meal due to the fact that I didn't eat my other 5 meals during the day like I was supposed to. I also didn't like that I would eat dinner just before I went to bed (bleh!).

My plan is to eat a BIG breakfast and a good sized lunch that should hold me over until bedtime. My aim is to eat about 1400 calories a day within an 8 hour window. 

Wish me the best! 

Here are some helpful articles about intermittent fasting:

What are your thoughts about intermittent fasting? Have you ever tried it? Let me know!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it. Have a blessed day!


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