How You Can Use Intermittent Fasting to Fast Track your Weight loss!
If you’ve been working out in a gym or training with a personal trainer in Vancouver lately you’ve most likely heard of intermittent fasting or maybe you’ve heard just whispers of it from fellow fitness enthusiast sea-wall runners as they wiz past! So now you’re dying to know what intermittent fasting is and why people are turning to it to accelerate their weight loss goals.
Intermittent fasting has only recently entered the health and fitness consumer mainstream, however fasting has been in cultural practices around the globe for thousands of years. Many people believe that cycles of fasting is a more natural state for humans than the “old fashioned” 3-5 big meals a day. Controlled fasting will reduce your overall calorie intake as well as increase fat burning hormones to facilitate weight loss.
While intermittent fasting is still under research, hundreds of clinical studies have shown it to be beneficial for weight loss. Due to the powerful effects it can have on your brain and body we do not expect it becoming just another fad diet either! Not only will it help shed stubborn fat but it can even slow the body’s aging process, reduce the risk of certain diseases and benefit your health and vitality in a myriad of ways..
If you’re trying to lose weight we always recommend reducing calories, consistent exercise and practicing healthy lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep and staying hydrated first but if you would like to add in another step, some experts say IF could be a good “jump start” for the metabolism.
So what is intermittent fasting? What are the best methods and how can you use intermittent fasting to fast track your weight loss?
1) What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting, or a better term would be Time Restricted Eating is not so much a diet but rather an eating cycle. It does not focus on what specific foods to eat or not to eat but rather WHEN you should eat. IF cycles between phases of eating and fasting.
2) How Does IF Speed Up Fat Loss?
Weight loss is the most common reason people practice intermittent fasting. By making you eat less meals throughout the day, IF automatically reduces your caloric intake. Being in a calorie deficit will lead to weight loss. But some of the IF magic happens on a cellular and molecular level. When you’re in a fasting state, the body will adjust hormone levels to make fat cells a more readily available source of fuel. Lessening your calories and burning fat for fuel…… we think that sounds like a recipe for long term weight loss!
Here are some other key things that happen during intermittent fasting:
- Insulin Sensitivity: Refers to your cell’s ability to respond to insulin. The insulin hormone’s main role is to manage blood sugar levels. Unhealthy diets, prolonged high blood sugar and genetics can damage your insulin sensitivity. Improving your insulin sensitivity with tools like intermittent fasting can reduce the risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes. We like to think of fasting as a much needed restful vacation for your hard working insulin!
- Human Growth Hormone Increase: HGH aids largely in muscle growth and fat loss. Cell reproduction and keeping bone, muscle tissue and fat metabolism in good balance are other benefits.
- Cellular Repair: Fasting can give your cells a chance to focus on repairing and removing old protein build up inside the cell.
- Gene Expressions: Now we’re getting science-ey! Several studies have shown that fasting and lowering calorie intake positively changes the genes that control longevity, aging and protect again disease (1).
3) How To Intermittent Fast:
The simplest way to start is to follow Dr. Longo’s idea of Time Restricted Eating. This means eat for 12 hours then refrain for 12 hours. For example you can eat from 8 am and stop at 8 pm. Then not eat for the next 12 hours.
There are several different other ways we’ve seen come into practice. Since this can be a radically different way of eating than you’re used to we suggest not going to the extreme. Start off slowly, monitor how you feel and be patient.
- 5 by 2 Method: This involves consuming only about 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days a week and then eat regularly the other 5 days.
- 24 hour fast: This is where you fast for a complete 24 hours on one or two days a week. This one can be a little tough at first so we recommend starting with just one.
- 16 by 8 Method: This is the most popular one as most people find it the easiest to sustain. For example, skip breakfast and start eating at 1 pm and then finish eating at 9 pm. Fast for 16 hours in-between before you start eating again the next day at 1 pm.
“By reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss as long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.” says Chris Gunner BSc in his article on intermittent fasting.
How Can I Make Fasting Easier?
Make sure to be mindful of what you eat during your eating phases, if you indulge excessively you might not see any results from IF. During the fasting phase make sure you drink plenty of water or herbal tea and keep yourself busy to fend off hunger pangs. If you get dizzy during a fast, Dr. Jason Fung a Toronto based kidney specialist explains: “…Most likely, you’re becoming dehydrated. Preventing this requires both salt and water. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. However, the low-salt intake on fasting days may cause some dizziness. Extra sea salt in broth or mineral water often helps alleviate the dizziness.”(2)
Intermittent fasting looks like a great tool you can use to help rev metabolism, reduce belly fat, waist circumference and improve your overall health. If you’re new to this or have health concerns such as low blood pressure perhaps consult your doctor before trying IF. If you’re keen to try intermittent fasting, a personal trainer can help keep you on track and motivate you stick to an IF method!