Weight loss is a very hard feat to accomplish no matter who you are. A lot of influencers and programs on the market today promise to offer the fastest and easiest way to lose weight, but sadly, most of these claims are just nonsense.
The only true way to lose weight, like I’ve mentioned in some of my previous posts, is to maintain a caloric deficit for a consecutive amount of days, weeks or months. The amount of time you maintain the calorie deficit depends on the amount of weight you want to lose.
Although losing weight is very difficult, there is a way to speed up the process and obtain various health benefits along the way. It’s called intermittent fasting. Throughout this article, I will be explaining what intermittent fasting is and giving you some intermittent fasting tips for weight loss so that you can implement this amazing strategy into your life!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is when you eat during a feeding window, usually around 8 hours, and fast for the remaining hours of the day. The most popular intermittent fasting protocol is eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16. The 16: 8 split usually consists of skipping breakfast and eating your first meal around 12-2 and eating your final meal around 8-10 (depending on when you had your first meal).
Other popular intermittent fasting protocols consist of eating for less than 8 hours a day usually around 4-6 hours. Obviously, the less time you have in your feeding window, the harder it is to follow but the more potential you have for weight loss.
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Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The main purpose of intermittent fasting is weight loss. Fasting for extended periods of time forces the body to use fat as fuel and absorb nutrients more efficiently. This is the case because fasting lowers insulin levels in the body. According to Harvard Medical School, when insulin levels are low, stored fat becomes the body’s only source of energy which leads to increased fat loss. When you consistently eat throughout the day and your insulin levels are high, the body tends to obtain most of its energy from carbohydrates.
As you can see, intermittent fasting is basically a direct line to the fat cells in your body. But weight loss is not the only benefit intermittent fasting can provide:
Hormone Production: According to the National Library of Medicine, intermittent fasting can raise testosterone levels in the body by almost 200%. This is an insane increase to achieve naturally and can lead to many benefits like improved muscle growth and a healthier sex life. Not only does intermittent fasting increase testosterone levels in the body, but scientists have also found that it boosts the production of human growth hormone (HGH) by almost 2000% in men and almost 1500% in women. This GIANT increase can also lead to improvements in muscle growth and strength, which brings me to the next benefit.
Muscle Growth/Retention: Many weight loss programs are strictly for losing weight and do not put much consideration into maintaining muscle mass. Intermittent fasting with its ability to boost testosterone and HGH, allows you to maintain muscle AND gain muscle. I, personally, have been intermittent fasting for eight months now and have been able to add a considerable amount of strength and muscle to my body. If you are looking to lose weight but are worried about muscle loss, I highly suggest that you look into intermittent fasting.
Quality of Sleep: Intermittent fasting is a lot more natural than eating snacks throughout the day. Our ancestors had to wake up, tend to their territory and hunt for their food. They did not have protein bars, chips or other common snacks to munch on throughout the day. This means that when they finished a meal, they probably wouldn’t see food again until the next day.
Not eating at least 2 hours before bed ensures that your body is not actively digesting food while you are trying to sleep and allows your body to get into a more relaxed state. Fasting also helps to regulate your circadian rhythm and maintain a sleep schedule.
Tips for Staying Disciplined While Intermittent Fasting
Any form of fasting is not easy, especially when you are just starting out. You are going to get hungry and you are going to have to fight the urge to munch on a late night snack. Although it is difficult, there are many things you can do to help better your chances of staying disciplined while you fast.
Drink Water and Black Coffee ESPECIALLY in the mornings. I find that intermittent fasting is hardest in the morning hours because the body is fresh off a long sleep and is craving nutrients. Drinking black coffee and lots of water helps to fill the stomach and delay hunger. Black coffee is able to be drank while fasting because it is under 5 calories and will not cause a spike in your insulin level. It must be black though, once you put creme or sugar in it, you are breaking the fast.
Plan Your First Meal and make fasting a routine. Eating your first meal at the same time every day will train your body to delay hunger until “feeding time”. Overtime, your body will adjust and get used to eating on a set schedule, which will lead to you not even thinking about food until you approach the usual time of your first meal.
Satisfy Cravings before you can’t eat anymore. Whether you count your calories or not, which you should if you are trying to lose weight, it is important to satisfy any cravings before finishing your last meal. This will help to fend off late night munchies. Try to eat whatever you tend to snack on at night before your last meal so that you don’t have any cravings before bed. Nothing is worse than going to bed hungry!
Keep Busy throughout the day. This may seem like common sense but if you are just sitting at your kitchen table waiting for that first meal, you are WAY more likely to break the fast early. Try to find an early morning and late night hobby or routine where you can stay busy and limit the time you have to think about food.
It is OK to mess up, no one is perfect! Whether you are just starting out or have been intermittent fasting for years, it is impossible to not mess up. It is bound to happen and when it does, just continue on with your usual routine. The only way you can stop seeing benefits from intermittent fasting is if you stop doing it for consecutive days. If your friends want to stay out late and drink one night, by all means, have fun!
In conclusion, intermittent fasting is a great strategy you can use to effectively speed up weight loss. It is scientifically proven to lower insulin levels and force your body to convert fat into energy and, besides weight loss, it provides many other benefits like hormone regulation, muscle retention and improved quality of sleep.
It is challenging to get the hang of, but with the help of black coffee, planning and the elimination of cravings, you’ll forget what it was like to eat breakfast and late night snacks.
Remember, the only TRUE way to lose weight is to maintain a calorie deficit for an extended period of time. But if you are already on a weight loss program and not seeing results or want to challenge yourself and take your physique to the next level, intermittent fasting could be for you.
So, what are you waiting for, stop eating breakfast and start intermittent fasting today!
If you found this article helpful and/or would like to voice your opinion on intermittent fasting, please feel free to leave a comment below!