fat-burning, habits, nutrition, weight loss

Basics of Intermittent Fasting for a Healthy Weight

“A normal metabolism is more than capable of handling long intervals between feedings.” If you need snacks to regulate blood sugar, “it means your metabolism is already in moderate disarray.”

Shanahan MD, Catherine (2011-04-22). Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. Big Box Books. Kindle Edition.

Lose Fat with this “Pattern of Eating”

Another “diet” movement that I find interesting is intermittent fasting, which, initially turned me off to the concept because I really like to eat!  After much prompting from a “trusted source” (AKA good friend), I Googled it.

I settled on an author and researcher James Clear’s experience with intermittent fasting.  Why? He and I are kindred spirits; he studies and writes about all the stuff I love: behavioral psychology, habit formation, and performance improvement.

He says that “intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.”

He had me when he then wrote, “With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat.”   But wait, there’s more: “Perhaps most importantly,

This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of ‘simple enough that you’ll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.’”

Do Not Starve- Ever, Just Digest

James Clear then goes on to explain the scientific difference between starvation and the “fed state,” which is the foundation for the Reset.  “Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.”

Again, he points out how the body responds to sugar and its relationship with fat storage.  He goes on to explain that letting your body fully digest the food allows your body to then burn fat because the insulin levels are low since there is no food coming into the body to be processed.

Learn more about the carbohydrate-insulin connection in this post.

Success lies in giving your body at least a full 12-16 hour cycle of no food, which is contrary to the “craving to eat” feeling that repetitive and easy simple carb laden meals will emotionally pull you toward eating again.  You are allowing your body to eat or use its fat stores and detox.  James determined that a normal eating schedule does not allow your body to enter into this fat burning stage because not enough time has passed for your body to dip into its reserves.

How to Handle Cravings

Feel like crazy cravings will stop you from waiting to eat, getting hangry, or afraid of late night binge eating? If you are eating processed foods, baked treats, drinking flavored coffees, and candy – you are right.  Start by making healthier flour swaps (100% whole grains), decreasing your overall sugar consumption, and drinking more water.  These cravings are a result of imbalanced blood sugar levels and your body’s need for energy.  Fix that with these tips.

Want to burn even more of your fat stores without cravings? Check out the ketogenic diet. The Mayo Clinic has used the ketogenic diet since the 1920s not only for weight management, but successful treatment of epilepsy and diabetes management.

You consume the same amount of food, but in a shorter window of time of your choosing; “You do not need to eat all the time.”  Tying it all together, he concludes that diets fail not because of food choices, but because of behavior.

Simple Steps Guide

About Me

Marcus, founder of Mindtomusclefitness, wrote a detailed post on Intermittent Fasting that is loaded with practical information and a step by step guide.

He uses IF for weight loss and body sculpting to control cravings and appetite:

Click on over to read his detailed post and download his quick start guide!

Personal Experience with IF + the Ketogenic Diet

Just for fun, I decided to limit the time that I eat food during the day (and later at night), shortening my feeding time to 8 hours, like he suggested.  I did not change what I ate, just when. 

Want to easily adapt into IF? The high amount of healthy fats in the ketogenic diet resets your sensitivity to insulin, balancing blood sugar levels, so that you can easily go longer in between meals. Try The 30 Day Ketogenic Cleanse Cookbook!

Honestly, I did have to push myself past the 10 am mark in the morning, but that was because I emotionally wanted to eat the breakfast that my kids were making right in front of me and enjoying (behavioral pull toward carbs, I know…but they just got a new waffle maker! Bad timing…).

By the end of the first week, adding intermittent fasting actually boosted me over my weight plateau!  And, I’ve kept with the concept of only eating for a smaller period of time because I haven’t felt like eating outside of those parameters; looking at my waistline, I can tell you that at that time, I still had stores of fat for my body to burn through after each “fed state.”

Intermittent fasting is yet another great way to use food to lose weight, not exercise, and burn fat while resetting your insulin sensitivity.