Let’s keep it real here – there wasn’t always a McDonalds or Burger King on every corner. It was much more difficult to acquire food even 100 years ago, so sometimes we simply had to wait. That’s a major reason why we have survived as a species – our ability to be able to thrive in the absence of food. The fact is our bodies were meant to deal with a variance in the availability of food and there is plenty of evidence that suggest there can be many health benefits from calorie restriction. More and more in the fitness and weight loss community you hear about Intermittent Fasting (IF) as a method of weight/fat loss, so I’ve decided to put together 4 reasons why fasting may work for you as a fat loss tool.
The Natural Cleanse
Our bodies go through millions of cellular reactions at any given time which lead to cellular wear and tear. Accumulation of cellular garbage leads to further destruction within the cell and has been linked to accelerated aging and many types of chronic disease. The process of autophagy deals with garbage cells by recycling them within the body. The only catch: you have to be in a fasted state for this process to work really well. The hormonal response from the introduction of even a tiny amount of food immediately blunts the process. That’s also the reason why adequate sleep slows the aging process; because sleep essentially is a fast! On the flip side prolonged fasting can lead to the degeneration of muscle mass, bone tissue and overall weakness in the body. A healthy balance of these two processes will lead to a body that can essentially cleanse itself while continuing to build and repair tissues efficiently, leading to increased vitality and longevity.
Improve Your Relationship With Food
Being able to say no to food is a powerful fat loss tool. Dr. John Berardi says in his e-book on intermittent fasting, “Hunger is not an emergency, it is a feeling… one that’s nothing to panic over.” When you learn to defer food gratification you start to understand the difference between psychological (mental) hunger and physiological (body) hunger and you unlock the key to the biggest reason why people gain excess body fat ; eating too much too often.
Fat Loss Simplicity
The most important factor to dietary success is compliance. Brad Pilon, author of one of the best IF resources available, says, “a bad diet that you can stay on is more effective than a good diet that you can’t”. Most of the popular diet plans like Atkins, The Zone and South Beach are just different methods of reducing caloric intake for weight loss. Most versions of Intermittent Fasting provide greater simplicity than traditional diets allowing you to stay on track longer, getting you better results over time. A particularly good book on IF is Brad Pilon’s “Eat stop Eat” and can be downloaded here.
Portable Fat Loss
I often get asked the question “what I should eat when I go on vacation to continue to lose fat?” While you should always be eating nutritious whole foods, there are times when this will be more difficult or you may just want to splurge! Planning at least one fast can minimize the damage to your fat loss goals when on vacation or in any situation where good food choices are not readily available. Intermittent Fasting does not require any special food to work so you can stay compliant anywhere on the globe.
If you would like to do any additional reading on the topic check out precisionnutrition.com for great articles on the topic. They also have a free e-book which gives a complete overview of intermittent fasting. It can be downloaded here.
Yours in good health,
This is a concept that came about right around the time that gym goers would wear neon headbands and full body lycra to aerobics class without regret. Along with those mistakes, we also thought that reducing fat from our diets would make us lose fat. This is absolutely not true. Incorporating good fats throughout the day such as the fats found in nuts, fish, avocado and olive oil will boost your bodies ability to burn fat and get you to your goal faster.
Quiktrain Top Fat Loss Habit: “Supplement with a multivitamin and fish oil daily”
The leading research has shown us that supplementing with fish oil has tremendous affects on fat loss by increasing insulin sensitivity in the body. Increasing insulin sensitivity is important because it makes our bodies better at using stored fat for energy. So don’t be afraid of fats and make sure you incorporate them into every meal!
Bonus Fat Loss Tip: Two-a -days (two workouts in one day) boosts insulin sensitivity and helps accelerate fat burning.
Dinners, parties,wine, chocolate, cookies, candy, pastries and the list goes on! If your mouth is watering right now with the thoughts of cheating on your diet then this post is for you!
If you’ve been on a workout program chasing down that flat tummy or those bulging biceps now’s not the time to blow it! Make sure your diet survives the hollidays with some top strategies to help you enjoy the holiday cheer without having it spill over into the new year and your beltline
Tip # 1: Revisit your goals and focus
Remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place. Write it down. Try on your goal dress or pin up your old college ball pics. Getting fit is about looking and feeling your best. Is it a six pack you’re after, are you trying to improve your health markers like blood pressure or cholesterol. Do you want more energy to play with your kids, look good in a bikini or finally have the confidence to go shopping and love what you try on? Stirring up all these passionate reasons will give you the focus to maintain your workout schedule and make excellent food choices.
Tip # 2 Keep it clean and light
You know when your celebrations are scheduled. You also know that there are going to be tasty delights circulating around the office waiting to hijack your willpower and drown you in sugary calories. So for the next two weeks make sure you are keeping you calories in check by substituting your heavier breads, pastas and rice with a variety of veggies. Aim for 5 servings a day. Remember vegetable are carbs too. Anything you can eat in a sandwich you can have in a salad. Have 1 big salad a day. This substation will reduce your calories without you feeling hungry all the time and this way if you do end up having some treats you will balance out your net calorie intake.
Tip # 3 incorporate mini workouts
Mini workouts wake up your metabolism and give you doses of happy hormones that can keep you feeling great for hours after your workout. But perhaps the biggest value occurs on a much deeper physiological level. The trick is to get in a workout before you eat a big meal. This signals your body to devote those post workout calories to restoring energy balance vs. fat storage. For the biggest metabolic boost do combination exercises that use more than one muscle at once and train in a circuit. Aim for 15-20 minutes high intensity!
Tip # 4 Drink lots of water
Continue to drink lots of water throughout the day. The excess sodium from preserved foods and snacks can overload your kidneys and cause you to retain water and feel dehydrated. If this happens the last thing you’ll want to do is work out and the first thing you’ll want to do is reach for a sugary carb loaded pick me up. Avoid this cycle at all costs. Flush your body out with water to keep from retaining water and feeling dehydrated and fatigued. Start with 2 litres for women and 3 for men. If it’s a workout day you’ll need more.
Tip # 5 Be Selective
The rule is, if it’s not at least 8 out of 10 on your delicious scale then just say no. It’s not worth the extra calories. Personally, i’m a big cheesecake fan and I have no problems putting down a mediocre cheesecake. Savour the treats that you most enjoy in small amounts and leave the fillers out. Go for quality, not quantity
At the end of the day remember that its not what you eat from Christmas to New Years, its what you eat from New Years to Christmas so aim to eat well 90% of the time and you’ll have no problems keeping your body in check when it counts.
P.S. Special thanks to Elizabeth for some great ideas for this post!