Most of us wants to be “in shape” and a lot of people dream about having that ripped body you see on underwear models with abs you can literally use as a washing board, but it just seems to be nearly impossible without killing yourself on a ridiculous trendy hype-diet or spending the majority of the day just to focus on what and what not to eat… some of us simply don’t have the time for that, either because of work or family obligations or most commonly both!
Luckily, there’s a much easier and more comfortable method, which everyone can do… Yes even You!
I love food. All kinds of food, all kinds of kitchens and ways to prepare it.. everything from Michelin star restaurants to a home made custom built sandwich snack and everything in between.
But love for foods comes with a price, excess calories and not enough physical output to get rid of all that energy. Fortunately theres a way to combine both looking and feeling good and also enjoying the culinary excitements offered around us!
Intermittent fasting, Leangains, 16-8 method…
There you have it, 3 terms that basically covers the secret for the easiest way of losing weight and finally getting those abs to show!
Im never out of shape, even when i am, i am not… wait, what?
I’ve been “skipping breakfast” for many years now and ever since i started with this, I’ve always been able to remain in good shape. I might be a little heavier on the scale in different periods but never do i have a gut sticking out with excess kilos of fat.
Bare with me and please don’t be afraid, you’re NOT gonna die from missing a meal.. in fact the opposite, skipping meals and regular fasting is directly correlated with longer life span and many health benefits!
How it works
The difference between the fed state and the fasted state.
Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. 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.
If you’re on a diet that consists of medium to high amounts of carbohydrates, you’re raising the glucose and insulin levels which your body will use as fuel and at the same time store the fat for later.
After that fed state, your body goes in to a pre-fasted state, which is when your body is not longer processing any foods, this state lasts about 8-12 hours after your last meal, after that your body is ready to enter the fasted state, since the insulin levels now are low your body will start using the stored fat as main energy source.
Since it takes up to 12 hours to enter the fasted state, it’s rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. For this reason, when most people start this they will lose weight and fat quickly from the beginning without changing what and how much they eat or increase their exercising. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.
You can drink as much water and tea as you like during the fast. Some people drink coffee which can be acceptable in the beginning but should be limited or avoided as it has been proven to break the fast. Stay away from milk, cream or other additives. Sodas and Coca cola and other soft drinks is a no go, Yes even if the can says “zero”.
Benefits of fasting
Not only will you lose weight and make your body into a fat burning furnace, it has other reasons like:
To change your body you need to change your behavior and habits, if you’re following a hard and calculated diet it can be hard and you’re most likely to get annoyed, frustrated, cheat and fall out.
Fasting is easy and saves you time, just skip breakfast, keep an eye on the watch when to start and stop eating and you can basically eat the same things as before, if its mainly based on sensible meals and nutrition – if its not only McDonalds and Twinkies.
Don’t get me wrong, i do eat pizza and chocolate pralines, i have occasional drinks in the weekend and enjoy life, but not everyday. This is the good thing about the fasting, you still need your calories and in most cases you won’t over eat since the time of eating is shorter and during the time not eating your metabolism is much more effective.
- Increased lifespan
Its a proven fact that fasting is directly correlated with an increased life span, fast metabolism animals live shorter then slow metabolism animals.
Cultures that have implemented regular fasting and less frequent eating does generally live longer lives in their demographic area.
Your body is much like a car – if you drive it 7 days a week the whole year, compared to if you only drive if 4 days a week, it would logically need less repair and last more years than in the first scenario.
- Disease prevention
A lot of the research that’s been made on the topic suggests that its a highly potential way of fighting cancer cells and boosting the treatment process.
Less stimulation of insulin and blood sugar spikes naturally lowers the risk for diabetes type 1 and 2.
Letting your body cleanse its system and giving your organs a rest greatly improves chances for not catching cardiovascular diseases.
- Lasting results
Following diets can be frustrating, hard and energy draining. For certain diets to work you need discipline and a lot of it, theres multiple studies showing that the majority of people who starts with a diet either falls back to where they where or worse and gained more than when they started out.
Intermittent fasting is simple, no complex setup of micro and macro nutrients, just decide during what time window you wish to have your food and keep an eye on time, thats basically it!
For those who struggle or wants results faster, calculate your BMR and Maintenance calorie goal and make sure you’re staying within.
Diets are easy in theory and hard in execution. Intermittent fasting is hard in your imagination but easy in execution.
Have patience and you will be awarded
The first thing people normally say is “I can’t be without food for that long!”, “I can’t get any work done without food” or “I get mad if i don’t eat when I’m hungry”… we anticipate and fool ourselves that we should react in a certain way if we’re not constantly putting something in the pie hole.
Its all about getting used to the “hunger feeling” as we think of it. That feeling is not necessarily hunger, its just that your body is in a acidic state at the moment. You’re not in desperate need of food but eating is a way to neutralize that feeling. That acidic state is a reaction that we have programmed in to happen, because we’ve been fed like that since we were babies the body is expecting something to come down to process, its what I call “habit hunger”.
Have you ever been so busy with something for hours and forgot to eat? most of us has experienced this, if not, you’ve never been busy enough.
It only takes a few days, less than a week to get used to and you will see that breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day, in fact the opposite!
How to do it
The most common and easiest way to do it is the Daily intermittent fasting 16-8:
Having an 8-hour eating window followed by a 16-hour fasting period. It doesn’t matter when you wish to have the eating window but most practical is placing it between 12pm – 8pm (12.00 – 20.00) or 11am – 7pm (11.00 – 19.00), as long as you’re consistent, start when to start and stop when to stop, you’ll have results! So calculate whatever suits you the best.
Im a evening muncher so for me its easier to do from 12 or 2pm – 8 or 10pm.
Theres also the Weekly intermittent fasting:
You’re simply fasting during a 24-hour window. When i do this i usually place it on a Sunday, meaning that i eat my last meal at Saturday evening around 8-9pm and then i don’t eat again until Sunday evening at 8pm.
This method works good for me since i have my eating day on Saturday – just enjoying myself with no restrictions whatsoever. If you put a 24 hour fast after a day like that you get away with being a pig on Saturday, if thats something you would like to do.
Any day in the week works, its only the hours that is important – simple! Doing a 24-hour fast will really help you getting over the mental barrier of fasting, “yes I can go without food”.
You can take this a step further doing Alternate day intermittent fasting:
Then you simply do a 24-hour fast every other day, meaning you eat what you want 4 days a week and fast 3 days with one day in between every fast, for example:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Eat until 8pm (20.00) Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: Fast until 8pm
This is less common and i don’t really recommend it unless you really start to getting used to fasting. It doesn’t have to be 3 days, it can be 2 or whatever you feel like doing. Most importantly, try and experiment what suits you best. You will get signals and signs from your body so listen to them and adjust.
The longest I’ve done is a 4-day fast and a few times a 3-day fast, you feel amazing afterwards and it is really beneficial for your body, both physical and mental.
Intermittent fasting for women
Women have more hormones than men and might be more sensitive to dietary changes and periods without food. It can be wise for women to try out different ways and see what works best.
For example, it can be better suited to start the eating window earlier 10-11am – 6-7pm (10-11.00 – 18-19.00) or shortening the fasted state, 14 hours fasting and 10 hours eating window.
Shortening the fasted period is still very effective, especially if combined with some reduction of carbohydrates and sugar intake – eat a little cleaner and try to stay away from pastas and breads.
An alternative is also to start with crescendo fasting, which is that you’re doing the 16-8 window fasting but only a few days in the week, every other day, and increasing the number of days gradually. A good choice in the beginning would be to place the fasting days when you’re not doing heavy exercise.
It all works, its just about finding what you can live with and make sensible choices.
Some general tips
- make sure you get enough potassium
- get enough sleep, take a short day nap if possible
- drink enough water, without overdoing it
- make sure to get your daily calories, but don’t binge eat
- train High Intensity Interval Training – HIIT
Give it a try, the only thing you have to lose is weight! Trust the science and the many documented benefits of this lifestyle, just have some patience, keep an eye on the time and experiment a little, you won’t be disappointed!