Today I want to share with you a little-known, yet fantastically efficient way to shed fat.
It’s called “intermittent fasting.” And it’s the protocol I’ve used to drop 45lbs over the course of 7 months. As the name suggests, it consists of abstaining from caloric consumption over a specific window of time.
It can be done in one of two ways:
- Fasting 14-16 hours every day (including sleep-time, so essentially, you’re just skipping breakfast).
- Fasting one or two entire days a week.
You’re probably thinking this is an absurd idea, and there’s no way you’d want to inflict this on yourself.
I certainly used to feel this way – but experiencing the myriad of benefits the approach has yielded, quickly changed my mind. You see, fasting has been used for millenniums as a medicinal practice in humans. It is also a natural response for many animals during times of sickness or healing. And I am going to do my darn best to convince you to adopt this lifestyle change.
The benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- decreased levels of leptin, the hormone responsible for hunger (less hunger = easier caloric restriction)
- decreased insulin resistance
- increased level of growth hormone (helps to shed fat and grow taller if you’re under 25)
- increased production of neurotrophic growth factor (a protein fueling neuron growth)
- increased testosterone production if you are a man, due to spikes in LH signaling, from the brain to the testes (my husband follows the protocol too, and he’s “shredded!”)
- a detoxification of your body and liver
- a clearer mind while in the fasted state, which turns you into a productive machine!
- increased willpower that you build over time
Sounds too good to be true? I’ll tell you about my own intermittent fasting adventure.
My personal experience
I am currently sitting in front of my wooden desk as I am typing, on my old HP laptop, the blog post you are reading. And I can’t help but think about the past, smiling at all the progress I’ve made throughout the years. I used to be a depressed mess. Mostly because of the way my fat body looked – god knows looks are important to us women. I was overweight. Ashamed of my love handles and protruding belly. Let me describe to you how intermittent fasting ended up being a game changer for me.
It’s no secret, losing fat is a matter of caloric consumption vs caloric expenditure. In other words, if you eat less than your body burns, you slim down. Back when I was overweight, I’d go from crash diet to crash diet. I would manage to restrict my diet for a couple days in a row… but then I’d cave in, submit to my sugar cravings and go on a shameful, muffin-eating rampage. You see, my main problem was hunger. Whenever I’d restrict my calories, hunger would inevitably draw me back to the Twix vending machine.
Once I got started with Intermittent fasting (I.F.) these issues vanished. Remember, leptin is the hormone responsible for hunger. What I.F. does, is reducing the levels of that hormone. And the results are fascinating – it tones down that little nagging voice at the back of your head that’s urging you to eat the cookies laying around on your coworkers’ desk. Nowadays, I go about my day in the office without feeling much hunger at all, especially in the morning. My friends are amazed and think I’m some sort of insanely disciplined creature. When really, it’s not discipline – I’m just not all that hungry, so there is no temptation to fight. Don’t worry, my hunger and appetite have not completely disappeared! They’ve just been toned down to a more suitable level, and I still enjoy eating my home-cooked meals. Funny how when you snack frequently, your stomach becomes a spoiled brat who expects to be fed every hour… teach him to earn meals by being patient, and he will no longer bother you!
Fasting is not as hard as it sounds; it’s simply a matter of habit. Although, I will say I prefer the first method to the second. It consists in fasting 16 hours everyday (i.e. skipping breakfast), and I like it because it builds into a repetitive, daily routine. To each their own. When IF’ing for the first time, I’ve found that the first 4 days or so are the hardest, and then you’ll swiftly adapt.
The main reason why I.F. works, is that you create a calorie deficit while fasted. At the end of the week, you’ll have most likely burned more calories than you’ve consumed.
Now, lets talk results. Images speak louder than words, so I’ll let them do the talking.
I’m not too keen on posting pictures of my half naked body on this site, as bragging kind of irks me; but here’s a quick shot to showcase my current slim figure.
My hubby is willing to share his own progress with I.F. as well! I’m sure male readers will be interested in his results. We’ve been practicing intermittent fasting together for 2 years now. We’re no longer trying to lose fat, we’re simply stabilizing our weight, and with intermittent fasting, we’re not struggling one bit.
Not bad for an almost-40 guy, ey? Hands off ladies, he’s mine 😉
I cropped our heads out, as we don’t want our shirtless pics running around the internet with our giddy faces on them! 😀
On a side note, remember how I talked about increased testosterone levels? Don’t worry girls, that won’t concern us. You won’t turn into Schwarzenegger by skipping a few meals.
Benefits of intermittent fasting are not limited to weigh loss.
It may sound strange to unaware folks, but I am more productive while fasted.
My focus is razor sharp, as I have no carb-induced serotonin slowing down my thoughts. You know how after eating a plate of pasta, you feel all drowsy? That’s the neurotransmitter serotonin at work. Fasting gives you the opposite effect. It speeds you up and makes you more motivated to accomplish your goals.
Additionally, I found that I recover from drinking nights a lot faster when I fast. Not that I’m a party girl, but usually a few glasses of wine is all it takes for alcohol to take its toll on me!
I’ve also read a study about the neuron growth that IF promotes. Although the research is somewhat nascent, I find it to be very promising.
Try out this method too
There’s a lot more to cover on the huge topic of intermittent fasting. Which is why I urge you to check out Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat program.
He’s one of the pioneers in the field, and I want to personally thank him for the knowledge I’ve extracted from his work. In his book, he goes into why periods of fasting were frequent and perfectly natural occurrences centuries ago – due to political instability, bad weather, food shortages… and why alternating between fasting and a “fed state” is the way to go if your aim is an optimal health. The best, most in-depth resource, by far, on the topic.
The book backs up its claims with thorough, impressive research.
And the best part about it? It’s dirt cheap – costs about as much as a Big Mac meal (and unlike a greasy burger dipped in mysterious white sauce, it’s an investment in your health that will yield dividends). It’ll equip you with a protocol that’s been tested by thousands of people before you. It worked for them just like it worked for me. If, for whatever reason, you decide this method isn’t working for you, they’ll reimburse you thoroughly. All you have to do is give them a call within 60 days.
The only drawback I’ve identified is the lack of specific nutritional advice. As in, Brad doesn’t tell you in great length what foods you should eat when you’re not fasting. A bit of a bummer for a book about eating. This is where you have to use your common sense and avoid feasting upon sugary, processed junk food. Or you could read the other articles on my blog where I tell you exactly which foods promote a healthy, toned body!
As a warning, it’s also wise to avoid fasting if you happen to be pregnant, diabetic, or under treatment.
To learn more about Eat stop Eat, click here.
If you’ve tried losing weight, but have failed countless times, stop blaming yourself. Instead, keep looking for ways to lose that stubborn belly. As long as you don’t give up, you’ll eventually succeed – it’s only a matter of time. Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat offers an interesting alternative approach to shedding fat. And judging by our personal results, it sure works! This way of eating hasn’t just been a phase for us, it has become an integral part of our lifestyle, saves us time, and makes us more productive. We intend to keep fasting, regardless of the fact that we’re no longer trying to lose weight.