Intermittent fasting is simply engaging in periods of time when no calories are consumed, and then eating in a condensed time frame.
It can be especially helpful for those who are stuck in a fat loss plateau to kick start fat burning.
There are a number of methods to choose from, but all of them include not eating for a period of 16-24 hours, and then consuming all of your calories within a certain time frame usually 6-8 hours.
When people are fasting, it includes the time when they are asleep, luckily!
In a typical 16 hour fast you would stop eating after dinner around 8pm. When you wake up in the following morning instead of eating breakfast, you would have coffee, tea or water and wait until lunch time at 12-1pm to have your first meal. You would eat from 12-1pm until 8pm.
This would be an example of a 16-18 hour fast. To help with the hunger some people will add coconut oil or heavy whipping cream to their coffee or tea to keep them satiated until they eat at lunch time. This kind of fasting can be done daily.
Another popular form of fasting is to go a full 24 hours without eating, this could be from 2pm Tuesday to 2pm Wednesday with just water and coffee consumed.
This approach allows you to fast for a full 24 hours, but still eat every day. If someone engages in a full 24 hour fast these are typically done 1-2 times per week.
There are great benefits from fasting down to a cellular level, but today our focus is on how fasting can help with fat loss.
When fasting is applied correctly it can be an extremely powerful tool to help with fat loss. Below we will cover some of the ways fasting works its magic in the fat loss war.
1.) More Calories Burned
As you all know it is not just about calories in and calories out, but when trying to achieve fat loss calories do matter.
The closer you get to your ideal body composition the more specific your approach will need to be.If fat loss has stalled calories should be looked at to assess if they are too high or too low, for too long.
Contrary to popular belief sometimes calories need to be increased for a short period to boost the metabolism, and continue with fat loss.
During periods of fasting the metabolism is boosted and adrenaline is increased which allows you to more efficiently tap into fat stores on he body.
An added benefit of fasting is that you will have more energy than you would think and the mental clarity can be great for those looking to be productive.
As I write this newsletter I am currently fasting, and am about 14 hours into a 16 hour fast!
2.) Become A Fat Burner, Not A Sugar Burner
When you are fasting the metabolism will switch from relying on blood sugar to burning predominantly stored body fat .
When eating the body chooses to utilize carbohydrates for fuel first, and then shifts to burning fat.
Because people consume so many processed carbs, sugars and excess calories on a daily basis the body rarely have the opportunity to burn fat.
As a result any extra calories that aren’t needed will be converted and stored as body fat.
When you are fasting the body has no other option but to burn up stored body fat. When you are completing a fasting period the body will be burning far more fat than it would during a normal day of eating.
3.) Fasting Increases Fat Burning Hormones
Hormones are at the base of all metabolic functions in the body, and losing body fat is no different. Growth hormone is one of the most important hormones that contributes directly to body fat reduction.
During periods of fasting growth hormone becomes elevated in both frequency and intensity. Because of the abundance of growth hormone during fasting we get put into a fat burning overdrive!
4.) Increase Fat Burning Enzymes
While hormones definitely reign supreme in the fat burning world, enzymes play a role in supporting the functions of hormones.
Hormone sensitive lipase is the enzyme that helps fat cells release fat to be used by the muscle, and lipoprotein lipase is the enzyme that allows your muscles to burn fat as fuel.
By fasting you up regulate both of these enzymes causing more fat to be released by fat cells, and allowing more fat to be used as fuel in the muscles.
This is a marriage made in heaven for anyone who is looking to burn extra body fat!
5.) Decreased Fasting Insulin Levels
With insulin present the process of lipolysis which is the release of stored body fat for fuel can not take place. Without lipolysis the releasing of stored body fat to be used for fuel is very difficult.
Fasting keeps insulin levels low, while lipolysis is increased. This insulin blunting effect of fasting means that during a time where we are taking in zero calories we need to be able to access stored body fat to have energy to fuel our machine.
Luckily fasting allows us to access far more body fat that we would otherwise have access to.