5 Ways Fasting Speeds Up Fat Loss

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.

Fill out the form below if you’re looking for a coach who can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.


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Your Cyclical Fat Loss Plan: Carbs, Calories and Fats!

Crawl Before You Walk

Before we get into calorie cycling I wanted to address some initial fat loss tips if you are getting started. Your initial fat loss plan should be simple.

Just because something is simple doesn't mean it is going to be easy though. Stay on course and be consistent with your fat loss efforts. The imperfect nutrition plan you follow is better than the perfect one you don't follow. Keep that in mind! 

Focus on high quality whole foods that come from nature and avoid man made processed foods. Make sure you are eating enough protein  (0.8-1g/lb) and train hard in the gym.

Also make sure you are getting at least 8-9 hours of solid sleep per night. Create a nutrition, gym and lifestyle game plan you can realistically stick to and use until it no longer works.

Squeeze every last ounce of fat loss you can out of this simple approach before you consider moving on to something new.

If you are above 20% body fat, stop reading this blog post and start doing the above steps. Don’t over complicate things and get paralyzed by trying to overhaul everything at once. Make a plan, be consistent and start seeing progress.

Nature Is smarter than us

When it comes to cycling whether it be nutrients or calories, we have instinctively done this since the beginning of time.

Calorie and nutrient cycling are not a new method, and has been done by our ancestors for many years without thinking about or giving it a name. Cyclical eating is what it is called these days.

From an evolutionary perspective when we ate before grocery stores, we had to eat what was provided by nature.

When eating with the seasons we would have times of greater caloric intake, and times where we would consume less calories because food was scarce.

When eating cyclically different foods and nutrients would be available, or not available depending on the time of year.

This dictated how we ate back then, and it just so happens nature is pretty good at giving us what we need.  

With grocery stores on every corner and imported foods stocked on the shelves we have moved away from local and seasonal eating. We are now able to eat our favorite foods year round, regardless of the season.

Calorie Cycling Vs.  Linear Dieting

For those who are are looking to achieve fat loss you can achieve it multiple different ways that all work. A common method used  to achieve fat loss is a daily calorie deficit.

A person will find how many calories they need to maintain their weight and then eat below that every day.

If someone needs 1800 calories to maintain body weight, but eats 1500 calories seven days a week this is a 300 calorie daily deficit.

Another method is to have more calories or carbs on days when you're more active and work out, and less on days where you are not training or working out. This second method is calorie/ carb  cycling.

Calorie and carb  cycling are methods of raising and lowering calories and carbs on certain days to make sure you keep losing fat, but don’t let the metabolism slow from under eating for too long.

Problems With Linear Dieting

The closer someone gets to their ideal body composition the more detailed their plan will need to be to hit those specific goals.

With less body fat  you have less room to make mistakes, and can compromise the lean muscle you have worked hard for while slowing down your metabolism.

Simply cutting calories until you reach your goal works for a short period of time, but can make you pretty miserable along the way.

Assuming you were able to starve yourself into an ideal body composition it rarely works long term, and generally causes extreme weight rebounds.

Our bodies are efficient machines, and very adaptable. When the body adapts to a calorie deficit it intelligently respond by burning fewer calories.

Because fewer calories are being consumed, the body slows the metabolic rate down to ensure fewer calories are burned. This keep you at an even energy balance and ensures that fat loss doesn't happen for a number of reasons. 

During long periods of caloric restriction a master hormone named leptin is reduced. The reduction in leptin causes a slowed metabolic rate, increased hunger and reduced energy expenditure, a recipe for fat loss disaster and frustration.

Because leptin is such a big player in the hormonal game the reduction causes a lot of downstream impacts with other related hormones.

Leptin affects testosterone, thyroid and growth hormone which all regulate fat loss, muscle growth and many other mental and physical functions.

Advantages of Calorie Cycling

Calorie cycling promotes metabolic flexibility by causing the body to adapt a different amount of calories and carbs.

It keeps the body guessing when there is a caloric deficit one day, and then a caloric surplus the next. The different days of different calorie intake provides a different stimulus for the body to adapt to.

With days that differ in caloric intake it allows people to break the routine of dieting and avoid eating the exact same foods day in and day out.

You are able to switch up food choices and keep variety in the diet instead of eating the same foods daily it also allows a mental break from the grind of linear dieting. 

As mentioned above both calorie and nutrient cycling are a natural way of eating for us as humans. Before grocery stores we naturally cycled both calories and nutrients depending on the season and what foods were available.

From a social standpoint calorie cycling allows more flexibility. You are able to go out and enjoy food and great company while not stressing about caloric intake or eating too many carbs.

Getting lean isn’t worth it if you can’t enjoy time with loved ones, and kick your heels up from time to time.

Hormonal  and Metabolic Health

Maybe the largest benefit people get from calorie cycling is the positive impact it has on hormones. Specifically the hormones leptin, thyroid hormones , Growth hormone and testosterone.

By spiking calories on higher days you up regulate these hormones making sure to avoid the hormonal pitfalls that many people experience when they put themselves into a large calorie deficit for too long.

You also keep your metabolism from slowing down dramatically, which allows you to make greater long term fat loss happen and greater overall hormonal and social health. 

 Manipulating The Macros

On higher calorie days the extra calories should be coming predominantly form carbohydrates as they have the greatest effect on thyroid, leptin and metabolic function. 

Protein and fats can be kept constant to make life easier, and if there is a small rise in fast it is not a huge cause for concern but carbohydrates need to take priority for this to be effective. 

Keeping  protein at a constant level is very useful for protecting lean muscle mass and  remaining satiated on lower calorie days.

Protein is a very high satiety food that leaves us feeling fuller for longer. It also breaks down into  the amino acids that make our neurotransmitters responsible for our moods and ability to focus.

The two macronutrients that will be manipulated on high and low calorie days are carbohydrates and fats.

On higher days when you are more active the majority of the extra calories should come from carbohydrates to build muscle,promote recovery and keep hormones healthy.

On less active days fats will be the main energy nutrient allowing you to keep insulin low and tap into dietary and  body fat as fuel, while staying in a caloric deficit.

The constant protein and high fat intake on these days will keep people fuller for a longer period of time allowing for lower calories.

During lower days it is better to avoid the starchy carbohydrates, and go higher on fats and non starchy veggies while keeping protein constant. 

How Many High and Low Days ?

The specifics of how many high and low days you have per week will come down to a few different factors. One of the biggest ones will be how much body fat you realistically have to lose.

For someone who is obese they should have more lower calorie days, as their body will be able to hand that deficit with slowing down the metabolic rate. 

However someone who is already lean will likely need more high days to prevent metabolic slowdown as they have less fat to lose, and can likely handle carbohydrates very well. 

Another consideration is your training style and how many days per week you train. Ideally your higher calorie and carbohydrate days would be on the same day that you hit the gym, and lower calorie days would be on rest or less active days. 

There are definitely outlined strategies that work for people, but don’t forget the most important principle of nutrition is to experiment and see what works best for you.

If you are not losing any fat after three to four weeks, it could be that you need to exchange a high carb day for a lower carb day until fat loss resumes.

If your training is going poorly and you are having a hard  time recovering you might require another higher carb or medium carb day. You’ll have to tinker a little to see what  fits you best.

5 low days - 2 high days

If you have a lot of weight to lose and could be considered obese or very overweight, this is going to be the method for quicker fat loss.

By spending most of the week in a lower carb and calorie state it will allow for rapid fat loss, but the higher days will keep leptin high and your metabolism humming. 

Because carbohydrates have a greater impact on leptin,  the majority of your extra calories on the high days should come from carbs.

3 low days - 1 high day

This a very typical way to cycle for fat loss. You will do three days of low carb and then have a one day spike in calories coming mostly from carbohydrates to help with recovery and hormonal function.

This is a good  strategy for someone who is in the 15-20% body fat range. For those who train really hard and do a decent amount of metabolic conditioning this may be difficult on lower carbs and the option below would be better to use.

1 low day - 2 high days

This is a good option for those who are below 15% body fat and are looking to preserve or build lean muscle as their priority, while dropping some fat is secondary.

Because there are more  high calorie and high carb days compared to low days, fat loss may be slower. However as someone gets closer to their ideal level leanness it will be a slower process.  

Because this person has less  body fat they will be more insulin sensitive and able to handle more carbs without  gaining much fat.

If you are performance driven and mainly concerned with gaining muscle, and willing to lose fat at a slower rate this is a good option.

If you are training four days a week  lifting heavy combined with some metabolic conditioning or sprints this will be your ticket.

You will get in enough carbs and calories to promote muscle growth and recovery on training days, and be in a deficit on recovery days.

  • Use the basics first, and ride that train until it breaks down and stops working.  Use carb/calorie cycling as a strategy once basic stops getting results. 
     

  • Cycling calories and nutrients is an age old practice that our ancestors did by eating with the seasons.
     

  • Cyclical eating is  an effective strategy for helping people to lose body fat, and achiever more specific body composition goals. 
     

  • Pick a calorie/carb cycling strategy based on how you react to lower carbs, muscle mass, workout volume and intensity and the amount of  body fat you have to lose. 
     

  • Set your calories and macronutrient goals for the high and low days. There are carb cycling calculators online you can use. 
     

  • Keep protein constant each day at .8-1g/lb of body weight
     

  • Keep fats lower on higher carb days
     

  • Keep carbs lower on low calorie days, increase fats a little for energy. 
     

  • Ultimately you will need to do some self experimentation to see what works best for you personally based on your own needs. Be your own guru and go with what works best  for you!

Fill out the form below if you’re looking for a coach who can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable along the way.


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Why We Overeat Part 1: Feast & Famine

We have all found ourselves excessively full in front of an empty plate after a meal that we barely remember eating.

We will reach for more food even though we are no longer hungry, the chip basket at the restaurant keeps getting refilled and we keep grabbing more.

It's  not that the occasional over indulgence will lead to chronic health problems and weight gain, but overeating on a daily basis is a direct contributor to many of the health problems. Those health problems include obesity, Type 2 diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, hypertension and metabolic damage.

We all have the same mechanisms  that help us regulate the amount we eat on a daily basis. When we have eaten enough nutrients, our gut signals our brain to turn hunger off  because we are well nourished this system works efficiently for most folks.

The question begs to be asked what causes some people to eat way more than their body needs while others can push the plate away when they are full ?

The first of this three part blog series I’m going explain how hunger works, how we are hardwired to overeat at times and how modern foods impact overeating.

How Hunger Works

Before we can talk about what might be going wrong in the hunger and satiety system it is important to get some context  of what hormones are at play, and how hunger is designed to work for people to balance the amount of food we eat.

Your stomach is empty and you have used up the fast acting energy. The stomach recognizes that we need fuel, and in response releases the hormone Ghrelin.

The hormone ghrelin interacts with the neurotransmitter in the brain neuropeptide Y (NPY). NPY turns on the desire  to eat and  we feel hunger signaling that we should eat.

After we eat a meal to satisfy our hunger ghrelin levels drop and Leptin is released from the stomach and fat tissue.

Leptin decreases the desire for food even further, and makes you feel full and well nourished. In a perfect world this is how our hunger and satiety is designed to work, however we do not live in a perfect world.

Primal Brains and Modern Foods

With this well developed system in place to help us regulate our energy balance in the body why can it be so easy to have a second bowl of ice cream or another handful of chocolate almonds even though we are full and satiated ?

To gains some insight into this questions lets take a look back in time. It is helpful to understand how our very distant relatives navigated their environment to ensure survival, and how that impacts us today.

When it comes to how our ancestors used to eat they regularly encountered feast and famine scenarios seasonally. When food was available they knew to gorge and eat as much as they could because those resources would not be available in the future.

We are hardwired to crave the taste of  energy dense foods to promote gorging.This was our way of knowing we needed to eat as much as possible to gain fat in preparation for famine.

From an evolutionary perspective we are hardwired to crave and gorge on these energy dense foods while they are available to ensure survival through  famines.

Using An Evolutionary Lens

Here is an example of how it worked in nature for our ancestors. When you saw a dense source of carbohydrates like fruit it meant it is late spring or summer and it is time to overeat and reproduce.

You eat lots of that fruit because the sweet taste signals this it was a safe and energy dense food. The sugar content of the fruit raises your blood sugar and the pancreas responds to the surge in blood sugar by releasing insulin.  

Insulin makes sure immediate energy reserves are met, and the rest of the sugar is sent to short term storage in your liver and muscles.

The short term storage is limited, and the extra sugar is converted to cholesterol and body fat as long term storage. Your body knows that with these energy dense foods available winter must be around the corner and it is time to prepare for a famine by gaining weight.

You have enough in short term and long term storage to get through tomorrow. This cycle is repeated on a daily basis while supplies last as an evolutionary advantage for times of famine.

The carbohydrate rich diet that we have adopted along with the low fat craze has dramatically tipped the macronutrient scale going against our biology.

Our hunter gatherer ancestors thrived on a seasonal diet for many years. The low fat craze along with the adoption of processed carbohydrates is a perfect recipe for more sugar we are designed to handle and in turn overeating and disease states as an adaptation.

We can use fat and carbohydrates for energy, if you remove one from the diet it means that we must rely on the other for all your energy.

Carbohydrates are fast acting source of energy but fat is a much longer burning source of energy. Fats help us to regulate our energy and keeps us feeling much fuller for longer. When fat was removed our foods we were forced to depend of processed carbohydrates as our source of energy all day long.

All Feast And No Famine

Our modern lifestyle is a mismatch with the hardwired feast and famine mentality. Today there is no famine, we are missing an important part of the equation that helps us to keep our energy balanced and prevent year round fat gain.

Energy dense foods were only available for part of the year as hunter gatherers, then they were gone until next year.

We now have energy dense foods  available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Our ancestors energy rich foods  contained nutrients, vitamins and minerals that satisfied and nourished them.

Our modern energy dense foods, provide many calories with very few nutrients.

Nature is smarter than we are and provides cyclical eating to help us manage our energy balance. It is an evolutionary advantage to get fat for certain parts of the year, but because our energy is out of balance we stay fat year round.

Not only have we abandoned cyclical eating, but we eat  processed foods that hijack the reward center in our brain because of how they are designed to taste.

The man made foods that hijack the reward center in our brain are very addicting as well. That addiction leads to overconsumption of foods on a yearly basis keeping us much fatter and sicker than we are supposed to be.

The addiction and food flavor design is a rabbit hole for another part of this series though.

Quality Impacts Quantity

The quality of foods that we eat have a large impact on the amount of food we are going to eat. The calories from foods that stimulate the dopaminergic pathway such as bread, pasta, grains, sugars and other processed can promote overeating.

These processed foods block the leptin signal turning off hunger and  cause people to overeat. On the other side foods such as healthy fats, veggies and protein are all high satiety foods that leave people feeling fuller for much longer.

The quality of food that you consume have a different metabolic effect on the body and hormones. Two meals with identical calories but one highly processed and the other from natural whole foods will interact with hormones and satiety very differently.

When we eat meals that contain processed carbohydrates it causes a surge in blood sugar, and the hormone insulin is released to store the extra sugar.

Excessive insulin in the body will block the signal of leptin telling the brain that we are full and satiated. Therefore the hunger signal stays turned on. This allows us to overeat foods that are designed to help us store fat, when we overeat like this on a daily basis it is a recipe for obesity and disease.

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health, fat loss or muscle building goals. 

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained, while keeping you accountable and supporting you along the way. 

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around. 

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals than before, nothing to lose. Everything to gain!


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How Break Fat Loss Plateaus

How To Break Fat Loss Plateaus

When it comes to fat loss we have been lead to believe it is a straight line towards your ideal body. Just change how you eat, sleep and exercise to look like the cover model, right ?  

Changing how you eat,sleep and exercise will absolutely lead to initial fat loss, but adjustments will need to be made.

At some point fat loss will stall, and what worked previously will no longer work. At this point it is time to make changes, not abandon ship altogether. Fat loss is a zig zag for most, not a straight line.

In response to stalls in fat loss many people begin to feel frustration and desperation. When you feel this way it is easy to look at common advice to just diet harder and exercise more.

Because a moderate amount of something works well doesn’t mean that more is better, this can apply to exercise and caloric deficits as well.

 

Basics First

When it comes to reducing food intake the body is intelligent, and attempts to keep energy balanced. Less calories in means less calories out.

This translates into a slowing of the metabolism, and less fat being burned. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and running to the next diet, we are going to tinker in the margins and make some smart modifications.

Here are some areas I have people get honest about where they are currently are:

  • Eating too few or too many calories  

  • Not getting adequate protein intake

  • The amount of stress in your life (sleep, calories and exercise can all be stressors)

  • The amount of sleep you are getting consistently (8-9 hours, black room)

  • Lifting heavy and sprinting a few times a week

  • Frustration with fat loss and scale obsession

  • Track your food intake for a few days and double check your numbers

  • Daily non training activity (walking,hiking, mobility, yoga)

  • Stress reduction practice

After looking the above areas over, and being honest about where you are at if there is one you are not currently doing work on that before adopting the habits later in the post. The above areas will need to be addressed before moving forward.

For those who have a check mark next to each area above I am going to give some basic recommendations on where to start to help you get back on the fat loss train.

I do not know what will work for you you individually so you will have to tinker and see what fits, and what doesn’t. I am here to offer the ideas and what has worked for my clients.

Do not try to adopt all these habits at once, that is going to be another added stress. Pick a few that seem like they fit and work on them until fat loss picks up again.

Zig Zag Calories:I know it seems counterintuitive to increase the calories, but when you have been in a caloric deficit for a long period of time the body adapts to burn fewer calories, because less are coming in.

Start increasing your calories by 100 the first week. Next Week bump up the calories by another 50-150 calories making sure that you're not gaining significant weight.

You should  begin to progressively lower calories again after 8-12  weeks of more calories, or if fat loss begins again.

Protein Priority: With the increased activity and training your need for protein will also increase. Most people do well in the one gram per pound of bodyweight.

A simple action step is to have 1-2 palm sized portions of protein at each meal. An added benefit is that protein is a high satiety food keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Protein also requires more energy for the breakdown and absorption than fats and carbohydrates, this is known as the thermic effect.

Chew  Your Calories: Look at what you are putting in your coffee, alcoholic drinks per week or the green smoothie you are drinking three times a week.

Calories that we drink add up very quickly without us realizing it. This includes the green juices from health food stores, look at the calories, sugar and carbs it contain. When anyone is looking to reduce body fat or break a plateau I have them chew all their calories. Simple and easy!

Carbs post workout: I’m not talking about the doughnut and ice cream pints you see on instagram. A few potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro or a bowl of fruit post workout will help with recovery , but also by lowering cortisol you will be able to burn a little more body fat.

I would encourage someone to increase post workout carbs by 25-30 grams until you notice progress again. Everyone has a different tolerance to carbohydrates and a great guide to help is Mark’s Daily Apple carb curve.

Take A Deload Week: Instead of being completely inactive for this deload week I like to see folks walking 45-60 minutes a day or going for a few hikes.

Get outside, play and have fun! Dedicate 15-20 minutes to mobility and restoration. This would be a time to address any nagging injuries or mobility issues. Take the dog for an extra walk every day or decide you are finally going to learn slack lining.

Relax : Stress is a true killer of both building muscle and losing fat. Start by dedicating 5-10 minutes to some form of stress reduction. This could be a morning walk, yoga, or meditating.

There is a great guided meditation app for the iphone named Head Space that takes about 10 minutes and is perfect for beginners.

Make Sleep A Priority: 8-9 hours in a pitch black and mildly cold room. Guard it religiously and develop a routine around it. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep read my post on ways to improve your sleep.

Avoid Chronic Cardio: I’m not talking about a few short 20-30 minute recovery runs, but the folks who slog away on the treadmill for 60+ minutes in an attempt to burn more calories.

While you will burn calories you are also pumping out the stress hormone cortisol which causes fluid retention and inflammation.

This long distance running will also dramatically increase appetite, especially for those denser carbs that you burn running.

Sprints: Once you have returned from your deload week begin incorporating 1-2 sprint sessions per week. These are ideally done on the same day as a weight training session.

You can hit a track, hill, rower, exercise bike or prowler for these sprint sessions. They should be 30 seconds of all out max effort combined with active rest for about one minute. Start with 5-7 rounds of sprints per session and increase as you adapt.

Consider Intermittent Fasting: Intermittent fasting (IF) does not work well for everyone, however there many folks  that it seems to kick start their fat loss.

IF is purposely engaging in periods where no calories are consumed and eating your food within a certain time frame. It can be especially helpful for those who are stuck in a fat loss plateau.

There are a number of methods to choose from but most include not eating for a period of 16-24 hours. This time includes when you are asleep.

Typically people stop eating after dinner  around 8pm and go to sleep.When you wake instead of eating breakfast have coffee or tea and eat for the first meal of the day at lunch.

This would be the normal 16-18 hour fast. Other folks go a full 24 hours without eating, this could be a 2pm Tuesday to 2pm Wednesday fast that allows you to fast for 24 hours, but still eat every day

Closing Thoughts

The above tips are a great start for anyone who has a good start on fat loss but it has since hit a wall with fat loss.

Remember that the common idea that you are not working hard enough and need to restrict calories further and exercise more, not only doesn’t work but can wreck your metabolism as well.

By slowing down the metabolism it will make breaking your next fat loss plateau even more difficult.

Instead choose to tinker in the margins and make sure your body is nourished and healthy enough to begin losing fat again.

Once someone approaches their ideal body composition it will require a lot more work and exact science to hit certain marks.

Before you get too down on yourself for not being as lean as you want ask if you have been putting in the work to get there ?

If not, realize that fat loss is not always easy and like anything worth while take consistency and dedication. To achieve sustainable fat loss you need to adopt sustainable habits to get you there.  

How Many Meals Per Day ?

When it comes to changing how someone eats one of the most common questions is how many meals a day should I be eating ?

There are different views on the topic of how frequently people should be eating. Some believe that eating breakfast is how you jump start the metabolism for the day, while others believe that having six smaller meals a day keeps your metabolism from slowing down.

On the other side of the coin there are the people who skip breakfast all together, and do some form of intermittent fasting.

In this blog post I am going to  discuss the myths and truths around the ideal meal frequency. What you should  be taking into consider when deciding how many meals to eat on a daily basis and why calories and food quality both matter.

Is Breakfast Really That Important ?

Breakfast is really the first meal of the day no matter what time it is. You are breaking the fast from dinner and overnight.

We have been told our entire life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and aids in losing weight by jump starting the metabolism.

There is nothing physiologically special about breakfast. It is not essential in any way for boosting metabolism, and is no different from any other meal eaten throughout the day.  

There is no legitimate evidence that breakfast helps people lose weight. Those who typically skip breakfast have a higher likelihood of obesity though.

People who skip breakfast in an unplanned fashion are more likely to make poorer decisions later in the day when hunger strikes.

For those who are less health conscious, and have skipped breakfast having a pastry or a big fast food lunch to make up for breakfast is normalized.

Many folks who do skip breakfast end up overeating to compensate for the missed meal without thinking about it.

There are people who go for periods of time where they plan to avoid consuming calories,this is called intermittent fasting. There are some interesting health benefits from intermittent fasting that could make up an entire blog post.

Verdict: If you are hungry when you wake up go ahead and eat breakfast. If you are looking to lose body fat focus on protein, fat and veggies for breakfast.

If you’re not hungry skip breakfast, but make sure your other meals are healthy and you are not overeating to compensate.

More Meals Boosting Metabolism  ?

We have all been told the folk tale about  frequent smaller meals boosting the metabolism, this is false though.

It is one of those relics that sticks around even though it is not true. old myths die hard.

It is true that eating and digesting food does raise the metabolism. This is the thermic effect of food. The total volume of food digested at the end of the day is what matters most.

The energy expended to digest 3 big meals or 6 smaller meals of equal size will be the exact same.

Eating 6 meals of 300 calories is going have the exact same thermic effect as eating 3 meals of 600 calories. There is literally no difference in the energy expended between these two ways of eating.

For athletes looking to recover or those looking to gain muscle you will need to eat more frequently to fuel your activities and give the body a caloric surplus to use.

Verdict: Smaller more frequent meals compared to fewer larger meals creates no difference on total fat loss or the metabolic rate. At the end of the day with the metabolism what matters most is the total calories consumed. 

Balancing Blood Sugar

There are people who have trouble with chronically low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). These people typically have adrenal glands that  are so worn out that they can not adequately raise blood sugar when it gets low.

For these folks eating more frequent smaller meals that are macronutrient balanced is better than three larger meals

For others who do not have adrenal dysfunction and can regulate blood sugar adequately, meal frequency is less important.

People typically think of larger meals as creating larger spikes in blood sugar, compared to smaller meals creating smaller spikes in blood sugar.

What matters the most when it comes to spikes in blood sugar is the kind of foods that you are eating.

If you compare a  large salad with dressing and a chicken breast  to a turkey sandwich on wheat bread. Even though the salad may be larger in size the bread in the sandwich is going to cause the larger blood sugar spike. 

Verdict: If you have blood sugar regulation problems eating more frequently can be helpful to avoid letting levels get too low.

When it comes to balancing blood sugar the focus should be on the quality of foods.Certain foods even in small amounts quickly spike blood sugar such as bread or pasta. Other foods in large amounts have little effect on the blood sugar levels such as a salad with lots of leafy green veggies, nuts, seeds or coconut.

 Fasted Or Fed ?

intermittent fasting is strategically planning to avoid eating certain meals or during a period of time. Some people will choose to do 24 hour fasts or choose to skip breakfast daily.

Fasts usually last between 16-24 hours, and a large chunk of that time is going to be when the person is asleep ideally.

Living in our abundant society food is literally everywhere, so when someone chooses to not eat for an extended period of time they are likely to get questions and funny looks.

When looking at our eating from an evolutionary standpoint we are well adapted to handle both feast and famine. Today however we have a society of all feast and no famine.

Every religion in existence today has a form of fasting. In many cases it is viewed as a cleansing ritual which is funny because we now know that we have a cellular cleaning that happens during fasting.

This cellular house cleaning is named autophagy. During autophagy the body works on making cells function more efficiently and cleans up any waste products.

 Insulin sensitivity will be increased, which  means the body will more efficiently use carbohydrates due to fasting. This insulin sensitivity can also be achieved by strength training.

Verdict: Intermittent fasting has very interesting health benefits, but just like anything else in nutrition it may not work for everyone.

Intermittent fasting is a form of stress and those who are dealing with blood sugar, adrenal or sleep problems will not feel good if they attempt intermittent fasting. The key here is to experiment and see what works for you and fits your lifestyle. 

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day what matters most is food quality and the total number of calories. In regards to fat loss and metabolism how many meals you choose to eat on a daily basis is up to you and makes no real difference.

Breakfast has no special metabolic effect, but can help prevent overeating and cravings.

If you are someone who has adrenal or blood sugar problems smaller more frequent meals or snacks may be helpful. Fewer meals would be a good option for folks who have digestive problems.

Some people will prefer to skip breakfast and have an intermittent fast. Finding what works for you is going to be individual.

Make sure that you are taking steps towards your goals and don’t blindly follow someone else's advice. Test and see what works best for you and helps you to reach your goals.

If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.

These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.  

Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.

Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.

 

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