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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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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Confessions Of A Recovering Supplement Junkie

When you ask the most people why they  take a specific supplement they can’t tell you. We all read “expert” blogs, see Facebook or Twitter posts about the next big supplement that will transform you.

The claims always seem too good to be true, thats because most of them are. I’m not against supplements in general and there are supplements that have proven benefits, but when we search for the magic bullet or try to “hack” something we are often left short changed, I know I was. 

While in my nutritional therapy practitioner program a year ago I became determined to solve my lifelong digestive problems.

Adopting the paleo diet and lifestyle helped me become healthier and happier person, but my digestive problems would come and go on a weekly basis. My digestive problems were the source of a lot of stress and anxiety for me.The  NTP program I was in allowed me access to professional supplements at wholesale prices .

As I learned more about the digestive system I also learned about the specific nutrients and supplements that could help. I often found myself symptom chasing with supplements trying to "solve" my digestion, it was a slippery slope.

Thinking that supplements would be the magic bullet for my digestion left me reaching for a solution in a pill or capsule. Things would work for a period of time , but never lasted for more two weeks.

When a protocol worked I would get excited, when it eventually stopped working I felt frustrated and disappointed. If I went out somewhere and didn’t remember my pocket full of supplements, it would stress me out.

I now realize how ridiculous this was, and a waste of time and energy. The weird looks I got when throwing back a fist full of pills when out  with people should have been a sign.

I began taking a lot of supplements for many different reasons beyond digestion, and was a full blown supplement junkie.

I remember the exact moment I decided to change my relationship with supplements. I was speaking with a friend  about my daily supplement regime at my house. He said “You take all those in one day? “ Ya of course” I replied.

His next question was “ How can you tell which of them makes a difference when you take them all ?” I didn’t have a good answer for him and, realized he had a valid point.

It lead me to think about all the supplements I had been taking, not always with a specific intention or any noticed benefit.

I had fallen into the habit of looking for the shortcut in my health which misses the point of enjoying the journey.

I was my own worst client, and it was time to hit the reset button. I took a month and decided to get back to whole foods and only one supplement; Vitamin D3. What follows are the lessons I learned during this month, and continue learning today:

Less Is More

Getting back to focusing on the basics allowed me to be more consistent with a select few things rather than spreading my energy thin.

Instead of chasing the next fat loss or metabolism boosting supplement that probably don't work instead we need to make sure we are doing what works: managing stress, eating whole foods, sleeping at least eight hours a night and exercising a few times per week.

Bruce Lee said it best “ It is not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

Progress, Not Perfection

We’ve all heard the saying two steps forward, one step backwards. If everyday you continue to put one foot in front of the other and move forward you end the week, month or year making significant progress.

Daily small steps lead to miles traveled in our health journey, it takes time. Every day is not going to be a big step in the right direction, and not every supplement, hack or new habit will make a difference right away.

Stay on the right path and trust in the process, learn from your mistakes and keep moving towards your goal. Consistency is essential in all things that we have to work at. 

Meditation Is Not Just For Yogis:

Stress is a killer, the more we learn about it the more we realize how it negatively impacts health if we let it.  Every book, podcast and conference of the past year I've experienced has discussed a daily meditation practice to reduce stress and increase productivity .

I decided to give daily meditation a try and noticed results within the first week. When I started my day with a short session of meditation my head was clearer, I was more focused and in less of a reactive state. I now meditate as part of my morning routine everyday.

Some Supplements Do Provide Benefits:

I am not against supplements, but when too much emphasis is put on them it is easy to lose sight of the basics that we know work and have proven benefits.

I now regularly go for periods of time without any supplements, and take notice of any changes, if there are any.

The supplements I do notice a benefit from are : Vitamin D3, Cod Liver Oil/Fish Oil , Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics. The only one of these that I do take daily is Vitamin D3, I’m a lifelong oregonian and know my D3 levels are sub human.

Water Is A Nectar Of The Gods, And I Needed To Drink More Of It:

Water is the most common nutrient deficiency among the american population and I was dehydrated without realizing it.  

During my supplement sabbatical  I started to  track my water intake, and how much better I felt when drinking adequate amounts. Digestion was smoother, my  joints didn’t ever pop or click and much more.

One of the biggest changes was deciding to squeeze half a lemon into 24 ounces of water and put it next to my bed the night before so when I woke the next morning I could sip on it while starting my day. It helps to kickstart digestion and allows me to rehydrate after a long slumber. I let my morning coffee be the reward for my new hydration habit.

Giving The Digestive System A Break Can Be Important

A few times a week I would (and still do) an intermittent fast. Intermittent Fasting is when you don’t consume  any calories for a certain period of time, usually between 16-24 hours.

Intermittent fasting is viewed by some as controversial , and could be an entire blog post on its own.The topic of intermittent fasting and the health benefits are brilliantly explained by Brad Pilon in his book “Eat. Stop. Eat” grab yourself a copy.

From an evolutionary perspective we are built for cycles of feast and famine. We have evolved the famine out of society and feast constantly which places a burden on the digestive system.

The main goal of experimenting with intermittent fasting was to let my digestive system rest and repair itself rather than constantly working to  break food down.

Using IF also allows me to be flexible with my eating. When I am in a good flow at work I can wait until I am done to eat. I don’t experience the same intensity of hunger as before because I am able to mobilize fat as stored energy instead of needing sugar from food.

On the other side when I do eat I dedicate my full  attention to enjoying my food, and don’t feel rushed or multi task while eating.

I am a big believer in Intermittent fasting and have had success with it, but it is not for everyone. Those with adrenal or thyroid problems should probably avoid IF  and discuss it with a health professional. 

I thought this blog post was important for me to write because even as a health professional I allowed myself to get caught up in the supplement hype, I am not perfect.

I would like to note that there are supplements out  that have been game changers for people and helped them restore their health.

What I want to share in this post is that the mind set of finding the magic bullet in a pill, capsule or powder can do more harm to our health than good  and cause anxiety, stress and frustration.

I added a lot  of new chapters to my  personal health journey during my supplement sabbatical .The lessons I learned along the way helped me make great progress with my digestive issues and work on the basics of my health.

I think in anything worth while when we search for the tough answers we always find ourselves back where we started, the basics.

It will cost you a lot of money and unnecessary disappointment to learn these same lessons from an empty supplement bottle like I did.

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.


Evolve Nutritional Therapy Strategy Session


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