Rules were meant to be broken. Even the golden rule: always eat breakfast. A commonplace rule such as this is rarely challenged, especially within the fitness and health community. It’s widely regarded as a fact, perhaps even a law of nature.
People will argue that if you want to lose weight, you need to start the day with a healthy breakfast. Your metabolism will get fired up and burn off all that stubborn fat. Well, that’s not exactly true.
It goes along the same realm of, make sure you eat six small meals a day and never eat after 6 PM. It’s all recycled and outdated knowledge. The fact of the matter is that it couldn’t matter less if you get all your food in several meals, one big meal, or if you eat at midnight or at 5 in the morning. What does matter is the roller coaster ride of rising and falling blood sugars.
You’ve probably experienced that feeling after a big meal where you just want to lie down and fall into a coma. Or that 3:30 feeling you get when you just can’t seem to get anymore work done. All of that and more is caused by blood sugar levels.
Besides making you feel miserable, those feelings can also cause you to gain some unwanted belly fat.
Eating 6 meals a day or eating breakfast can be a real pain when you are trying to lose weight. When you are cutting (losing fat) it isn’t uncommon for you to be eating 1400 or even 1200 calories a day if you’re a woman and between 1800-2000 if you’re a man (these numbers will vary based on your metabolism). Broken down, that could be 400 calories a meal if you eat three times a day. Or worse, 200 calories a meal if you follow popular science advice about eating 6 times a day.
So goodbye steak, potatoes, and all other calorie dense foods you love to eat. Hello boiled chicken, cabbage, and low fat cheese.
Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?
Well, Intermittent Fasting might just be your saving grace.
Intermittent Fasting or IF for short, is more of a diet structure than a real diet.
IF has been shown to:
- Increase life span
- Reduce the risk of multiple common diseases
- Lower your grocery bill
- Increase the body’s responsiveness to insulin
- Make your pants feel bigger
- Encourage fat oxidation
- Allow you to sleep in later
- Reduce body weight, LDL, and triglyceride levels
- And much more…
It can get those roaring rapids of blood sugar levels down to a steady stream in no time.
So What is Intermittent Fasting?
IF is going a period of time without eating. Typically between 14 and 36 hours.
Sounds hard, right?
It’s actually easier than you would think. We all fast on a daily basis, we just refer to it as sleeping. IF is all about extending that period of fasting. The most popular approach is between 16 and 24 hours. Which means you will never go an entire day without eating.
For example, if you ate dinner at 6 PM, like most do, than you would fast through the night (like you already do) and just skip breakfast. This will land your first meal at high noon the next day. Giving you a grand total of 18 hours fasted. All you did here was plan to not eat after dinner (no late night snacks) and you skipped your morning breakfast.
The best way to think of it is as feeding windows. Pick a window congruent to your work or school schedule and stick to it. This window is typically 8 hours but you might find yourself doing even less. In the previous example we used the first meal of the day at noon so if that would start your window then you could eat up until 8 PM that night.