Happy New Year my Beauties!
Let me start my first post of 2018 by wishing you all a HAPPY, HEALTHY and PROSPEROUS new year.
New year always start with new resolutions and a detox because we all probably have doubled our body fats over the last 2 weeks of December. I used to enjoy the moment but suffer later!
This brings me to this post and how I found out about the best way to lose weight and body fats without compromising your health or muscle mass AND you still get to enjoy.
I have tried many diets over the past few years and while I have always lost weight, it always came back on. I used a birthday, holidays, Christmas or any kind of celebrations as an excuse to simply overeat and then I will spend the next couple of days back on a "DIET".
Then a friend mentioned INTERMITTENT FASTING. Like most people, I read the word fasting and put a NO to it without even attempting to find out more.
But last November, I did research about it because I wanted to find a good compromise between healthy eats, working out and still being able to binge on crappy foods! (we all need those days). I was amazed at how easy it actually is and it made me shed a few kilos before December.
what is intermittent fasting??
I will use IF for Intermittent Fasting.
Simply put, IF is a pattern of eating. With most diets, there are always a category of food to avoid (no carb- whole 30- Dukan etc) With IF, there is NO RULES as it's not WHAT you eat but WHEN you eat. However, you also need to be reasonable in what you choose to eat: avoid processed and sugary foods, fatty food and choose nutrient dense wholesome foods. If you badly crave something, have it as the more you avoid it the worse the craving will get. The first couple of days will be difficult but once you mentally accept it, then it will come to you naturally. And it really will...
so how does it work?
IF has scientifically been proven to work. There are tons of research out there but here is a quick lowdown on how it works.
Your body is always on 2 different modes:
- the fed state (when you are eating)
- the fasted state (when you are not eating)
In other words, when you are not eating you are fasting although it doesn't mean starving yourself. Starvation and fasting are 2 different things and it's so important to understand the difference: when you fast, you voluntary choose to not eat food while starving means the involuntary absence of food.
Now a bit of science to explain how our body works. There are 2 main hormones working in the body:
- INSULIN appears everytime you ingest food. It's the dominating hormone.
We eat= blood sugar level increases= Insulin level increases.
Food is the body's source of energy and INSULIN stores that energy. There are 2 ways to store that source of energy.
* In your liver: all the sugar stored is called GLYCOGEN. Glucose molecules are broken down to provide energy to other cells and there is enough for the body to last up to 36 hours.
* When your liver is full, the INSULIN will turn the excess glucose into fats and deposit it everywhere else in the body. And that's the source of energy less accessible (because remember that the body will use up the glycogen first) but the one we want to get rid of the most.
- HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE is the hormone responsible for fat burning but it's also the anti-aging hormone helping to slow down the aging process as well as promoting cells rejuvenation. HGH only appears when Insulin isn't doing any work, so in other words, when you are not eating but fasting.
We fast= Blood sugar level decreases= Insulin decreases= HGH increases= Fat is burning
so what do we need to do??
So in theory, when we fast, insulin level slows down and the HGH starts burning fat. Well I wish it could be that simple.
Digestion is also part of the fed state and it usually takes up to 5 hours for the body to finish digesting. So by increasing your fasting time, you are restoring the balance between the fasted and fed state as fasting will allow your body to start using your stored energy and that's when weight loss is happening.
When you are constantly ingesting food, your body will keep using that incoming source of energy without burning the stored fat. By fasting you are reversing the process as you are telling the body to start burning fat as no food is coming for a certain amount of time.
There are different ways to do IF:
- The most popular is the Leangains method 16/8 and it's also my favorite way to incorporate it into my lifestyle. You fast for 16 hours and have an eating window of 8 hours. A good way to work around that 16 hours fasting period is to remember that most of that time is spent sleeping! What works for me is to have my eating window from 10 am til 6 pm.
It means that I will have my first meal at 10 am and last meal before 6 pm. I'm not a big fan of late evening meals so this work fine for me.
- The 5:2 method: Eating normal for 5 days and limiting your calorie intake for 2 days (approx 500 cal). Pros: There are no big change in your lifestyle as you get to fully enjoy 5 days of eating what you like. Big cons: find 2 days that works for you. Limiting something always makes me more miserable so this method never worked for me.
- The Eat-fast-eat method: Do a full 24 hours fast once or twice a week from one meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) to the other meal next day (breakfast, lumch or dinner).
benefits of intermittent fasting
- Training your body to burn fat and becoming metabolically flexible
- Weight loss
- Low blood sugar level
- Low insulin level
- Increased energy
- Increase in the growth hormone
- Low blood cholesterol
- Prevention of cancer and other type of disease like Alzheimer
- The flexibility of adjusting it to your own needs
breakfast (it's in the word)= Break the fast
Life is all about compromise but you have to put some work into it as nothing comes easily. But fasting is already part of our life as humans need to sleep for the body to function properly. So the work is already half done. For the first few days, if you find it very hard, increase your eating window to 10 hours and fast for 14 hours.
My eating routine starts at 10 am with a good breakfast, then couple of snacks until 4.30 pm when I will have my second meal. No more food after 6 pm.
Some days I will eat until 8 pm but it means the next day, I will have breakfast at 12 pm. This method is very flexible and allows me to enjoy without cutting everything completely.