If you want to fast to lose weight, give intermittent fasting a try. With a traditional fast, you give up all food and most other nourishment for days and weeks on end. While that will certainly result in some initial weight loss, you’ll quickly start to notice that you get tired and cold. That’s because your metabolism is slowing down. Your body is turning down the heat to preserve as much energy as possible in what it perceives to be a famine.
Of course, that’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to lose weight and burn body fat. Thankfully there’s a simple solution. There is a way to stoke the flame so to speak and keep your metabolism running high while also restricting calories (part of the time) to force your body into burning fat. And that solution is intermittent fasting.
If you are new to my blog, my name is Paula. I’m a mother to three beautiful kids and the wife of a Law Enforcement Officer. Because of my interest in health and fitness since about the age of 12, I ended up getting a degree in Health Education. My heart and passion have always been to help people get healthy from the inside out!
However, I have always struggled with the right balance between food, exercise and enjoying life. But because of my “education”, I thought intermittent fasting was bad for me. Turns out, it’s incredibly healthy and has helped free me from the diet roller coaster I’ve been on for the past 30 years.
The basic idea behind intermittent fasting is to alternate periods of time when you fast with those when you eat regularly. Overall you’ll end up eating less, but without your body slowing down. Not only is it one of the most effective ways to burn fat, but it is also much easier to do than fasting for long stretches of time or going on a regular low-calorie diet.
Think about it this way. Could you skip breakfast and lunch if you could have an early dinner of pizza and chocolate cake for dessert? Yeah… me too I’d take that deal any day of the week. In fact, most of us can stick to just about any diet until 5 pm. In the late afternoon, our resolve starts to slip and we end up snacking or gravitating towards food that aren’t exactly “diet foods”. That’s why intermittent fasting works so well for many of us.
Insulin Makes You Fat
Plus there’s an interesting biochemical process at work here. I’m sure you’ve heard of insulin, probably in the context of diabetes. We all have insulin in our body. It’s what helps us process sugar and carbs. Insulin also plays an important role in converting any of that sugar that we don’t need right away into body fat – yep… it’s the insulin that makes you fat.
Unfortunately, as long as there’s insulin in your blood, your body also can’t burn fat for energy. And the most efficient way to deplete your body of insulin is fasting. A few hours after you eat your insulin levels start to drop dramatically and your body switches from burning sugar for energy to burning fat. Intermittent fasting allows you to stay in fat burning mode longer. Keep that in mind when you’re counting down the hours (and minutes) until you can have your next meal. Knowing that your body is busy burning fat may be just the motivation you need to make it until your next meal.
The Quickest and Easiest Option
One of the quickest and easiest ways to trick your body into burning a bunch of body fat is intermittent fasting. It also happens to be one of the easiest nutritional programs to stick with. The basic idea is to alternate times when you eat quite a bit with times of fasting.
A popular way to do intermittent fasting is to skip food for 16 to 20 hours of the day and eating only during the remaining 4 to 8 hours. This allows your body to burn through the food you just ate, along with any short term glucose storages and move on to burning body fat for energy.
Since you are eating well at least once or twice a day, your metabolism doesn’t slow down the way it does on a low fat, low-calorie diet. Instead, your metabolism keeps going strong, burning right through the calories. This has the added benefit that you don’t feel tired, cold and sluggish. Many other diets have this effect as your metabolism comes to a drawl as you reduce calories and restrict food.
Keep Insulin Low
Intermittent fasting alone is a great way to burn through your stores of body fat, but there’s a way to supercharge the process. Cut sugar, white flour and as many other simple carbohydrates from your diet. This will prevent your blood sugar and insulin from spiking when you eat during your intermittent fast. Insulin is an important player in the process that transforms the food we eat into body fat.
By keeping insulin low, we avoid storing new fat and instead keep our bodies in fat burning mode, even when we eat a delicious meal of grilled chicken, salad and avocado for example. The lower you can keep the carb count during your meals, the fast you will force your body to burn through its fat reserves. As an added bonus, eating foods high in protein and particularly healthy fats will keep you full longer, making it easier to wait out the fasting hours each day.
Interestingly consuming pure fat – ideally, a source of healthy fat like coconut oil, for example, does not seem to undo the positive effects of fasting. This means that if you find yourself hungry or sluggish in the morning, try adding a spoon of coconut oil to your coffee and see if that gives you enough energy to make it through your day until it is time for your main meal.
Need more help getting started? Check out my free guide Intermittent Fasting Made Easy!
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