Eat 6 small meals a day. Eat carbs. Don't eat carbs. Eat Paleo. Eat Vegan. Each high protein.
Yes. I 100% understand why you are confused when it comes to what you should eat.
But here's the thing the no one is talking about -- when should you eat?
Intermittent fasting (IF for short) is not a new concept. With growing amounts of research like the work being done by neuroscientist Dr. Mark Mattson, researchers are exploring the premise that energy intake by fasting several days a week might help your brain ward off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's while also improving your memory and your mood. "Fasting is a challenge to your brain, and we think that your brain reacts by activating adaptive stress responses that help it cope with disease." For Dr. Mattson he states, "I'm not interested in figuring out how to reach 200, I'm interested in figuring out how everyone can live to be 80 or 90 without any disease."
Our Taylored Training Fitness studio members come to us because they want to drop body fat, improve strength and feel more confident in their own skin. IF helps decrease body fat, blood glucose levels, insulin levels, food stress and inflammation. Intermittent fasting also increases lipolysis, cellular cleansing, fat oxidation and growth hormone, increasing your body's ability to drop body fat while maintaining muscle mass and strength. Combined with a quality fitness program, intermittent fasting has greatly improved the results of our members.
We have now worked with many coaching clients who have been very successful using intermittent fasting as their nutrition system, but there are many misconceptions and questions about fasting.
1 - If you fast in the morning isn't breakfast the most important meal of the day? Did you know there is actually no scientific evidence that breakfast is any more important than dinner? There has been research that points to the fact that when on a diet most participants do better when they eat breakfast however their diet led to fat loss due to increasing physical activity and making better dietary choices, and is not exclusively attributable to eating breakfast. If you LOVE breakfast and don't want to give it up - that's ok! You can simply choose a fasting protocol that includes a regular meal (aka breakfast) when you wake-up OR you can simply have your usual breakfast foods at a different time in your day!
2 - What about going into Starvation Mode? Common thought was that if you lower your calories too much, even for a short period of time, then you would stop losing fat because your body has entered a 'starvation mode' and your metabolic rate will slowdown to a standstill. In fact, this statement could very well be the basis for today's weight loss industry. However, it turns out that it is factually incorrect.
Our metabolism is based on the energetic costs of keeping the cells in our bodies alive. Food has very little to do with your metabolism - which is why intermittent fasting does not negatively impact your metabolism. Your metabolism is closely tied to your lean body mass. This means if you aren't strength training you definitely should be!
3 - What about 'stoking the metabolic fire'? As we just discussed, the amount of muscle mass you have on you, your activity level, your weight, your gender and your age, all determine your metabolism. Every time you eat your TEF (thermal effect of food) is responsible for burning approximately 10 calories (of course this varies from human to human) - but think about that 10-calorie deficit versus most 100-300 calories snacks. If you consume a 200-calorie protein bar, yes you will expend roughly 10 calories by eating it. Eat 2-3 snacks each day and that equals 20-30 calories of expenditure BUT those snacks could tally up to 600-800 total calories therefore making your 20-30 calorie expenditure seem pretty insignificant.
4 - I tried a fast once but I was SOOOO Hungry? As mentioned, changing your eating habits takes time, practice, consistency and support from a coach. We recommend working with a coach who is well versed in IF - it makes a big difference. For your first few fasts you will feel hungry around the times that you normally eat because it is a habit. Think about how long you have eaten breakfast when you wake up - probably your whole life! Change takes time and patience. The first few fasts all our members felt as awkward and weird as the first time they worked out, but the investment and commitment to the process does pay off!
5 - How do I know which protocol is right for me? There are 5 main protocols we coach with intermittent fasting. We have coached members on every single protocol and the key is finding what works best for your lifestyle, your training, and your fitness goals. Imagine that. A 'diet' plan that will actually fit into your lifestyle, improve the way you feel, improve your health and your physique!
Interested in more information? As always we are here to provide you with the best information and help you make your fitness dreams come true. We will soon be launching our free e-book with more information about intermittent fasting - stay tuned to our website to get your copy!