Fat loss had always been a challenge for me. Some people seemed to do it effortlessly. Time and time again I would try and fail miserably.
Eventually I began to think being lean wasn’t for me. Maybe I was “just one of those people” who couldn’t get lean. It is a good excuse to tell yourself if you want to avoid the real problem…
The reality is I simply didn’t know what I was doing. I had no plan. Like so many others I went into it semi-blind. The result being I would crash and end up right where I began.
Even after I became aware of the concept “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM) and calories I still fell flat on my face. There is nothing wrong with these fat loss practices but they were not for me. They may not be for you either.
The truth is I have a crazy appetite. I am always down to eat. If left to my own devices I would continually gain weight with no problem at all.
To lose fat and keep it off I needed a plan. Something that would keep my hunger under control and allow me to feel fuller for longer was needed.
With this knowledge I set off in search for a fat loss method that worked for me. What I found didn’t disappoint.
Intermittent Fasting to Lose Fat
Introducing intermittent fasting (IF): The best method I have found for fat loss.
If you are confused by the name don’t worry. Intermittent fasting is simply an eating style that involves fasting for an extended portion of the day. The duration of the fast can differ as there are a number of different variations of IF.
A typical IF schedule will be a 16/8 hour split. Meaning you fast for 16 hours and eat for the remaining 8. This is the split popularized by Martin Berkham from leangains which has proven successful for many people including myself.
Going 16 hours without eating may seem like a lot but don’t forget you will be asleep for 8 hours. This leaves you another 8 hours to fast upon waking.
The eating period can be at any time of the day. Most use either the 1pm-8pm or 2pm-9pm eating window.
This means skipping breakfast but don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Most people prefer fasting during the morning and going to bed feeling full. Generally this is considered the best way to structure IF for success but it all comes down to preference.
Eating all your calories during the middle of the day allows for an even break between fasting periods. This will often prove the best way to stave off hunger. It is also the time when the majority of people eat most of their meals. This means you can still use intermittent fasting to lose fat and enjoy dinner with friends and family.
I can’t live without breakfast
Believe it or not you actually can. After eating breakfast early in the morning for decades our hormones have become accustomed it. Those who fail with IF often try it for a couple of days then give up.
If you get cravings in the beginning that’s normal. It takes a while to adapt to the change in meal times but once you do it’s great.
Try using intermittent fasting to lose fat for 2 weeks. If you can last for that long then you will be able to last for as long as necessary.
By this time your body will have adjusted to the new eating schedule and your morning hunger should have lessened.
Upon getting up I drink a liter (approximately 2 large cups) of water. I also have a cup of black coffee that helps stunt my appetite. This is an unbeatable combination for maintaining a lean physique and achieving fat loss if you desire.
Now-a-days I don’t miss breakfast. It is rare I ever get hungry in the morning. The reason I like this method so much is I can put the earliest hours of my day to good use. These are often the most productive for many, including me.
What can I drink?
This continues on from my last point.
You’ll be pleased to hear that you can consume as much zero calorie drinks as you like during your fasting period. This includes water, coffee, tea, and diet sodas. For general health purposes consume mainly water and the rest in moderation.
A few cups of coffee a day are fine just don’t go over the top. There is nothing evil about diet sodas either no matter what anyone may tell you. If you must have a splash of milk in your coffee/tea then go for it but that’s about it.
Keeping yourself well hydrated will allow you to go longer with out eating. This makes IF almost effortless once you get into the swing of it.
How do I workout with IF?
I understand not everyone can workout at the ‘optimum’ time each day. By this I mean at a time when you are well rested and fed a couple of hours beforehand.
It may be the case that you must workout at 6am because you have 4 children to look after. Or you may have to workout at 11am before you begin work. What ever the reason is IF can still work for you.
The benefit of using intermittent fasting to lose fat is it is completely adjustable to your lifestyle. If you must workout at 6am then you will have stored fuel to tap into from the evening before. The glycogen from your last meal can still be utilized.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) have been shown to benefit those who workout in a fasted state. This is due to there being enough amino acids in the bloodstream to prevent muscle breakdown (catabolism) during and after workouts.
To utilize BCAAs effectively consume 10g every 2 hours after the first intake of BCAAs pre-
This would look something like this
- 5:45am: pre-workout BCAAs
- 6-7am: workout
- 8am: 1st post-workout BCAAs
- 10am: 2nd post-workout BCAAs
- 12-1pm: post-workout meal (breaking the fast)
Following a schedule similar to this will allow you to workout in the early am and enjoy a normal eating window. All this without sacrificing any gains.
I thought I have to eat every 2 hours or else I will lose all of my muscle?
A slight exaggeration but some people truly do think like this. Thankfully this myth is being dispelled as more people come over to the side of rationality and scientific evidence.
Many thought eating 6 small meals a day was the best way to eat. It was believed by eating constantly it would keep the metabolism high and thus increase the daily calorie burn.
This has now been proven false. It doesn’t matter what time or in what amount you choose to consume your calories in a 24 hour period.
The same food will burn the same number of calories. Whether it is broken up into 6 small meals or 2 larger meals.
The science states the most important factor in body composition is overall daily calorie intake. What time this occurs at is far less significant.
Intermittent Fasting to Lose Fat Can Work for You
It did for me. By postponing my intake of food for a number of hours in the morning, I was able to eat much higher amounts when it mattered. By limiting the feeding window I could feel much more satisfied when I did eat.
Following intermittent fasting to lose fat isn’t some magic spell. It is still recommended to keep your intake of whole foods high. You still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat but IF can make that easier. Doing so will allow you to feel full and satisfied going to bed each night.
Eating good, healthy, nutritious foods will help fuel your workouts and build quality muscle and strength.
The most important factor in a diet is adherence. If you can’t maintain it then it’s useless. It doesn’t matter how effective it may be. The best diet for you is the one that you enjoy the most that allows you to reach your goals.
Thanks for reading,
P.S Leave a comment to let me know what you think? What is your favorite fat loss method?
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