Before you continue reading, just know this. Intermittent fasting is not a magical way of losing body fat. Neither is meal timing. Research shows that a calorie deficit is the deciding factor. Intermittent fasting is only a system you can embrace to make life easier and to help you stay focused.
In short, intermittent fasting means that you won’t be eating any calories for the bigger part of the day (as you will be fasting). Once you break your fast, that’s when your eating window starts. For example, you may choose to fast for 16 hours and then eat your daily calorie needs within 8 hours. So (for example) you are only allowed to eat calories from 12:00 until 20:00. First meal of the day at 12:00 and the final one at 20:00. Many people like the 16 hour fast because it’s not very hard and gives them a decent amount of time to get in their meals in. This schedule can obviously be adjusted upon your personal preferences. Don’t beat yourself up if you break the fast an hour sooner or an hour later. Because again, this won’t affect your fat loss. You can also train in a fed or a fasted state, whichever way you prefer.
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Intermittent fasting can also benefit your overall health in different ways. It could for example:
- Reduce the risk for diabetes.
- Improve brain health.
- Initiate autophagy (autophagy is a process which removes waste from the cells in the human body).
Aside from the aforementioned health benefits, it also makes burning fat a little easier. A problem the vast majority of people are facing during their fat loss journey is that they simply overeat. Overeating with intermittent fasting is not as easy because you have a limited amount of time to eat large amounts of food. It also means no late night snacking in front of the television.
And when I say overeat, I mean they are consuming more calories than they are burning. A long history of studies proves that losing weight is simply a matter of the intake being below the maintenance level. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from, be it broccoli or ice cream. A nutrition professor once went on a diet for two months and in his diet, he was mostly eating Twinkies, Nutty Bars, Oreo’s and lots of other snacks. Even though he was eating so many sweet snacks (you may refer to it as junk food), he still maintained a calorie deficit of about 800 calories. And what do you know, in two months he lost 27 pounds!
Now I am not telling you to just eat snacks and junk food. It’s not all about losing weight. I want you to burn fat, build muscle and look good. You need to consume enough protein and basic nutrients to effectively preserve muscle and maintain overall health. It’s not all about the numbers on the scale! To maximise fat loss, you need to eat nutritious foods with plenty of protein; as a general rule of thumb, aim for around 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
This post ties in with my previous one where I address fat burning so make sure to read both. And as always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch or comment below and get involved in the debate.