Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stay Hungry: An Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

You eat 4-6 meals a day, count calories, cut out sugar AND tried the diet pills, but you can't seem to lose that stubborn belly fat. Bummer, because beach season is right around the corner.

One tool you can use to kick start your metabolism and fat loss is Intermittent Fasting or IF. A recent study
( shows that calorie restriction without malnutrition can increase life span and reduce metabolic risk factors for chronic diseases. It makes sense. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors often went days without food and their bodies had to adjust by tapping into fat stores for fuel. I doubt the cavemen were worried about looking good in their loincloth, but in todays culture, a few pounds is the difference between a one piece and a two piece.

Intermittent fasting must be done intelligently to receive optimal benefits. Several different way to fast are:

Skip a meal: After eating planned meals at planned times day after day, you may be eating when you're not even hungry. Listen to your body, and if you're not hungry, miss a meal. Try to keep this unplanned and

16-24 Hour Fast: A personal choice. It tends to be easier for me to eat dinner on a Tuesday night, and then not eat again until Wednesday afternoon. Keep yourself feeling full with water and coffee. If you eat a healthy diet, fasting this way should not take a serious toll on energy levels. A weekly basis will work well, but I recommend monthly for those people just starting out.

Rise and Fall: Simple enough, balance nutrients between two meals, one early in the morning, another at night. Try to properly balance nutrients between both meals.

Condensed eating window: All your eating is done in a certain time frame. Let's say from 9am-2pm. It goes without saying that you should not binge eat. Eat your normal meals. In this example, you'd have a late breakfast, lunch, and maybe a snack. The fast occurs between the 2pm meal, and breakfast the next day. This is probably the most appealing method for beginners.

There are a few different other ways to do this, and each can be tweaked to better suit your needs. As with any drastic diet change, you should do more research and do it carefully. For more of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting check out

4 rounds
50 Double Unders
30 Situps

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