When I was in college I lost 20lbs in 28 days. They called it minimester. I had four weeks to cram in one whole class that would normally take an entire semester into one month. So, without much planning, my day went something like this. I woke up around 7 AM each morning, made a pot of coffee, and locked myself in my apartment all day studying until class around 5 PM. I would drink a few cups of coffee until around twelve and then eat lunch, which usually consisted of a sandwich or a loaded salad as I like to call it (kale, avocado, pumpkin seeds, bacon, chicken, cheese, and dressing). From there I would continue studying until I had class. I would pack a couple of oranges, mini cliff bars, and make a sandwich usually consisting of PB&J or turkey with avocado. After class, I would get home and normally eat a lean protein with sweet potatoes, almost that entire month. I would stop eating religiously at 8 PM every night but not because I was intermittent fasting. At the time, I had no idea what intermittent fasting even was. I just knew from my mom telling me as a kid growing up that eating late at night was bad so I decided eight o’clock was a good time to stop eating so I wouldn’t gain weight. When I finished my class, I literally hadn’t even noticed I’d lost so much weight until I stopped and looked in the mirror and Holy shit, I looked good!
So why am I telling you this? Like most people at one time in their life, I didn’t know much about nutrition. I worked out every day, and I thought I was eating relatively healthy, but nothing ever seemed to change. I still looked soft despite my efforts in the gym and thinking I was eating clean. Instead of taking the blame, I put it on my genetics. It took me years, to get insight into what I actually needed to do in order to meet my goals. Intermittent fasting really helped me lose weight and optimize my body composition in a very short amount of time. So, if you don’t know much about nutrition and want to lose weight fast, intermittent fasting is a great place to start.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. The idea is that you fast for a 16-hour period and eat during an 8-hour window. We call this the fasted and fed state. The reason why intermittent fasting works so well for weight loss is because when you're fasted, your body utilizes stored body fat for fuel and energy.
When you eat, carbohydrates are your bodies' primary source of energy (also known as glucose and stored as glycogen). With this process, your insulin levels will rise and dispel any extra glycogen and store it as body fat. Thus, when your intermittent fasting, instead of using glycogen for energy, your body recruits body fat for energy, in turn burning more body fat and losing more weight.
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How Intermittent Fasting Works
It takes 11-12 hours before your body makes a metabolic shift. Once glucose is depleted, then fat stores are used for energy. I recommend starting with either 8/12 or 7/11 method, as I found these time frames to be the easiest for me. This is when you stop eating by eight or seven at night, then start eating at twelve or eleven the next day. Essentially intermittent fasting.
What Should You Eat While Intermittent Fasting?
The great thing about intermittent fasting is that you don’t have to follow a strict diet regimen. However, if you want to lose weight at a faster rate, then taking your food selection and diet regiment into account, will help you reach your weight loss goals faster. Stay away from packaged foods such as cereal, crackers, chips, white bread, and baked goods. Most of these products have hidden refined sugars, which will spike your blood insulin and create more body fat.
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During your eating hours, incorporate healthy whole foods, such as raw vegetables rich in vibrant in color, lean grass-fed proteins, and healthy fats.
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If you want to lose weight fast, then you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit. Part of the reason I lost weight so fast, is because I was eating healthier whole foods, and I was consuming fewer calories all around while feeling fuller for longer. It was a really nice change!
By determining your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and your total daily caloric energy expenditure, you can accurately predict, how many calories you need in order to maintain your weight, lose weight or gain lean muscle mass. By knowing how many calories you burn, you can calculate how many calories to consume.
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Like anything, if you’re a beginner and know nothing about nutrition then doing it on your own can be tough and take some time. If you want to do it right from the start my best suggestion would be hiring a professional nutrition coach. With the help from a certified nutrition coach, you can develop a plan from the very beginning on how to reach your weight loss goals. A coach helps keep you accountable, build a customized nutrition plan for you, and teach you about nutrition (including how to fast) along the way, so you can get off on the right step.
Having a nutrition coach is very similar to hiring a personal trainer. They teach you how to lift the right way to meet your goals, so you can eventually do it on your own. A nutrition coach is essentially the same thing. Think of it like a class to change the rest of your life. Check out The Swole Kitchen if you want to start your weight journey and see immediate results.
What Should You Drink While Intermittent Fasting?
What you drink during your fasted-state could be the deciding factor whether or not your body is actually burning body fat or glycogen. What you drink during intermittent fasting does matter and it’s crucial to drink the right things, so you don’t pull your body into a fed-state without even knowing it.
While your intermittent fasting, there are a couple of rules you need to abide by, so you remain in the fasted state.
- Do not consume beverages with any caloric value such as soda, sugary recovery drinks, energy drinks, juice, milk, etc.
- Do not consume beverages that are sweet even if they have no calories. This includes diet soda, diet sweet tea, etc. By drinking something that your body thinks is sweet, it will still produce an insulin response.
- The best thing to drink is water.
For a more in-depth look at what you should and should not drink during your intermittent fast, check out the related article below.
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Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss: Takeaway
It’s hard to lose weight. Believe me, I know. Intermittent fasting is an amazing way to lose weight and a sustainable habit, to live your life by and if it worked for me, it can work for you! It can be hard at first to get used to this type of eating schedule. I often got hangry in the beginning and I’m sure you’re not pleasant to be around when you’re hangry either. Give it a few days' time and before you know it and you won’t even notice you skipped breakfast. If you don’t know much about nutrition, I would definitely recommend hiring a nutrition coach. Get the right information the first time. You’ll make fewer mistakes on your journey and meet your weight loss goals faster.
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