Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, like Keto, is becoming a buzz-word in the fitness community. It has become a huge trend because of the results people are achieving. Many studies show that intermittent fasting can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, protect against disease, and perhaps even help you live longer. Are you curious about trying it? Here are the things you need to know before trying it for yourself.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are several different methods that we will go over below. The reason this is a fast-growing eating pattern is because it’s an easier way to live life, and there are several health benefits as well.

Health benefits 

  • Weight Loss:Naturally, if you fast, you will eat less. If you eat less than your output energy, you will lose weight.  That is, assuming you don’t compensate during the times you are not fasting, as in “making-up” for the lost time.
  • Insulin Resistance:Fasting lowers your blood sugar and can help protect from Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Inflammation:If you are someone that often experiences inflammation, fasting can help reduce this painful swelling.
  • Heart Health:Fasting may reduce “bad” cholesterol and other risks to heart disease.
  • Cancer:According to animal studies, it is suggested that fasting may prevent cancer.
  • Brain Health:Fasting increases the brain hormone and may aid in the growth of new nerve cells.
  • Anti-Aging:Fasting in rats extended their life-span, so this could be a positive effect for you as well.

As you can see, there are several benefits to trying intermittent fasting. On the flip-side, there can also be harmful effects. Always consult your physician before switching your diet and/or if you experience negative side effects.

Fasting methods

  • 16/8 Method16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour window to consume food. For example, skip breakfast and eat lunch at 1:00 pm, a snack around 4:00 pm, and eat dinner before 9:00 pm.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: 24-Hour fast 1x or 2x a week. Example, not eating dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 Diet:You consume only 500 – 600 calories on 2 non-consecutive days a week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

 

How fasting affects your cells and hormones 

  • While fasting, your body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. This can cause weight loss.
  • While fasting, your cells initiate important repair processes.

Now that you know the facts, how do you decide which method is right for you? Or is fasting for you at all?  If you think about it, our bodies were built to survive. We were hunters and gatherers.  If we did not hunt or gather food, we did not eat.  We are busy people.  Much busier than we ever used to be. So, if you are constantly on the go, fasting can make your life a little easier when it comes to food. It’s also less expensive, because you’re eating less. My recommendation to determine which method works for you is to ask yourself which method would make your life easier? Also, what category do you fall under:

  1. 16:8 Method:For dedicated gym-goers who are looking to lose fat and gain lean mass.
  2. Eat-Stop-Eat:Healthy eaters looking for an extra boost.
  3. The 5:2 Diet:  Disciplined dieters with a specified goal weight.

Maybe you don’t fall under any of these categories right now, and that’s okay! My recommendation would be to start with small goals. Making incremental changes over time will help make this a lifestyle. And making it a lifestyle will ultimately make you successful with any health and wellness goals you have in mind! If you don’t fall under these categories, start off by eating healthier. Once you fall into one of these categories, then test out each method until you find one that works for you.

If you are interested in the 16:8 Method, find more information here about meal planning around workouts and what to eat during your feeding window.

These are not the only methods of fasting. If you want to learn about other methods and more about what might work for you, click here.

 


What You Need to Know to Succeed on a Healthy Diet

What You Need to Know to Succeed on a Healthy Diet

Have you been working hard at the gym but you just aren’t getting the results you expected? Well, I’m gonna give it to you straight here – it’s your diet. Your diet, or should I say meal plan (aka: what you eat everyday), plays a vital role into your overall physique.

You Can’t Outwork a Poor Diet

Back in college when I gained the Freshman 15 (mine was the Sophomore 20), I decided to hop on the cardio machines at the gym for an hour a day. I changed nothing with my diet (I was still eating like an emotional teenage girl), and guess what, nothing changed!

With weight loss specifically, it always comes back to the golden rule:

Food In < Energy Out = Weight Loss

So, let’s just break this down a bit further. When I do a weight training session, I burn approximately 400 calories. That’s roughly 5 slices of bread. That’s about a cup and a half of diced chicken. A Big Mac has 563 calories.

In today’s world, a workout won’t even burn an American Fast-Food Meal (which is quite gross if you think about it). Yes, your body burns calories at rest during the day while doing your normal activities. We will get into that a little later as to how much you should be eating. But, first, let’s talk about the when.

When Should You Be Eating? 

You should be eating every 3 hours roughly. This allows your body to stay in an anabolic state. What does anabolic mean? It means staying in a fat-burning state. For me, this accumulates to 6-7 small meals a day. Why should I be eating that much? The most common mistake I see among clients is eating too little. When I tell clients to eat more, they are confused as to why they should eat more to lose weight.

First, your body runs off of fuel (food) and it takes your body roughly 3 hours to process the food you eat. After your body has processed that food, it begins to go into starvation mode (even if you don’t feel hungry). This is called “Catabolic.” Instead of your body feeding off of fat – it is actually feeding off of your muscle. Of course your body likes to eat the good stuff first, right? And why does this matter? Because having more muscle allows you to burn more fat at rest. Therefore, eating meals more frequently actually allows you to burn more calories at rest because it’s maintaining the muscle on your body!

Second, eating smaller meals throughout the day will help you to not overeat. I notice that after work I’m STARVING because I wasn’t paying attention to how hungry I actually was and then I overeat when I get home. You may experience the same thing. Try to stay on track with your meals throughout the day.

Third, you will feel more awake and more alert throughout the day. Like I said earlier, your body runs off of food and your body needs that food roughly every 3 hours. You won’t experience the afternoon crash if you eat like this – it’s amazing!

Fourth, your metabolism will increase! This is the best result by far. You will be going into your next meal really hungry, and that means that your body has used up all the fuel you gave it earlier and it’s ready for more!

But, Aly, how do I start eating 6 meals a day if I’m not even hungry? I suggest that you start by forcing it at first. Start with breakfast. If you are not a breakfast person, you need to force yourself to be one. You should be eating as soon as you wake up in the morning. Why? Because food is the only thing that will jumpstart your metabolism. You may not wake up hungry in the morning, but if you start having breakfast, I guarantee that in a few weeks your body will adjust and you will wake up very ready for food!

What You Should Be Eating?

What you should be eating is a little controversial. You have probably seen the trendy Keto Diet, Paleo, Flexible Dieting, and many more. Here’s the best way to go about your diet: keep it simple. If it’s not something you can do for the rest of your life, then it’s probably not something you should do at all. A “normal” American diet usually consists of things like pasta and pizza for dinner. This is not “normal.” Try to stick to whole foods that don’t come in a box or the freezer section.

A good rule to follow: Stick to the outside aisles when shopping at the grocery store.

Foods have Macro nutrients and Micro nutrients. Macro’s include: Protein, Carbs and Fat. When looking at the Macro Nutrients, here are some good examples to choose from that fit into each category:

Protein: Chicken breast, Lean/Extra Lean Ground Turkey, Lean Steak, Plain Greek Yogurt, Eggs, Fish, Shrimp

Fat: Avocado, Almonds, Fish, Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil

Carbs: Brown Rice, Rice Cakes, Sweet Potatoes, Red Potatoes, Ezekiel Bread, Fruits (bananas or blueberries are best)

Why are the foods you eat important? Micro nutrients are the reason why your food choices matter. Micro nutrients are the vitamins and minerals in food. For example, let’s take an orange and a jelly bean and compare macro and micro nutrients:

Orange Nutrition: .9g Protein  .1g Fat  11g Carbs

Vitamins: Vitamin C 85% + Other Vitamins

Jelly Bean Nutrition: 0g Protein   0g Fat   10g Carbs

Vitamins: NONE

As you can see, the right choice is an orange because of all the added vitamins!

Again, this should be an overall lifestyle. During life we get cravings. Allow yourself to eat what you want occasionally, just don’t go overboard.

How Much Should You Be Eating?

Portion sizes have gotten out of control in today’s world. So many people overeat, especially at dinner time. I portion my food based on the macro-nutrition (protein, carbs + fat). The reason I do this is because it makes things much easier, and I’m all about ease when it comes to my meal plan. But, how do you calculate what macros you should be eating in order to achieve weight loss? There are quite a few things that go into calculating this number such as resting metabolic rate and activity level. If you are looking for this number, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us for it!

In summary:

  • You can’t outwork a poor diet
  • Eat small meals throughout the day to stay in an anabolic state
  • Keep your food choices simple
  • Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery store
  • Figure out your personal Macro-Nutrition goals for what you are looking to achieve

If you are looking to figure out your Macro-Nutrition goals, please reach out to Aly McPherson at PrettyGrittyGirl@gmail.com

 

 


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