Every once in a while, we feel the need to quickly drop a few pounds. Though common weight loss lore would instruct us to stop eating and jump on a treadmill for miles and miles, this is terrible, unhealthy "advice." Not only will it make you miserable, it'll ruin your energy levels and set you up for failure. Luckily, there's a better way to safely accelerate weight loss: intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is an approach to weight loss wherein you safely cycle between periods of fasting and eating. If done right, you'll experience next to no hunger pains or dips in energy while simultaneously fast-tracking your weight loss efforts.
So, how do you do it? The easiest way is to take advantage of your sleep cycle. Let's say you finish dinner around 6pm and wake up the next day at 8am. That's 12 hours of effortless fasting. We already know that exercising on a empty stomach can be beneficial for weight loss, so if you workout in the morning and eat lunch — your next meal — around noon, you'll have fasted for 16 hours. Bet you never thought not eating for that long could be so easy!
Alright, so, now that you haven't eaten for more than half a day, what are the benefits? Here are four ways intermittent fasting can accelerate fat loss.
1. It prolongs your body's natural fasted state.
When you sleep, your body naturally enters a fasted state wherein it switches over to a primarily fat burning mode. This means that without doing anything (other than laying in bed, snoring), your body is burning fat calories. The minute you wake up and swallow your first bite of food, your body starts producing insulin, a fat storage hormone and that fasted state you were in is now reversed. By practicing intermittent fasting, you can prolong that state for a few more hours, getting all you can from that fat burning mode.
2. It helps with appetite control.
Since your body is so adaptive, it'll start getting used to the routine of not eating in the mornings. Once this happens, you'll start to develop superior appetite control with far fewer hunger pangs. Your body will teach itself how to utilize its own body fat much more efficiently as a second source of energy.
3. It stabilizes energy levels.
Once your body has become more efficient at utilizing its own body fat as a secondary fuel source, you will experience much more stable levels of energy throughout the day. Having stable levels of energy is the key for controlling willpower and in turn, food cravings and binge eating.
4. It supercharges your body's ability to repair and detox.
The digestion process takes up a lot of your body's attention and energy. When you are constantly eating and digesting, your body has far less time and resources to focus on maintenance and repair. When you fast, you give your body the opportunity to focus on other processes that happen through an increase of human growth hormones caused by the fast. A body that is healthy and working efficiently makes it far easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy one.
An eating plan like this is very much reliant on your health, so please make sure to consult a doctor before trying it out. Also, I should note that intermittent fasting isn't a cure-all to weight loss woes, but it is a dynamic tool to keep in your health kit.
Nathan Wiebe is a Holistic Nutritionist and Founder of Level Up Superfoods Inc. His passion for nutrition and coffee was what inspired him to create his signature Level Up Superfood Coffee Mixes and spread the benefits of daily use of superfoods