Do you find yourself training frequently but not getting the fat loss results you’re after?
It is incredibly frustrating when you put in the hard work but don’t see the results you want.
Here is the question we asked ourselves as fitness professionals three years ago.
Is it possible that we are no longer using our metabolic system how it was designed?
We had been coaching the traditional and well-researched methodology of smaller meals throughout the day and it just wasn’t effective for the majority of our clients.
The model looks like this:
Breakfast/mid morning snack/Lunch/mid afternoon snack/Dinner/post dinner snack
We found the smaller meals/snack model had common challenges and frustrations for our members, which included:
– A lack of time to actually eat small and frequent meals/snacks throughout the day
– A lack of time and desire for planning out a day or week of meals and snacks
– A lack of time and desire for prepping
– A lack of interest in packing multiple meals and snacks to take to school or work
– A feeling of never being satisfied with smaller portions of food.
– The feeling of constantly being hungry (and sometimes even hangry)’ between eating times.
– A slow evolution of hate for all Tupperware and eating out of Tupperware!
After years of research on the science behind intermittent fasting, attending multiple lectures, clinics and delving into the long-term health benefits of the lifestyle, we can confidently say it has changed our perspective on nutrition coaching, greatly changed the lives of our coaching team and select members whom we’ve had the pleasure of coaching. Hands down we have been consistently told by all of our IF coaching clients that the intermittent fasting lifestyle has had a huge impact not only with regard to fat loss results but also an overall better relationship when it comes to food and the enjoyment of food!
The Evolution of the modern diet
The food environment of our ancestors is nothing like the overabundance of options we have available today.
Think about it. If you track your intake for just one day, how many times to you eat? How readily available is food at any moment in our day?
We eat at work, at home, when we are driving and let’s not even discuss how much food you can inhale during a trip to Costco!
Agriculture didn’t even exist until the last 10,000 years.
The environment chose our diet rather than us. Either you ate what was available, or suffered the consequences.
Many modern diets address what to eat and what not to eat. However, many popular diets fail to take into account the eating frequency of our ancestors.
The idea of three meals a day is merely an invention of modern day culture. This meal pattern is not based on our biological needs.
Think about it.
In the hunter-gatherer days, humans actively sought out their food and then feasted on whatever catch or harvest they yielded.
In fact, many native populations around the world still practice this lifestyle today.
A common misconception is that glucose stabilization via frequent eating is necessary for survival. Many use this notion to justify the importance of three meals a day and/or snacks in between meals.
You wake up; get ready for work, then hit your desk by 8 or 9am. How much energy did you really need to accomplish the “intense physical activity requirements” to get in your car, drive to your office then walk 30-40 paces to your chair.
Then juxtapose the human lifestyle of our ancestors who would hunt for multiple days usually while in a fasted state before being able to hunt and gather their next meal.
We can all agree that perhaps our lifestyle in 2017 doesn’t dictate a HUGE need for multiple meals and snacks throughout the day in order to survive the rigorous lifestyle we now lead…..
The other most common myth, specific to breakfast is that it is “the most important meal of the day”. Haven’t you heard this time and time again?
What if I told you it wasn’t actually true, and in fact studies have just been tweaked to skew this mantra.
Let’s look at what actually happens when we eat.
After eating carbohydrates (let’s say your bagel and PB from your breakfast) glucose enters the bloodstream. From here, insulin secretion occurs to properly distribute the glucose. Through insulin receptor, glucose then enters the cell to produce cellular energy.
However, our cells can only utilize so much glucose before they are overloaded.
Fortunately, our bodies have evolved to deal with this fact and are able to store 70 grams of glucose in the liver and 200 grams in the muscle (what is know as glycogen).
Anything exceeding these values is stored in adipose tissue (aka your fat cells) as body fat.
As long as you steadily consume carbohydrates, insulin remains present. The problem here is that stored fat cannot be broken down with the presence of insulin. Then the BIGGEST issue lies in the fact that insulin is released whenever we eat.
So what does the body do when energy wanes but insulin is still present?
It sends out a signal to trigger hunger in an attempt to receive more quick energy.
Because of this, common modern diets trap us in a loop where we want to eat every time blood glucose drops. This is why three meals a day feels necessary but in fact really isn’t.
Breaking the glucose cycle
If you stop eating for 10-12 hours, glucose stores deplete and your body begins to break down fat.
Eureka! The GOLD MINE (or should I say, GOAL MIND) of fat loss!
But what about Starvation mode for those of us who train frequently?
The idea of not eating for extended amounts of time counters the idea of glucose stabilization. In fact, you may be familiar with the idea of going into “starvation mode” if you don’t eat often enough.
Have no fear, starvation only occurs after days of not eating and even then, your body is remarkably resilient at utilizing stored fat for energy. In fact in a extreme research experiment a severally obese man from Scotland fasted for over one year consuming water and vitamin supplements
He lost 276 pounds and suffered zero negative side effects.
His body utilized his large fat stores as energy.
Contrary to popular fit culture belief, and with the most current research and science we know that reducing the frequency of eating spikes the levels of HGH (human growth hormone). HGH increases fat oxidation (fat breakdown) and actually prevents muscle catabolism.
Over the past year our coaching team and nutrition-coaching members have actually increased their muscle size while fasting.
For example, as a national level athlete, Coach Janine has significantly improved her strength and body composition while increasing her training volume.
She frequently does her strength training in a fasted state, then breaks her fast, then trains again in the evening for her sport.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
When beginning an intermittent fasting protocol, here are some common benefits people often report:
- Reduced hunger pains
- Increased weight loss
- Convenience of less frequent meal planning
- More stable energy levels
- Better physique
- Greater mental efficiency
- Promotes neurogenesis which is currently being heavily research as prevention for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Not only is it “OK” to fast, in fact are bodies are designed and actually can learn to prefer this style of eating!
We believe that fasting is a skill and with patience, practice, coaching and support it is the most flexible, sustainable, easy to follow and enjoyable nutrition program we have ever coached.
If you feel like you are constantly training and working at your nutrition but aren’t getting the results you are after, fasting could prove to be the best “non-diet diet” you ever try.