In my previous article on weight loss, I spoke of one way of losing weight and getting in shape, in this article I’m going to offer an alternative.
Its called Intermittent Fasting (IF), for those of you who haven’t heard of it yet.
At the writing of this article, this is what I am currently applying to my diet and exercise program.
I’ve already done my trimming up, now I’m just in the maintenance phase (which is the hard part for most people). The great thing about intermittent fasting is that you can use it not only to initially lose the weight, but also to keep it off and just maintain.
Intermittent fasting is only one way of approaching weight loss/management. In a couple of my previous articles, I talked about the opposite approach: eating 6-7 times a day. However many of you may instead find IF to be the more convenient to your day to day lives.
I’m going to tell exactly how to do this. Human beings (especially men), love to overthink and complicate things. This is NOT a complicated program and like most things in life, it is not necessary to overthink this.
I’m giving you, step by step, the blueprint for how to do this. If you have questions that’s fine but all I ask is that you don’t try to complicate something that’s not complicated.
In a nutshell: intermittent fasting is when you go down to only eating 2 meals a day, within a window of certain hours of the day. You will be skipping breakfast, and only eating lunch and dinner. Dinner you will be consuming anywhere between 4-7.5 hours after you eat lunch.
Do not skimp over this section and think this is all about just skipping breakfast, its not. I’m telling you the way to do this correctly.
This isn’t one of those things you can ”put your own spin on”.
There is a right way to do this and a wrong way to do it!
The reason why I say to eat dinner 4 to 7.5 hours after lunch is because you need to be fasted (hence the part called intermittent fasting), for 16 to 20 hours of the day.
During this time your body will be burning through all the food you ate for lunch and dinner. The shorter your window is between meals (eating within a 4 hour window instead of an 8 hour one for example), the better your results are going to be.
Obviously this is going to require some mental strength. What did you expect? If this were going to be easy, then no one would be FAT would they?
Just because this will not be easy, doesn’t mean it has to be miserable. That part will all be up to you. You will decide whether this will be miserable, or something you can just mentally adjust to.
The hardest part about intermittent fasting is the mental part of it. Get your mind right with this program, and you’ll be just fine.
Now then, because you will only be eating 2 meals a day, those 2 meals will be a little larger than the meals you’re used to eating. They will be a bigger deal to you, and you’ll look forward to and cherish them more (especially lunch).
Just like if you were to only eat 1 meal a day, then that meal would become even more important and rewarding.
Now I’m not saying that you should still consume the same amount of daily calories that you would with your previous diet’s ”3” meals. Because your meals will be larger, you should take advantage of the fact that you’ll get full faster, and use this as a opportunity to cut down on the total daily calories that you’re consuming.
In other words: this is an easy way to consume fewer total daily calories without really noticing it as much.
TIP 1: ”Baby Step” Your Way Into This Process:
Now for the first couple weeks (and hopefully not quite that long), not eating breakfast might prove to be difficult for you. That’s perfectly normal and to be expected. If you need to ease your way into this, then I suggest taking a ”baby step” of sorts and replacing breakfast with a protein shake mixed with water or almond milk (ideally just water).
This is only for the purpose of baby stepping and easing your mind into getting used to skipping breakfast. Do this for close a week if you need to, then try to cut out the protein shake. The protein shake I recommend is ice cream flavored and can be found right here.
You’ll find after a week or so that getting used to living without breakfast is really not that bad. It will have minimum impact on your day to day life. In fact, you’ll find that during the first half of your day you’ll have much better focus and concentration.
The reason for this is because your body won’t need to break down and digest your breakfast like it used to have to.
When you eat, your body exerts energy to break down all that food and digest it. This asks work and effort of your body, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Skipping this process once a day will leave you with more energy. Energy that instead would be better directed towards your mission.
Do not think that you’re going to just eat 2 meals a day but then eat whatever food you want. The quality of the food you eat still matters and still is going to make a difference towards your goals.
Below is my list of approved foods for intermittent fasting (in no particular order).
MATT MITCHELL’S APPROVED FOOD LIST FOR
These foods are filling, will provide energy, and will leave you feeling better physically throughout your day:
1.) Egg Whites
2.) Grilled Chicken
4.) Any kind of Wild Caught White Fish (Tilipia, Haddock, Orange Roughy, Red Snapper, Rainbow Trout, and Flounder are the most common)
5.) Steak (Eye Of The Round has the lowest fat)
7.) Broccoli or Califlower
8.) Oatmeal (Steel Cut with Organic Blueberries is best)
9.) Whey Protein (with or without Unsweetened Almond Milk)
10.) Protein Bars (w/a very low sugar content). The best protein bars are Quest Protein bars, or Pure Protein.
12.) Almonds (Saltless, be careful don’t snack on these outside of your two meals)
14.) Juicing (meaning using a juicer), you can add a juicer shake or two per day.
It’s important that you really try not snack outside of your 2 meals.
Eat, Stop, Eat.
That is the formula.
If you have a stressful job that makes you want to eat at certain times of the day, then keep a box of those protein bars stashed somewhere close to you, but out of sight.
You must still maintain self a degree of self control. If you feel inclined to eat more than two protein bars at once then stand up, take a few deep breaths and walk around for a 2-3 minutes until you aren’t stressed out anymore.
Scarfing down 4 protein bars (healthy or not), is not good. You really should try to limit it to one.
TIP 2: Add Sauces For Flavor:
Another point: I don’t think its bad to use sauces in an effort to make your meals taste better. For example, I think salsa, A1, or lemon juice is fine.
My personal rule is that if I’m allowing myself to consume these sauces with my meals, then I’m cutting out something else. For me that something else in this case is dairy. So if I’m having sauces, I’m no longer drinking or eating any dairy.
If I’m cutting out the sauces, then its fine to add low fat mozzarella cheese to my chicken breasts, or mix milk with my protein shakes instead of water. Low-fat cottage cheese is also a dairy product I’ll sometimes eat (if I’m forgoing the dipping sauces).
This is just a personal rule that I follow, it has nothing to do with IF. It’s a weight loss/weight management suggestion that works for me, so you might test it out for yourself.
TIP 3: Slightly Modify Intermittent Fasting During The Holidays Or Special Occasions:
Intermittent fasting can be expanded upon during the holidays as well. What I mean by that is the concept of it can be expanded on. Most people eat a huge meal at Christmas or Thanksgiving. So after your huge meal, try going 24-36 hours without eating anything afterwards.
Doing this is giving your body the chance to get rid of the excess fat and water gain.
You can also fast for a long period of time before the actual meal if you know one is approaching.
TIP 4: When Doing Intermittent Fasting, Train On An Empty Stomach.
This is ideal and will help you get more out of this whole approach.
To answer that I’m going to quote myself from one of my previous articles:
”You will burn more calories if you lift in a fasted state. This is one of the more recent ones I’ve learned. By more calories I mean you will burn fat at 3 X the rate you would if you lifted right after a meal.
Although this is harder to do, trust me the results are more than worth it.
At the present moment, I personally lift right before I eat lunch. I follow intermittent fasting, which means I only eat within a 4-8 hour window. I eat lunch and dinner, but no breakfast.
On some days I’ll work out in the morning (and for most of you that is what I recommend), but normally I prefer right before lunch because I like to use as much mental energy in the morning as possible (for work). Either one is fine for you.
If this is something you’ve never attempted before, I suggest making it a little easier on yourself so you don’t set yourself up for failure by getting up an hour earlier and working out in the morning.”
You can read the rest of that article right here. There’s a wealth of information out there on IF. I just broke it down and gave you the basics. Like I said at the top of the article, this is not complicated, I don’t see any reason to spend hours on the internet researching IF.
All the basics you’ll find right here in this post. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, so if you have unique health or diet complications I advise you to consult your doctor before trying a new system like this.
A diabetic for example, might be better off doing the 6-7 meals a day system, because of low blood sugar concerns. Again, if you have a condition that’s out of norm, consult your doctor first.
As for the rest of you, I encourage you to give intermittent fasting a try.
I’ll talk to you guys again soon, until then,