The Intermittent Fasting lifestyle seems like the new buzz word going around town. Its not! Intermittent Fasting has been around a very long time. People are just now using it for health reasons and enjoying its benefits. This article will tell you how I was able to lose 40 pounds in just 4 months with Intermittent Fasting.
The Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle is simply eating all your daily calories in a 4-8 hour window.
This simple change combined with some common sense health habits is really efficient at losing body fat. Can you imagine living your life 50 pounds lighter? Do you know how many years that can add to your life?
There are mainly 3 types of Intermittent Fasting schedules people follow.
- 8 hours eating window, 16 hours fasting window
- 4 hours eating window, 20 hours fasting window
- Eat One Meal a Day (OMAD)
Most people will start out in a strict eating window of 8 hours and then fast for 16. As you get use to this, you can slowly compress your eating window from 8 hours to 4 and increase your fasting window. Some people who want faster results move to the One Meal a Day schedule.
This is also really easy to schedule around a busy lifestyle. For example, I follow this eating plan on weekdays and skip it on weekends. I get more working time (Since I don’t have to stop often for meals) and get to enjoy the meals with the family on weekends.
The goal of IF is to reduce your insulin in your body to a baseline level. At this level, your body will burn fat for energy. This is what we all want. When someone exercises after a meal, your body will block you from using stored fat cells and use just the food you just eat.
Studies have shown the following health benefits from an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle
- It will make you lose weight, focused mostly around belly fat
- Slows down the body aging process
- It could lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
- Good for your heart
- Removes waste and repairs cells
- May help prevent cancer
- Boosts brain function
- May help you live longer
I am not a doctor. I have links to several experts including a video for additional information and to show the science behind Intermittent Fasting (IF for short). This article is designed to share the plan I used very successfully. Please do your own research and find a plan that works for you.
There are a few really good resources on you tube that you should watch so you can understand how the science works and any problems to watch for. There is Dr. Berg, Thomas Delauer, and Fledge Fitness. All are highly recommended and are the ones I followed during my transformation.
My plan focused on 3 main areas.
- Eat healthier. I lowered my calorie intake to under 1500 per day.
- Exercise. I lifted weights 3-5 times a week (for about 20 minutes).
- Intermittent Fasting. I started on the 8 hour eating window, 16 hour fasting but change it often to sometimes have more or less time in my eating window. This way I can still enjoy meal times with the family.
That’s it. Now here’s the really strange thing. I was never hungry.
For this part, I simply cut out soda which was a pretty big part of my diet. I slowly started mixing my soda (1/2 diet, 1/2 regular). Over time I slowly moved to all diet only on weekends. I also drink a lot of water (over 100 oz a day).
In order to meet my nutrition needs, I started counting how much protein, carbohydrates, and fats I was eating. I quickly learned eating fast food was not giving me the nutrition I needed. For me, a healthy breakfast happens around 10 AM with oatmeal, 1 scoop of protein power, strawberries and blueberries. I also mix chia seeds in it for the heck if it. I also started drinking green tea and found a few flavors I like (mint and lemon are my favorites).
For lunch, I would often go out for slice of pizza or a 1/2 sub. The half sub I would cut in half (about 4 inches) and eat one at lunch and one at dinner. I would honestly be full with this amount of food. Other times I would eat at home. This would be either chicken and any other left overs I would find in the house.
For dinner, I would make an omelet with ham and cheese. Maybe something along with it like a banana or whatever else I would find in the house.
This would usually total about 1200 calories. If I fell under 1200 calories, I would have some wine or chocolate ice cream. I counted all my calories with MyFitnessPal.
The exercise part usually entails doing some warm-up cardio for about 5 minutes (maybe rowing). After that I would lift weights for about 15 minutes. After exercising, I would not feel like eating. I would wait for 1-2 hours and then eat breakfast.
Lifting is better then cardio for losing weight. When you do fasted cardio (this is cardio towards the end of your fasting window), your body pulls all its energy from your fat cells.
The bad thing about doing cardio is your body is very good at adapting. After a few weeks, your body will lower your metabolism forcing you to exercise twice as long to get the same benefits. When you build muscle by lifting, your body needs to increase your metabolism to support this new muscle. This will burn fat all day long.
Exercising is not really required but it will quickly speed up your results. The purpose for me was to prevent my body from adapting to my lower calorie intake and it worked extremely well. I invested in the Power Blocks. I keep them in my office and do a set in between meetings.
Once I started eating, I would eat breakfast around 10, lunch around 12:30, and dinner around 3-4 PM. When you try to consume 1200 calories in this window, you will not be hungry and need to remind yourself to eat. I would be fine all night and then wake up at 5. Around 7 I would start to get hungry because I would cook for the family. Around this time, I would hop on the rowing machine for 5 minutes and the hunger would disappear. Any form of exercise will work here.
My personal goal was to live a healthier lifestyle but I needed a way to measure health. I decided to use body weight and body fat. Four months ago, I start at this program at 200 pounds of body weight and 31% body fat. I am now under 160 pounds and below 20% body fat. Since I only do this on weekdays, I can eat and do anything I want on weekends.
Since body fat is more important to me then weight, I bought the RENPHO Body fat scale. It was less then $30 and automatically syncs with my Fitbit and MyFitnessPal. SO far I really love it and highly recommend it to anyone watching their body fat percentage.
I figured this is habit I can do long term and have long term benefits with very little effort. There are easier plans to follow depending on your goals. I also want to feel better, build some muscles, and drop the weight. So far things are working better then I could have expected.
Intermittent Fasting is not a diet program
IF is a lifestyle change to become healthier, so finding something you enjoy doing is key. Eat the foods you like (I love pizza) but eat inside your calorie limit. You need to be able to eat and drink the foods you want to, when you want to, to enact long term changes. You just need to live with some restrictions like changing when you eat your meals. For me, this was the key.
I read somewhere if you do something for a few months, it turns habits into a lifestyle change. For the past 4 months, I have been living this way building these (I hope) life long healthy habits that will have a lasting benefit on my health, lifestyle, and career.
Overall, I have lost over 40 pounds in under 4 months. I started at 200 pounds and now weigh under 160. I eat healthier and exercise regularly (20 minutes each weekday). My normal body aches are gone and I can focus and get more done in a day.
You Can Too!
Have you tried an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle to improve your health? If you did, what were your results? Share your success stories with everyone by leaving a comment below. How has it changed your life and what are you doing differently that we all can learn from. We can all use a little inspiration and your success story might just help someone else live a longer, happier, healthier life.