The best way to lose weight?
It’s easy. Don’t eat. I don’t think it gets any simpler than that.
In my opinion, intermittent fasting is one of the best methods of weight loss. Bar none. Because it’s not really a diet. It’s more of a lifestyle. It’s an eating pattern. Depending on which intermittent fasting protocol you pick, you’ll have a specific eating window and a fasting window. The rules are pretty simple. You eat all your calories during your eating window and you consume zero calories during your fasting window. Rinse and repeat.
Intermittent fasting is a big part of what I teach inside my one-on-one coaching program and my clients have gotten amazing results because of it!
The most popular way to do intermittent fasting is the 16 hour fast. It’s also commonly referred to as the Lean Gains method of fasting. It’s where you fast for 16 hours and then you have an eight hour eating window to get all your calories in. And it works great. It’s the easiest way to get started on intermittent fasting because you typically just skip breakfast.
This way of eating, intermittent fasting, has been around since the beginning of time. Back then, it wasn’t really by choice. If you think about our hunter-gatherer ancestors, they would go through periods of time where they wouldn’t be able to catch any animals and they would be forced to fast instead. As human beings, we’ve been fasting for 2.5 million years.
Think about it this way. If our bodies didn’t have this capability to tap into our fat stores for energy during times where food wasn’t available, we would not have survived as a species. And that’s what fat is there for. Fat is not just there for looks. It’s stored energy waiting to be used. And fasting, if done properly, is a very powerful way to tap into your fat stores.
But here’s the problem with fasting. It’s not a magic pill. You can’t fast forever.
In this video, I’m gonna show you why you’re not losing weight with intermittent fasting.
The Longest Recorded Fast
Actually, you can fast for a pretty long time. The longest recorded fast is 382 days. That’s right. Over a year. It was done by a 27 year old guy from Scotland. He was medically supervised and he went from 456 pounds to 180 pounds with no ill effects. He lived off of water and multi vitamins and five years after the fast, he managed to maintain his weight at 196 pounds.
But that’s obviously an extreme case. I would never recommend going over a year without eating. The longest fast that I’ve ever done was a 7 day water fast and I did it with my 59 year old Mom. You can check it out here.
Here’s Why You’re Not Losing Weight With Intermittent Fasting
Again, those are pretty extreme examples of doing an extended fast. But no matter what intermittent fasting schedule you end up doing, you still have to eat. And that’s where the problem starts for a lot of people. People fumble their way around this part. Eating becomes an absolute free-for-all and “healthy” eating becomes very subjective. A lot of people think that they’re eating “healthy,” but they’re not.
But even then, you can still get away with a lot of mistakes in your diet and still lose weight. It just gives you a little example of how powerful intermittent fasting is when it comes to weight loss.
Picture this. If you’re somebody who’s never fasted before and then you try intermittent fasting, you’re going to get some immediate results. Let’s use some simple numbers to illustrate help this. If you’re somebody who eats 6 small meals a day, you condense your eating window to just eight hours. And instead of eating 6 small meals, you condense it to just three meals and you start eating like a normal human being. That’s a pretty drastic change. If you think about it, you automatically cut 50 percent of your caloric intake for the day!
That’s a lot.
Let’s take it a step further. If you normally eat three meals a day and you just go down to two, you’re cutting your caloric intake by 1/3. I guarantee that if you start eating this way, you’re gonna see some drastic changes in your body. If you’ve never fasted before and and you try intermittent fasting for the first time, I guarantee you 100% that you’re going to lose weight. And I want you to comment below if you try intermittent fasting for the first time and then you weigh yourself the next day and you’re like, “Oh my God! I lost so much weight.”
The reason why intermittent fasting works so well is it automatically creates a caloric deficit in your diet. So far so good, right?
Not All Calories Are Created Equal
That’s what every health and fitness coach and online trainer out there talks about is that all you need to be is in a caloric deficit. As long as you stay in a caloric deficit, you can eat sushi, pop tarts, and pizza as long as it fits in your macros. That’s what the ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ Diet (IIFYM) is all about. It’s all about staying in a calorie deficit, baby. Sure. But only to a certain point. Because that’s only going to work for so long. But eventually, it’s gonna stop working.
This whole notion that you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits your macros is a complete fantasy. And I shouldn’t have to convince you that it’s true. If you’ve been struggling to lose weight even though you’re tracking your macros, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Here’s why you’re not losing weight with intermittent fasting.
Eventually, something called homeostasis will kick in because your body is super smart. Your body wants to survive. So if you’re always at a caloric deficit, your body is going to adjust to that. Which means that your body will actually slow down your metabolism to match this lack of energy coming in. And that is when weight loss plateaus happen.
Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.
The other problem with fasting is that if you’re on a predominantly high carb diet and most people are. The average American, the average North American in general eats anywhere between 300 to 500 grams of carbs every day which is mind blowing if you ask me. Most people eat a diet rich in bread, pasta, chips, cookies, etc. Most of the carbs from their diet is from refined and processed carbs and industrial oils which is just a deadly combination when it comes to developing inflammation diabetes and obesity.
Now I want to talk to you quickly talk about how your body actually metabolizes energy. Your body can either burn sugar or your body can burn fat for energy.
You can’t do both.
You can’t burn a little bit of sugar and a little bit of fat. It’s one or the other. And that’s the other thing about people that love to count calories. Again, I’m talking about the ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ crowd here.
Let’s Talk About Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Let’s use some numbers again to illustrate my point. Say your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is 2000 calories. That’s the amount of energy your body needs to function every day. So if you sat on the couch and watched Netflix all day, your body will still burn 2000 calories to keep your organs functioning, keep your heart pumping etc.
Let’s say you go on a diet and eat 1500 calories. People think, and this is what conventional wisdom is out there, is that if you eat a 1500 calorie diet, your body’s just going to make up the 500 calorie difference from your fat stores. Add in some exercise to burn some extra calories and you’re gonna lose weight in no time! Of course if that were true, everyone would be walking around with a six pack.
So if you do intermittent fasting but you’re on a high carb diet you’re kind of stuck in this metabolic limbo where your metabolism doesn’t really get into a fully fat burning state. And if you’re trying to lose weight, you want to be in a fat burning state. You wanna burn your own body fat for energy.
But if you’re on a predominantly high carb diet and there’s always glucose in your system, you cannot tap into your fat stores for energy. You just can’t. The main switch that controls this process is the hormone Insulin.
The Key Determinant Of Weight Loss – Insulin
So if your insulin levels are high, and that’s what happens when you’re always eating refined carbs, sugar, and processed carbs. High insulin blocks fat burning. That’s all you need to know about it. And the effectiveness of fasting is greatly reduced because of that.
Because instead of your body being able to tap into your fat stores for energy, your body is always just trying to burn off stored glycogen in your system from all the carbs and sugar you just ate. And if you’re just doing the typical 16 hour fast, you don’t really end up burning body fat at all. You’re just burning off stored glycogen from your high carb meal.
This is why for a lot of people, they’re always left wondering why they’re not losing weight with intermittent fasting. They’ll try intermittent fasting but they don’t really adjust their shitty diet.
They’ll say, “You know what? I’m not losing weight with intermittent fasting. It doesn’t work.” They’ll say, “I felt like crap and I didn’t have any energy.” Well that’s because you didn’t really adjust your diet. You only adjusted your eating window but your diet is still crap.
Again, intermittent fasting is not a magic pill. If you don’t feel good when you’re fasting, you have these mood swings or you just have no energy. This is why. It’s because your body is still dealing with that blood sugar spike from that bowl of oatmeal you just ate. And then you have the subsequent insulin response to deal with that blood sugar spike. What follows after is an insulin crash and then this blood sugar crash that comes with it.
Your body treats this as a signal that you’re hungry and you have to eat again. So you pop a granola/protein bar in between your meals which is another sugar bomb once it enters your system. And then you have this vicious roller coaster ride where your body’s always just trying to keep up with all the sugar and all the carbs that you’re putting in your body.
Your solution then you add fasting to that equation. It’s supposed to make things better, right? Again, this idea is a complete fallacy.
Remember, fasting in itself is a type of stress. You’re stressing your body in a good way. And if you’re predominantly a sugar burner, your body starts freaking out from too much stress and this is why you don’t feel good when you add intermittent fasting to a shitty diet.
The Zero Calorie Myth
The other problem with fasting that a lot of people say is, “I get really hungry in the morning. I need to eat something right away.” That is simply because you’ve trained your body to eat first thing in the morning. You trained your body to eat that way which means that you can also train your body to not eat. You can train your body to skip breakfast.
And the other thing about this again is that people say they’re not losing weight with intermittent fasting. So I ask them. What’s your morning routine like? They’ll say they drink coffee, which is fine by the way, but then they’ll say they put Splenda. They put “zero” calorie sweetener in their coffee.
Guess what? That breaks your fast.
And then they’ll tell me, “I drink pre workout but it’s zero calories. It’s okay, right?” No, that breaks your fast as well. Because if you drink your zero calorie Gatorade or your zero calorie pre-workout, it doesn’t matter that it says zero calories. Once that enters your system and because it’s sweet, that triggers an insulin response in your body. Your body thinks that food is coming in so it switches your body from fat burning mode to fat storage mode.
Anything sweet, even though it’s zero calories, breaks your fast. Because it’s not really about the calories. That’s why zero calories is bullshit. Your body doesn’t count calories. It’s about the insulin response that gets triggered because you’re drinking something sweet.
Bottom line is if you trigger an insulin response, that breaks your fast. If you’re wondering why you’re not losing weight with intermittent fasting, this is why.
Fasting Isn’t A Magic Pill
Here’s the last problem that I want to mention about fasting. People think that it gives them the green light to just hit up their local all-you-can-eat buffet because they’ve been fasting all day. People think that like they can just eat like crap because they fasted all day, they can just eat whatever.
Listen, you can’t use fasting to justify your bad eating behaviour. It defeats the purpose of doing a fast.
This is what I tell all my private coaching clients all the time. If you do a fast, and then you finally break it, forget that the fast ever happened. Eat your normal meal afterwards. You just created this caloric deficit and the last thing that you want to do is eat at a caloric surplus and just wipe away all those hours that you spent fasted.
Bottom line is this. Fasting works but you have to adjust your diet to actually get the full benefits of fasting. Because there’s two parts to fat loss. It’s about what you eat and when you eat. Fasting only takes care of the “when you eat” part. You still got to take care of what you eat and the best way to do this is to combine intermittent fasting with a diet that moderates your insulin levels like a paleo diet, a low carb diet, or a Ketogenic Diet.
You cannot keep eating a shitty diet and expect to get results just because you’re fasting. It doesn’t work like that.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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