I don’t do intermittent fasting every day, BUT I do think it is a very effective fat loss tool.
Of course, people thought I was crazy yesterday when I worked out in the afternoon without eating and didn’t eat till around dinner time.
One person even told me, “That it isn’t healthy.”
And yes, conventional wisdom tells you that you NEED to eat breakfast and not skip meals so not eating till dinner time does seem a bit crazy.
But is it?
In my opinion no, Intermittent Fasting (IF) isn’t crazy…especially if you aren’t eating a high carbohydrate diet and can be patient enough to get over the hunger pangs that occur when you first change your eating schedule.
If you are eating a high carbohydrate diet, then yes…it may seem like more of a challenge to get used to IF.
If you eat a high carb diet, you will experience more energy fluctuations throughout the day than someone on a lower carb, high fat and high protein diet. Your insulin will spike after each high carb meal, making you feel energized. Of course after the spike, your energy levels will dip, making you feel sluggish and tired.
When your energy levels dip, usually you feel hungry. This feeling of hungry caused by a high carb diet, and skipping those meals that your body feels it needs, does make doing IF more challenging and can make you feel light-headed at points.
Trust me…I’ve tried this and it wasn’t near as easy to get used to IF as it was with a high-fat, high-protein diet.
BUT if you do eat a lower carb diet that includes lots of fat and protein, you don’t have the constant energy dips and hunger pangs, which makes IF easier to do and an effective way to burn fat and gain muscle.
Just like calorie cycling and carb reloading (with potatoes and non grain carbs of course), doing IF every once in a while can keep your body guessing and stoke your metabolism.
Intermittent fasting can be challenging on either diet if you are used to eating at specific times of day. After a week or two of adjusting from your set meal times, you will feel like you have more consistent energy on IF.
Yesterday, I never felt hungry or like my energy was sagging. I got in a great workout too. All while on an empty stomach.
So tell me…how is that not healthy compared to a high carb diet with set meal times where you feel constantly hungry especially if you skip a meal?
If you need more convincing read this piece by an IF expert. Leangains wrote a great article debunking the Top Ten Fasting Myths.
1. Mark’s Daily Apple/Primal Blueprint/21 Day Total Body Transformation – I love just about anything and everything Mark writes. While I definitely don’t follow his workout plan, I think his diet is perfect. His website and books not only tell you what to do but they also explain why you should do it. If you follow the Primal Blueprint, you aren’t just blindly accepting something, you are being fully informed as to WHY it is the right thing to do! Bye Bye conventional wisdom, hello Mark’s Daily Apple!…My only question is…why Daily Apple? Mark doesn’t believe in eating fruit every day!;-)
2. Good Calories, Bad Calories – So people always cite their doctors as their source of information, but my question is…does your doctor really keep up with the latest studies or does your doctor just prescribe the medication that makes him or her the most money? I think I’d rather have Gary Taubes, a research journalist with no ulterior motives, telling me what is good and bad for me. Taubes looks at the facts, which makes for a very informative, if not sometimes dry, read. If you’ve read this book and Primal Blueprint and still think carbs are key and fat is bad…I think you have issues (no offense).
3. Be Heavy – I just found this blog through My Athletic Life (which is another great blog). Dana is AWESOME! Recently her posts have been spot on to what I’ve been thinking and feeling. I really loved her post yesterday about giving yourself permission to fail. I think this happens more often than we even realize!
4. Men’s Health – Yep…that’s right…a men’s magazine. No women’s magazine made the list, but Men’s Health did. Men’s Health has some great workouts as well as good nutritional advice (they promote Primal/Paleo/low carb!!). They really try to relay the most current information to their readers!
5. 4 Hour Body – Tim Ferriss is the definition of a human guinea pig. Talk about self-experimentation. I love this book because it SHOWS you what works. You know he isn’t just trying to sell you a fad diet, but something that he has tried and that has WORKED for him!
6. Strong Lifts – One of the best lifting sites out there (AND he really promotes women lifting!!!). His 5×5 program is something that I really want to try at some point! Great information if you are interested in gaining strength or even size!
7. The Great Fitness Experiment – I love the name of Charlotte’s blog! Personal fitness really is just one big experiment. AND Charlotte really has tried it all so she is a great source of information!
8. Fit and Feminist – I’ve recently added this blog to my daily reading list. While Caitlin definitely likes running more than I do, she is definitely a Man Biceper! She is a strong woman who doesn’t seem afraid to tell it like it is! I loved her post the other day about weight training as feminist resistance.
9. Leangains – A program to get super sexy that goes against conventional wisdom – of course I love this blog!!! Again another person that does more than just regurgitate information – Martin has actually experimented to find out what works! Check out Intermittent Fasting the Martin Berkhan way!
10. MAN BICEP – DUH! I mean come on… 🙂
By the way, I wrote an earlier post about how there weren’t any good women’s lifting blogs. While I’m still disappointed by most of what is out there, I have found a few great ones which are on this list (and I check every day!).
Every day I hear the lies of conventional wisdom perpetuated and sometimes I just want to scream. Here are some things that I’ve heard recently that go along with conventional wisdom that are complete and utter BULLSHIT.
Piece of Conventional Wisdom: Women shouldn’t lift weights because heavy lifting will make them bulky.
Conversation (about six months ago):
Me: So what diet, or how much protein, do you think someone needs to add more muscle if they are lifting heavy?
Nutritionist: Why are you lifting heavy?
Me: Because I want more muscle and I want to be stronger. (I think I had an expression of “That is such a dumb question! DUH to get strong and add more muscle!”
Nutritionist: But you don’t want to get bulky do you? If you lift too heavy, you may get bulky especially if you are taking in a ton of protein.
Me: Uhmm…I still have chicken legs and I eat a ton of protein and have been lifting heavy for a while. I want to get rid of my chicken legs…
Nutritionist: Well I wouldn’t lift heavy as a woman. I do lots of cardio.
Me: (I left the room.) End of conversation.
REASONS THIS IS BULLSHIT: Let’s get one thing straight right now…LIFTING HEAVY WON’T MAKE YOU BULKY! If you can’t accept this…you are on the wrong website. I’m not even going to take the time to list all the reasons why this is incorrect. If you need me to refute this piece of conventional wisdom just read about any other post on this blog. Or just take a look at this picture…Is this a big bulky woman? I’d hope your answer is no….
Piece of Conventional Wisdom: You need to eat breakfast and you should eat 3-5 small meals a day. And you definitely can’t work out on an empty stomach.
I tried intermittent fasting a few months ago and really liked it. I told people about it. The common reaction I got was: “You won’t be able to lift as much on an empty stomach or you will run out of gas. Your workouts will be hurt because you haven’t eaten.”
Lots of people also said there was no way they could do it. They said they NEED breakfast. They DON’T NEED breakfast. They are just conditioned to want it.
REASONS THIS IS BULLSHIT: To date, I’ve had some of my best lifting days and workouts on days when I’ve fasted till after I workout. If you want more proof that intermittent fasting works, visit LeanGains.
Piece of Conventional Wisdom: 45-65% of your daily calories should come from carbs.
Conversation (When people find out that the only carbs I eat on occasion other than cheat days are fruits, vegetables, and potatoes.)
Person: I could never give up bread! And I need carbs to get through my workouts and to refuel afterwards.
Me: But on most diets you have to give up something. With other diets you’ve managed to give up “bad” foods like fatty meats. If simple carbs, like white bread, is bad and bacon isn’t, why can’t you just switch what you give up.
Person: But you need carbs to function. The food pyramid has carbs on it.
REASONS THIS IS BULLSHIT: Ok for one, most people aren’t working out hard enough to really NEED carbs. And if you are doing crossfit intensity workouts, add in potatoes and such and you will be more than fine.
For two, it is never easy living life the healthy way. Of course there are outside temptations, but really you’d rather eat bread than butter and bacon? I don’t know…butter and bacon for bread seems like a pretty good trade-off to me…Plus, doing something that will make you healthier makes sacrificing bread seem very worthwhile.
If you want more information about letting go of carbs and why you DON’T need them, visit Mark’s Daily Apple.
Piece of Conventional Wisdom: Bacon and butter are not good for you. High fat diets will raise your cholesterol higher and that is bad. Use vegetable oil or low-fat substitutes instead.
Conversation: There have been too many conversations about this with everyone around me. But the usual I hear is: “Dude all that saturated fat is so bad for you.” “You know that is going to raise your cholesterol? You really should use margarine instead.” “You cook with duck fat? You should use vegetable oil instead.”
REASONS THIS IS BULLSHIT: Usually when I hear these things, I become speechless because I don’t even know where to begin explaining how wrong they are.
I would just love for one of these people who say this to me to provide me with a study proving I’m wrong (a study that I can’t prove wrong). Of course they never do yet they question me (and I’ve actually done the research not to mention discussed the research with other people, such as Ryan, who’ve done even more research).
I mean I challenge anyone to bring me a study that definitively proves that fat is bad for you and that processed crap like vegetable oil, margarine and low-fat substitutes are better.
Here is my proof that fat is good and all that other CRAP is bad:
Mark’s Daily Apple
Good Calories, Bad Calories
For a full list of evidence, visit the UCLA Ancestral Health Symposium.
Oh and something that really pissed me off today….Denmark has put a tax on foods with saturated fat. This list of taxed items even includes olive oil. Does anyone else think there is something wrong with this? Check out the Time Magazine article on it.