Weightloss & Fasting – The Big Breakdown
- Myths and Misconceptions.
- Core Knowledge.
- The Process
Myths and Misconceptions.
If you’re reading this guide you probably already have a vested interest in losing weight. Due to this fact alone you have probably already been exposed to the wealth of misinformation in the world related to weight loss – over complicating drastically what is actually an incredibly simple process once you understand the core mechanics. You may have heard some of these things from your friends or family upon mentioning your dietary aims, or you may have stumbled across some poorly written form posts on health and fitness websites. However you stumbled across some of these myths, it’s important to put them to rest quickly as most of them are only so commonly propagated due to their utility as excuses.
Myth 1: Not eating enough food puts your body into starvation mode and makes you retain more weight.
This myth stems from a very real phenomenon, but it is almost always categorically untrue in every instance of someone worrying about this impacting their diet. “Starvation mode” does occur in the human body during periods of not eating – but ONLY when your body-fat percentage drops below levels that are largely considered to be deadly anyway. For example – a man might not enter starvation mode until he drops to or below 5% body fat. being able to even reach this bodyfat percentage in the first place is borderline impossible for most people, so your average run of the mill person looking to lose a bit of weight by fasting seriously does not have to even consider this.
Myth 2: Fasting isn’t natural.
This myth seems to stem from a modern consumer culture mindset, the reality is that in our evolutionary history, having access to food every single day of the week was NOT a common occurrence. eating 3 meals a day every single day is drastically more unnatural than an intermittent fasting or prolonged fasting based lifestyle. anatomically modern humans have been around for 200,000 years. modern agriculture has barely been around for a tenth of that time.
Myth 3: You can just do sit-ups to burn fat from your stomach.
“Spot reduction” is less of a popular myth and more of a common misconception – a lot of people assume that in order to get visible abdominal muscles you just need to do hundreds of sit-ups. the reality is that whilst building your core muscles is important for the appearance of abs (and indeed your general health) – your abs will NEVER be visible past a certain body fat percentage. (About 15% in both men and women)
it is impossible to burn fat from one region of the body. Your body has to process fat and break it down for fuel using ketones before it grants you the energy to continue.
Myth 4: But won’t I starve to death?
In short “no.” – in long “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”
whilst your fat reserves may not be nutritionally complete – they do have the very energy you need to keep you alive. it is impossible for someone who is overweight or even a healthy weight to starve to death without physically losing so much weight that they become underweight first. your body is an incredibly efficient thermodynamic machine. you will not drop dead from not eating for a few hours or maintaining a low-calorie diet for a period of time until you’re at a weight you’re happy with.
The first thing to consider is the possible setbacks you may encounter when beginning this approach to weight loss. you may encounter negativity – people who are not qualified or experienced in nutrition or fitness lecturing you on why what you’re doing is wrong. These people will often mention one of the commonly stated myths in an attempt to discredit or discourage you. Whatever the motivation for this behaviour is – most likely jealousy, it is incredibly common to experience this when you begin your weight loss journey and as such, you should be prepared for it. The best approach is honestly just to ignore it and let your results speak for themselves. It’s difficult to tell someone their diet isn’t going to work or is dangerous when they’re blatantly healthier and look better than you.
Another common setback is the occasional day where you skimp on your diet. there is nothing wrong with the occasional slice of pizza – in fact, we often recommend a cheat day every second week or so to prevent you from going completely crazy at first. But it’s important to remember that just because you messed up slightly and ate a bar of chocolate or a slice of toast when you were supposed to be in a fasted state – you should NOT immediately write the entire day off and eat junk all day. it is much easier to mitigate the damage of an extra 200 calories and a broken fasted state than it is to mitigate the damage of binge eating for an entire day and having to work off an extra 3000 calories.
At their core – all diets are based on one simple principle. CALORIES IN & CALORIES OUT (CICO).
The amount of energy you put into your body versus the amount of energy you expend. most people expend around 1800-2000 a day just walking around/staying warm/digesting food/doing other human things. this means that if you eat more than 2000, your body stores the excess weight for energy. if you eat less than this, your body will dip into its fat reserves to look for the energy it needs (and some fat-soluble nutrients).
There are numerous approaches to fasting, beginners should stick with the two main types if they wish to see results quickly.
Intermittent Fasting – This is simply when you reduce the time span in which you are allowed to eat. Let’s say between 1 pm and 8 pm. This means that you have a 7-hour feeding window and the other 17 hours will be spent in a fasted state. but that’s not all there is to this diet – in order to reap the benefits properly, you MUST follow CICO. You must take in less energy during this 7-hour feeding window than you expend throughout the whole 24 hours. the good news is, simply by fasting for the other 17 hours you’re going to be expending a lot more energy. the bad news is you can’t simply just stuff your face for the 7 hours that you are allowed to eat and expect to see results. a lot of people find it easier to just eat at either extreme of the hour. so the 7-hour feeding window turns into a single meal at 1 pm and a single meal at 8 pm. it’s easier to track your calorie intake when you’re not snacking randomly throughout the day.
How Many Calories Should I Eat?
This depends entirely on how quickly you’re planning on losing weight. if you want the weight to fly off you insanely quickly – you might only eat less than 1000 calories a day. the downside of this is that you will be experiencing a lot of lethargy and adjusting to this extreme of a diet takes longer than with a more gentle dietary approach.
a lot of people like to diet in the 1400-1500 range, this takes longer but is not as exhausting.
this brings us to two other alternative styles of fasting that work for a lot of people, they can be combined together or done separately depending on personal preference.
One Meal A Day (OMAD)
This is one of the easiest styles of fasting to subscribe to logistically, but the adjustment period can take a while. it’s common to be incredibly hungry the first couple of days, other problems such as feeling weak, shaky and lethargic can occur. This is due to electrolyte deprivation – it can be rectified by increasing your electrolyte intake during your actual meal or by drinking hydration drinks/electrolyte/sports drinks (as long as they’re calorie free and won’t break your fast)
OMAD is as simple as picking an hour – say 5 pm, then ONLY eating on that hour every single day. it is easier to track calories and easier to plan for, as such its one of the more popular styles of fasting. many people ‘graduate’ to OMAD after adjusting to the more basic intermittent fasting.
For all intents and purposes, this is a 23 hour fast.
This is one of the smarter ways to fast. You make up a large water bottle full of electrolytes and sip it throughout the day in order to offset the feelings of fatigue and shakiness that are common in periods of fasting. you can use this to make OMAD/intermittent fasting easier or alternatively you can use this method to enable you to start diving into the uncharted territory of prolonged fasting. 48-hour fasts are entirely possible on ‘snake juice’ (Recipes for which can be found elsewhere online).
Prolonged fasting is the quickest way to lose weight. just remember to make sure you get a nutritionally complete meal in on your refeed days.