Intermittent fasting is becoming a more popular method of losing and maintaining weight, as well improving health in a variety of ways. While the mainstream medical community is jumping on board after studies revealed impressive results, Dr. Mercola has been a proponent of this technique for years. I'm a big fan of Dr. Mercola, and while I wish I had the gumption to follow more of his advice consistently, intermittent fasting is actually something implement often for weight management.
Works For Me
I had never read anything about fasting for weight control. It just made sense. I ate less food to lose weight and, in so doing, often skipped breakfast and ate lunch as my first meal. Turns out I was doing exactly what is suggested in The 8 Hour Diet: Watch the Pounds Disappear Without Watching What You Eat!. Co-authors, David Zinczeniko and Peter Moore, were recently featured in an MSNBC news segment promoting the benefits of keeping your food consumption within an 8-hour window. To follow this fasting method you might eat your first meal at 12:00 p.m., eat periodically for the next 8 hours, and then refrain from eating after 8:00 p.m. However, your window can be whatever period of time works best for you.
Mercola's Take on Intermittent Fasting
According to Dr. Mercola, this is not about starving yourself or even restricting the amount of food you eat. You eat the same amount of food you would eat if you ate throughout the entire day, only you limit the period of time to an 8-hour window. He recommends choosing healthy foods, minimizing carbs, and including plenty of healthy fats in the form of coconut oil, olive oil, butter, olives, eggs, avocados and nuts. He warns that it can take several weeks for your body to move into fat burning mode and it was his experience that cravings for unhealthy foods and carbs disappear as a side benefit.
Keeping It Real
If you've read my article on how I lost weight, I didn't particularly eat very healthy while shedding 60 pounds and have maintained my weight loss for 17 years. I'm just keeping it real here and sharing my experience. Of course we would all benefit greatly from a healthy diet, but I am proof that when it comes to weight loss and weight management, what you eat isn't as important as how much of it you eat. These days I am more health conscious and try to incorporate more quality foods into my diet. I eat a lot of healthy fats, including all of the ones listed above and try to limit my carb consumption.
Health and Longevity
Abstaining from food periodically isn't just about weight management. It provides many health benefits including the following.
- Normalizes insulin and leptin sensitivity, a contributing factor in nearly all chronic disease. Optimal insulin resistance can help prevent diabetes, heart, disease and cancer
- Normalizes levels of "the hunger hormone", also known as ghrelin
- Triggers a dramatic rise human growth hormone (HGH), which is valuable for health, fitness and slowing the aging process. HGH promotes muscle growth and revs up the metabolism
- Reduces inflammation and free radical damage
- Lowers triglyceride levels, which can otherwise lead to heart disease
- Boosts brain health, including reducing the risk of dementia and more
Other Forms of Intermittent Fasting
There are many methods of intermittent fasting. One protocol is described in the new diet book, The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting. Author Dr. Michael Mosley suggests fasting two days a week and eating normally the other five. On fasting days, he recommends cutting your food consumption to 1/4 a normal calorie intake, or 600 calories for men and 500 for women, including plenty of water and tea.
This New York Times best seller is all abuzz on Amazon. To date it rates 4.5 stars among nearly 1500 reviewers. One reviewer was extremely skeptical after adhering to the "Eat 5 or 6 small meals" hype to keep her metabolism in fat burning mode. However, her weight loss results quickly squelched her skepticism and, like me, she enjoys being able to have a bigger meal when she's not fasting.
Here's a quote from a reviewer that I can relate to.
Been on this diet for over seven months and I still get to eat pizzas and burritos!
Oh, this just makes me giddy because it's exactly what I've been trying to get people to understand for years. While it's wise to eat healthy foods, it's not mandatory for weight loss. This is real life people. Most of us love pizza and burritos. My weight management motto is all things in moderation, and it keeps me from going crazy with cravings and binging.
Eating the foods we love is exactly what makes this type of weight loss method so freeing!
The 8-Hour Diet: Watch the Pounds Disappear without Watching What You Eat! provides well researched scientific evidence to support how intermittent fasting is great for health and longevity, as well as weight loss. As the name implies, the idea is to keep your food intake inside an 8-hour window.
There is a specific program outlined in this book that involves, well ... rules that I probably would never follow. Things like 8 glasses of water a day (I just listen to my body and drink when I'm thirsty, which is almost always water), and 8 minutes of cardio before your first meal. I vetoed that rule back in the 90's after Oprah Winfrey's trainer had me going for walks every morning before I ate breakfast. I hated that rule! But that doesn't mean that sticking to eating within an 8 hour window doesn't do wonders all by itself.
Having said that, some people benefit from having a program to follow and, beyond a few rules, this book offers a lot of information on why intermittent fasting works, as well as great motivation to get you going.
Many Amazon reviewers say this book has changed their lives and helped them with their weight loss goals, including one liberated reviewer who loves that they no longer have to count calories, carbs, fats, points or come up with magical food combinations. Another claims to have been a lifelong breakfast eater, and would be the first to preach the breakfast gospel, but the book's clinical studies made them a believer, as well as the weight loss results they experienced. Another testimonial boasts a 40 pound weight loss in four months.
Dr. Mercola's Speaks on Intermittent Fasting
Dr. Mercola dispels the myth that breakfast is the healthiest meal of the day and explain the principals behind intermittent fasting, as well as his suggestions for healthy eating.
Try it for Yourself
Try intermittent fasting and see what it does for you. As for what Mercola says about consuming the same amount of food within the 8-hour window as you would have eaten throughout an entire day, I can vouch that this works. Recently I went through a period where I fasted breakfast several times during the week, and then ended up eating more in the evening than I felt I should if I wanted to shed some pounds, yet I consistently lost a little bit of weight each day. To be honest, I didn't pay attention to what time I stopped eating each night, and I'm quite sure I ate beyond the 8 hour time period. Again, just keeping it real by sharing my personal experience.
More Blissful Miss Resources for Weight Management
- How to Lose Weight Eating What You Love: How I Lost 60 Pounds
- 10 Tips to Eat less Food for Weight Loss
- Lose Weight with Portion Control
Written by Jenna Dawn ©
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