No, you do not want to lose weight. You want to lose fat. And intermittent fasting will make you a fat-burning machine.
Fasting isn’t more diet hype, it’s old, like before the ancient Greeks kind-of-old.
Hunter-gatherers did it. Jesus Christ, Buddha, and the prophet Muhammed fasted. Today, Terry Crews, Beyoncé, James Clear, Joe Rogan, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Jack Dorsey, and Tim Ferriss fast.
Why do all these people fast? Because studies show fasting increases longevity, cleanses out your body (i.e., cancer cells, damaged cells, and other wastes), boosts growth hormone production, and yes, also melts body fat.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
First, let’s detail out the many ways that people fast today. According to Medical News Today, there are seven ways people tend to fast:
- 12 Hour Intermittent Fasting: An excellent option for beginners, and much of the fasting occurs during sleep. By the end of the 12 hour fast, the body will turn from carbs to fat-burning.
- 16 Hour Intermittent Fasting: One step beyond 12 hours, also known as the 16:8 method. Ideal for people who don’t see benefits during the 12 hour fasting period.
- 5:2 Fasting: You usually eat for five days, and two days of the week you consume a low amount of calories (around 500). You’re eating so little on the other two days that you still get some of the benefits of an actual fast (fat-burning included).
- Alternate Day Fasting: Consuming a small number of calories, or none at all, every other day. You can also do an alternate day intermittent fast, where you usually eat one day and eat within a timeframe on the other.
- A Weekly 24 Hour Fast: Choosing one or two days out of the week to fast for the entire day. There are more benefits to a prolonged fast, such as an increase in stem cell production and gut healing.
- Meal Skipping: Another good approach if you’re starting out. Skip a meal of the day, preferably either breakfast or dinner as it’ll extend the period of your fast.
- One Meal A Day (OMAD or Warrior Diet): It is what it sounds like, an intense form of fasting where you eat once a day. This should only be attempted by those who can consume considerable meals in a short time on a daily basis. The fasting window is usually 20:4 and fat-burning is intense as you might imagine. (Recommended for those used to prolonged fasting; not a good place to start).
Time to Burn Fat
We’ll start easy with a 12–16 hour fast, which means you skip breakfast, start eating after 1 p.m., and stop around 8 at night.
The first thing you’re going to do… is to not eat.
Fasting is what Taoists would consider as non-action or “Wu Wei.” It means consciously not doing something, not because you’re lazy or don’t care, but because there’s more power in saying no.
No, you’re not going to eat poorly because your health is important to you and your loved ones. No, you’re not going to eat for a few hours a day because it cleanses your body and turns it into a fat-burning machine.
Yes, you are going to work out because saying no is because you’re lazy or don’t care, not because you’re deliberately choosing against it.
With that said, choosing to fast doesn’t mean consuming nothing at all. Water, black coffee, tea (no added sweeteners), and apple cider vinegar don’t break fasts.
This was a godsend for me when getting into fasting.
Switching over my breakfasts to two or three cups of black coffee and drinking water throughout the day made it much easier to fast. And studies show that coffee actually aids in fat-burning.
You also should consider drinking mineral water or adding salt to your fasting-approved beverages. Our body loses a lot of water when we fast, which also means we lose a lot of salt. If you feel weaker when you fast, this could be the reason.
Add a pinch of salt (preferably pink Himalayan salt), and it’ll make the hunger go away and boost your fast.
The Crucial Importance of Breaking a Fast
When the clock strikes 1 p.m. (or whatever time you’ve deemed), it’s time for breakfast, or to break-your-fast.
It will be very tempting to scoop everything in your pantry into a trash bag, turn on some Netflix, and go to town on the food you’ve held out on.
Resist the temptation. Start with a small little meal, something simple, consider it a light breakfast. Give your body time to readjust to eating food again; don’t overwhelm it immediately when it’s time for chow.
Most importantly, be proud of yourself. This is a monumental step and you’ll see the fat-burning effects almost immediately.