By Adam Horwitz
It’s been beaten into our heads for about a decade now: The way to lose weight is to eat 6 or 7 small meals every two to three hours.
This keeps our metabolism up, they said. This prevents you from being hungry because you’ll always be eating, they said.
Well…I’m about to turn that idea on its head with two words: Intermittent Fasting.
Breaking it down
The concept is simple: Choose an 8-hour window during the day to eat (or for the very advanced a 5, 6, or 7-hour window). Eat all your calories during that window and fast (i.e. don’t eat) outside that window.
Ideally your window would start several hours after you wake up, so noon to 8 p.m., for example. The benefit of this is simple: When you wake up, your body is screaming for calories. It wants you to put something in your stomach to convert into energy so it can embark on its normal bodily functions.
But if you deny it this energy, at least for a few hours, it has to turn somewhere else for sustenance: your fat.
That’s all body fat is: an energy storage site to be used when there’s not enough calories around.
Not so fast…
Intermittent fasting isn’t a cure all for weight loss…no diet or eating schedule is.
You still have to eat properly…either a calorie deficit if you’re trying to lose weight or a surplus if you’re trying to gain. But intermittent fasting as another tool in your weight loss arsenal could be exactly what you need to target fast loss, as studies have shown it to do.
What’s the deal?
Essentially you’re eating only two large meals a day, which may be a better option for some than the six small meals a day theory.
With six small meals, you‘re forced to always have food on you in order to eat every two to three hours, which isn’t realistic if you work during the day. Also, are you ever really satisfied after eating a 200-300 calorie meal? If you’re used to eating larger meals, intermittent fasting might be better for you.
And that’s really the point: find out what works best for you. Whether you’re eating lots of small meals or just two really big meals, as long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you will see weight loss.
The most important thing to have when you embark on a fitness journey is a willingness to experiment. Your body is entirely different from the trainer at the gym or the fitness guru on YouTube, so you can’t always be sure that what works for them will work for you.
Instead, try something out for a few weeks to a month. If you’re consistent with it and still not getting the results you want, then make a change.