What I have found this past week...
1. I am not obsessed with thoughts of food like I was when trying to get 6 meals in a day.
2. Some days I actually struggle to reach my calorie goal because I'm just not hungry.
3. I am more satiated from eating larger meals and they are keeping me fuller for longer.
4. I don't appear to be losing any strength thus far.
Some arguments that come up when talking about IF are...
1. But breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
A. Do you know where the word 'breakfast' comes from? It means to 'break' the 'fast'. It doesn't matter what time you eat it. Secondly, I can argue that the 'post-workout' meal is actually the most important meal of the day.
2. Breakfast kick starts your metabolism so it runs faster all day.
A. Your metabolism doesn't actually work like that. 70% of your resting metabolic rate is determined by your lean body mass, not your food. 10% is from the thermic effect of food which happens when you eat food. Again, it doesn't matter if you eat at 7am or 12pm, the thermic effect happens whenever you eat. The rest is determined by exercise. There have been numerous studies done on metabolic rate and none of them show that frequency of food 'speeds' it up. Even low calorie diets do NOT have an affect on resting metabolic rate.
3. You are running the risk of going into starvation mode if you skip a meal.
A. 'Starvation mode' only occurs after several weeks of not eating anything, not a matter of hours. There was a study done that showed you can go 72 hours in a fasted state without ANY affect on your metabolic rate at all.
4. Your body is going to break down muscle when you are in a fasted state.
A. When fasted, insulin levels drop and glucagon levels rise. Insulin is the 'storage' hormone and glucagon is the 'break down' hormone. So first off, you certainly won't be storing any fat in a fasted state which is a big plus. Secondly, when you weight train your body is looking to conserve muscle glycogen because your muscles are being used and there is a need to preserve it. Fat is not being used so the body will break down your fat for fuel, not your muscles that you are using.
So on a personal level, lets talk about why I am loving IF. I like to eat big meals because they satisfy me and I like to eat in the afternoon and at night. So first off, IF fits my lifestyle right off the bat. When I eat 6 or more meals a day, they are small meals so are not very satisfying and I'm hungry within an hour. So by the time 5pm rolls around I'm running out of allowable calories. At the end of the day, it comes down to CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. It's that simple. It really is. You can eat chicken, rice and broccoli all day every day but if you are eating over your maintenance level calories then you are going to store the excess calories. I don't care who you are or what 'broscience' you have read, ALL studies show that if you eat too much you will gain weight (muscle and fat as long as you are weight training. Just fat if you are not) and if you eat below maintenance you will lose weight. PERIOD.
So for me to lose body fat, I need to eat in a deficit, and by shortening that feeding window I find that it is much easier to stay below my maintenance level calories. Sometimes I even find it hard to fit all the calories in because I'm just too full from eating bigger meals.
Now some people even say that eating larger meals gives a greater thermic effect of food thus speeding up your metabolism and that may be true in that short period of breaking down your food, but as I mentioned above it will have no affect on your resting metabolic rate. If you want to 'speed' up your metabolism, then go and lift some weights and increase your lean body mass. Muscle is far more active than fat (some will argue that fat is not active at all) so the more more muscle you have, the more energy your body needs, and where does your body get energy from first and foremost? Food.
So to sum up my first week of IF, I am really loving it! I fast for 14-16 hours and eat for the rest. I eat my first meal between 10am and 12pm then stop eating between 8pm and 9pm. I'm doing steady state cardio only 3 days per week and I'm lifting 5 days per week. I do like high intensity interval training and I may exchange one of my steady state days for a HIIT session if I feel like it. I don't want to do too much cardio at first because I want some ammo left for when I start to plateau and when I enter competition season. I eat 30% below maintenance calories on rest days and cardio only days, and I eat 15% below maintenance calories on weight training days. I am guestimating my maintenance calories so it's going to be trial and error for a few weeks. I'm eating 1.25 - 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight and I'm eating no less than .5g of fat per pound of body weight. I am eating between 160 - 200g of carbs per day, depending on whether it's a rest day or weight training day. Carbs keep my muscles full and hard so I can lift heavy whilst eating in a deficit so there is no way I want to drop those too low. Plus, I enjoy eating them so why on earth would I want to give them up?
Fat loss takes time and I am in no hurry as I want to stay healthy, preserve muscle, and still have plenty of energy.
I will write a much shorter update next week for you ;-)
If you have any questions, please email me, comment on this blog, or ask me through my media channels.
Thanks for reading!