What is The 2 Meal Day and Why is it the Most Effective Method of Intermittent Fasting?
I truly believe that the 2 Meal Day is the simplest and most effective form of Intermittent Fasting. There are currently thousands of people all over the world who are achieving their goals of safe and sustained fat loss, muscle gain, leanness and overall weight loss. They are also experiencing a better quality of life and positive effects on their overall health – all thanks to following the 2 Meal Day.
A History of Max Lowery, Intermittent Fasting and the creation of 2 Meal Day
Intermittent Fasting has been the most important discovery in my health and fitness journey. I stumbled across it completely by accident four years ago and I haven’t looked back since. It has had such a profound effect on my life that I set out on a mission to make it as accessible as possible for everyone else.
Over the course of 5 years of research and self-experimentation, I learnt that for all the good intermittent fasting can do for people, there was a lot that was wrong with the methods I tried. Some of the main problems I found were that some were too restrictive – focusing on restricting certain food groups, calorie intake, or obsessing over time periods. Others were far too complicated to follow, and some focused on the entirely wrong aspects.
All of these came together to make me believe that there was not an Intermittent Fasting protocol out there that could be easily taken on by most people, so they could reap all the benefits for themselves… this resulted in my creation of 2 Meal Day – the simplest and most effective method of Intermittent Fasting.
You may already be familiar with some methods of Intermittent Fasting and not even realise it – The two most popular methods of Intermittent Fasting at the moment are the 5:2 and the 16:8. Here is a brief summary of each of these methods and the limitations I felt they had.
The 5:2 involves eating “normally” for five days of the week and on two days you only eat 500 or 600 calories. It has been incredibly popular and successful but for most people, the two calorie counting days are incredibly restrictive and challenging. People usually follow the 5:2 until they lose weight and then go back to eating normally after. On top of that, it isn’t technically fasting (depending on how you eat those 600 calories), which you may not get some of the health benefits.
The 16:8 protocol involves breaking your day up into a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour “eating window”. It can be followed every day since there is no calorie restriction. This is method is how I initially started my intermittent fasting journey.
The issue with both of these methods is the focus is on the wrong thing. By focusing on calories or time periods you never learn to listen to your body and understand what it needs and when it needs it.
2 Meal Day – The Concept
I truly believe that the modern world has taken us out of sync with our body’s natural rhythms and this causes us a lot of problems that span across nutrition, movement, mental and physical health and our sleep. The 2 Meal Day concept was simple – creating a plan that reconnects people with their body and teaches a lifestyle that can be followed long term.
Why is the 2 Meal Day Different?
The 2 Meal Day is very similar to the 16:8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat in an 8 hour “eating window”. There is one small but very significant difference… Rather than focusing on the clock and eating when the clock tells you to, you focus your attention on your body and perceived feelings of hunger.
For me, this is where the power of intermittent fasting lies, you begin to understand what hunger actually is – something that occurs every 16-24 hours, not every four hours!
By skipping one meal, you are getting a 16 hour fast, but the focus is on eating when you feel hungry, not because the clock tells you to.
This slight change in focus makes a MASSIVE difference. It becomes a way of life rather than something you do in the short term to get you to your weight loss goals.
Who is 2 Meal Day for?
The 2 Meal Day is for anyone looking to optimise their, health and fitness, boost energy levels, reduce hunger and improve their mind-body connection.
It’s an incredibly simple and effective weight loss tool, but it’s not just for weight loss. A recent study showed that many biomarkers of health improved on an intermittent fasting schedule even without weight loss!
I follow The 2 Meal Day every day because of how it makes me feel, I am full of energy I never feel hungry, and I stay lean effortlessly. I regularly eat out with friends, and I love food – there are no feelings of restriction or deprivation, or I wouldn’t do it.
The 2 Meal Day is becoming a way of life for so many people because of its simple, effective and sustainable. It teaches your body to transition from burning sugars and carbohydrates to body fat for energy – this is one of the most empowering things you can do for your long-term health and wellness.
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that our bodies are only primed to digest and utilise the food we eat at certain times of day The 2 Meal Day teaches you to eat when your body is ready for food.
The 2 Meal Day for Weight Loss
The 2 Meal Day has proven to be a highly effective and most importantly, sustainable weight loss tool. There are two main contributors to its success.
Firstly, you teach your body to start using fat for fuel, which means that fat burning. Secondly, it makes eating in a calorie deficit EFFORTLESS.
Thirdly, you can lose weight without having to weigh every single gram of food, or track every macronutrient. No one enjoys calorie counting!
It is a myth that if you skip a meal you end up over-consuming and making up for it later in the day. Although it may seem like you are eating more when you have two larger meals, on average you are eating a less than three meals and snacks.
This is where the power lies and why it becomes a sustainable way of life for thousands – you are eating a bit less every day, but it feels like you are eating more. What a game changer!
There are also many hormonal changes that are happening in the body that affect hunger and satiety. Many people report feeling less hungry overall, and this has now been backed up by a recent study.
The 2 Meal Day For Muscle Gain
There is a long-standing myth associated with fasting – that when you fast you lose all your muscle…
Let me explain why this is incorrect. It makes no sense for your body to use muscle for energy when it has an abundance of fat to tap into. Fasting has been shown to be incredibly effective at preserving muscle mass but decreasing body fat. When combined with resistance training it can actually increase muscle mass.
Protein is functional tissue and has many purposes other than energy storage, whereas fat is specialized for energy storage. How does the body retain lean tissue? Because of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Fasting increases levels of HGH (3) which is known for its muscle retraining and building effects.
So, let me put it as simply as I can. Fat is, stored food for us to ‘eat’ when there is nothing to eat. We have evolved fat stores to be used in times when there is nothing to eat. It’s not there for any other purpose. When there is nothing to eat (fasting), we ‘eat’ our own fat. This is natural. This is normal. This is the way we were designed.
And it’s not just us, but all wild animals are designed the same way. A lioness doesn’t waste away its muscle while keeping all its fat stores… she’s got to be strong enough to hunt for her next meal!
During fasting, hormonal changes kick in to give us more energy (increased norepinephrine), keep glucose and energy stores high (burning fatty acids and ketone bodies), and retain our lean muscles and bones (growth hormone). This is normal and natural and there is nothing to be feared!
On a purely anecdotal note; I have put on 4kg of lean muscle mass in the last 6 months due to my Olympic Lifting training. I am lifting heavy weights 4/5 times per week, whilst following The 2 Meal Day every day. My hunger levels have increased since I started lifting (which is to be expected) so I am eating more in my eating window, but I am achieving all of this whilst following The 2 Meal Day and showing no negative side effects!
Having said that, the beauty of intermittent fasting is that it makes eating in a calorie deficit easier, and therefore eating in a surplus harder.
In order to put on muscle, you need to be eating in a surplus.
If you know that you find it hard to eat in a surplus, intermittent fasting might not be a good option for you.
2 Meal Day for optimising your overall health
The 2 Meal Day is proving to be a simple and effective strategy for avoiding major dietary changes while achieving strong effects not just for one disease risk factor, but for an array of factors that constitutes the foundation for metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and possibly even neurodegenerative diseases. Most importantly it is becoming a way of life for so many people.
The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting with 2 Meal Day:
Reduces Insulin Resistance, and Metabolic Syndrome – Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and Strokes
IF has been shown to combat the worldwide problem of “Metabolic Syndrome” defined as having a high amount of visceral fat, combined with insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, and/ or high blood pressure.
Boost the Immune System
Fasting not only protects against immune system damage — a major side effect of chemotherapy — but also induces immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.
ALSO READ: The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Increase in Autophagy
Autophagy is a cellular maintenance process – stimulated by fasting – that is critical in disease resistance, longevity and general body and brain vitality.
Improves Metabolic Flexibility
Metabolic flexibility is the capacity to match fuel oxidation to fuel availability—or switch between burning carbs and burning fat. Someone with great metabolic flexibility can burn carbs when they eat them. They can burn fat when they eat it (or when they don’t eat at all). They can switch between carbohydrate metabolism and fat metabolism with relative ease.
Potential Slowing Down The Ageing Process
Fasting reduces oxidative stress which is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralisation by antioxidants. It is one of the main factors that contributes to ageing and many chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Although weight loss may be your primary reason for trying intermittent fasting, I believe that focusing on the above benefits can mean that this way of eating can become a sustainable and enjoyable way of life. It’s always better to do something for positive reasons, rather than negative reasons. Weight loss should be the by-product of Intermittent Fasting, not the sole aim
Having said that IF has been shown to be incredibly effective at promoting fat loss and retaining lean muscle mass, which is the holy grail of weight loss.
Who isn’t it for?
The vast majority of people are perfectly fine to start 2 Meal Day. However, there are a few groups of people that I advise either should not try it or should seek other advice before trying it. Anyone with any underlying medical condition should consult a doctor before trying The 2 Meal Day, particularly those with Type 1 and 2 Diabetes, Thyroid Conditions and a history of eating disorders. Pregnant and breastfeeding woman should also avoid it.
It is also not advised for anyone who is looking to put on a significant amount of weight or who has trouble gaining weight. This isn’t because the process of fasting doesn’t allow it, it simply means that those wishing to put on weight need to eat a lot more than they usually would. Restricting the time in which you can eat calories will make increasing calories more difficult (but not impossible).
The 2 Meal Day is scientifically backed by Dr Adam Collins PhD
Dr Adam Collins is the head of programming at Surrey University with well over 20 years’ experience in the field of Nutrition and Health and is regularly featured on the BBC for his expertise.
Adam’s specific areas of interest can be summarised as energy and macronutrient manipulation for metabolic health. This has led to several projects investigating intermittent energy restriction (intermittent fasting), time restricted feeding, macronutrient meal patterning, exercise and energy balance, and timing of feeding around exercise for fat oxidation (specifically gender differences).
He has personally verified The 2 Meal Day as an effective way to reap all the benefits from Intermittent Fasting, here’s what he had to say about the benefits:
“Independent of weight loss, IF exerts certain metabolic benefits collectively contributing to improved metabolic health. Via IF, you are moving the body into the fasted state in a more pronounced way, adapting the body to cope with this situation. Much of this relates to the improved efficiency by which the body can clear away and utilise (i.e. burn) carbohydrate and fat in the body. In effect, your fuel management in the body is improved, which impacts on your metabolic health (i.e. potentially lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes).
There are also other proposed benefits to IF, some easier to prove than others. We have already mentioned the effects IF may have on appetite, but there may be other beneficial effects on the brain, in particular, improved cognition and concentration. There are also effects on growth and cellular regeneration, via effects on Growth hormone and IGF-1. This may aid cellular repair and may impact on ageing/longevity, as well as possible cancer effects. Much of this is either very much in its infancy in terms of research or difficult to prove (e.g. effects on human lifespan).”
Exercising with 2 Meal Day
Fasted training can help you to become more metabolically efficient
The 2 Meal Day plan comes with a full library of workouts that are specially designed to facilitate your body’s ability to burn fat and as a result, increase fat loss!
Studies demonstrate that a bout of aerobic exercise performed in the fasted state as compared with non-fasted state increases the reliance on fat and subsequently reduces the reliance on carbohydrate as a fuel during exercise, with several publications showing that fasted exercise oxidises (burns) around 20-30% more fat.
Being less dependent on carbohydrates for energy is a good thing, you will end up feeling less hungry because your body knows how to tap into fat reserves for energy, rather than being dependant on the food you eat. Not craving high energy foods all day can be a big help when you are trying to lose weight and be healthier.
Long-term dependence on carbohydrates can lead to Insulin resistance which is one of they are driving factors in metabolic disease and type 2 diabetes. Following the nutritional and exercise components of the 2 Meal Day plan will not only help you lose weight but can be highly effective in combating against metabolic diseases like these.
2 Meal Day is a lifestyle outside of just Diet and Exercise
The 2 Meal Day is more than just a way of eating, it’s a philosophy that includes every aspect of your life – because leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle means more than just focusing your diet and exercise.
How you sleep, how you eat, how you move and how you connect are crucial to long-term mental and physical wellbeing.
In The 2 Meal Day plan, I talk a lot about how to work on those four elements, with sleep tips, mobility tutorials and tips on how to transform your alcohol habits.
5 Reasons Why You Should Try The 2 Meal Day
Teach yourself to understand your hunger better
Transform your relationship with food
Lose fat, effortlessly
Eat delicious food
No Calorie Counting!
What people are saying about 2 Meal Day and the results they have achieved
Ultimately, however great a method is in principle, its effectiveness will always be judged by its results. To date, there are over 20,000 people following the 2 Meal Day lifestyle and many of them have made progress that they proclaimed they did not believe was possible before starting. This is not just in terms of weight loss, people are benefiting from increased and more stable energy levels, better overall relationships with food, increased mental clarity and mood and some anecdotal experiences have also boasted healthier hair and nails and even improvements in skin conditions such as psoriasis!
2 Meal Day Intermittent Fasting Results – seeing is believing
For many people that try 2 Meal Day, their overall goal is to lose weight and transform their physique. Intermittent Fasting retrains your body to burn stored body fat for energy which makes it an incredibly effective long-term solution to the common struggles of losing weight and becoming lean. Unlike many other ‘diets’ out there, 2 Meal Day is designed as a sustainable way of life – it does not force you to restrict your calories or have to make unsociable lifestyle choices in order to get results.
All of the results achieved by followers of 2 Meal Day have been achieved with NO CALORIE RESTRICTION and no restrictive changes to lifestyle. Simply by learning and incorporating the principles of Intermittent Fasting, cooking and eating recipes that revolve around the 2 Meal Day principle of ‘Eat Real Food’, and following a consistent exercise program (also provided in the plan) thousands of people are achieving health and sustainable weight loss and transforming their physiques long-term.
2 Meal Day FAQs, Myths, and Misconceptions
“I Exercise in the Morning, Can I Do The 2 Meal Day?”
First of all, your training goals and experience will make a difference here.
If you belong in the less experienced, training for general fitness and weight loss group then you can exercise first thing in the morning and can continue to follow your Intermittent Fasting program until your lunchtime, as long as you get enough quality food in at your two meals. If you do this, there is no need to worry!
For those that are more experienced and have a big focus on performance (I am in this category), the best way to benefit from both exercising in the morning and following your Intermittent Fasting program is to experiment with your fasting hours and eating window. For example, if you are training first thing in the morning at 7am, aiming to eat about three hours after you finish your workout, you could have your dinner the night before a bit earlier and break your fast around 11am the next day.
This is purely anecdotal and won’t apply to everyone, recently I trained for my first ultra-marathon. Everyone knows that an increase in running is meant to decrease muscle mass and strength levels. However, I followed a very specific program which was aimed at retaining muscle mass and strength levels in conjunction with increasing my mileage every week. In those five weeks of training, I actually put on muscle, I continued to follow the 2 Meal Day and 3 of my 6 weekly exercise sessions are fasted, first thing in the morning and I continue to fast until lunchtime.
What does this mean? It means that if you are following the right training program and eating enough nutrient dense foods at some point in the day, you are good to go!
Is Intermittent Fasting with 2 Meal Day Safe for Women?
I’m going to start by saying that 70% of the people buying my 2 Meal Day Intermittent Fasting Fat Loss Plans are women… and they are having great results! This is because they have incorporated Intermittent Fasting in a safe and effective way.
Unfortunately, women are more sensitive to physical stress than men. The only time I have seen certain women have issues with intermittent fasting is because they are doing too many things at once – overtraining, under sleeping, high-stress job, restricting calories and then they try intermittent fasting as well!
Intermittent fasting is relatively new to the mainstream medical system and unfortunately, to date, there haven’t been any conclusive studies conducted on the effects of intermittent fasting on women specifically.
However, there is a large body of anecdotal evidence to suggest that women can follow an intermittent fasting program with absolutely no issues at all, it all comes down to finding the method that works for the individual and as always, learning to listen to your body.
Does Fasting slow down your metabolism?
Myth! This is completely false. In fact, the opposite is true. Lower insulin levels, higher growth- hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy. For these reasons, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6–14 per cent, helping you burn even more calories.
Are Fasting and Starvation the same thing?
No. There is a vast difference between fasting and starving. In the absence of food, your body systematically cleanses itself of everything except vital tissue. Starvation only occurs when the body is forced to use vital tissue to survive.
The goal of fasting is not to calorie restrict, but to restrict meal frequency. On the 2-Meal Day, all you are doing is eating your first meal a few hours later (if you are a breakfast skipper). When you do eat, you eat until you are full, enjoying every bite!
Will Fasting cause your muscles will waste away?
This is a Myth. One of the side effects of fasting is a rise of growth hormone (GH) in the blood, which can increase by up to five times. Higher levels of GH facilitate fat-burning, muscle building and prevent muscle wastage when supported by the nutrients provided by your two meals.
Wil Fasting will mess with women’s hormones
As explained above, if done correctly fasting can be a safe and effective way of life for women.
What breaks my fast?
Many people talk about anything less than 30cals is fine to eat during fasting hours. As far as I can see this is made up, there is no research to suggest this anywhere (that I have found). Anything that contains calories will take you out of the fasted state. Stick to water, green/black tea and black coffee.
What about eating 6 small meals a day for weight loss?
I am not saying that intermittent fasting is the only tool for weight loss. You could get great results eating 6 small meals a day. However, in my experience training hundreds of clients, the big difference is that eating 6 small meals a day is completely unsustainable! Not only is it a lot of effort to cook and eat six meals per day, it takes the enjoyment out of food. You also won’t get the added health benefits that you get from giving your digestion a break. In my opinion, grazing on food all day is completely unnatural and could mess with your natural rhythms – you will feel hungry all the time!
What time should I break my fast?
The reason I started the 2 Meal Day was to take the focus away from time periods. When you focus on time periods or counting calories you can end up getting obsessed and eating because the clock tells you to rather than listening to your body. When you first start fasting you may have to be strict with the 14-16 hour gap you are aiming for, but once you are using body fat for fuel and your hunger hormones have normalised you should eat your first meal when you feel hungry! Some days this might be 11am some days it might not be until 2-3pm. The beauty of this way of eating is you will learn when your body needs food and when it doesn’t.
How many days per week can I fast?
The 2 Meal Day isn’t about calorie restriction, so you could adopt the methods every day. With other intermittent fasting programs, it varies depending on the amount of time you fast for or if you are restricting calories. Ultimately you decide how many days per week you do it, once you understand your body better you can incorporate it how you see fit. Most people find they do it most days because they feel so much lighter, more energised and empowered!