Fasting retrains your body to become fat adapted. This means you burn stored body fat for energy, rather than being dependent on sugars from food. This is the fundamental principle behind The 2 Meal Day Intermittent Fasting Plan and why so many people have had success with both weight loss and muscle gain whilst fasting.
This is empowering because you become completely self-sufficient. Not only will you lose weight, you will be FULL of energy all day long, no longer reaching for caffeine or nicotine or sugar to get you through the day.
Most surprisingly you will feel less hungry. Fasting teaches you to tune into your body. You will start to understand what “Real” hunger feels like, something that occurs every 16-24 hours not every four hours.
Being in a fasted state promotes incredible changes in the body. Taking us back to the way human beings ate for thousands of years when food wasn’t constantly available.
We have become dependent on sugar for energy. The mid-morning and afternoon slumps in energy levels have become the social norm, but I can assure you this is completely unnatural.
In the West, we have this phobia of having an empty stomach, but amazing things happen in the body when it is.
All you are doing is pushing your first meal later into the day and then enjoying two filling meals in the afternoon. Once you start to decrease how often you eat you will feel less hungry, and this is incredibly empowering.
Fasting has nothing to do with starvation. It’s about giving your body what it needs when it needs it. Just by pushing your first meal a bit later into the day you can optimise virtually every system in the body.
Most importantly this is not a crash diet, but a way of life that can be central to your health and fitness journey.
Here’s The Technical Bit
When you extend periods of non-eating some amazing things happen:
- Growth Hormone (GH) increases which not only preserves muscle mass but can actually help cause growth in muscle, bone density, and cartilage. An increase in GH effects adipose tissue (Fat) by breaking stored body fat into fatty acids which can be used for energy throughout the body; in fact, they are worth more than carbohydrates (this explains the stable energy levels).
- Norepinephrine increases which has been shown to have an effect on the mind as well as the body. High Norepinephrine levels have been shown to increase mental alertness, and boost the metabolism of fat. Conversely, scientists now think that low levels can cause depression.
- Insulin Sensitivity increases. Short term this can benefit you by directing carbs to your muscles for muscle gains, rather than being converted to fat. Conversely being insulin insensitive long term can lead to Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
- Ghrelin (“the hunger hormone”) levels are normalised.
- Cortisol levels are at their highest in the mornings, eating with raised cortisol levels have been shown to increase post-meal hunger and increase insulin resistance (This is why people find it much easier to control cravings when using IF.)
As well as these processes going on in the body fasting has been shown to:
- Increases gene and cell repair
- Increase longevity
- Reset the body to burn fat for energy (ketosis) rather than sugar, which has been shown to dramatically decrease the risk of chronic disease.
- Lowering triglyceride levels and improving other biomarkers of disease
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Being insulin sensitive boosts mitochondrial energy efficiency (all cells are more efficient at using energy)
- Reduces cancer risk. There is also evidence to suggest fasting can decrease the effects of chemotherapy.v
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Reduces Alzheimer’s risk
ALSO READ: The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Fat Burning Machine
Our bodies are naturally fat burning machines, but because of clever marketing and an abundance of ‘food like products’, we have become dependent on sugar to supply us with energy. Every time we have that mid-morning snack we create a blood sugar spike, which causes the hormone insulin to be released. Excess insulin not only causes us to put on fat, but it actually stops us from burning the fat we already have. Long term this can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Eating ‘little and often’ or ‘grazing’ has become the social norm with the myth that it keeps the metabolism ring. Unfortunately, we are encouraged to snack in between meals by companies who create ‘food like products’ which are cheap, nutrient sparse, and highly processed. To achieve your fat loss goals, avoid these products.
You may feel that there is a lot of food on this meal plan, but what you are trying to achieve is to turn your body into a fat burning machine. This is called ketosis. It is important to fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods, especially when exercising.
Eating enough at meal times is crucial so you aren’t tempted to snack on poor quality food in-between meals. Digestion takes up a lot of energy and contributes to energy slumps throughout the day. Fasting will help stabilise blood sugar levels and force your body to draw on its own fat reserves for energy, rather than being dependent on a constant stream of food.
It will take time for your body to get used to this way of eating, and it may be difficult for some of you. But once your body goes into ketosis you will quickly reap the benefits of stable energy levels, feeling “real hunger” (every 12-24 hours), dropping body fat, and not being a slave to hunger.
Most importantly skipping breakfast or dinner does NOT slow down your metabolism, in fact, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories.