Do you know one of the best weight management tips around has nothing to do with what you’re actually putting in your mouth?
I’ve been wanting to dedicate a post that looks at more than just what eating right looks like. There’s already a ton of post online that are going to say chicken and salmon are great protein choices, and veggies are always the way to go (I’ve done that enough in previous posts, I think).
What I wanted to discuss here is how diet success really comes down to meal timing. Or, to be more specific, your window of eating—from when you start and stop—will help you rapidly shrink your waistline.
“Size matters not,” once said Yoda. He wasn’t exactly talking about dieting. His wisdom, however, can be applied here just as well. This is because the very popular, and dare I say antiquated advice, of eating several mini-meals a day is flawed in many ways. That’s right. And, if you’re sticking to a diet of McNuggets and Fries then it’s really flawed, and that means the power of the dark side truly is great.
What I’m proposing is moving away from the ”grazing” style of eating. Grazing can be the wrong approach for many people. Also, there’s a bit of an insanity that goes with planning out multiple meals a day in advance. Instead giving yourself a window of opportunity for getting your daily allotment of calories is a far better strategy.
Eat Just 3 Meals a Day and Still Burn Fat…Whaaa?!?
So how many hours do you really need to eat your daily calories in one day?
I remember when I first started getting serious with my eating some years back all the evidence, mostly the weight management tips learned from my-then trainer and every workout website I visited, pointed to my biggest area of opportunity as needing to make sure I ate breakfast everyday. Even if I wasn’t hungry.
It went hand in hand with the 5-6 meal per day approach: Even if you don’t need to eat, you’re expected to eat. This way you can prevent a slow down in your metabolism.
Well, I’ve yet to stumble across any piece of research that states high-frequency eating, as the 5-6 meals a day options for, is a must to keep your metabolic rate up.
To me, looking back on how I used to approach my meals this brute force way to results seems so crude.
Today I shudder at the thought of training the body to be expect to stay in a fed state rather than to eat when it comes more natural…like say when you’re feeling hungry.
I now routinely go without breakfast and never worrying about my metabolism stalling. For the most part I generally won’t eat until lunch time, and rather prefer the benefits of skipping breakfast.
The reason I’m able to stay on target is through Intermittent Fasting (IF). This is a eating strategy more than a diet. The reason I don’t think of IF as a diet is because in my opinion diet and lifestyle are interchangeable in definition.
In the past couple of years I’ve let IF play a more prominent role than any of the other weight management tips I’ve used in the past. And, I’ve been enjoying the results in the process.
Probably one of the best known IF programs out there is Brad Pilon’s Eat.Stop.Eat.
Here in this video Brad details the similarities between exercise and fasting states.
There are several versions, or hybrids, of IF that I can’t highlight them all here. But one that I recommend taking a peek at is Martin Berkhan’s The Leangains Guide.
Martin’s setup is the one I base my own eating on. It seems to work best for me. It has a flexibility I can easily work with, and gets me staying lean, or working on building muscle in the process.
How Lean Gains works is you send 16 hours in a fasting state, and then head into a feeding state for eight hours. This can be accomplished everyday.
With Eat.Stop.Eat you go 24 hours in a fasted state about twice a week, with always returning to your regular eating routine.
How Many Calories Do You Need To Strive For?
Diet is everything. This is as pure as weight management tips go. Just take a look at every fitness goal you’ve ever set for yourself. In most cases you’ll see how they revolve around eating a certain set of calories per day.
To make some serious headway on a diet plan you need to know how many calories you have access to per day. Everyone is different. So I recommend starting out by crunching a few numbers.
In my post about maintenance calories I recommended figuring your Basal Metabolic Rate before actually setting out on any kind of meal plan. It seems there’s a longer success rate when beginners make smaller changes to their eating habits before making steeper cuts.
I originally suggested a conservative calorie deficit of 300-400 calories per day for those looking to lose weight. For faster-paced weight loss you’ll probably want to cut out about 500 calories instead. Forcing a lower amount of calories might send the wrong signal to your body, and you could end up storing fat. Talk about being counter-productive.
But once you know how many calories you can play around with the next thing is to eat. And for a food lover like myself, this is the best part when sticking with various weight management tips.
Speaking from experience there seems to be less “hunger” or the “feeling of being hungry” during an intermittent fast.
You might expect to be ravenous when sitting down with the meal that breaks the fast. I’ve never had that be the case. Nor have I gone overboard and ate all my efforts away.
So How Can You Workout to Get Ripped With Fasting?
You really just train like normal. You don’t have to hold back on the intensity. You can train for muscle, or use a interval program for blasting the fat.
I’m not a fan of exercising in a fasted state. But the good thing is you have a couple of options.
The first is using BCAA supplements to help break the fast just prior to a routine. The second is to break the fast with a light meal, at either 20-25 percent of your daily calorie needs, two hours before you starting exercising.
The latter is typically the route I take. BCAA can be effective, yet costly. So by using a light meal to break the fast and then getting in your workouts later in the day works with my job and family-run schedule.
The Importance of Macros
I’m not too much into calculating macronutrients. When you’re trying to put on mass there’s less of a real need to watch everything your eating. You can basically gauge your portions on the go.
However, when you’re working for fat loss you’ve got to be more serious with knowing how many calories and macros your investing in at the beginning, middle and end of each day.
Most of your meals should be based on the format: Protein, Fat and Carbs.
Protein is one of the key foods to eat to gain muscle. And on the days you plan to exercise upping your carbs intake is important. And on the flip side, rest days should see an increase of fats while getting a lower amount of carbs.
You Don’t Need to Be Hard As Nails For This To Work
I know one of the things that turns people away from the benefits of Intermittent Fasting is, well, the fact they won’t be eating in the fashion they’re used to.
The idea sounds harder than actually doing it. If you really look at this system from afar the majority of the time spent in a fasted state occurs at night when you’re sleeping. There’s a plus almost right off the bat.
But life’s about experimenting.
So, going for a few hours without eating might seem like the harshest punishment for someone looking for an easy way to fat loss. Then there’s going to other’s who are always looking and willing to put simple weight management tips into action. It’s this last group who’ll take on the challenge with a grin and find success.