There are many approaches to weight loss and weight management, but the success of one approach over another often depends on each person’s metabolic rate the rate at which the body naturally converts nutrients and chemicals from food in order to maintain itself. Think of metabolism as the act of your body breaking down the food you eat into its different chemicals, and then delivering those chemicals to different parts of the body in order to create and story energy, as well as repair tissues. When we talk about metabolic rate, we refer to how fast your body can process food.
Typically, people with higher metabolic rates are leaner and more muscular. Think of someone like professional swimmer Michael Phelps, who reportedly ate up to 12,000 calories per day while training. His body needed a high level of energy output while training, and the only way he could do that and perform at such a high level was to eat an enormous amount of food (side note: he’s not eating as much now that he’s not competing anymore). Conversely, have you ever had a very skinny friend who could eat whatever s/he wanted without ever gaining any weight? That was likely due to that person’s high metabolic rate.
This brings us to one of the newest trends in health and nutrition: intermittent fasting. Unlike traditional diets that may restrict what a person eats, this practice limits when a person eats. The idea is that by fasting at set, recurring periods of time, our bodies will use stored fat to burn for energy, thus increasing our regular metabolism and ultimately helping us lose weight. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting
There are a variety of methods to implement an intermittent fasting routine, but it?s always best to start small and work up. Intermittent fasters often start with a smaller 8 hour period and work up to 12, 16, or even 24 hour periods. For example, an 8-hour fast could simply mean not eating after 9 p.m. or before 5 a.m. This is a good place to start if you’re a late-night snacker. Once you’ve mastered this, you might work up to a 12 hour fast, where you don’t eat anything between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. The next step would be only to eat between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m., bringing you to a 16-hour fast.
This would be done on a daily basis, but there are other regimes where you fast for 24 hours, once or twice per week, or you severely restrict caloric intake (under 600 calories) twice per week. If you work up to this level, it’s best to conduct fasts on non-consecutive days, so as not to deprive your body of much-needed nutrients it needs to continue to function.
Eat Enough To Feel Full, But Eat Healthy
When you’re not fasting, it’s perfectly fine to eat a lot at mealtimes (and only at mealtimes). That said, filling up on junk food isn’t a good way to go. As mentioned, it’s essential to keep the body fueled with the nutrients it needs to function. So instead of grabbing pizza and donuts (or pizza with donuts on it), make sure you’re still consuming lean protein, whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables.
If You Can’t Fast, Mimic
Fasting can be really challenging, and a good alternative is fasting mimicking. Using this method, caloric intake is limited to only a few days per month using a series of mini-meals, snacks, and dietary supplements that mimic the fasting state. Here at Shakthi, we have been using Prolon, a brand of scientifically-researched products that deliver both macro- and micro-nutrients in precise quantities and combinations that provide everything the body needs to achieve a fasting state without sacrificing nutrition.
Remember, it’s always best to consult with a professional before dramatically changing your diet or eating habits. Be sure to schedule an appointment for a consultation with our doctors and nutritionists. We’ll work with you to develop a customized plan to your life.