September’s a great month to… reset your body.
Bye bye winter flu, hello slinky party dress. Imagine if there was one simple change you could make to your diet this autumn that would totally transform your health and waistline in time for the festive season.
Intermittent fasting has well-documented benefits that include a rebooted immune system, more stable energy levels and even a slowed ageing process (not to mention getting slim in record time). But for some of us, those long stretches without food can be hard to manage without starting to imagine what one of the kids would taste like!
Luckily, personal trainer Max Lowery has come up with a more gentle way of fasting that still reaps all of its amazing health benefits. All you have to do is restrict your eating to lunch and dinner. Here, the author of the 2 Meal Day book shares his time-restricted-eating plan with you, so you could find your best body ever, just in time for Christmas. Over to Max...
Whether you’ve put on a few pounds over the summer holidays or just want to have more energy this Christmas, time restricted eating (TRE) can help. If you’ve tried and failed at plans like the 5:2 diet in the past you may have ruled this way of eating out as being not right for you. However my tips will enable you to benefit from all of fasting’s many rewards, with none of the fuss or the hunger pangs.
Eat like your ancestors
Many of us eat within an hour of waking up and then continuously graze until right before bed. At best we are going eight to nine hours without eating (whilst we are asleep). That adds up to 16 hours of continuous eating, digesting and processing of food. In early human history, food wasn’t continuously available and our bodies are primed to digest and utilise food for roughly an eight to ten-hour time period. Eating outside these hours will mean that digestion can take a lot longer and we will process fats and sugar inefficiently.
Just skipping one meal builds a natural fasting period into your day, so you’re tapping into the energy-boosting, anti-ageing benefits of intermittent fasting without the longer stretches of hunger of a full fast.
Eat two meals a day
It really is that simple. By pushing your first meal later into the day and then enjoying two filling meals in the afternoon, you’ll start to decrease how often you eat and you’ll feel less hungry, something that’s incredibly empowering. Just skipping one meal builds a natural fasting period into your day, so you’re tapping into the energy-boosting, anti-ageing benefits of intermittent fasting without the longer stretches of hunger of a full fast. Sticking to two meals a day is simple. There’s no calorie counting and you’ll be in a slight caloric deficit every day, without even realising it.
Make those two meals count
Eating enough at your two 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 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.
Don’t break your fast by accident
Remember, anything that contains ANY calories breaks your fast, so if you are fasting for the health benefits, you are going to want to stick to water, green tea, herbal tea, black tea and black coffee in the morning. However, if you are fasting for weight loss, you can afford to be a little more lenient with the inclusion of ingredients like milk in you coffee, or a squeeze of lemon in your hot water.
See the bigger picture
Although fitting into that little black party dress may be your primary reason for trying TRE this autumn, I believe that focusing on the other health benefits this way of eating can bring, can help you sustain it long after September ends. Fasting can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It boosts your immune system by shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. It can even be anti-ageing by reducing oxidative stress. It’s always better to do something for positive rather than negative reasons, so weight loss should be the by-product rather than the sole aim.
So now you have all you need to reset your body to burn fat, boost energy and banish hunger. Start in September and you’ll be feeling so healthy by the time the party season comes around that you’ll want to make this the way you eat for life!