By Dr Michael Mosley

Intermittent Fasting has been widely proven to accelerate fat loss, boost energy levels and help to reverse type 2 diabetes. Dr Michael Mosley founded the 5:2 Diet and the Fast 800 programs. Follow his tips to ensure an effective fast for rapid results.

Fasting Doesn’t Slow your Metabolism

The idea that fasting ‘slows your metabolism’ is a myth. Under conditions of marked energy deficit – 800 calories per day or less – not only do you simply lose weight by eating fewer calories, but your body responds to the stress of fasting by enhancing hormone function to facilitate weight loss and burn fat for energy.

Short-term fasting can lead to several changes in the body that make fat burning easier. This includes reduced insulin, increased growth hormone, enhanced epinephrine signaling, and a small boost in metabolism.

Timing is Key

There is more and more evidence emerging to show that to get maximum benefit from your diet, you need to take care about how you time your meals, in addition to calorie restriction. Time-restricted eating is very straightforward. You simply ensure that for at least 12 hours within each 24-hour period, you do not consume any calories.

With time-restricted eating, you induce a state of mild ketosis (ketosis occurs when the body uses fat as its main fuel). This occurs when following a very low-carb, ketogenic diet, (and during intermittent fasting) and that seems to produce some widespread benefits.

One of the most obvious is weight loss, but there is also some evidence that doing intermittent fasting will improve your insulin sensitivity and reduce your blood pressure.

Most adults eat for about 15 hours through the day, which does not leave enough time for cell repair pathways to engage to their fullest extent. The long-term health effects of this can be disastrous, loading the body with chronic physiological stress. Time-restricted eating is a simple and manageable step that can put all of this into reverse – and the test results prove it. Some people prefer to shorten their eating window, to ten or even just eight hours, although recent research shows that a 12-hour period away from food is enough time to give your body significant benefits.

Choosing the Right Fast for You

There are different types of intermittent fasting and I suspect that they suit different people.

The Fast 800 is an online program that combines a healthy, low-carb Mediterranean diet with intermittent fasting. It is flexible enough to suit most people. For a long time, we believed that rapid weight loss was a terrible way to go, but the evidence is mounting of its benefits, if done properly. You must ensure you have adequate amounts of protein, fiber and essential nutrients in your diet. Rapid weight loss is very motivating and long-term studies suggest it’s the amount of weight that you lose in the first month or so that predicts the long-term success of losing a lot of weight.

If you don’t feel comfortable with 800 calories a day, and are suffering with hunger pangs, switch to a 5:2 plan. This is also good if you like to dine out a lot and want to have days where you don’t count calories. Have two days a week with 800 calories a day and then eat normally the other five. Weight loss can be around 1-2 lbs a week. If nighttime snacking and hunger pangs is a problem for you then try time-restricted eating (TRE).

Include Protein with Your First Meal of the Day

Eating protein at the first meal of the day helps you to feel fuller for longer because after a protein filled meal, levels of a chemical called tyrosine – a building-block for dopamine – rise inside the brain. By increasing its own dopamine supply as the next meal approaches, the brain experiences a much weaker dopamine “hit” from high-calorie food.

To test whether having protein at the first meal of the day could help people to feel fuller for longer, a US-based study in 2014 divided volunteers into three groups. One group ate a breakfast containing 35g of protein; the second group ate breakfast containing 13g protein; the third group, meanwhile, skipped breakfast altogether. Later on that morning, the volunteers were tested for levels of dopamine, the chemical that drives our reward circuits. They were also asked to rate the intensity of their pre-lunch food cravings.

The results were clear: of all groups, the high-protein breakfast group recorded the highest dopamine levels and lowest pre-lunch food cravings.

Black coffee and tea are fine to have during your fasting hours, and drinking plenty of water can keep the hunger at bay. You can also try adding fresh ginger, a slice of fresh lemon or lime to hot or sparkling water.

The Good Care

Whilst intermittent fasting has been proven to be completely safe and effective for the vast majority of people, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for anybody whose BMI is below 20 or 21.

It is important to have decent amounts of protein and it’s unwise to drink alcohol when you’re fasting. I find that when I drink alcohol, I become disinhibited and my willpower breaks down and I immediately want to start eating chips. So there are extra calories, obviously, in the alcohol, but beyond that, I think the biggest problem is it creates disinhibition.

Get Set for Your Fast

It’s essential you talk to all your friends and family and tell them you’re going to be fasting to get people on board. Clear out your cupboards, and begin to prep, get in foods that you will be eating over the next couple of weeks. Preparation is everything in this sort of thing. It’s like a military campaign. The more you prepare, the more successful you’re likely to be.

As soon as you have finished the last meal of the day, brush your teeth. It’ll signal the end of eating and help you to keep away from snacks and nibbles!

I encourage people to try and have their evening meal early, say 19:00, 19:30. Try and stop eating by 20:00, and then not eat anything with calories after that. The temptation is to snack after dinner, which adds quite a lot of calories loaded on late at night.

Keep Training

Many studies have shown the beneficial effects of combining high-intensity aerobic exercise (like HIIT) with resistance training. The theory behind this is that these two forms of exercise together create the best environment to maximize fat loss while maintaining muscle mass.

You might like to complete your High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions in the mornings after fasting, to reap the benefits of fasted cardio, and schedule your resistance training in the afternoon when your muscles are warmer and more revved up, allowing you to work at a higher intensity.


Struggling to resist late night snacks? Here’s HOW TO BEAT THE BEDTIME BINGES.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on whatsapp