In this article I am going to introduce you to a new concept of healthy weight loss. Weight loss is a very controversial subject. Everyone wants to tell you what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. Because of this, loosing weight is often surrounded with enormous amounts of guilt regarding what you did or failed to do.
Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality. ~ Ralph Marston
Often, the healthy weight loss programs out there revolve around selling you their food or selling you their supplement. Fact: Diet plans sell. Fact: Everyone wants to lose weight!
The healthy weight loss plan that I recommend is the easiest I know and what I had already found, through my own intuition about a year ago. In fact, what I will describe is so easy for body fat loss, NOT muscle loss, that I don’t know why it isn’t more popular. Oh, yes – I do know why it isn’t more popular! It’s because you don’t have to buy food or supplements to do this. In fact, the plan that I describe will actually save you money.
What I am going to say is very controversial indeed. When I first wrote 'Healthy Eating' on my web site several months ago, I tried to give a quick and dirty rundown of how to eat healthy foods. This would automatically lead you to a healthy weight loss. I stayed tried and true to conventional wisdom, even though I am a rather unconventional nurse. It was just too difficult to step out of my comfort zone and state what I truly believed.
However, stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is always necessary for growth to a new level, and at the ripe old age of 51, getting ingrained in one’s ways is very easy to do. So here I go with my intuitive and experiential ideas about healthy weight loss.
First point of note: If you are looking to see what the medical community has to say about healthy weight loss, do not read on. What I have discovered for myself is shot apart by most conventional medical experts.
Second important word of note: Many research studies support that a calorie restricted diet may be the healthiest diet of all, because it may increase your life expectancy. You can read more on the topic if you wish at this article entitled "Calorie Restriction and Life Expectancy" at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1480571/. There is even a whole society called the Calorie Restriction Society that has dedicated itself to helping people restrict their calories for health.
But calorie restriction is not new, you say! We all know and understand the fact that to lose weight you have to take in less than your body needs! Yes, but what I will teach you is that you will once again, need to listen to your body and re-adjust how it is you actually go about restricting your calories for healthy weight loss!
So, let’s begin. Ask yourself and your body: Can losing weight actually be healthy? Can I lose weight without suffering? Can I free myself from obsessing about food? Can I find a plan for easy weight loss that does not involve counting calories and measuring? Can I eat my favorite foods? Can I find a healthy weight loss plan that is simple with relatively no planning and no stress? And most important of all, can I find a healthy weight loss plan that costs me nothing outside of my ordinary grocery bill, and maybe even less than my ordinary grocery bill??
I will answer the questions for you – YES! The simple answer to how to achieve a healthy weight loss is - flexible, intermittent fasting. OMG you say! Really? Yes, really. It works for me and it can work for you. But I am not the expert.
Brad Pilon, a nutritionist, scientist and body builder, can explain it much, much better than I can. I stumbled upon his program Eat Stop Eat by accident when I was looking for blogs about foam rolling. I grew very excited when I started reading his program, because in a rare moment I found a scientist and a expert that validated what I had already learned about myself, by listening to my own body and its intuition! What a find!
So before you click off this page, I dare you to read on about what it is that is so attractive to me about flexible, intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is not about starving yourself to death or lowering your metabolism or losing muscle mass, or feeling dizzy or woozy or suffering deeply! It really is a healthy weight loss plan because it is a great way to tell your body to burn fat, give it a digestive rest for cleansing out the colon, without using ‘products’ and help you gain control over your obsession with food.
In fact, the over-blown concept that we lower our metabolic rate if we diet or fast is debunked by Brad Pilon in his videos. He explains the real truth with real research subjects who are obese. Check out this video if you want to learn more:
Intermittent fasting if you try it will help you with healthy weight loss and will debunk all you have believed based on what conventional wisdom has jammed down your throat. (Sorry for the somewhat angry metaphor, but I do have strong feelings about the effect of marketing on our behaviors.) Intermittent fasting is the only thing I have found to rid myself of those final, nasty 5 lbs. that just seem to hang on, despite what I do. Read on, as I attempt to show how conventional wisdom has failed us, according to my own personal experience.
According to conventional wisdom, I am to eat every 3-4 hours to keep up my metabolic rate or even more frequent eating to prevent muscle loss if you are a body builder. This is to prevent me from going into the starvation mode. If my body goes into starvation mode it will slow down and store fat. Egads! Not what I want at all. This is supposed to lead us to the path of healthy weight loss.
My personal truth, however, is that if I have to eat every 3-4 hours, all I think about is food and eating. This plan turns my thoughts and my energy towards food, each and every day, all day long. What will I eat next, that is nutritional, but low calorie and will hold me until the next 4 hours are up? The 4 hours then feel like an eternity, as I watch the count-down to my next meal, further turning my focus constantly to food! This constant focus on food leads me to feeling deprived all the time, instead of to the healthy weight loss I was looking for!
According to the nutritional expert, Brad Pilon, it doesn’t matter if you eat carbs, fat or whatever, your body will still burn what it is fed – not necessarily will it burn body fat. If you eat carbs, the body will burn carbs. If you eat fat, the body will burn fat. On the other hand, if you eat NOTHING you will surely force your body to burn stored body fat. That is the purpose of fat. To keep you fed during the times it has no food! Hmmmm. Got you thinking yet??
The truth of the 4-5 meal/day eating plan was I never felt full – ever. I was constantly hungry. In my opinion, this is the starvation plan! All my waking hours were consumed with food and what to eat next. I had to carry little packets of food everywhere I went, to ensure that there was a constant, ready supply of nutritional, healthy foods. I could never indulge in ‘real food’ without suffering guilt. If I needed to restrict my calories to 1400/day (as a small female, 5’3”) to lose 1 lb a week, I need to divide 1400 calories/5 meals a day. That leaves me with 280-calorie meals! Not much of a meal! Unless all you want to eat is a apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a side of broccoli for every meal! If you are a large guy that body builds, maybe this plan could work for you. 600 calories make a better meal! At least you could have a full chicken breast, broccoli and a cup of brown rice!!
The physical body is a very, very efficient storage system for food. We all can attest to this by how extremely hard it is to lose weight! In light of this fact, why in the world would I choose to eat every 3-4 hours???? Wouldn’t this prevent me from loosing weight and losing stored body fat??? This was extremely counter-intuitive for me. What was intuitive for me, for healthy weight loss, as I listened to what my body told me, was that sticking to a low calorie, 4-5 meal/day plan would never work for me! It would never lead me to that illusive healthy weight loss if all I ever did was focus on food.
When I am happy, doing what I love, allowing my energy to flow outward toward the Universe, I forget about food for hours! The last thing I want to do is to stop every couple of hours to worry about what I need to eat!
As you know if you read my site, where the mind goes, the energy follows. I do not want my mind preoccupied with food all day long. It worsens the problem for me. It has lead to weight loss, but never for long. Healthy weight loss is taking it off and keeping it off.
I try to pay attention, if I am hungry or not. Just because my stomach growls doesn’t mean I have to eat at the moment. I choose to not obsess over food. The amount of food we really want to eat anyway always amounts to over consumption! As a small person, the amount of food I need a week is much, much less than I would like, to maintain my weight. So I learned that I needed to do something for a healthy weight loss that could be sustainable for me. And that something is intermittent fasting.
Desert Indian Paintbrush, near Moab, Utah
I make the choice to eat less. I make the choice to eat less by flexible, intermittent fasting. That way I can turn off the obsession over food. This is a different concept all together.
I choose to take in less than my body needs. I chose to have a calorie-restricted diet through intermittent fasting. I choose flexible, intermittent fasting several days a week. If my weight starts to creep up, because I forgot how few calories it actually takes to stay alive and healthy, I may choose to fast 3 days a week.
As you age, the truth is you need less and less calories a day. The reason for the middle aged spread is because most middle agers get less and less activity due to increasing inertia at the same time the body’s calorie demands are lessening. Add hormonal changes to the mix and you get a recipe for weight gain. It can start slowly, and then before you know it, you’ve gained 20 lbs!
When I fast it is of my choosing, to feel better and for my health. I choose the flexible time period that works for me for that day, as I see fit. I don't have to count calories, buy expensive meal plans or follow strict food guidelines. All the unpleasantness about dieting is gone because I just turn off the food switch.
I feel my best when I wake up, meditate, stretch and do exercises for my body, and then write. I pour myself into my passion. Then, when I am ready, often about 4-5 o’clock in the afternoon, I eat a large, filling meal. When I do this for several days in a row I find that I no longer focus on food. I actually desire less. My stomach feels full with less food. I feel full at least once a day. This is very satisfying for me.
Flexible, intermittent fasting can help you in your body awareness for why it is you eat. It can help break the psychological expectation that it is mealtime!!! So much of hunger is the expectation to eat. If it is noon, it must be time to eat lunch! When you say, “I am starving’ it is just not true. It just means that you desire to eat!!
Rationalizations that you make up regarding when you need to eat and what you need to eat are amazing! Body awareness regarding your emotional issues surrounding food can be better understood through fasting and breaking the psychological habit surrounding food. Intermittent fasting will break through psychological barriers and will lead you to healthy weight loss.
If you like the Paleo Diet (caveman diet) you would believe that binging when the hunt was good or the berries/nuts were in season and then fasting for periods when the food was less abundant, was a regular, normal way of life. Maybe even the way we evolved to metabolize food the best?
So I challenge you to step outside of conventional wisdom and try the Eat Stop Eat program. Break the food habit. Break the obsessive cycle. Turn the switch off for a short while. Give your colon a rest from the constant food fest, the constant 'fed state.' Regain control of your eating habits through flexible, intermittent fasting. Learn to enjoy what you eat when you do eat. Choose healthy weight loss through intermittent fasting. It works for me and it can work for you.
Benefits of Flexible, Intermittent Fasting (According to Brad Pilon, nutritionist, scientist and body builder):
Are these benefits of flexible, intermittent fasting enough for you to give it a try for your healthy weight loss?
Flexible, intermittent fasting allows for less stress on the body system, at least for a while. It gives the body a rest, just like you give the body a rest from resistance training or give it a rest from running, and other physical activities. The rest is an extremely important time for recovery! This feels true to me for intermittent fasting as well. It feels intuitively correct, because it works for me.
The Eat Stop Eat program can teach you more about the most effective ways to do intermittent fasting in your path to healthy weight loss. I recommend you try it. It really does work, because it has worked for me.
May your path to healing of your body-mind-soul through flexible, intermittent fasting begin, and may you find the healthy weight loss that you desire!
© Copyright 2009-2013, by Elle Bieling, BodyWindow.com