Regular fasting has shown some significant health benefits. But what about fasting for fat loss? Two popular eat-for-fat-loss strategies that you’ve probably heard of are Intermittent Fasting and the Six Small Meals System.
Which strategy works best? And which should you follow?
Let’s compare them...
✅ Intermittent Fasting: this eating strategy cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting. The content of your meals during eating periods is not a factor for some people, although I personally recommend that you consume healthy foods. Some people cycle between eating and fasting each day, creating a small window for eating (6-10 hours for example) and fasting for longer periods (14-18 hours), while others cycle eating and fasting across several days, doing longer fasts of 24- 48 hours at a time.
Pros: Humans have been fasting for thousands of years. Our bodies are well equipped to handle periods of fasting. Research shows that fasting produces benefits for disease prevention, metabolic health, weight loss and even life extension. Some find it less work to fast rather than to plan for several small meals. During eating periods you can either eat whatever you want, or eat healthy, but there are less decisions to be made about what to eat.
Cons: Abstaining from nourishment for long periods of time can be challenging, especially when food is all around you. Socially, it can be awkward to skip meals while your friends and family break bread together. Some find themselves overeating during eating cycles, and some find the ongoing absence of food to aggravate food obsession and to produce an unbalanced unhealthy focus on food.
✅ Six Small Meals: this eating strategy, of breaking the traditional 3 square meals into 6 smaller meals that are spaced 2-3 hours apart, has been used by body builders and fitness competitors for years. The content and size of each meal is an important factor of this eating plan. Meals early in the day contain lean protein, fiber-filled veggies and a small portion of complex carbs, while meals later in the day are smaller and do not contain any complex carbs. All meals are low in fat.
Pros: You never feel hungry. By fueling up every 2-3 hours you never get the feeling of deprivation that comes with fasting. Energy levels are steady and high due to the constant supply of wholesome calories. Fat loss results are steady, and, when done with an exercise plan, muscle is maintained. You can make your meal planning and prepping easy with tools and tricks like the Done-For-You-Meals that I love! 😘(see link in this newsletter for details)
Cons: You have to plan ahead. Every. Single. Day. Some people will carry a small cooler filled with containers of chicken, broccoli, brown rice or sweet potatoes. Each meal is small, so restraint is required. Unless you are including the occasional cheat meal, or cheat day, there is no room in this diet for empty calories or comfort foods. There is some meal planning and prepping required to do this plan well. Social situations can be challenging, so you'll want to bring your own food to gatherings and order carefully from restaurant menus.
Conclusion: The facts are out there to prove that both of these eat-for-fat-loss strategies work. There are plenty of photos of real, actual people who have subscribed to each of these methods and have gone from flabby to lean. Both methods irrefutably work.🔥
But why? How can two methods that utilize opposing strategies both produce fat loss results? And which one is better? Let’s dive deeper into what makes these eating strategies work…
When you eat is a factor with both of these eating plans. This means that subscribers to both plans are required to wait until the appointed time to eat. So mindless snacking, or grabbing a cookie just because it’s there, is out of the question. This reduces overall calories, which is key to weight loss, and explains why both plans produce results.
The Six-Small-Meals plan focuses on the content of each of your small meals. Your meals contain lean proteins, fiber-filled veggies, and limited complex carbs. This detailed control of calorie content is largely why this plan is a sure bet for fat loss, not just weight loss.
Intermittent Fasting does not consider the content of your meals during eating periods unless you choose to eat healthy.
The Six-Small-Meals plan also focuses on the size of your meals (caloric content), which makes sense since you are eating six times each day, and excess calories in huge meals would quickly add up. Typically this is done by portion size, so as you pack your meals for the day you’ll want to ensure that you have the right amount of lean protein and complex carbs. Veggies are often measured but large amounts are enjoyed.🥦
Intermittent Fasting does not consider the size of your meals during eating periods.
So What’s the BEST Eating Strategy for FAST Results?
As we’ve discussed, both of the eating strategies above are capable of producing results. This is due to the fact that both plans result in a lowered caloric intake.
When it’s all said and done, weight loss comes from caloric balance.
Remember the junk food diet where the professor lost weight eating restricted calories of only vending machine food? 😱 As long as you are taking in fewer calories that you are burning, you will end up losing weight. (You'll feel like 💩, and probably won't 💩on the junk food diet!)😂
While both of the strategies above end up curbing your caloric intake, only the Six-Small-Meals plan requires wholesome calories that are ideal for burning fat and building muscle, which is why this is the plan most used by body builders and fitness competitors. Also, the regular intake of nutrients keeps energy steady for workouts and life activities.
When it comes down to you choosing your own eating strategy it’s important to determine what will work best with your lifestyle. If making time every 3 hours to eat a small meal is simply not something you can see yourself doing, then Intermittent Fasting may produce better results for you. The key is to figure out a plan for restricting calories that you would realistically be motivated to stick with. And the more wholesome the content of those restricted calories, the better and quicker your results will come and the overall healthier you will be!
✅ Another strategy that is produces great benefits for weight loss and health is Prolonged Fasting. Prolonged Fasting has been practiced for centuries, but is difficult to do in our modern world. Typically, a prolonged fast is 3-7 days and you would consume only water. 😳 As you can imagine, carrying out the duties of your job and home life, not to mention workouts, would be tough when you're on a prolonged fast. Thankfully, a group of researchers have created a prolonged fast using special foods so that YOUR BODY THINKS YOU ARE FASTING! The program is called PROLON and it's a five day fast with food. You do it once per month and most people drop 4-8 lbs, then the goal is to maintain most of that loss.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of the program, and I have been following their suggestions and doing the Prolon program once per month for 5 days. It's great to reset or get back on track, and knowing that it's only 5 days makes it doable. I exercise during the fast (but not too intensely), and it's nice to lighten up calorically and not have to think about what to eat during the program. Everything you need for the 5 days comes in a kit. Reach out to me if you'd like more info on Prolon.
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