Well friends, loyal readers, Christmas Day is almost over as I sit with my laptop this evening. New Years Eve is just a week away which means New Years Resolution time has arrived once again. So the question arises, did you make and meet any specific goals last year, or did you crash and burn before leaving the starting gate? If you took the time to think of goals you thought you wanted, but failed to meet, did you consider the reasons why? Or, did you have excuses to justify why you did not lose the weight you wanted, or was not able to wear a bathing suit to the beach or your local swimming pool last summer?
Not to take away from your personal responsibility to yourself, but it is common that people believe they are setting solid goals, when the reality is their goals are simply too vague, or maybe not realisitic. You might say, “My goal is to lose weight by summer so I can wear a bikini to the beach this year” and believe that is pretty specific. However, that is actually a vague as bikini’s come in different sizes and you may or may not look good while wearing one. You might get specific about a weight you want to weigh, such as “I want to weigh 140 pounds by July 4th.” That is a specific number, to reach, but is it reasonable that you might get there with good health? If you only need to lose forty or fifty pounds, that goal is entirely realistic and achievable at a one to two pound weight loss each week. If you need to lose one hundred pounds or more, then you have set yourself up for failure as from today until July 4th you would have to lose four pounds or better every week until then. The only way this is reasonable is if you undergo a surgical procedure to reduce your stomach capacity.
With New Years Day only a week away, lets consider what specific goals you might consider setting for yourself which are specific and attainable:
- Weight loss. You can set a goal to lose any amount of weight you want to, yet lets keep it real. You do not want to lose more than one or two pounds per week in order to have a healthy weight loss. If you set a goal of losing one hundred or more pounds, do yourself a favor and set many short term goals in reaching that larger loss. Set those short term goals at twenty five pound loss intervals and reward youself with something everytime you meet those short term goals. Maybe new clothes, haircut etc…
- Body Fat Percentage. Losing to a certain body fat is in my opinion better than aiming for a specific weight on the scale, and is as realistic as it is achievable. By concentrating on a specific body fat percentage, you do not have the stress of achieving a specific number on the scale, and you will likely find you like the results better. Let’s say you set a goal of nineteen percent body fat as a female. This percentage is actually considered to be athletic and you will look great. The area where stress is reduced for you is, even if your body weight fluctuates because of water retention by a few pounds, your body fat percentage does not necessarily change. Hint: lots of people lose sight of this fact, but no matter how lean your body may be, your weight can and will fluctuate from morning to night, and day to day entirely because of water retention. If your body fat percentage has your average weight at 135 pounds, who cares if you weigh one hundred thirty three one day and one hundred thirty seven the next and then back to your normal average the next day. Despite these fluctuations, your body fat remained the same. There is no point in freaking over a little water retention.
- Blood Pressure. If your blood pressure is a little elevated or high, you can set specific goals of reducing it by any given percentage down to a healthy level. In your journey for weight loss, health and wellness, you really need to consider achieving and maintaining a healthy blood pressure level.
- Cholesterol, triglycerides, blood lipids. You can and should have blood work done before you set off on a weight loss journey. Then if anything is out of the normal boundaries, you can set specific goals in getting those numbers where they belong.
- Getting exercise. This is extremely vague. But, you can be specific in how much you might want to walk or run in a week. You can be specific about beginning a strength training regimen with a trainer. You can set a goal to swim a certain amount of laps every week at your local pool. Be specific!
There is a method of weight loss which is quite effective at healping you to meet the goals listed above. That method is Intermittent Fasting which I am a strong advocate of as a part of David’s Way. In order to make Intermitent Fasting work for you successfully, you must be willing to go all in. There is no half assing it and making it work. There is no pretneding and going through the motions, you either do it or you do not. Like in the weight room with a dead lift, either you pull the weight off the floor, or you don’t. You have to be prepared to go all in, and I guarentee not only will intermittent fasting work for you, you are going to be pleased with the results. Not only are you going to look and feel better, you will be healthier and dscover possibly a newfound sense of personal discipline as the fasting protocols requires a lot of it.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is the term used ofr a number of eating strategies where you focus on optimizing the timing of when you eat to maximize how your body processes food. The general idea is that you control the amount of time your body spends in a “fed” and “fasted” state, which consequently controls how quickly you burn calories.
Following a series of short-term fasts helps to lower the overall amount of calories you consume in a day while increasing your full fat-burning potential. These fasts can vary considerably, as some people might skip breakfast each day, while others will go 24 hours without food on a regular basis. (1)
How does Intermittent Fasting work?
What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
- It’s less commitment than a traditional diet: Intermittent fasting makes nothing off limits, so you’re less likely to feel deprived. Likewise, you can change the timing of your fasts so that they are optimized for your schedule. (Note: We at David’s Way advocate cutting simple refined sugar entirely our of your diet which helps to curb cravings associated from simple carbohydrates)
- Your workout results might improve: Contradictory as it seems, exercising with an empty stomach might make your workouts more effective. That’s because you are maximizing your system’s fat-burning potential and likely burning more calories with each move.
- Your eating plans become simpler: You won’t need to buy any special groceries for intermittent fasting, and you’ll have fewer meals to plan each week, which saves you time both cooking and grocery shopping.
- You might have fewer symptoms during cancer treatment: While the research on the benefits of fasting for preventing cancer is still forthcoming, the early results are promising. One study of 10 cancer patients showed that the worst symptoms of chemotherapy could be reduced by fasting beforehand, and another revealed that fasting every other day led to a higher cure rate for cancer patients.
- You can stave off emotional eating: The restrictions of traditional diets cause many people to crave “cheat days” where they indulge in unhealthy favorites. Following an intermittent fasting routine, in contrast, might decrease your amount of emotional eating because you’ll feel less restricted.
- You might lose weight: Though it’s standard advice to eat three meals a day, the truth is that intermittent fasting is a proven strategy for losing weight. A 2014 study revealed that participants who followed a weekly fast experienced a 3% to 8% weight loss after several months and that their waist size shrunk 4-7% in the same timeframe.
- You could have less inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a precursor to many long-term health problems like arthritis and heart disease, but following a fasting routine seems to offer some relief. Research shows that the process initiates your cells to start repairing damage caused by inflammation. Many studies show it can reduce your overall inflammation rate as well. (1)
Six Intermittent Fasting Methods to try.
1. Sixteen:Eight Lean Gains
As one of the simplest (and most popular) fasting methods, the Lean Gains Method requires you to eat within eight hours each day and fast for the next sixteen. You can adjust the timing to fit your schedule, but most people tend to eat between 1 pm and 8 pm and fast for the remainder of the night and morning.
2. Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting (Up Day Down Day)
If your motive for intermittent fasting is weight loss, the Up Day Down Day method might be ideal. The premise is that you alternate daily between following your regular diet and consuming a fifth of your regular calorie intake. (For example, 2,000 calories one day, 400 the next). You can follow this strategy for as long as necessary until you reach your goal weight.
3. 5:2 Diet
If you don’t want to think about fasting for most of the week, the 5:2 diet lets you eat as usual for five days and cut your diet down to just 500 calories for two non-consecutive days. The convenience of this method has made it one of the most popular options for fasting today. The biggest concern comes from accidentally overeating on non-fast days.
Similar in concept to the 5:2 plan, Eat-Stop-Eat lets you follow a regular diet for five days a week and forgo food entirely for two non-consecutive days, essentially completing two 24-hour fasts. Simple to fit into most schedules, this plan can quickly lead to weight loss. Many people don’t follow Eat-Stop-Eat every week and instead complete it monthly, before traveling, or after the holiday season.
For those looking to gain lean muscle without giving up their cheat days, Fat Loss Forever might be an efficient intermittent fasting plan – so long as you can follow its instructions. You’ll start the program with a cheat day that’s followed by a 36 hour fast, and then split the rest of the week between fasting and eating intervals.
As the name implies, the Warrior Diet is an intermittent fasting strategy that’s focused on getting you more muscular. The main idea is that you eat in four-hour sessions and fast for the following twenty. Some foods, like raw vegetables, juice, and small amounts of protein are permitted during the fast if you need it.
Who should not be fasting.
Tips for your first fast.
(1) AFPA Fitness Guide to Intermittent Fasting