Last week we discussed one of the major reasons for the weight gain. That would be a waste if we didn’t follow up with a post discussing to lose that weight, wouldn’t it?
As a quick recap, it’s elevated insulin levels that command our body to store fat. They trigger a vicious cycle where elevated insulin causes rise of insulin resistance, which causes even higher insulin level. Initial increase of insulin originates from a double-trouble combo: eating the wrong things (added sugar and refined carbs) in a wrong pattern (eating too frequently, thus being in a permanent fed state with no fasted state, thus not letting insulin level drop).
Summarized in such brief form, it makes the way to stop and reverse this cycle clear. It consists of two steps.
The first is obvious: decreasing the share of added sugar and simple carbohydrates in our diet. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have anything sweet or starchy ever again; there are many substitutes for those tasty things. Actually, we have already discussed some of them in our earlier posts about pasta and potato alternatives. Additionally, there are ways to protect your body from the harmful effects of that tempting pastry or a piece of cake. Among major benefits from decreasing the sugar content in your diet are taming down your blood sugar/insulin spikes and diminishing food cravings (there are more benefits to be sure, but we are focusing on weight loss in this post). Cutting sugar addiction is doable and doesn’t have to be tormenting.
The second is a tad more intriguing. For the constantly elevated insulin levels to drop, we need to re-introduce fasting state. Two things must be done for that to happen. One is elimination of between-meal snacking. That alone should help slow down or stop the relentless weight gain. To facilitate the weight loss, longer periods of fasted state must be introduced. It’s best done through Intermittent Fasting – method that becomes increasingly acknowledged by the scientific community over last 10-15 years. Despite such recent recognition by the researchers, the method itself is anything but new. Not only has it been natural for our ancestors to eat this way, it also remains a part of tradition in majority of the world’s societies, customs and religions.
Intermittent Fasting comes in many modifications; my preferred one is known as 5:2. It essentially comes to eating normally five days a week while limiting your calorie intake to 500/day for women and 600/day for men for two non-consecutive days. This pattern creates periods of the drastically lower insulin level, which signals our body to decrease insulin resistance. That same cycle that made us overweight now reverses and works in opposite direction.
This is exactly what I’ve done to drop 75 pounds and come to my ideal weight, 165 pounds. My wife did the same, losing 40 pounds. These two steps constitute two out of three prongs of my approach described in the book.
One more point I would like to make: if you think fasting is something difficult and torturous, you are in for a pleasant surprise. I know, it sounds difficult to believe but it’s a joy. I’ll do another blog post on this unexpected side of the weight loss journey.