Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fasting Diet
Fasting is something that’s played a key role in virtually all of the world’s major religions and dates back millions of years. Today, though, while fasting is still observed for many religious purposes, it’s become a new lifestyle that helps individuals lose weight, have more energy, and fight disease.
While fasting isn’t a new concept, intermittent fasting is something that has emerged in the past few years. It has gained popularity due to the incredible benefits it offers against signs of aging and disease.
Keep reading to learn about intermittent fasting and why this may want to be a lifestyle change you make.
Understanding Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a process that involves cycling in and out of periods where you eat and don’t eat. While people do experience (often significant) weight loss with this eating schedule, it’s not as much of a diet plan as it is a lifestyle choice that provides a wide array of health benefits.
There are several methods used with intermittent fasting. These include:
The 5:2 Method
This is the method that allows you to eat normally for five days a week. The two days after are for fasting, but you still eat. The goal is to keep calorie intake on this day between 500 and 600.
The Eat-Stop-Eat Method
This method is a bit different. With this, you restrict all food for a period of 24 hours. This is repeated two to three times per week.
The 16/8 Method
Here, you consume all your daily calories within a shortened period of time. In most cases, you eat in a period of six to eight hours.
The remaining 14 to 16 hours during the day, you fast. This is the method that can be done daily, or several times a week.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
When you switch to intermittent fasting, it will expand your limits while boosting your performance in several ways. Some of the specific benefits offered by this way of eating include:
- Increase energy
- Reduce bad cholesterol
- Protect against various neurodegenerative diseases
- Boost weight loss
- Promote longevity
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Promote cellular repair
As you can see, the benefits are vast. As a result, this may be something you should consider trying.
Tips to Make the Most of Intermittent Fasting
While not eating for specific amounts of time alone offers health benefits, if you want to make the most of this lifestyle choice, there are a few other tips you need to use.
It can’t be a free-for-all when you do eat, as this is going to negate many of the benefits this way of eating offers. Some additional tips include:
- Avoid refined grains and sugars (choose low-carb snacks when possible)
- Don’t snack between meals
- Remain active
- Avoid snacking or eating in the evening and at night
By using these tips, the results of your intermittent fasting will be much more evident.
Be Healthier and Happier with Intermittent Fasting
As you can see, there are several options to consider if you are interested in intermittent fasting. As a result, you aren’t going to feel as deprived or hungry while following this way of eating.
Do you want to make a change to be healthier and happier? If so, let us help! Contact us to learn more about our nine-week challenge.
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- By Humberto Hernandez — 10 months ago
Healthy and Happy: 20 Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants
Forget the rumors! You CAN get healthy without sacrificing your social life. The next time you’re at a restaurant, try these tips for eating healthy.
Whether you’re dining out with friends, on a romantic date, or during a business meeting, there are times you can’t avoid the dreaded restaurant!
Having an indulgent meal every now and again is no sin. But when it becomes a habit, you need to take action.
There are ways to eat delicious, healthy meals at restaurants without throwing a calorie bomb into your diet. To do it, you need a smart game plan. Read on to find out 20 tips for eating healthy.
The Scout motto is “be prepared.” If you’re prepared with a game plan, you’ll be able to make your restaurant trip a success.
Check out the next five tips for finding the healthiest restaurants.
1. Do Your Homework
One of the best tips for eating healthy is to choose a restaurant in advance. Since most venues post their menus online, it’s easy to find the best ones to visit and the ones to avoid.
If they offer a lot of fatty foods on their menu that could be a temptation, skip it and go somewhere else. Search for healthy food restaurants on Google, and you might find some health-oriented places to eat.
When you’re looking for healthy dishes at restaurants, many ethnic food eateries are a great option. For instance, Japanese, Thai, Greek, or Indian. It’s a lot easier to eat clean at one of these venues compared to an Italian or Mexican restaurant.
2. The Right Vibe
Picking healthy dishes at restaurants isn’t enough. You also have to choose a place with the right atmosphere.
Listen to the music. Restaurants that have loud hectic music make you eat to the beat. If the music is softer and slower, you’ll spend more time at the table, but eat less.
The same applies to color. Restaurant decor can either stimulate you to eat more or calm your mind so you can have a relaxed experience.
For instance, the colors red, orange, and yellow will spur you to order more. Soft blue, gray, and peach, on the other hand, will create a relaxed ambiance.
3. Book in Advance
When you’re waiting for a table at a restaurant, you’ll only get hungrier and hungrier. When you finally sit down, you’ll devour all the table bread and give up on your diet for the night.
The solution is simple. Book healthy restaurants in advance – and you won’t have time to get hungry.
4. Be Wise in Your Seat Choice
When choosing where to sit in a restaurant, most people avoid the area around the bathroom. But an even more dangerous place to sit is near the kitchen.
It’s one thing to see the lip-smacking descriptions on the menu. But to see them coming out from the kitchen and smell the delicious aromas is way too much of a temptation, especially when you’re hungry.
Another tip is to choose a seat near or opposite a mirror. It might sound strange, but it’s backed up by research. Scientists have found that if you watch yourself in a mirror while eating unhealthy foods, they seem less tasty.
5. Eyes Too Big for Your Belly
According to research, people are bad at estimating how much a portion size should be. This means that on any given day, we’re probably eating more than we should.
So, whatever you do, avoid all you can eat restaurants. It’s way too tempting. Plus, these restaurants often have a no waste policy – if you’ve put it on your plate, you must eat it.
If a buffet is the only option, try using a smaller plate. Or fill half of a normal sized plate with veggies before you start snacking on goodies.
You Are What You Eat
You’ve found a healthy restaurant, now it’s time to choose your meal. This is the toughest part. But you can do it if you follow these tips.
6. Know Your Menu
Do your homework and take a peek at the menu before you go. Pre-planning your meal will make life a lot easier for you and help you to avoid temptation.
Restaurants sugar coat the words in their menu so that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. But once you’ve got down with the lingo, you’ll be able to figure out what menu options to avoid.
For instance, anything that is Alfredo, creamed, buttery, or scalloped. Also, anything smothered, pan-fried, crispy, breaded or dipped is a big no-no.
The same applies to meats. Some cuts of meat are fattier than others. Skinless chicken breast, for example, is leaner than chicken thighs or legs.
Healthy dishes at restaurants feature compelling descriptions, such as grilled, baked, steamed, or roasted. Also, anything braised, seared, or broiled is good. These are the healthy keywords to look out for.
7. Watch Out for “Healthy” Labels
When browsing the menu, you’ll see dietary labels like paleo, sugar-free, or gluten-free. You might assume that these would make the meal a healthy choice, but that’s not always the case.
To make the food tasty, restaurants often add hidden added sugars and fats. For instance, if you eat a vegan cake, you may think it’s healthier. But they usually swap the eggs for a ton of oil, which is anything but healthy.
8. Meats and Fish
When choosing healthy dishes at restaurants, you don’t have to opt for a simple salad. Meat and fish will help you feel satisfied without filling up on carbs.
Lean meats, such as flank steak or chicken breast, are full of protein. Fish is also a healthy option as long as it’s not fried. It’s harder to overeat proteins than it is to overindulge in carbs.
9. Load Up with a Salad
Salads can be one of the most healthy dishes at restaurants. But there are sometimes hidden calories. For instance, nuts, croutons, cheese, dried fruit, grains, and fancy salad dressing can add hundreds of salads to your meal.
Don’t force yourself to only eat lettuce as you’ll be hungry again in half an hour. Make sure you’re getting some protein in your salad.
10. Double Trouble
The veggie portions in most meals are often very small. So when you order, ask for double vegetables.
If you want to add a little extra zest to your meal, why not ask for a fruit side? Superfoods like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries can add some zing to your meal without a lot of extra sugar.
11. Don’t Be Shy
Don’t be shy to ask your waiter about the preparation of the food. If you find it out that it’s cooked with a lot of butter and salt, ask for them to prepare it without.
You might feel embarrassed asking, but that’s what your waiter is there for. Ask them what any unfamiliar words mean or ask their opinion on what the healthiest thing on the menu is. They may be able to make some great suggestions.
12. Sharing Is Caring
A sneaky way to keep portions realistic is to split your dish with a friend. This may give you the chance to try a little bit of everything without overdoing it.
You could even order a couple of appetizers as a main meal.
13. Get Saucy
Even if you order a healthy looking menu option, they may smother it with sauces and butter. It may end up being just as unhealthy as that double trouble cheeseburger you had your eye on.
Ask them to prepare your food without the butter and dressings, but to have them as a side instead.
Instead of dousing your meal with the sauce, try the fork-dip method. Dip your fork into the creamy side, then load it up with veggies. This way, you can get the taste without overindulging.
14. Skip Empty Calories
You may have ordered the healthiest dish in the restaurant, but it won’t matter if you stuff yourself with bread before the meal arrives. If it’s too tempting, ask the waiter to take it away.
Another empty calorie culprit is sweet alcoholic drinks or sodas. Avoid cocktails at all costs. They will load you up with sugar, use up all your calories, and you’ll still feel hungry afterward.
If you need an alcoholic drink, opt for a vodka and tonic or a glass of wine instead.
15. The Proof Is in the Pudding
Deserts are a no-no! Even a small piece of cake can add 400 calories or more to your meticulously planned meal. Just say no, kids!
If you have a sweet tooth, why not try sharing a dessert instead? Ask for some fruit, such as berries. Or grab some frozen yogurt on the way home as a low-calorie option.
Now you’ve picked the right healthy food restaurant with the perfect ambiance, and you’ve chosen the healthiest item on the menu. What next?
The next part is the eating! Don’t let this final hurdle trip you up. Follow the next five tips.
16. Box It Up
Up to 94 percent of restaurant meals contain 600 calories or more. That’s because even if the meal is “healthy,” the portion is way too big.
Instead of asking them to box up the leftovers, try asking them to box up half the meal before you even begin. This will keep you from overeating. It will also save you money as you can eat it for your dinner the next day.
It might look a little odd to others, but it’s a smart move for eating healthy at restaurants.
17. Keep Calm, Drink Water
Drinking water can help control your eating and ward off hunger.
This habit makes it easier for you to slow down during a meal. You’ll not only enjoy the food more, but it’ll give your stomach the chance to tell your brain it’s full before you overeat.
Some struggle with the bland taste of water, especially if they’ve got used to drinking alcohol or sugary drinks. Ask for a slice of lemon or lime to improve the taste.
18. Slow Down There
Once you’ve got your plate in front of you, it can be tempting to gobble it down. But eating quickly leads to overeating. This is because your stomach doesn’t have the chance to tell you it’s full.
Try putting down your utensils between each bite. This will give you the chance to savor each mouthful. It will also help gauge your hunger levels before you stuff yourself.
19. Don’t Compare
Keep your eyes on your own meal. Don’t compare what you’ve ordered with your friend’s dinner. We all have different nutritional needs – comparing won’t help anyone.
It’s also handy to have this mindset before ordering. Try to be the first to order. This will stop you from having an “Oh, that sounds delicious, I’ll have the same” moment.
20. A Happy Ending
When you’re finished your meal, pop a mint into your mouth. The mint will help clear your palette. This will discourage you from taking any more sneaky bites of your meal or anyone else’s leftovers.
If what’s left on your plate is tempting even after you’re full, try one of these tricks. Use a napkin to cover the alluring leftovers. Or drown it in salt so that it becomes inedible.
Plan to finish off the night with light activity, such as an evening stroll or a little dancing. You’ll not feel like ordering something too heavy as it will make you feel sluggish for your activity.
Tips for Eating Healthy and More
If you follow these tips for eating healthy, you can enjoy your restaurant experience without the guilt trip afterward.
Of course, you should try to eat healthy foods at all times. And diet goes hand in hand with an exercise regime.
Our nine-week program combines diet and exercise to transform your look. If you want to turn heads for the right reasons, find out more here.
- By Humberto Hernandez — 7 months ago
How to Use Fitness Challenges to Overcome Weight Loss Plateaus
Even the best-laid plans can falter.
Weight-loss plateaus happen to virtually everyone who is trying to lose weight. At some point, you may well find that your own progress has stalled, even if you’re continuing to exercise and eat well. Such plateaus are extremely common and are no cause for despair.
All it takes to get your body over the hurdle is the right push. It’s not just about physiology, but also psychology. You may be experiencing a plateau because you have simply run out of the motivation required to reach your fitness goals.
This is also a very common experience and nothing to be ashamed of. Again, all you need is a jolt to get you going again. One of the best ways to jumpstart your fitness journey is with a fitness workout challenge.
A challenge with a strict time limit and structure, such as a 30-day challenge, is the ideal way to get things going again. Here are the very best fitness challenges to help you overcome your weight loss plateau.
30-Day Full Body Fitness Challenges
If you really need to feel the burn, then you need a full body custom workout plan to reignite every muscle in your body.
There are many effective ways to do this, but the most popular ones involve you dedicated each day of the week to a different body part, with one day off for rest.
So Monday would be your lower body day, Tuesday your upper body, Wednesday your cross-fit, and so on.
30-Day Cleanse Challenges
One sure-fire way to get your weight loss back on track is with a 30-day cleanse. There are countless ones to choose from, from paid programs like The Clean Program and ones you can easily do yourself, such as the Master Cleanse.
If you’re on a high-protein diet or are bulking up, certain types of cleanses are best avoided until you can gradually adjust your diet. Alternatively, there are a number of high-protein cleanses which will whip you into shape.
30-Day Ab Challenges
Sometimes the most effective workout challenges are those with a visible and tangible goal at the end. Telling yourself you want to get shredded within a month is a powerful visual motivator that will jump-start your weight loss journey in a heartbeat.
There are several highly-recommended ab challenges you can undertake without having to spend a single penny. Try the 30-day ab challenge app to start with, so you can game-if your weight loss and push yourself to the finish line.
30-Day Squat Challenges
This one is especially popular with the ladies, for good reason. Workout routines that make you look and feel good in a rapidly short period of time are few and far between.
The simplicity and ease of most squat challenges are a key part of their appeal and a great way to build up your motivation again.
Start off with just a few squats and keep building until you’re doing hundreds a day by the end on the month.
It takes more than fitness challenges to reach the finish line and achieve the body of your dreams. You need support, expertise, and discipline to ensure your body is the very best it can be.
If you want the support and information you need to reach the top, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We’re here to get you on track – your success is our mission.
- By Humberto Hernandez — 1 year ago
Macros VS Calories: Which Should You Count For Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight by way of what you eat, you’ve heard about macros VS calories. Click here to find out what they are and which ones to count.
The holidays are coming up in a hurry. That means reconnecting with family and friends, taking pictures, and maybe even paying a visit to your old hometown.
This is the time of year when many of us panic and say, “Oh no, I can’t enjoy the holidays looking like THIS!”
No matter what your weight loss motivation might be, it starts with getting educated. If you’re scouring the internet for weight loss tips, you’ve been hit by an avalanche and you need to sift through the myths and half-truths to find your path.
One of the greatest debates about weight loss is whether it’s best to count macros vs calories. We’re putting it to rest once and for all. Here’s what you need to know.
Counting Macros Vs Calories: What Do I Need to Do to Lose Weight?
We’ll cut to the chase: to lose weight the right way, you need to do both. Your body is an atmosphere with a delicate balance, and you need to manage your overall calories as well as your macros to stimulate healthy weight loss.
To help you find that perfect balance, we’ll break it down one piece at a time.
Why Calories Matter for Weight Loss
Most people know the basic concept of weight loss. If you take in more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. But why?
A calorie is a unit of energy that your body uses for all its functions, from basic survival to hitting the pavement for a run. Our bodies are programmed for survival in the wilderness, where we wouldn’t know when our next meal was coming.
If we have more energy than our body needs, the body stores the extra energy inside our fat cells so it can use it at a later time if we can’t get the food we need. When your body needs more energy than you’re giving it, it pulls the energy from those stored fat cells and uses it, leading to weight loss.
To put it in simple terms, you need to burn more calories than you eat in order to lose weight. That’s why counting calories is the method most people use for weight loss: because it’s easy and it can get the job done.
However, your daily calorie count doesn’t give you the full picture. As we’ll explain later, not all sources of calories are equal.
How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight?
This is the million-dollar question: if I need to eat fewer calories to lose weight, what should my limit be? As you may expect, it varies from one person to another. Here’s how to calculate your calorie goal.
1. Find Your BMR
Everyone’s body requires a different number of calories for its basic functions like digestion, maintaining a heartbeat, and more. That number is your basal metabolic rate or BMR.
Your estimated BMR depends on your height, weight, age, and gender. You can use an online BMR calculator to find your estimated BMR.
As an example, let’s use Jane Doe. She’s a 40-year-old woman who’s 66 inches tall and she weighs 180 pounds. Based on an online calculator, her BMR is 1560. In other words, if she were to lay around all day and do no activity, she would burn 1,560 calories.
2. Factor in Your Activity Level
Now that you know your BMR, you need to factor in your typical activity level to see how many total calories your body burns on an average day.
Take a look at how much exercise you get in a typical week and assign it a number on a scale of 1.2 to 1.9. If you are sedentary and do little or no activity on a daily basis, you’re a 1.2. A 1.9, on the other hand, would be a professional athlete or someone who exercises often on top of a hard labor job.
When you’ve decided where your activity level is on this scale, multiply that number by your BMR. This is called the Harris Benedict Formula. It gives you an estimate of how many calories you need to eat on a daily basis.
Let’s go back to our Jane Doe example. She does a moderate workout three times per week, so we’ll put her at a 1.5 on the activity scale. If she multiplies that by her BMR of 1560, her total daily estimated calorie usage is 2,340.
3. Calculate Your Calorie Goal
The calculations above give you the number of calories you need to eat each day to maintain your same weight. The next step is to determine how many calories you should eat in order to lose weight.
It all depends on your desired weight loss rate. In general, you need to burn about 3500 more calories than you eat to lose one pound.
Let’s assume Jane Doe wants to lose two pounds per week. That means she needs a 7,000 calorie deficit each week.
To hit that goal, Jane Doe should eat 1,000 fewer calories than she burns each day. The puts her daily calorie limit at 1,340.
Of course, that’s only part of the story. To get the results she wants, Jane Doe needs to make sure those 1,340 calories are coming from the right sources. That’s where macronutrients come into play in our nine-week weight loss challenge.
Why Macronutrients Matter for Weight Loss
Food does more than give your body energy. It also gives your body the specific nutrients it needs to perform every function you need on a daily basis. That’s why your macros are so important: they make sure your body has what it needs to function.
There are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each one has its own nutrients and components your body needs. The key to weight loss is making sure that your body gets enough of each macronutrient within your daily calorie goal.
Carbs have gotten a bad reputation over the years, and it’s only somewhat warranted.
Carbs are your body’s first source of energy. If you take in more carbs than your body needs, it stores the remaining carbs in your fat cells, enlarging them and causing weight gain.
If your body needs more energy than it’s getting from the carbs you’re eating, it pulls stored energy from your fat cells and you lose weight. That’s why low-carb diets are so popular. They cut to the chase and stimulate fast weight loss.
The second key macro is protein. In the same way that people vilify carbs, they glorify protein.
They aren’t all wrong. Protein is made of amino acids, which are the building blocks for all your cells. They’re essential to healthy body functions.
Proteins are also necessary for your body to build muscle. The way you build muscle is that when you exercise, the effort creates tiny micro-tears in the muscle fibers. When your body repairs those tears with materials from protein, it makes the muscles stronger.
That brings up an important misconception: protein itself doesn’t make you build muscle and get fit. It gives your body what it needs to build muscle as a result of your exercise. You still need to work out to gain muscle.
Fat has become a dirty word, but thanks to more and more nutritional education, we’re changing that misconception. Dietary fat isn’t the same as fat in your body. If you stop eating fat, it doesn’t mean your body will burn your fat cells to replace it.
Dietary fat is your body’s second source of energy after it has depleted the carbs and before it starts burning stored energy. Fat is also a vital part of your diet because it includes nutrients your body needs to operate at its best.
The key is choosing healthy fats, like avocado and eggs instead of high-fat sweets.
How to Balance Your Macros for Weight Loss
Now you know the three macros you need each day, but how much of each one do you need?
In general, you should aim to get 40% of your daily calories from carbs, 40% from proteins, and 20% from fat.
While that sounds simple, it takes some calculation. Let’s use Jane Doe as our example. Her daily goal is 1,340 calories. That means she should get 536 calories from carbs, 536 from proteins, and 268 from fats each day.
The problem is that nutrition labels list the grams of each macro in your food, not the calories. That’s another calculation you have to do.
Each gram of carbs and proteins contains about four calories. Each gram of fat contains about nine calories. That means Jane Doe needs to eat 134 grams of carbs, 134 grams of protein, and 30 grams of fat every day.
Keep in mind that this is all based on a general weight loss goal. Depending on your specific goals, a nutritionist might suggest changing these ratios. For instance, someone who wants to build muscle while they lose weight might need more protein.
Tips for Losing Weight While Counting Calories and Macros
It’s not about choosing between counting calories or balancing your macros. You need both to lose weight while staying healthy. You might be able to lose weight without considering your macros, but you could compromise your health.
Your results also won’t be the same if you don’t keep your macros in line. If you’ve ever wondered why some people who lose weight end up toned while others don’t, the macros are a common reason.
If you’re ready to get started, here are some tips:
1. Work the Numbers
Considering how much of this blog is dedicated to math, you can see how important numbers are in getting your diet right. People who say, “I’m just going to estimate how healthy things are,” rarely reach their goals.
It’s also important to re-work your numbers every so often. As you lose weight, your BMR will change and your activity levels might change too. Re-do your calculations and your goals every month or two depending on your progress.
2. Keep It As a Work in Progress
You need to recognize that these numbers aren’t an exact science. Everyone’s body is unique in the ways and rates at which it processes calories.
Studies even show that the numbers vary based on ethnicity and weight history. Monitor your progress and don’t be afraid to adjust your goals and percentages if necessary.
As you do this, pay attention to more than the scale. Do you feel run-down all the time? Are you too weak to work out? If so, it’s time for an adjustment.
3. Use Water for All It’s Worth
To be blunt, drinking water helps you lose weight. It’s a well-known fact in the medical community, but not all dieters recognize it.
Hydration helps you have the energy to work out and stay active. In some cases, people think they’re hungry when they’re actually thirsty. If you drink water when you feel hungry, it could prevent you from eating more than you need.
In many cases, people who drink water soon before a meal also eat less food. It’s a great technique to try if you tend to overeat or if you leave the table still feeling hungry.
4. Planning, Planning, and More Planning
Chances are that on-the-fly decisions have landed you in a position to want to lose weight in the first place. It’s impossible to estimate the calories in a dish if you don’t know how it was prepared.
Hitting your calorie and macro goals require planning ahead. Plan your meals in advance to get the balance you need. If you plan to go to a restaurant, look up the nutritional information if possible and plan your meal ahead of time, based on the numbers.
5. Don’t Try to Go It Alone
This one’s crucial. Study after study has shown that people who lose weight with a partner, coach, or buddy are more successful. Look to a professional like our weight loss coaches for knowledgeable guidance and emotional support.
Losing Weight With a Plan
For most people, weight loss isn’t a “wing it” type of task. In many cases, we aren’t aware of how unhealthy our food choices are until we look at the calorie content and the macros they contain.
The key is planning ahead. Medical researchers have learned so much about macros vs calories, the way our bodies work, and what causes weight loss. The information above can help you take advantage of it.
If you’re ready to get started and begin working toward your best body today, register for our 9-week challenge now.