Did you grow up thinking it was ok to eat the whole sleeve of a Snackwell’s Cookies box because they were low fat and we needed to replace that artery clogging butter for margarine?? Yup, me too! That being said – I learned the error of my ways, and I now eat a high fat diet.
I remember specifically, when I was in my early 20’s and trying to lose that baby weight, my mother-in-law eating a dry loaf of fat free french bread everyday for lunch to try and get off the extra 100 pounds she carries with her. I immediately jumped on board because it made sense…don’t eat fat so I lose fat.
Where did this idea come from and why is the government STILL pushing that we watch our fat intake even though it’s been proven to not be healthy for us?
In the 1950’s, an American Scientist named Ancel Keys, created a study called the “7 Countries Study” where he compared the association between diet and cardiovascular disease in different countries. His conclusion: the countries with a high fat diet had the most heart disease. And just like that, it was shouted from the rooftops that, “Dietary fat causes heart disease!”
But one thing the Dr. Keys failed to mention in his calculation was that he LEFT OUT the countries where fat consumption was low but heart disease high, like Chile. Or countries that ate big high fat diets and had low heart disease statistics, like Holland and Norway. It’s now been proven that he cherry picked those 7 countries to support his theory and make him out to be a hero.
This study gained WAY too much unnecessary massive media attention, influencing dietary guidelines and still, today, fooling the masses who are trusting our government, doctors (who most haven’t studied ANY nutrition) and these big food companies that “convince” us that by eating a Fiber One bar in the afternoon will help us ward off heart disease.
Low fat foods are still given at schools, endorsed in colleges nutritional courses and splattered all over billboards and magazines. Why? Because our government profits off of sugar and wheat. I believe they will fight until the very end pushing “fortified” cereals and “healthy” whole wheat breads because they are cheap to make, easy to sneak in addictive sugar and the profit margin is huge!
Fat has absolutely been wrongfully demonized! But don’t get me wrong here, eating pork rinds and french fries all day is NOT healthy but fats like avocados, olives, coconut oil and walnuts should be a very prominent part of your high fat diet.
Don’t fear the fat and start to believe the mantra…”Eat fat to burn fat” as it is very true. Fat is our friend and we’ve ignored this friend way too long!
You’re not a guy, and you shouldn’t be trying to intermittently fast as a guy. Intermittent Fasting for Women is something quite different.
When I’ve done my research into intermittent fasting, I’ve noticed that most of the “experts” are men. And although I have learned a ton from them, I’m also not trying to build enormous biceps and pecs!
Men and women store fat differently and men and women definitely burn fat differently. So in a nutshell, women need to approach intermittent fasting differently than men do.
In this blog, my goal is to share with you the best approach for women to maximize their fat burning while intermittent fasting.
First of all, this advice is for all my healthy women out there that aren’t pregnant, breast-feeding or battling any health conditions right now.
We know all too well that us women like to store body fat more than men. And we know this is because we are blessed with the ability to create life and sustain it. However, that does make it a bit tougher to have that lean and athletic body that many women are working so hard for.
Have you ever gone on a diet with your spouse only to have him lose weight twice as fast as you and consider grounds for divorce because of it? Yeah, me too!
I married my high school sweetheart, Mick, so we essentially grew up together. In our 20s, our diets were very high in carbohydrate and low in fat and we ate every 2 hours without fail.
We also lived in the gym seven days a week.
Mick was WAY leaner than me even though we ate the same types of foods and pretty much did the same workouts.
It was so frustrating.
In our 30s, we spent a little less time in the gym but adopted a higher protein diet. It was at this time that I really started being consistent with intermittent fasting. I got a job at the gym to teach group exercise in the morning and so I started doing that on an empty stomach. Mick was still getting up in the morning and eating breakfast.
That’s when I really started to notice that my physique was catching up to his.
He was still in the mindset he’d lose muscle if he didn’t eat breakfast. You should see him now though…hubba, hubba! Now that we’re both in our 40s, we both intermittently fast together and I will confidently say (even in fear of being tickled to death when he reads this) that through most of our 30s and 40s I have kept a leaner body.
It was this experimental truth that intermittent fasting not only gets you leaner but it’s especially true for women.
Our hormones play a huge role in how we look and feel…HUGE! Human growth hormone (HGH) is the key for women to shed the excess body fat that they’re working so hard to do. And naturally, men have higher levels of HGH than women do. But intermittent fasting for women is an exceptional way for us to increase our production of HGH so that we can be fat burning machines as well.
Let me explain: HGH production is at its highest during sleep, exercise and trauma. HGH has an indirect relationship with insulin. So when your insulin levels are lower, your HGH is higher (and the very reason it rises when we sleep). HGH rises during childhood, peaks during puberty and then declines from middle age on…BOO!The good news is, is HGH rises when there is no insulin and your bloodstream. This only happens during a fasted state and at the very end of your sleep cycle. As I mentioned earlier, HGH also rises when we exercise… Keep that in mind. We want to get that HGH released as much and as long as we can in order to achieve the lean bodies that we are after.
This is going to happen by you doing 3 things in conjunction of one another. They are:
#1 choosing to get a good nights sleep every night. By getting in your eight hours of sleep every night, you are giving your body time to deplete the insulin in the blood stream and spiking HGH.
#2 waking up and continuing to fast for a few hours in the morning will continue to rise your HGH because you are not eating causing your insulin levels to rise.
#3 exercising in the morning, after a few hours of fasting is another way to continue to get that HGH up and you remaining a fat burning machine.
This is the trifecta when it comes to getting your body to reach for those fat stores, generate lean muscle to increase your metabolism and give you the energy to see results and make it a lifestyle.
So let me give you an example of how to implement this style of fasting. I call it my “11-7” rule. This means that you go to bed around 11 o’clock PM and wake up at 7 o’clock AM. Work out at anytime between 8 and 10 AM and then have your first meal around 11 AM. Have your last meal around 7 PM and close the kitchen down.
It’s a very easy habit to get into and to keep… Even while traveling.
Now I know for a lot of you that timeframe might not work. Maybe you work a night shift or your hours are very erratic. It is a bit harder to find that sweet spot for you but once you create a pattern that works well for you and you can stick with it… Then you will see just as good of benefits as I do with my schedule. It’s all about consistency!
These three habits (sleeping well and fasting and exercising in the morning) all by themselves will give you great results but by putting the three together you will really see a return on your health investment.
Now I know what’s going on in your head right now. You’re asking me, “Well, what do I eat in that 8 hour window?”
That’s a great question but I want you to remember that intermittent fasting for women is about meal timing and not necessarily meal planning. But let me just remind you that if you put junk in your body, you’re going to look and feel like junk. Fill your plate full of things from the farm and not the factory. Look at the ingredients of your food and if you can pronounce them all and the list is no more than 8 ingredients long, then you should be OK.
We’ll cover what to eat specifically on a future blog. Let’s face it Intermittent Fasting for Women has worked for me.