How to EAT for BEST results

The foods that you eat make a huge impact on your fat loss results. But it’s not just about what you are eating, it’s also about how much and how frequently you eat.

All of these factors make the topic of how to eat for best results a hot one with my clients! So let’s dive into the most popular eating strategies…

A quick online search produces two popular eat-for-fat-loss strategies: Intermittent Fasting versus Six Small Meals.

Which strategy works best? And, more importantly, which strategy would work best for YOU? Let’s find out…

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. Some cycle between eating and fasting each day, creating a small window for eating and fasting for at least 16 hours, while others cycle eating and fasting across several days, taking as much as 48 hours at a time to fast.

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 get to eat whatever you want.

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 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.

Cons: You have to plan ahead. Every. Single. Day. Get used to carrying around a small cooler filled with containers of chicken, broccoli, brown rice and 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.

Conclusion

The facts are out there to prove that both of these eat-for-fat-loss strategies work. There are 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…

1. Meal Timing

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 muffin 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.

2. Meal Content

The Six-Small-Meals plan focuses on the content of each of your small meals in great detail. 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 Doesn’t worry about food content, but to us it will. We will focus on content!

3. Meal Size

The Six-Small-Meals plan also focuses on the exact size of your meals, which makes sense since you are eating six times each day, and excess calories would quickly add up. Typically this is done by weight, so as you pack your meals for the day you’ll be using a food scale to ensure that you have exactly the right amount of lean protein and complex carbs. Veggies are often measured rather than weighed.

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.

While both of the strategies above end up curbing your calories, only the Six-Small-Meals plan encourages 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.

When it comes down to you choosing your own eating strategy it’s important to determine what will work best with your lifestyle. If carrying a cooler with you and making time to stop every 3 hours to eat a 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!

Want more guidance? We’d love to help you! Our 28 Day FAST Challenge starts April 8th!  Give us a call or shoot us an email and let’s get you on track to shed some major fat before summer!

Let’s do this together. CONTACT US HERE!

28 Day FASTING Challenge

One of the worst ways of dieting is one that burns both muscle and fat. If you really want to transform your body then the goal should be to sustain/build muscle and burn fat. Starving yourself doesn’t cut it. There is no reason to put in all this work to look like a smaller version of your fatter self! That’s where Critical Mass’ 28 Day FAST comes in. In the past we have followed a well balanced diet, but this time around we are working with INTERMITTENT FASTING. Don’t know what INTERMITTENT FASTING is?  It’s restricting your food consumption to a certain time frame within the day.  It’s been found to have some interesting results.

  • Human growth hormone (HGH): Increased levels of Growth Hormone will increase during a fast. Growth hormone is a hormone that can aid fat loss and muscle gain. Basically, HGH was responsible for your growth as a baby to an adult. Source
  • Insulin: Insulin increases when we eat. When we fast, insulin decreases dramatically. Lower levels of insulin facilitate fat burning. Source
  • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline): Norepinephrine is sent into the fat cells, making them break down body fat into usable free fatty acids that can be burned for energy. Source

fatmuscle

There are a few ways to apply the INTERMITTENT FASTING in order to become successful. I myself FAST once every three days and I’m down around 45lbs. My partner Adam almost lives a full FASTING life! I don’t think you can pinch any fat on his body! There are many ways to approach this and be successful. Decide now to be part of a small group of individuals with a common goal.  If you would like to hear more then come by our FASTING Challenge meeting on April 8th. To sign up or learn more CLICK HERE

 

Can Food Addiction be Cured?

The average American has a dysfunctional relationship with food. This is simply because of it’s availability. Our culture is centered around food. We eat when we are happy, sad, and bored…because we can! This has caused us to be disoriented when it comes to how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, and when to stop! Along with societal pressures, this is has given rise to eating disorders and a staggering obesity rate.

Processed foods and the irresponsibility of large food companies is causing mass confusion about what is healthy and what isn’t. These companies have stripped away vital parts of whole foods, added chemicals, and sweeteners and marketed these foods as “healthy”. As a result, people have developed food addictions.

I personally do not believe that food addictions are caused by genetic psychological disorders. What I do believe is that people self-medicate with processed foods because of the physiological effect that it has on the brain. Have you ever heard of someone having an addiction to apples or broccoli? Me neither.

Our bodies are genetically coded for survival. That means that behaviors that ensure our survival are “rewarded”. This reward response occurs in the Limbic System of the brain responsible for our emotions and biological drives such as hunger and sex. When you eat, our brains release a chemical called Dopamine (along with serotonin), which acts upon the limbic system and gives us a sense of pleasure. Some foods elicit this response better than others. Concentrated sugar has a major impact on this response because it is absorbed quickly by the body. This is because sugar is further broken down into glucose, the body’s primary energy source.

While some whole foods have naturally occurring carbohydrate (sugar), other nutrients are also found with it. Other nutrients such as fiber, fat, and protein balance the effect that the carbohydrate has on blood sugar levels. This is important because the higher blood sugar levels rise, the quicker the body tries to clear it from the blood stream using a hormone called Insulin. Insulin is the hormone that allows nutrients from the bloodstream to be taken up by our cells.

When a person consumes concentrated sugar over time, the body’s insulin response begins to weaken because the cells that are responsible for secreting insulin become desensitized to glucose. That means, it takes higher and higher amounts of glucose to signal insulin to be released so that the cells can receive nutrition. When cells become “starved”, a hormone called ghrelin is released to “tell” your brain that you are hungry and dopamine levels drop until you eat again. This may be responsible for why food cravings occur, especially to sugar.

The answer to this problem is to slow the transit of foods in your system by regularly drinking water and eating whole foods full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The hormones responsible for telling your brain that you are hungry or full are also controlled by the stretching of the stomach and small intestine. Foods with high fiber, protein, and water content stretch the stomach and small intestine signaling leptin to trigger satiety. Sugar and processed carbohydrates, on the other hand, move faster through the digestive system because they are absorbed quickly by the body. The faster something is digested, the more ghrelin is released to tell you that you’re hungry. Eating nutrient-dense foods will eventually fix dysfunctional insulin and hunger signaling responses. Another way to fix the problem is through Intermittent Fasting (IF), which can reset the insulin and hunger signaling response.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is one of the newest dietary strategies being studied specifically for its fat loss effects. IF involves going short periods without food, such as 24 hours once per week or 16 hours each day. Some of the positive benefits include an increase in immune system function, improvement in blood lipids, improvement in brain function and mental clarity, improvement in insulin signaling, and increase in fat utilization as fuel.

Here’s how it works. When you eat, it takes several hours for your body to break down the food and clear sugar, fat, and protein molecules from your bloodstream. Where these nutrients go depends on many things including your metabolic rate, nutrient demand, and the amount of insulin utilized to clear these molecules from the bloodstream. Most importantly, the more insulin that is utilized, the higher the potential to store those nutrients as fat. When you fast, insulin levels stay low and fat becomes released from fat cells into the bloodstream to be used as energy. When it’s time to break the fast, chances are, your body will respond quickly with insulin and you may even feel full sooner.

While there are mixed results on the effect of IF on fat loss, there is a very logical reason for doing it. It allows you to engage in gradual caloric restriction as opposed to sharply decreasing it. This is important because a rapid decline in calories, especially when exercise is a part of the weight loss plan, can cause hormonal imbalances to occur. This will most definitely halt your fat loss progress and may even cause you to gain weight. IF allows you to restrict your calories for a relatively short period of time and then return to a normal eating pattern.

Intermittent Fasting and Food Addiction

Have you ever felt like you are addicted to food, especially sugar? This is because your brain releases dopamine in response to eating carbohydrates, and more specifically sugar. This is because your brain utilizes about 25% of your total carbohydrate intake to maintain its function and is also easily broken down and taken up by the body to be used as energy. It is a survival mechanism.

Dopamine is known as the “pleasure” hormone. It acts upon the pleasure center of your brain to “reward” you for behaviors that ensure your survival. When you expose your system to sugar frequently your body needs more and more sugar to get the same dopamine release because the receptors that recognize dopamine, become desensitized. There is some evidence to suggest that IF can reset your dopamine response to eating because you deplete your body’s carbohydrate stores during IF.

Adam Eckart MS CSCS FDN-P
Co-Founder, Critical MASS Training Systems
732.889.3319 ext. 2

P.S. For more information on intermittent fasting and other nutritional weight loss strategies please give us a call or email us.