If you have often found yourself wishing that you could lose some weight, you are not alone. As Mr Sunny and I get ready to take our holiday in Spain this summer, dieting is becoming a hot topic in our house. I would guess it is an incredibly popular health goal for people all over the world. It is something which most of us could benefit from doing at some point or another in our lives. After all, the statistics show that most of us are at least a little overweight. Obviously this is not the healthiest situation to find yourself. So if you do want to lose some weight, how are you going to go about it?
If you have often tried dieting and found that it did not work all that well, there are many things you might yet want to try, and the good news is that you can find plenty of good ways to lose weight if you start to look into it. So what are some of the easier methods people are trying at the moment?
You might well have heard about intermittent fasting (IF) in recent times, as it is becoming especially popular around the world. One of Mr Sunny’s very good friends has had tremendous success with it. Done right, it can be an incredibly effective long-term solution for keeping weight off. It is known for just how incredibly easy it can be to take on board and how quickly you can see the results too. So: what exactly is intermittent fasting, and how do you do it?
Intermittent fasting is simply where you fast for a number of hours a day. You keep all of your eating in a smaller time frame than you normally would. Despite how simple it sounds, it is surprising in just how effective it can be, and how quickly. People find that a couple of months of intermittent fasting is very often enough to shed pounds and pounds of fat – and what’s more, in a way which means that it stays off for good, something that you cannot easily say for many other kinds of diet. And the reason for that is very simple: intermittent fasting is not actually a diet at all. You are not to control how much you eat any more than you already do – you are only aiming to control when you eat, and that is all you need to do to lose weight.
The most common type of fast here is 16:8. In other words, you fast for 16 hours each day, and you have an eating window of 8 hours therefore. The easiest way to do this is to skip breakfast and to avoid snacking at night. So you could stop eating at 9pm, and start again the following day at 1pm. Or you could stop at 8pm and start at 12pm. As you can see, this is super simple to follow. For many people it will look very much like how they already eat. A lot of people skip breakfast, understanding that the idea that it is the most important meal of the day is negotiable. You will find that turning to IF is simply a matter of ensuring that you do this every day, religiously, without fail.
If you do that, even if you already skip breakfast, you will find that weight starts falling off you, even if you are eating the same number of calories as usual in the eating window. So how can this possibly work? To anyone who has never tried it, it might sound too good to be true. But as it happens, it is true – and there is plenty of scientific evidence to back it up, too. IF works because, when you allow your body to fast for a while – at least a minimum of 12 hours, but ideally 16 to 18 hours – you enter a state wherein the body starts to live on the body’s own energy reserves. That is actually what you are trying to do when you lose weight, as that is how your body gets rid of the fat that you want to be gone. But usually when you diet, you are only eating less, and not giving your body a chance to fast. Fasting allows your body to consume the stored fat, and therefore you lose more weight.
If you want to try this out, it is a good idea to bear in mind that it’s not for everyone. If you have experience with eating disorders, this is probably not for you, as it could cause a relapse or at the very least remind you strongly of that part of your history in a painful way. If you have some kind of nutrient deficiency, then you might not be able to do IF. If you are at all unsure, be sure to seek out the advice of your doctor first. But if you are keen and you think there is no reason you shouldn’t try it, then the main thing is to get into it gradually. Try 12 hours first, and then gradually build up until you can do 16 or 18. Some people do 20:4, and other people even have alternating eating and fasting days. How you do it is up to you, and you can have fun playing around with it – but once you start to see the results, it’s highly likely that you will never want to turn back to traditional dieting again.
The Keto Diet
The keto diet is actually very closely related to intermittent fasting; in fact, if you are doing IF right, there will be a lot of times when your body is in the state of ketosis, the much-desired goal of the keto diet. Chances are, you’ve been hearing a lot about this too. It is another one which is becoming especially popular at the moment, and something which you will find can be incredibly effective too. Like intermittent fasting, the keto diet can be incredibly fast as a weight loss method, and it is an option to consider if you are serious about losing some weight.
The main aim of the keto diet is to enter the state of ketosis. That is where your body becomes suddenly much more efficient at burning fat for energy. It is essentially just a kind of metabolic state which is incredibly desirable if you are looking to burn fat easily. In ketosis, your body doesn’t have enough carbs to burn for energy, so instead it produces ketones, which it then uses for fuel. This can be a very good way of losing weight – but you do need to make sure that you are able to enter and stay in that state of ketosis as much as possible. Mr Sunny’s relatives have had great success with ketosis and found many other health benefits to doing it long term. I tried it several times last year but struggled to maintain consistency.
When in a state of ketosis, you have to be careful and make sure that you are eating in the right way for it to work at all. So how do you enter the state of ketosis? Put simply, it’s all about maintaining a diet of low carbs, medium protein and high fat. This is where a lot of people fail. It just seems so strange to suggest as part of a diet that you eat a lot of fat. But this is actually necessary, as you need that fat to burn off so that your body has something to keep going as it reaches the state of ketosis. You need to keep the carbs low so that those ketones are going to get produced. Having a middle amount of protein will help to keep you from wasting away.
Not that that is too much of a problem, as you can still eat plenty on a keto diet and still see results – as long as you are following the rules above. Bear in mind that the fats you eat should be healthy, however – ideally, you will stick to good oils like olive oil and you’ll eat lots of oily fish and avocados and so on. Try to avoid processed fats by any means whatsoever – they’re no good for you at all. But as long as you can follow these basic instructions, you should find that you can keep in ketosis. Your body burns off its energy resources much more easily.
You might wonder: When does the Keto diet not work? The truth is that it only doesn’t work if you fail to follow it properly. As long as you follow it well, it will work. That will be the case even if you don’t do any exercise too – although as with any weight loss method, it will be sped up by exercise if you do want to do that, so that is worth considering.
As you can see, there are two great current ways to lose weight which you might want to consider, and they are so powerful that it is absolutely worth thinking about. Whether you go for the strictly intermittent fasting method or ketosis through other means, you can expect to lose weight – and to keep it off for good.
This is a contributed post on Sunny in London.