Using Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss on a Vegan Diet

You would like to lose weight with intermittent fasting on your vegan diet?

In the plant based fitness community, not a lot of “experts” or “gurus” talk about this diet structure. The one and only intermittent fasting.  I first found out about intermittent fasting the summer of 2015. At the time I was trying to get leaner and I was struggling with it.  I remember eating 6 small meals throughout the day and it just wasn’t enjoyable for me. It required way too much time spent cooking and preparing to make sure each meal provided the right amount of macros needed.

For most people, according to this study the more we have to think about investing time in to something ,think of it as blowing air into a balloon… You can only blow so much air (will power) into the balloon (diet) till it eventually.. (decision fatigue)

Explodes!

Your meal plan is too complicated and your motivation goes down the drain. You’re on the couch with a bag of chips, binge watching Netflix, trying to forget you were ever on a “diet.”

I’m not saying eating smaller meals throughout the day is ineffective

in fact studies like this prove the effectiveness of this meal frequency.

First off, intermittent fasting is a useful diet structure that can be used to get leaner, when used correctly. Intermittent fasting isn’t an instant fat loss solution, but more of an eating pattern. The general idea is you’re manipulating your daily caloric intake to eat bigger meals in a short eating window.

What most fitness magazines, fitness “experts” won’t tell you is, no matter what the structure of the diet is, to achieve fat loss you have to consistently maintain a caloric deficit. Meaning you consume fewer calories than what your body burns at maintenance. What intermittent fasting can do is help you hit that caloric deficit in the most enjoyable way possible. (if done correctly)

How much of a caloric deficit?

Typically, for most people, calories will be set at 11 – 12 times pound of body weight to hit the deficit. This way you’re eating below your maintenance calories which are typically 15 times pound of body weight. We will get to specifics on hitting a proper caloric deficit later on.

If you’re like most people you might be wondering..

what are the benefit or purpose of intermittent fasting vs just eating as you typically would and hitting your caloric deficit to get lean?

Intermittent fasting allows you to be more flexible when trying to hit a caloric deficit. The way to do intermittent fasting is pushing your first meal 4-8 hours into the day after waking. In result you’re consuming your food in a 8 hour window, allowing you to shorten meal frequency and in result helping you achieve caloric deficit with big meals that hit your macros.

For example, take 170 lb man who has a caloric deficit of 2000 calories. He may fast 6 hours into the day after waking, then have a 1000 calorie meal first. Then later into the day for dinner he may have another 1000 calorie meal. Vs having 7 small meals containing 285 calories that equal to 2000 calories total as well.

Having bigger meals that hit your protein, carbs, fat intake and lowering the frequency of your meals allows for more flexibility when dieting. Eating big meals in a 8 hour eating window leaves you satisfied. So when you eat…..

You EAT BIG.

8 Hour Eating window with a 16 hour fast 

Before you break the fast, the fasting period holds a lot of benefits you may not be aware of. Here are a few of the the benefits of fasting intermittently. ( evidence based)

  • Increase in Growth hormone
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Mental clarity 
  • Brain Health
  • Diet Simplicity through fasting /Easier to hit caloric deficit
  • Reduces Cholesterol Levels
  • Higher Anabolic Response to Post workout meals/improved muscle synthesis

     

    1)Increase in Growth Hormone 

    stretchen-1634786During the fasted period there is a significant increase in HGH (Human Growth Hormone). Having an increase in this hormone will typically lead to lower levels of body fat, higher lean body mass and increased bone density. This hormone works by increasing the amount of collagen synthesis produced in tendons and skeletal muscle  giving you strength boost in your training. That strength boost ultimately leads to better gains. We know that an increase in this hormone can be very beneficial for us and according to this study individuals that produced a healthy amount of this hormone experienced a great increase in strength and muscle than the other group that were deficient in growth hormone. One study showed that individuals who did HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and fasted increased HGH production almost 1300% in women and 2000% in men! This hormone typically goes down as people age. Even a slight increase in this hormone can support muscle growth and recovery. There are lot’s of studies like this one, where there is a significant increase in GH production from fasting. Although, the individuals in these studies were fasting for long periods of time, you to can reap the benefits of this by fasting intermittently. A little bit about the hormone itself is that its produced in the pituitary glands and plays an important role in various bodily functions such as maintaining healthy human tissue, growth and cell regeneration. Intermittent Fasting is a best way to naturally increase HGH production and take advantage of this hormones many benefits.  Overall benefits of increasing HGH production through intermittent fasting include :

  • Increase in Muscle repair and growth
  • Increase in collagen synthesis in tendons and  skeletal muscle
  • enhanced weight loss

 2) Increased Insulin Sensitivity

runners-373099 Insulin Resistance –  Resistance to this hormone results in higher blood sugar levels (1)

Insulin Sensitivity – How sensitive the body is to the affects of insulin. (2)

Through Intermittent fasting your body is able to better regulate insulin sensitivity. After exercise, intermittent fasting is the best insulin sensitizer out there. Intermittent fasting can be used to improve glucose variability and to help normalize glucose. An individual who is insulin resistant will have fat stored in places that are not designed to store fat, but when you’re in a fasted state, you’re body is going to pull that fat and used it as fuel. As a result the places you’re body is storing fat, that it’s not suppose to, get smaller. (the fat droplets get smaller) When the fat droplets in liver and muscle cells goes down, those cells become more responsive to insulin. As these fat droplets gets smaller the individual becomes more insulin sensitive. Intermittent fasting does a good job at helping you become more insulin sensitive. There are many negative affects that come if you were insulin resistant instead. It hinders muscle repair and growth and makes it impossible to lose fat effectively. Having poor insulin sensitivity may result in reduced athletic performance (in your training), makes you tired, slower recovery from training (won’t be able to bounce back from your workouts as quickly), and muscle soreness. The affects of being insulin resistant don’t sound too appealing, but with intermittent fasting and it’s improvement of insulin sensitivity you won’t have to experience any of those things. Quite the opposite will happen with the increase in insulin sensitivity from intermittent fasting, which is one more reason to choose to use intermittent fasting to get lean if you think this diet protocol is for you.

 

3) Mental Clarity

brainstorming-441010When I first started intermittent fasting and didn’t eat breakfast, I could remember being in lecture hall taking notes and everything the professor was saying was clicking within me. I was laser focused and more present in the moment than usual than if I were to have eaten breakfast. Although when I first began intermittent fasting, my the fasting period was short, I still experienced this when I began and still experience mental clarity and increase in focus during my fasting period to this day. So after waking every morning, I eat the elephant and take care of the “one thing” that is most important for that day during my fasting period. That way I finish that one thing with no distractions or any thoughts about food. Also I build positive momentum loops for other things I will be doing later in the day, since I have already taken care of the biggest thing for that day. If you find yourself having a foggy mind while working after eating a meal, then scheduling important tasks during your fasting period can help you stay focused, alert and mentally clear.

 

4) Fasted Training

weights-646496The fasting period can boost your productivity, but  I would also like to go into some of the benefits of being focused, alert, and present during your training sessions. Alot of times guys ask me how I consistently hit personal records in my lifts during my training sessions. Although Training and nutrition play a very important role to being able to hit the PR’s, an important factor many people don’t talk about is the inner game. In order to fully reach your potential you should be able to let go and become completely immersed in the moment, leaving everything else not relating to your lift outside of it, fully focused on the lift you’re doing, being clear on the PR you want to hit, and without a doubt knowing you can hit it. This is the mental focus you should have when you’re serious about what you want to accomplish, and that PR you’re after will follow. Intermittent fasting and training in that fasted state can help you reach that level of mental focus and alertness. Some common themes that I hear often with those that workout in the morning but want to do intermittent fasting, is that they “may lose muscle” in that state. This is a completely false. Also a study conducted with Muslim athletes during Ramadan suggested no effect on performance while being fasted.

 

 

5. Improved Protein synthesis

man-461195Protein synthesis – Is the synthesis of new skeletal muscle proteins. It is the process by which our muscles get bigger.

Another benefit of using intermittent fasting is it’s ability to improve protein synthesis and it’s ability to increase anabolic response during post workout nutrition. According to this study where they took two groups of men, one had not eaten breakfast and the other group was training after breakfast. They found that the group that had trained fasted and had there post workout meal had stimulated a higher anabolic response to eating carbs & protein following a heavy training session.  If you have never trained fasted before, then I recommend either black coffee before hand to keep energy levels high. Not only does black coffee blunt your appetite more, but also keeps highly alert and focused which is an added benefit I mentioned earlier. According to this study after observing the recovery between two groups, ones that trained fasted and had post workout meal and the other that didn’t train fasted and had a post workout meal. The result showed in improvement in protein synthesis in those that had a post workout meal after training completely fasted. Another one of the many benefits of intermittent fasting. I typically either completely fasted with only black coffee in my system or with a little bit piece of fruit and black coffee. That way I can break my fast with a big meal post workout!

 

6) Reduced Cholesterol Levels

horizontal-1155878LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) – Molecules that Carry cholesterol to the blood. Which is the bad cholesterol. 

Several studies suggest a correlation to intermittent fasting and a reduction in cholesterol levels. According to this study when they took people that did alternate day fasts, they found they had reduced LDl levels by about 25%. (LDL is used to measure cholesterol) As well as reducing the small LDL particles that are known for increasing the risk of getting cardiovascular disease. One of the many reasons intermittent fasting serves benefit being implemented.

 

You have now have a good idea on the benefits of implementing this eating strategy into your daily life.  😀 😀 😀

 

Is fasting the magic pill to get lean and drop fat quickly?

I would like to once again mention that intermittent fasting, like any other eating strategy or “diet” at the end of the day, it all comes down to the caloric deficit (eating fewer calories than your body burns) This is what ensures fat loss. Intermittent fasting is simply a diet protocol that provides you strategy to do so. Many mistakenly assume that intermittent fasting is a magic pill for fat loss, which is completely false. In fact 2 years ago I assumed the same thing. My caloric deficit at the time was 2000, although I was doing fasting, I was quite more than this. This is why I typically recommend being strict with tracking macros & calories in the first few weeks of your fat loss regimen.

 

Can Vegans and Vegetarians Do intermittent Fasting?

beans-2014062The short answer : yes they can. In fact I often recommend this method to those struggling to stick to their diets. I’ve been vegetarian my whole life, and intermittent fasting has done nothing but benefit me and give me the freedom and flexibility to finally enjoy my diet and help me get lean. If you’re vegan or vegetarian and want to implement intermittent fasting protocol and finally get lean this summer, as requested by the plant based community the “Herbivore Fasting 2.0” guide book is perfect for plant individuals who want a beginners guide to implement this protocol. Get the free Herbivore Fasting Guide  and finally enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with intermittent fasting, simultaneously get lean and live a healthy plant based lifestyle!

 


Studies conducted/References:

ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Harber, M. P., A. R. Konopka, B. Jemiolo, S. W. Trappe, T. A. Trappe, and P. T. Reidy. “Muscle Protein Synthesis and Gene Expression during Recovery from Aerobic Exercise in the Fasted and Fed States.” American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

“The Myriad Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.” Mark’s Daily Apple. N.p., 17 June 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Kirkendall, D. T., J. B. Leiper, Z. Bartagi, J. Dvorak, and Y. Zerguini. “The Influence of Ramadan on Physical Performance Measures in Young Muslim Footballers.” Journal of Sports Sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2008. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Kim, K. R., S. Y. Nam, Y. D. Song, S. K. Lim, H. C. Lee, and K. B. Huh. “Low-dose Growth Hormone Treatment with Diet Restriction Accelerates Body Fat Loss, Exerts Anabolic Effect and Improves Growth Hormone Secretory Dysfunction in Obese Adults.” Hormone Research. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Hindawi. “Effects of Growth Hormone Administration on Muscle Strength in Men over 50 Years Old.” International Journal of Endocrinology. Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 08 Dec. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

“The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.” Dr. Axe. N.p., 06 Apr. 2017. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

“You Are “When” You Eat: The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.” Nutrition and Fitness for Diabetes and Insulin Resistance. N.p., 04 Jan. 2016. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Group, Poliquin. “Poliquin – Healthy. Lean. Strong.” Nine Things That Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Accelerate Fat Loss & Build Muscle Faster! | Poliquin Article. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Harber, M. P., A. R. Konopka, B. Jemiolo, S. W. Trappe, T. A. Trappe, and P. T. Reidy. “Muscle Protein Synthesis and Gene Expression during Recovery from Aerobic Exercise in the Fasted and Fed States.” American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Kirkendall, D. T., J. B. Leiper, Z. Bartagi, J. Dvorak, and Y. Zerguini. “The Influence of Ramadan on Physical Performance Measures in Young Muslim Footballers.” Journal of Sports Sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2008. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

“Home – PMC – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

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