I get it, you want to lose those kilograms in excess as soon as possible, you’ve read a lot of articles and blogs about keto and low carb diet, and you are keen to experiment with fasting.
It’s all good, but – as always – the devil is in the details.
If you put on weight for the last 10 years, it’s not reasonable to expect to lose them in a few weeks. I’m not saying you can’t (actually many people have had spectacular results with a properly done keto diet), I’m just saying “do not exaggerate”.
Skipping a meal seems an easy way to reduce calories and accelerate your weight loss, and in certain conditions it could be. But if skipping a meal could be a good idea, skipping two or three could actually make things worse.
The problem is, our metabolism is quick to adapt, and if you excessively reduce your food intake it will slow down to prevent your body to starve, so the more you fast the harder could be to lose weight.
Fasting too much could reduce the protein intake to a dangerous level, where you’ll start losing muscle mass instead of fat, but you want to lose fat, not weight!
Even more important, the more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate, that is the amount of energy used by your body while resting), and that means that you’ll be able to burn more energy even when not exercising.
And if you are thinking about exercising more to compensate the lowering of your metabolism, think twice: training too much increase cortisol production and again can make you lose muscle and actually gain fat.
It’s called Over Training Syndrome (OTS), and the symptoms are a drop in athletic performances, stall in weight loss, feeling tired all day and having mood swings. When you increase the volume of training you increase cortisol production, a powerful hormone produced in the adrenal glands with catabolic effect: too much cortisol means that you’ll lose muscle mass and increase fat storage, the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
So, what should you do?
Well, forget about fasting if you don’t know exactly what you are doing, you can still have great results with a 16:8 fasting (eating only in a 8 hours window every day, for example having lunch at 1pm, snack at 4pm and dinner at 9pm) without any of the risk of stressing your metabolism even more.
As for exercising, intensity is the key. One hour of lifting 4-5 times a week is what most people can tolerate, and if you are able to exercise longer than that at the gym, you aren’t training, you are socializing!