As a weight loss coach in Toronto, I’ve found intermittent fasting to be one of the best ways to lose weight.
It works like magic but the actual process is challenging.
That’s why I’ve been looking for a hack to make fasting days easier.
And I’ve found it!
In this article, I break down this hack and the main benefits of intermittent fasting.
You can also listen to a companion podcast episode:
My story of weight loss through fasting
I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting for one year.
Do you know how I feel so far?
It couldn’t ve been better!
Where I started and where I’m now
- I started by skipping one meal per day once a week.
- Then I skipped two meals.
- Then I skipped all meals.
- Now, I don’t have any meals for almost two days—about 48 hours of fasting.
Getting leaner with fasting
I lost about 20 pounds.
I wasn’t fat or anything.
I just got ripped.
People keep telling me I don’t have any fat.
Feeling free (from food)
Aside from weight loss and health benefits, fasting also feels great psychologically.
I found it suited my personality and habits a lot.
For example, I love to work hard, so not having to think about food helps me focus better.
I love saving time and money, and fasting means both.
- I have more time for important things.
- My Costco and Fortinos receipts got much smaller! (As a weight loss coach, these are my favorite places in Toronto where I take clients to teach them healthier food choices.)
Overall, there is this feeling of liberation:
Liberation from food and thoughts of food.
I feel extremely light and liberated, I’d say.
I enjoy the freedom from thoughts about food.
And even though I feel hunger, I find a certain degree of joy in it.
So I am a proponent of this approach.
But I always tell my weight loss clients to experiment and see for themselves.
Let’s look at a few reasons why you want to try fasting for weight loss and health reasons.
Reason 1: Ketogenesis
The first way fasting helps decrease weight is through ketogenesis.
When you fast, you rewire your body to look for energy sources beyond the easy one—glucose.
What’s the next source?
Yes, it’s what you want to drop!
Your body converts fat into ketone bodies and uses those as fuel.
Hence the name: ketogenesis.
Reason 2: Help your body manage insulin better
The second way fasting helps lose weight is by improving insulin sensitivity.
You train your body to need less insulin to process blood sugar.
And the less insulin it produces, the more effective fat burning is.
So you lose weight faster.
Added health benefit 1: Autophagy
On top of weight loss, you stimulate autophagy.
What is it?
Your cells contain a small unit called a lysosome.
It’s like a housekeeper in the cell that cleans it up.
First, it breaks down the cell.
Then, it digests all useful components like proteins.
Finally, it digests obsolete stuff and eliminates intracellular pathogens.
This process of cleaning up the inside of the cell is autophagy.
It cleanses your body so that you feel better and look healthier and younger.
Added health benefit 2: HGH
Plus, you stimulate human growth hormone production.
When you don’t eat, your body doesn’t need to release insulin and its levels are low.
And just like with fat-burning I mentioned before, the less insulin you have, the better!
In this case, it improves growth hormone production because elevated insulin levels reduce response to this hormone.
And it has a host of benefits like:
- Stimulating the immune system.
- Increasing muscle mass thanks to better protein synthesis.
- Promoting bone health.
Breaking through resistance
Sounds great, right?
As a weight loss coach, I recommend my Toronto and online clients experimenting with fasting.
But when clients start it, they run into major resistance.
Some of them just can’t do it.
Their body is so used to the instant gratification—glucose—that it creates unbearable food cravings.
It might be especially difficult around mealtime because this is when your mind and body expect food intake.
How do you stay strong in those moments?
Here’s one hack I found helpful.
I replace each meal with something pleasant.
Since we associate eating with pleasure, our body craves both food itself—for energy—and the feeling of pleasure.
Since we can’t give both, we give it a little bit of pleasure to satiate that craving.
Exclusive source of pleasure
Most people need something that gives instant gratification for this hack to work.
For example, I treat myself to some good content.
See, I normally restrict myself with consuming content.
I don’t want information overload.
Normally, I read or watch for specific information that I need right now.
Otherwise, it’s quite easy for me to get carried away by the content.
I’d think, “I’ll read just one more piece. That shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.”
And then I’d find myself wasting an hour.
Even though it’s useful content, it doesn’t serve my purpose right now.
And the more information I know, the more things I want to apply, so it overwhelms me.
That’s why my go-to replacement for meals while fasting is enjoying good content!
Here’s how I use this source of instant gratification
I set a timer and read for 30 minutes.
Although this replacement doesn’ feel as good as a meal, it still satiates cravings a little bit.
One reason it works so well for me is that I use an exclusive source of pleasure—one that I don’t get otherwise.
And you know what’s really good?
Each time I do so I rewire my mind a little bit to associate pleasure with actually not having food.
That’s a virtuous cycle that makes fasting easier over time.
Satisfying my higher intent: going beyond myself
What if there was a way to do something even more pleasurable?
There is one.
You need to go beyond instant gratification and fulfill a higher intent.
Personally, I love replacing meals with doing something that adds value to someone’s life.
Once, instead of having a meal, I went to see a friend who lives in Etobicoke (part of the Greater Toronto Area) and mowed his lawn.
For sure, it didn’t give as much instant gratification as watching a bunch of videos as I would do with the first method.
But it did appeal to my higher intent.
Helping people and lightening their burden is one of my priorities.
It gives a deeper satisfaction.
Every time I look at that beautiful green lawn now, I feel great.
As I see my relationship with my friend deepen as a result of small things like this, I also feel great.
So satisfying my higher intent reinforces my commitment to intermittent fasting.
Just like with exclusive pleasure I talked about in the first method, it is a virtuous cycle:
The more you do it, the better feedback you get from those you help and the better you feel about yourself.
And when you do feel great, this strengthens the connection between fasting and satisfaction in your mind.
That said, it’s more difficult to respond to pleasure from fulfilling a higher intent than from instant gratification.
Start with instant gratification.
For example, for you, this might be watching 30 minutes of your favorite TV show.
Ideally, this is an exclusive source of pleasure.
Something that you’d otherwise not allow yourself to enjoy.
So with that TV show, make fasting the only time when you watch it.
And as you get more comfortable with intermittent fasting, then start appealing to a higher intent.
Just look for ways to replace meals with something that makes someone else’s life easier.
Creating an anchor to enjoy weight loss
Another hack for training yourself to think positively about skipping meals is to use an anchor.
Losing weight with a coach in Toronto
As a weight loss coach in Toronto, I’d be happy to meet you in person to discuss your weight goals.
Or we can meet for weight loss coaching online.
Whichever way you choose, book a clarity session with me.
It’s free and will give us both an understanding of whether we are a good “coach/client” match.
Here’s a link for you to contact me for a clarity session.