Intermittent Fasting for easy healthy weight loss
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
When Kim came to see me, her main purpose was to lose weight. She had tried all sorts of diets over the years but none shifted the stubborn weight that she had around her middle. Belly fat can be due to either cortisol levels being high from stress, or from insulin issues (too much sugar not being processed properly).
We tested her cortisol levels, thyroid, digestive system and mineral levels, and all appeared to be fine. It seemed that her main issue was insulin control.
During this discussion, Kim did admit to having a sweet tooth, but claimed to not add sugar into anything such as coffee. But she loved chocolate and sweet treats, so she was in fact consuming sugar most days. She had tried going off sugar and even fruit a couple of years previously, which stopped her weight increase, but she didn’t lose any weight, which was a bit depressing for her, so she gave in to her cravings.
We discussed how magnesium deficiency was related to chocolate cravings and if she had a fungal overgrowth like candida that she would crave sweet things, but tests showed that these were fine. So, it just came down to addictions and emotionally filling an inner emptiness.
We discussed this and Kim told me how she previously had issues relating to a lack of self-worth or appreciation, and she used chocolate as an emotional crutch. She said her feelings of self-worth had changed for the better, but she didn’t kick her chocolate addiction.
We delved further into this area, and from a diet perspective we spoke about the option of trialling an Intermittent Fasting Diet to see if it could help her to lose that stubborn weight – and she also needed to stop the sugar.
An intermittent fast program is not about cutting out calories so you can replace them with chocolate and sweets.
For Kim, the intermittent fast concept was quite easy as she was never hungry in the mornings, although she forced herself to eat breakfast because she thought it was the most important meal of the day. She would have preferred to eat around 10 or 11am with a large meal and then a lighter meal at dinner time.
I suggested trying this and to make sure that she ate a healthy, nutritious meal for brunch and dinner with no snacks of chocolate or anything else so her digestive system could have the rest it needed, and her fat stores would supply energy.
Each meal was around 500-600 calories so her daily total was around 1100-1200 calories. That way she could gradually lose weight each week.
Eating this way not only reduced her calories, but also gave her better insulin control so that her body wasn’t trying to store fat and instead, use her fat stores to run her body in the mornings.
Kim came back to see me after three weeks of intermittent fasting using the 16hr/8hr method. She had brunch at 11am and dinner at 7pm, so her body had a 16hr fast overnight and an 8hr break during the day.
This was easy for Kim and she loved not having to deal with breakfast, as this was usually a busy time getting ready for work, and she said she was half asleep at that time anyway.
She ate brunch at her designated morning tea time and skipped her lunch break which made her more productive at work. She prepared herself a nourishing meal at home for dinner, also cooking extra protein (chicken, meat, egg etc) at dinner time to go with a salad for her next day’s brunch.
Psychologically, Kim thought that the intermittent fasting would be hard, but she said it was actually very easy and made her work day easier and more productive. More importantly she had loads more energy, better focus and lost 4kgs of weight in 3 weeks which was more than she had ever lost in any program before.
Although she wasn’t terribly overweight to start with, she had a stubborn belly that she just couldn’t shift before, but now Vanessa was well on the way to having the flat belly she had always dreamed of.