Have you struggled with trying to get lean? Are you ready to finally lose some weight so that you’re more confident and feel better?
Here’s a common scenario: You want to start intermittent fasting to lose weight but you struggle without eating. You feel like eating all of the time. I know what this is like. I failed for many years at fasting. I would start and stop. I would screw up and not see any results. I was ashamed to even admit that I trained because I couldn’t get any results.
This is why I want to look at the secret weapons that made it possible for me to get my leanest with intermittent fasting…
Many people who try a form of fasting to lose weight can’t handle the hunger for the first few days. I get that. I would always screw up when I first tried intermitting fasting to lose weight back around 2012-2024. I was never prepared and I always ended up binge eating when I felt any hunger at all.
Here’s what would happen when I tried intermittent fasting to lose weight:
- I would not eat for a few hours.
- I would feel an urge to eat.
- I would cave and eat the worst food possible.
- I would feel like crap after eating whatever I could find.
- The cycle would repeat itself the next day.
This went on until I discovered the secret weapons for losing weight with intermittent fasting for beginners that I’m going to share with you in this article.
There are secret weapons that make fasting easy. You won’t even notice that you’re doing it or that you’re not even eating. You don’t even have to label what you do (I don’t always like the term “intermittent fasting” and I understand if you don’t either) as you’re simply just going to create a new lifestyle.
What are the secret weapons if you want to start intermittent fasting to lose weight?
There are a few things that will make your life a lot easier when you try this new way of eating.
Secret weapon to getting lean with intermittent fasting #1: Sleep.
When you’re tired, you get hungry and cranky. You turn to junk food for comfort and relief. You don’t have any energy to workout. You can’t focus. You’re just not yourself.
Why does sleep matter when it comes to losing weight with intermittent fasting?
I’m not even going to pretend like I know much about this topic. I’m going to reference an excellent book, “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, PhD on the importance of sleep when it comes to weight loss:
“Perhaps you have also noticed a desire to eat more when you’re tired? This is no coincidence. Too little sleep swells concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry while suppressing a companion hormone that otherwise signals food satisfaction. Despite being full, you still want to eat more. It’s a proven recipe for weight gain in sleep-deficient adults and children alike. Worse, should you attempt to diet but don’t get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile, since most of the weight you lose will come from lean body mass, not fat.”
It gets worse…
“Weight gain caused by short sleep is not just a matter of eating more, but also a change in what you binge eat. Looking across the different studies, Van Cauter noticed that cravings for sweets (e.g., cookies, chocolate, and ice cream), heavy-hitting carbohydrate-rich foods (e.g., bread and pasta), and salty snacks (e.g., potato chips and pretzels) all increased by 30 to 40 percent when sleep was reduced by several hours each night.”
“When you are not getting enough sleep, the body becomes especially stingy about giving up fat. Instead, muscle mass is depleted while fat is retained. Lean and toned is unlikely to be the outcome of dieting when you are cutting sleep short.”
Long story short: don’t feel guilty about getting your 8 hours of sleep. You need to rest to be functional and if you want to lose weight.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
- “I have goals I can’t be sleeping.”
- “My dreams don’t sleep.”
- “I have too much to do.”
I get it. The trick is to figure out how to get more done when you’re awake instead of staying up late to mindlessly scroll. I often myself referring back to this quote:
“It is not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it is that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.” — Gary Keller
It’s also important to stop lying to yourself. You’re not as busy as you think you are. You could be going to sleep an hour earlier at least. Make your time count when you’re awake so that you don’t have to cut into your sleep.
Secret weapon #2 for intermittent fasting: Find the right fluids.
There are two quick notes about fluids when fasting:
- If you don’t stay hydrated, you’re going to feel hungry.
- I also don’t want you breaking your fast by drinking the wrong thing (some fancy bulletproof coffee or something along those lines).
What are the fluids that you need when starting intermittent fasting to lose weight?
- You need hydration and caffeine (I was going to write caffeination but that’s apparently not a real word).
- I swear by sparkling water. That fizziness makes you feel like you’re indulging while still not consuming any calories at all.
- I sometimes throw in Pink Himalayan salt into my sparkling water for electrolytes in the morning.
What can I put in my coffee, Martin?
A lot of folks swear by bulletproof coffee. I believe that the only thing it works on is lightening your wallet. I don’t put any organic butter in my butter. I stick to black coffee. You can also do espresso shots.
The right fluids will make it easy to stick to this plan. You won’t feel hungry if you’re hydrated and caffeine is known to be an appetite suppressant.
Secret weapon #3 for losing weight with intermittent fasting: Get the right food in when you eat.
If you’re feeling hungry the next day or an hour after eating, there’s a good chance that you didn’t get enough protein in or you ate low-quality food.
Your body needs protein to repair your muscles and to feel satisfied. Your body also still needs quality nutrition.
Fasting isn’t an excuse to eat crappy food. Fasting does allow you to be flexible. The trick is to focus on getting quality food in when you do eat while occasionally enjoying a treat.
This is why it’s important to look at what you’re consuming when you do eat.
How do you get the right fuel?
- Find food that’s high in protein and make protein a priority.
- Try to eat real food and whole food.
- Watch out for snacks that are labelled as “healthy.”
- Use common sense. You know what’s “good for you” and what isn’t.
- Fasting isn’t an excuse to eat only junk food in your eating window.
We tend to overcomplicate nutrition. Focus on eating food that’s high in protein and will fill you up. Keep healthy snacks around (almonds, avocados, etc.) for when you do break your fast so that you don’t binge eat everything around you. Eat real food and try to avoid avoid the drive-thru as much as possible.
Secret Weapon #4 for losing weight with intermittent fasting: Keep busy.
“You’re not hungry. You’re just bored.”
So many of us confuse boredom with hunger. We think that we’re hungry, but we’re just looking for something to do to pass the time.
How do you keep busy when trying intermittent fasting to lose weight?
- Sleep in.
- Go for a walk.
- Work on new skills.
- Call a friend.
- Find hobbies.
- Work out.
- Go for a hike.
- Go for another walk.
- Stop scrolling social media constantly.
Keeping busy is the ultimate secret weapon for any new diet or lifestyle.
How do you ensure that you use these secret weapons?
I know how difficult the first few days or weeks of this style of eating can be. Not eating is challenging. We’re used to eating every few hours. We don’t want to be told that we can’t do anything. Every food commercial tells us that we should be eating constantly. There’s instant access to food with so many delivery options available within a click. In a world of instant gratification, it may seem impossible to not eat for a period of time.
How do you ensure that you stick to these secret weapons so that you can use intermittent fasting to lose weight?
You have to prioritize sleep, get the right fluids in, and ease into a style of fasting.
Here are my best tips for making sleep happen:
- No scrolling social media in bed. I know, I know.
- Try to get tired during the day. Stay active, get your steps in, and push yourself.
- Melatonin and magnesium before (consult a doctor of course).
- Keep the room cool.
- Have a wind-down routine.
Here’s what I do about my fluids:
- I start every morning with proper hydration. I load up on water.
- I wait a bit to have my first cup of coffee. I stick to black coffee to curb my appetite.
- I drink sparkling water to help me feel full.
Ease into any fasting style by delaying your first meal as long as possible. I’ve written about the differences between 16/8 and Warrior Diet style of eating. You can’t just jump into the most extreme method.
The goal is to use these secret weapons to make this system as easy as possible so that you don’t constantly think about being hungry. You have your time back to do whatever you want to do now.