Recipes & Health Blog 

  • Carmyn Ferguson RHN

Intermittent Fasting - The key for fat burning!

Updated: Dec 6, 2017

Intermittent Fasting and Time Restricted Eating


The simple secret to fat loss, mental focus and resetting your hunger signals


Do you feel at the mercy of eating? If you miss meals are you 'hangry' or do you often feel famished?


The body is designed to smoothly shift into burning your fat storage when food isn't coming in but unfortunately we have overused our glucose pathways and our fat burning is out of practice. In this issue we will be talking about intermittent fasting and how to use this type of metabolic exercise to help us lose weight, have more energy and mental focus.


If you’re like me, you may be a little skeptical when you hear about intermittent fasting or as some call it time restricted feeding. I was actually more than a bit skeptical, I was full on opposed to it. Firstly, It appears to go against what we’ve been learning for years, eat many small meals throughout the day, don’t go long periods without eating and definitely don't skip breakfast! Secondly, I love to eat so I thought anything with the words 'restricted' or 'fasting' in it would be difficult and depriving.

Fortunately that is not the case!


Apart from the various benefits, intermittent fasting is actually easy to incorporate into your life. Here we will examine how incorporating some degree of fasting will actually increase our metabolism, balance our mood and reset our hunger signals.



Fed vs. Fasted

When we are in the fed state, food comes in and the body's reaction is to release insulin appropriately. This signals to your body to store excess calories in your fat cells. In the presence of insulin, the fat burning is halted, while the body burns the glucose from the last meal instead.


The fasted state is when the insulin is low, and glucagon and growth hormone are increased, these are the hormones that tell our body to go into our fat storage and burn this for fuel. This can only happen when we are in the fasted state and you can only store fat in the fed state.

The body is designed to shift between these two different states smoothly and easily. Unfortunately after eating a carbohydrate rich diet, our body becomes rusty at making this shift. So when we run out of glucose from the last meal, instead of easily transitioning to burning fat, we become hungry for more carbs. This results in cravings, low mood, energy lulls, headaches and other low blood sugar symptoms that make us reach for, yes, another carb rich snack. This feeds into the vicious carb cycle. Now what if we could simply switch from this cycle, into burning fat for fuel, having energy and feeling mentally focused?!


There's a few things we can do to get out of this cycle and help our body shift into the fat burning state:

  • Limit simple carbohydrates in the diet and opt for complex carbs like whole grains. The fibre and nutrients will slow down the release of insulin preventing a blood sugar crash and less fat storage from these types of carbs.

  • Focus your diet on quality protein, fats and greens.

  • Spend more time in the fasting state, this will help you burn fat more efficiently, called metabolic exercise.

How to get started with Intermittent fasting:

The body needs a 12 hour window to rest and switch into fat burning mode. If we are eating more than 12 hours in the day we never give the body a digestive rest where it can reset the metabolism.

Firstly, be mindful and consider how much time your are fasting currently, then try to increase that by one hour. I find the easiest way is to delay breakfast for an hour. Enjoy a detox lemon water, a tea or coffee (must be without any sugar, checkout our bulletproof video below) which helps satisfy your appetite. Then slowly increase the time you are fasting as your body allows and what feels good to you.

Pay attention to your body, if you begin fasting for too long you can feel weak, tired or even faint, this is because your body is not practiced at getting into the fat burning state. That is why we slowly increase the time. The longer you can fast the more fat burning can take place.

If you're not sure how this will work in your lifestyle, start with trying it for one or two days a week. Weekends may be the best time to start experimenting with time restricted eating. Its all about finding what works for you!



My Tips for intermittent fasting

  • Start slow - if you jump into fasting for 16 hours you body may be in shock and it won't feel great. Increase fasting time slowly.

  • Listen to your body - If your body is telling you to eat listen!

  • It should feel easy! - Once you have eased into it, it should feel good, you should have energy and your hunger hormones reset to when you are actually hungry not just craving carbs!

  • Don’t expect instant results - This is a tool. Like anything with sustainable weight loss, it will take time.

  • Make sure you are eating - It is so so important that you are consuming enough food to support your daily caloric requirements.

  • Drink BCAA’s if you are working out fasted - To prevent muscle wasting It is important to consume Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) if you are working out during that fasted state. Refuel properly after workouts as well!

My experience with intermittent fasting:

I have been trying to at least go 12 hours without eating, if my day and body allows me to go longer then I will. Some days I can fast from 16-18 hours others I’m barely making it to 12. I always listen to what my body is telling me. If life doesn’t allow me to go my 12 hours of fasting I don’t stress over it!

Do you think intermittent fasting is something that would be a challenge but might work for you? If so, I suggest you check out some more information and give it a try! If you have any questions about intermittent fasting/time restricted eating don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or to read some more information and additional research on this topic, check out Ivanco's bog post here, and another helpful site here!


Healthfully yours,

Carmyn