With a title like “How To Lose Weight Without Diet Or Exercise,” the first thing I should probably do is explain myself.
I do not mean to say that diet and exercise are not useful for losing weight, because, no doubt, they are.
I simply seek to give a new way—or perhaps a different way—to lose weight and be healthy. It is not a diet, and it involves no exercise.
How You Can Lose Weight…Without Diet Or Exercise
Fasting: the act of abstinence, or voluntary poverty with regards to food.
This method has been used for thousands of years as a means to attain a fitter physique or to connect with, as the Buddhists sometimes call it, the Divine Ground.
Here, I make no venture into anything spiritual, metaphysical, or what have you, but remain strictly in the palpable realm of the strictly known facts.
Just because something has been used for centuries, I admit, does not make it a viable practice. The only thing that makes a practice viable is, of course, its viability—either it works, or it doesn’t.
Fasting works, and the research has begun to catch up on what the sages of the past have long since held to be firmly true—that fasting is, at bottom, the healthiest thing a person can do for themselves.
The Benefits Of Fasting
When I propose the idea of fasting to a client, their reaction is something of a startle. They picture starvation, or a severely scrawny thing, scrapping and begging for food.
But that is not fasting. Fasting is not starvation! A fast for the reasons of better health and fitness lasts no longer than twenty-four hours, and usually less than sixteen.
The research shows that the majority of the benefits to be had from fasting, which I am about to presently explain, occur within the first sixteen hours anyhow, with only marginal benefits extending outwards to thirty-two.
And what are the benefits to fasting, you ask? They are included, but not limited to:
- Increased growth hormone pulse and frequency
- Increased lipolysis (fat burning)
- Increased neurogenesis (birth of new brain cells)
- Increased cellular stress response (natural immunity)
- Improved insulin sensitivity and glucose control
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved biomarkers of disease
No doubt of significant interest to most people is point number two, and it is true: fasting burns fat. Recent studies have shown that intermittent fasting—that is, occasional breaks from eating, or scheduled times for eating around larger periods of non-eating—beats traditional dieting.
People seem to lose weight easier with fasting and keep it off for longer. This largely has to do not with having to sacrifice so many of your favorite foods, but rather simply being specific about when you eat them.
How Fasting Works
But how does fasting work? Is it a sustainable practice? And can it really be all it’s cracked up to be?
These are fundamental questions, and they deserve fundamental answers. Let’s start with the first.
Fasting, like exercise, induces a mild stress upon the body. In response to this stress the body responds accordingly, toughening the immune system and preparing for the next assault.
The result, like exercise, is a more resilient, disease-resistant physique: Hormones begin to balance, inflammation goes down, and insulin sensitivity improves; blood sugar regulates, and our brains get a boost. That is how fasting works.
Is it sustainable? Naturally, I would like to think that it is. As fasting does not require you to give up anything long-term except for periods of eating, it is a practice most people can adopt quite easily and see through.
Taking a break from eating, like, say, skipping breakfast a couple days a week, or, even, if it suits you, going a full day with nothing but water—these are some of the methods from which you can choose. Fasting is flexible, and the secret to any program—diet, exercise or otherwise—if you want it to work, is the ability for it to adjust to you.
How To Fast
Fasting, I dare say, is not a miracle. It is still work, and the best results come when you do in fact use it in conjunction with exercise and an already healthy diet.
But fasting can produce some real and immediate results, even on it’s own, which of course leads us into our final question: how to do it.
I hinted already that for beginners a good way to start is to simply skip breakfast a number of times a week. This extends the fast put on by your sleep.
Naturally, this dinner-to-lunch fast is one of the easiest ways to go about it, and no, breakfast is not that important—no more important, or less important, than any other meal; it can be skipped, and should be skipped, occasionally for good reason.
If you stop eating at six or seven the night before, resume at twelve or one the day after. An alternative would be to take one day out of the week and go a full twenty-four hours without any eating. Surely, the best way to do this is dinner to dinner. Stop eating at six today and start at six tomorrow.
It doesn’t need to be exact, and rough approximations will do, but ease your way into it and try not to take on any longer of a fast than you can comfortably handle.
Want to lose weight without diet and exercising? Fasting is the way to go. It can produce some real and immediate results…just be smart about it!
***Are you ready to make this year your healthiest year yet? Get your FREE 5 minute kettlebell workout designed by Russian Kettlebell Coach and fitness expert Pat Flynn so you can get fit, strong and healthy in 2015.
Pat Flynn is a fitness expert and author of Paleo Workouts for Dummies (Wiley, 2013) and Fast Diets for Dummies (Wiley, 2013). You can follow Pat at ChroniclesOfStrength.com, a blog on fitness minimalism.
Photo by JeremyHall