After personal experience getting to my ideal weight and staying there, I created two Facebook Groups to promote healthy eating and weight loss. The first one is simply called Mediterranean Diet and is a thriving community where friends share experiences, challenges and recipes, offer support, and take control of their health with the Get Started Guide and other free resources. The second one is a spinoff called Mediterranean Diet and Intermittent Fasting and combines these two incredibly healthy ways of eating to magnify results. My original focus was on the Mediterranean Diet, but once I started checking with the active users in the Mediterranean Diet group I found that many of them combine these two practices with fantastic results.
Intermittent Fasting has many benefits including:
Decreased insulin levels that signal the body to burn stored energy
Fat adaptation where the body burns stored fat
Autophagy that replaces old and damaged cells
Improved mental clarity and energy
Reversal of type 2 diabetes
And of course weight loss
Different intermittent fasts include One Meal a Day (OMAD), 5:2, alternate day, 36 hour, and my favorite 18:6. None of these support having snacks, and they all have a window in which you eat and a window in which you do not eat or drink calories.
One meal a day is self-explanatory, restricting all eating to one meal then fasting until the next day at the same time. 5:2 means that one eats normal three meals per day for five days, then no foods for two days per week. This way of eating increases the rate of autophagy which increases the longer you fast up to 48 hours or so. Alternate day fasting is just as it says, complete fasting every other day. 36 hour fasting window is also good for autophagy, usually dinner one day then waiting the breakfast with a day in between.
For myself and most people in my group by far the easiest logistically and easier to adopt is a 6 hour eating window followed by 18 hours of fasting. This method has the same results as the more aggressive and discomforting fasts, but allows you to eat every day. I highly recommend starting with 18:6 because it is easier do adopt and maintain than the others I have tried. Intermittent fasting is not about feeling deprived, and I have found the 18:6 to be fairly easy to adopt initially and easier and easier to maintain going forward. This is because with intermittent fasting you stomach shrinks and as the habit of skipping a meal and not snacking takes hold your body ceases to crave meals at the accustomed time.
Another benefit of combining the Mediterranean Diet with Intermittent Fasting is as you are reducing calories you are improving your nutrition. Adopting the Mediterranean Diet means that you are exercising portion control, consuming extra virgin olive oil daily, reducing or eliminating animal fats and saturated fats in general, and filling up on healthy vegetables instead of breads, pastas, and all of the other foods that have made us sick and fat.
I adopted the Mediterranean Diet first but not all at once. As I continued doing research and getting to know more people in my Facebook group I realized that many of them combine the Mediterranean Diet with Intermittent Fasting, and it makes perfect sense. I had fasted numerous times in the past and had experimented with different fasting windows. I continued experimenting in earnest by being more systematic about adjusting my fasting window, food choices, and portions. As my weight dropped my health improved, my weight stabilized at a level I would have never thought possible, and my health improved in very noticeable ways.
I have found the combination of these two ways of eating have given me more energy, better clarity, improved cholesterol, and having my body “right sized’ makes clothes fit better, eliminated a chronic snoring problem, eliminated sleep apnea, eliminated the need for acid reflux medication, given me healthier skin, and improved my moods and attitude. Not bad for something that saves me money at the same time.
Importantly I also lost the craving for fat, sugar, and salt that effects so many people. Once I was fully fat adapted I no longer craved foods or drinks that had high amounts of those addictive and destructive substances. I can now walk by Nuts on Clark in the Chicago airport and have no desire to buy a bag.
I’m sure this sounds good, and my Facebook groups continues to enable people with all different medical conditions and health goals to lose weight while not counting calories and not feeling famished. More and more doctors are now recommending the Mediterranean Diet, and after a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine many are also recommending intermittent fasting for patients with lifelong obesity related problems.
However not everyone has the skill or determination to make a change like this stick. Commonly cited reasons for not adopting either practice include: I have low blood sugar; I feel faint if I miss a meal; grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle ate meat daily and lived to be 95; I need a pick me up in the afternoon, I don’t like olive oil; how will I get enough protein; I don’t like beans; the list is actually endless.
This is why having the support of your friends and family, a coach, or other form of support like my Facebook group is crucial in adopting either way of eating for good. Unlike the yo-yo diets we have all heard of and most of us have tried, these two have been practiced for millennia with nearly always the same result. The body wants to be strong and healthy, by following the steps on this website, joining my Facebook group(s), and committing to this change anyone can do this.
Expectations can have disastrous effects if you are trying to do this without a support system. People who make it to my group are going to be more likely to successfully adopt this diet, and many visitors try for a week or two, are not systematic and thought weight would just fly off. N the other hand the long term committed members were invariably driven by a devastating health condition, committed to the change and would never go back because their health would be at risk or because it just feels so good to be at the right weight, eating great food, and knowing they are treating their body well and will live longer and healthier because of their choice.