Why Intermittent Fasting Might Be The Best (And Fastest) Way For First Responders To Burn Fat And Lose Weight
During my 13 years as a Police Officer, one of the things that always blew my mind was how fat and out of shape some of the members of the First Aid Squad and Paramedics were that I would see responding to calls. Some were so overweight, I often wondered how they even got in and out of the ambulance.
On numerous occasions these these folks were unable to perform certain lifting tasks due to their weight and lack of physical ability. Not only was this an embarrassment to the profession but also a disservice to the victims whom they were there to assist.
Thankfully, the police department I worked for had very few overweight officers. One female officer and a couple of male officers aside, most were in decent shape. However, some surrounding agencies had numerous fat and out of shape officers. Once again, this is a disgrace to their agency, the uniform and the profession as a whole.
I often wondered how the officers who worked alongside these fat officers felt about the condition of their co-workers. How did they feel about these officers coming to their aide in the event they needed backup? How did they feel about these officers not being able to do basic patrol tasks due to their weight?
In the end, it cannot be argued; first responders who are fat and out of shape are not just a liability to their co-workers and those they’ve sworn to protect; they're a danger to themselves.
Over the years a handful of first responders have reached out to me for guidance on how to lose weight. Most heard what I had to say but never actually DID what I told them they needed to do. This really came as no surprise. That’s why I stopped wasting my time counseling individuals one on one. I refused to care more about their health than they did.
For the select few who actually took my advice, put in the work and lost a tremendous amount mount of weight, intermittent fasting was the key. Why did intermittent fasting work so well to help these first responders lose weight? The answer to that has a direct correlation to the job and the schedule most first responders work.
However, before I get into that, let’s give you a very simple breakdown of what intermittent fasting actually is and what it isn’t. Most people “think” they know what intermittent fasting is but learned most of what they know off social media; one of the worst places to learn about anything.
So what is intermittent fasting and how exactly does it help you to lose weight safely and effectively? In this article I’m going to break this down for you in the simplest way possible. I’ll also share why intermittent fasting is ideal for first responders looking to lose weight.
The basis of intermittent fasting is restricting the number of hours during the day that you consume food (calories). When you do it (time period) is not that important. How long you do it for (fasting window) is. Two important things I also want to address are what you can and can’t have during your fasting window and how to most effectively break your fast.
Let’s start with some basics. The fasting period is the time frame during which you are NOT eating and/or consuming calories. The feeding window is the period during which you are consuming calories.
How long should I fast for while doing intermittent fasting? You’ll hear and read a lot of different “opinions” on this. But let’s take opinion out of the equation and stick to the science. Scientific research has proven (without question) that the optimal results and benefits from intermittent fasting are achieved after 16 hours. That’s right. Sixteen hours. Scientific research has proven this so many times that it’s now indisputable.
Now, that said, research has found that the greatest benefits of intermittent fasting begin at hour 16. Yes, BEGIN. So if you want to truly reap the full physiological benefits of intermittent fasting, you must fast beyond 16 hours. Once again, this is not my opinion. This is a fact based on decades of scientific research.
So, is fasting less than 16 hours pretty much a waste of time? Well, not exactly. There are “some” benefits to fasting 12 and even 14 hours. But my feeling is, if you’re going to do something, why not do it in the manner that gets you the maximum benefit that you’re looking for? I mean, you could work out for 10 minutes a day. But if science tells you that you must work out for at least 30 minutes a day to realize any sort of measurable results, why would one ever stop at the 10 minute mark. If you're even remotely serious about getting results, you'll go for the full 30 minutes...or more. But if you're just lying to yourself and really aren't that serious, you'll do just the 10 minutes, see that you're not losing any weight and then complain to your friends that working out is a waste of time. Sound familiar?
As with working out, fasting should be eased into. I recommend starting out with a 12 hour fasting window and a 12 hour feeding window. Oddly enough, many people are already doing this (sorta) and don't even know it. For example, there were many nights a friend of mine said they would finish dinner by 8pm. The next morning, he'd get up around 6:30am and leave for work by 7:30am. He’d typically grab a cup of coffee on the way to work. He’d continue to sip his large coffee while at work and drink some water out of his fancy, overpriced water bottle until about 10am. By 11am he was getting hungry and would run down to the deli to grab some lunch. Sound familiar? Right there, without even trying, as he sat down for lunch at roughly 11:15/11:30am he had fasted for 15+ hours. But did he?
In Part 2 of this article, I'll explain what my friend in the example above did wrong and why so many people fall into this same trap. I'll also give you the step by step program that I've shared with tons of cops and first responders to help them lose weight and keep it off.