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Have you been trying to lose weight but keep getting stuck? Or maybe like me, you’ve reached an age where dieting doesn’t work that well anymore.
I try to steer clear of fad diets, and have been focusing on small but sustainable changes instead. I have found some success with a few small tweaks, and it involves coffee, so of course I want to share them with you in the hopes it will help you too.
The full set of little changes combines principles of intermittent fasting, timing of exercise, and coffee (with or without added collagen and MCT oil).
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, but I do do my research. What works for me may not be a good fit for you. If you have any medical conditions please consult your doctor before making any changes.
Here’s what I have done and how it works:
Take one part Intermittent Fasting..
Intermittent fasting takes on many forms but at its most basic, it simply means prolonging the period of time that you do not eat any food (or caloric drinks). What I have been doing is waiting a few hours before having breakfast.
This means from the time I last eat in the early evening until about 10 am or so the next day, about 14 hours have gone by.
Some people take it a little further and try to only eat during an 8 hour window. I am easing into this and for now, not eating until 10 am is achievable.
I still eat breakfast earlier a few days of the week if I know I am doing something where I won’t have the opportunity to eat for awhile.
Intermittent fasting may help with weight loss because it is thought to reduce inflammation. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, reducing inflammation in the body can make it easier to lose excess pounds.
Intermittent fasting, when done by reducing the eating window, may also help to lose weight because it allows blood sugar and insulin levels to normalize for a long enough period of time that we start to burn fat for fuel.
Sprinkle in some well timed exercise…
In The Mini-Fast Diet, Dr. Julian Whittaker takes the basic principles of intermittent fasting and adds in exercise.
He suggests that if you exercise in the morning while you are still in the fasted state, your body will have no choice but to burn fat. All the free glucose it usually uses as an easy source of energy has been depleted overnight.
Studies are divided whether fat is burned when you exercise in the fasted state, or your whether your body breaks down muscle in order to burn protein.
Either way, low intensity cardio is probably the best way to go. Avoid HIIT or strength training. The former is too intense on an empty stomach and the latter requires some carbohydrates. (Source)
I have been doing low impact aerobic/dance workouts and walking as my exercise.
Use Cold Brew Coffee + Fat + Protein to stay full
Coffee has come a long way from being demonized as recently as the 1980’s to actually having health benefits! One of the benefits may be to aid in weight loss.
One theory that has circulated is that caffeine releases fatty acids from fat cells. I have read some authors conclude that drinking coffee before exercise releases fat into the blood stream, making it more available to be burned as fuel if you exercise soon after.
I have not been able to find any research that confirms this. We do know that fatty acids are released by caffeine, but whether this impacts fat metabolism is not proven.
A study released in June 2019 caused a stir by showing that coffee stimulates brown fat. Brown fat is a specific type of fat that burns sugars and fats to generate heat.
It turns out that people with a lower BMI (i.e. leaner) tend to have more brown fat. So, stimulating brown fat could help burn some extra calories for the rest of us as well as help to control sugars and fats in the blood.
As adults we have less brown fat than we did as kids, but certain things can stimulate it—including coffee it turns out. Researchers are going to continue building on this study to determine whether caffeine was responsible for activating brown fat, or something else in the coffee itself.
Optional—Add MCT oil and Collagen:
I was introduced to some of the concepts in this article by Dr. Kellyann’s 10 Day Belly Slimdown. She suggests using MCT oil and collagen mixed into coffee and only drinking that in the morning.
I have abandoned her diet for the most part, but a few days a week, I still add MCT oil and collagen to my cold brew coffee. It helps me to feel full until my delayed breakfast.
Collagen peptides are a clean protein source that can help to keep you full. Adding it to coffee can help prolong the intermittent fast without affecting blood sugar.
As we age, collagen production decreases and supplementation may also help with joints, bones, skin and hair. Fringe benefit!
According to Psychology Today, collagen can be a positive addition to a weight loss program that can promote fullness and help you stay active.
Isn’t this similar to Bulletproof ™ coffee?
Bulletproof coffee contains grass fed butter and MCT oil, both of which are fats. Butter is a saturated fat which should be consumed in moderation. This coffee avoids the saturated fat and only uses MCT oil, which is a medium chain triglyceride that is usually refined from coconut oil.
Medium chain triglycerides are more easily broken down than other types of fats, so are less likely to be stored in the body as fats and can be used as an energy source by the body. (Source)
Cold Brew Collagen/MCT Recipe
12 oz. cold brew coffee
2 tsp. MCT Oil
1 scoop collagen powder
Place in a blender and whir for 1-2 seconds. It will quickly become frothy.
I was skeptical about how this would taste, but honestly I barely notice the collagen, and the equally tasteless MCT oil makes for a smooth creamy coffee that I actually like. It is not unlike nitro coffee, just a little creamier mouthfeel.
I whip up 12 oz. of this in the morning and sip about half soon after I get up, exercise and shower, and then sip the other half as I begin my workday. At a time when I would normally pause for a snack, I now eat breakfast (which also means I have trimmed 150 calories from my previous 6 small meals strategy by eliminating that morning snack).
Is this a miracle weight loss program? No. But for me it has been an easy change that has actually resulted in a few pounds lost where previously only near starvation worked.
This is something I can see just becoming part of my life. When we can find these things that help us achieve a healthy weight that we can stick with long term, even if the loss is slow, it is moving the needle in the right direction. That works for me.
P.S. If you are doing keto, this coffee is keto friendly.