Who would not want to lose a couple of pounds painlessly? And what is the golden rule if you want to achieve this? You wake up, you have a hearty breakfast, go to work, have a big lunch. Nap on your desk or chair or whatever you find comfortable for a couple of hours. Then work a couple more. Leave work, exercise and go home and get some rest. Don’t eat sweet stuff, count carbs, be religious if you want to succeed .. The nutritional pyramid has become common knowledge for anyone trying to shed some fat, even for pro athletes and bodybuilders. This is why when Ori Hofmekler first published his book on the Warrior Diet people thought that he went insane. The diet is quite simple to follow. You start your day with liquids and slowly as the day progresses you move toward harder food, with the ‘feast’ at the end of the night, when you are allowed to eat whatever you want. All the while you’re staying alert and dropping body fat percentage.
Why The Warrior Diet works?
Now fasting has been a part of a lot of religious rituals during the past, so I would assume those people had some ideas what they were doing. The main theory behind this diet is that your body will adapt to any stress that you introduce to it gradually. Our ancestors living in hunter-gatherer groups had no access to big meals early in the morning. Usually they would go out hunting on an empty stomach, picking small fruits and nuts during the day. Once they returned home (hopefully with some prey) they would sit around the fire and feast. When you eat, the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) kicks in. This is the part of the nervous system that controls digestion, organ function and pretty much anything that your brain controls but you are not aware of. Once digestion starts it is much harder to stay mobile. I mean who hasn’t felt dumbed down from a huge meal just after they’ve had it. The Warrior Diet also targets one very specific process in the body. Human Growth Hormone (or HGH) spikes during the night while we sleep. This is when the body develops new tissue and muscles and cleans itself from toxins. Hence this would be time most of the nutrients are needed. If you have your big meal before going to bed, you’re giving your body exactly what it wants. That being said, if your body is not tasked to clean your bloodstream from the toxins you take along with your food 5 times a day, it has time to rid your body of everything else. Fat included. Even if you’re working out, a recent study has shown that muscle building processes occur irrelevant of when the participants consume their proteins. The hypothetical ‘window’ for protein consumption doesn’t actually exist.
The Warrior Diet consists of two phases. Basically the day is split in the undereating or “fasting” phase(20 hrs), and the overeating or “feasting” phase(4hrs).
The Fasting Phase – Warrior Diet
The Fasting Phase basically starts at the end of your meal. Good news is even the time you sleep counts in the fasting hours. When you wake up in the morning it’s recommended that you drink water and coffee. Since at the begging when you start the Warrior Diet you might need time to get used to your new routine, the first couple of days you might feel extremely hungry. This is just your body getting used to the new rhythm. During the fasting phase you are allowed to have as much water, coffee (sugarless) and vegetables as you like. Fruits are allowed to but try to not eat a lot and avoid bananas since they are harder to digest. As the day progresses you can snack on some nuts or protein bars. If you are working out, it is suggested that you do this near the end of your fasting phase. While it might seem downright ridiculous to exercise on an empty stomach, after two or three sessions you will be amazed how well you adapt.
The Feasting Phase
So finally, you haven’t eaten a real meal for the whole day. You get home and you prepare your one big meal. At first you are not going to be able to fit all the calories you need in a single meal, but hey this is what a 4-hour window is for. During these 4 hours you can eat basically whatever you want as long as you follow the hierarchy. First you start with your vegetables, after that protein and after that carbs. You do not need to count the calories, you do not need to worry about the size of your plate. You should stop eating when you are feeling more thirsty than hungry. This might seem like it’s going to present a problem for people that have water/liquids with their meals. Worry not. You should stop when you feel full enough that you don’t want to think about food anymore. Who would not love a double cheeseburger after a whole day of fasting. After you’ve finished your meal try and get to bed within 2-3 hours of the last meal(s).
Still sounds too extreme for me to try …
Understandably, when a diet goes against everything you’ve been thought about diets and nutrition like the Warrior Diet does, it is natural to feel resistance. Instead of trying the full-on Warrior Diet, try with bigger windows and shorter fasting phases. Maybe a 8-hour feast with a 16-hour fast? Maybe you would like to start eating in the morning and be finished by noon? You would have to find out for yourself since different things work for different people.
Benefits reported on the Warrior Diet
While most of these things apply for the Warrior Diet, some of them are reported with the other fasting methods as well:
- Lower Body Fat Percentage
- Improved quality and quantity of sleep
- Increase in lean muscle mass (presuming enough calories are being consumed)
- Sharpened sense of smell (especially when food is present)
- Increased alertness
- Better response to stressful situations
So if you have a lot of free time on your hands, or actually, if you don’t and just want to cook one meal a day and still loose weight, give it a shot.