Let’s be brutally honest. Nobody has the time for a no-carb diet nowadays, even if they’re famous and with cash to burn. The popular myth has so far been that to get the body of an action hero, such as Hugh Jackman’s, you need to bid adieu to all the yummy stuff like pizzas, pasta, and breads. But, just like the rest of us, certain celebs can’t live without all the carb-rich foods (who can blame them?). Instead, they have found another way to shed the shamefully un-Instagrammable belly flab. This method is called intermittent fasting.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of eating and fasting. This happens by eating freely during an 8-hour interval, and then fasting for 16-hours to kick the body into fat-burning mode. Or by picking one day in the week when you fast for a total 24-hours. Alternatively, you eat normally 5 days per week (no restrictions) and then consume 500-600 calories the other two. The 16:8 is the easiest and most popular by far.
The big question is, can you handle double digits without food?
Before you start protesting about the importance of small and frequent meals, or your body going on “starvation mode”, remember that fasting isn’t just the diet du jour. Intermittent fasting used to be the default eating pattern of the past. Our human ancestors were hunters and gatherers. They didn’t reach for a bag of snacks, fizzy drinks and sugary coffees to gulp down every time they experienced the slightest hunger tingle. What’s more, even when we left the caves and invented snacking, fasting remained a popular religious practice that helped humans remain healthy and live longer.
The general idea is that we don’t need to eat throughout the day, even if the meals are healthy and low in carb. Consuming 3-4 meals per day puts too much strain on our organs. Instead, our bodies need fasting to detox, clean out the dead cells and clear up toxins. Intermittent fasting has also been found to reduce the risk of cancer, blood pressure, and heart disease, while it is known to increase energy.
So who are the smart celebs who enjoy their carbs without guilt, look awesome and feel great?
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to do it, don’t look any further. With a flat, rippled stomach that men half his age would kill for, Hugh Jackman is the poster boy for intermittent fasting. At age 50 the Wolverine star has a relaxed attitude towards his fitness regime and is happy to share his dieting secrets with his fans. Jackman famously follows the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan when he prepares for a movie. This means that he allows himself an 8-hour eating window, followed by a 16-hour fasting period.
The only rule is that he can’t eat for 16-hours. “From about 10 in the morning till 6, for this, I eat way too much. And then nothing after that,” Jackman says.
Liv Tyler has famously said that she’d been on a diet her whole life. It was only a matter of time that she gave Intermittent fasting a go. The busy mom had to restrict her food intake after developing gestational diabetes as a result of frequently eating after giving birth. Even though we don’t know Liv’s exact dieting plan (which because of her experience with diabetes might not be as strict as Jackman’s), she is reportedly a huge fan of IF. Intermittent fasting allows her to keep her calorie intake in check without having to count calories all day.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel lost 25 pounds and kept it off just by practicing intermittent fasting. His preferred eating schedule is the 5:2 eating plan, according to which he consumes very few calories two days a week. What does he eat the other five days, you might wonder. As he discloses, it’s pizzas, steaks, and all his favorite junk foods. “it’s helped me stay at 82 kilos. And it’s made me appreciate the food that I do eat”. Kimmel said.
At 51-years-old Nicole Kidman’s body looks incredibly strong, youthful and lean. The actress reportedly follows the 16:8 diet, which helps her to stay in shape and remain energized. Just like Jackman, she has breakfast at 10 am and the last meal of the day before 6 pm. Easy peasy.
The petite reality star has 3 children and as her Instagram page suggests, a very slim and toned body. Kourtney does a 24-hour fast once a week, while the rest of the days she tries not to consume any food for 14 hours. During her fasting day, she only consumes bone broth and water. That sounds tough, but to avoid temptations, Kourtney avoids the kitchen on her detox day. “On fasting days, I try to stay busy, and, if I’m home, I’ll avoid going into the kitchen,” she says. Ermm, Kourtney, what about your kids?
It works but it’s not for everyone
Intermittent fasting is a good way to shed weight, but, arguably, it’s not for everyone. One potential snag is that when you are in your fasting period, you should be diligent. No food is allowed in. But not everyone can handle so many hours without food, as so many people are addicted to food. If you’re focused enough to give it a try, you might be surprised by how fast it works and how well you look and feel after a few days.