The Renegade Diet: Intermittent Fasting Tailored For Gut Health And Fat Loss

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Is it just me, or does it seem like this year is going by entirely too quickly? It seems like just yesterday I was hunkered down by the wood stove in my warmest clothing trying my best to get through what seemed like a never ending winter.

If you’ve been planning to start a workout regimen and healthy eating schedule so that you’ll look amazing in that bikini you bought on clearance back in the fall but you just haven’t managed to get around to it yet, you should not feel discouraged. It’s never too late, plus the benefits are far more than simply looking good in your brand new bathing suit.

We’ve covered quite a few different IF (Intermittent Fasting) diets in the past, and while they all have the same general basis (at some point or another you’re going to end up having to fast, and then essentially binge), they’re all a little bit different in their philosophy. Today we’re going to be talking about the Renegade Diet – A diet based on and formed around author Jason Ferruggia’s personal experiences.

Let me get this out of the way before we go any further, though – If you’re one of those people that needs to read all kinds of different scientific studies before you start a diet in order to feel informed, this isn’t the diet for you. This diet is based more on things that seem to make you feel better, even though there hasn’t been enough research done on their effects (think lemon water and sea salt) to make the scientific community back them. That said, Jason Ferruggia is a freakin’ genius in the intermittent fasting world – Essentially what he did was take a few different diets, keep their best and most effective qualities, and create an even better version of an intermittent fasting diet.

One of the aspects that I personally like best about this diet is that you won’t have to count calories or limit your portion sizes; even though your eating schedule will probably end up being a little bit different than that of your colleagues, you’ll still end up getting more than enough food in a day while still managing to lose weight.

How It Works

The Renegade Diet focuses just as much on good digestive gut health as it does on actual weight loss, which is what makes it one of the better types of ‘diets’ in my opinion (after all, if your gut isn’t in good shape you won’t be able to absorb nutrients from you food properly, that can cause a whole host of issues of its own). The main goal of this diet is body re-composition (which would be where you’d be losing fat while gaining muscle), but it can be tweaked to suit your own individual needs (for example, to get maximum leanness or muscle gain).

Your day will be sectioned into three different phases of eating while you’re on this diet:

The Fasting Phase

renegadeThis is by far the longest phase in the diet, but you’re unlikely to notice how long it is (and even less likely to be hungry while it’s going on) because you’re going to be asleep for a chunk of it (The phase itself is 16 hours long and most people sleep for at least eight. There should be no reason at all – barring medical of course – that you can’t go eight hours in the morning without eating).

This phase of the day is designed to help give your digestive system a rest from constantly working overtime and in turn speed up fat loss. Not eating and having to break down sugars all the time can also help you with insulin sensitivity issues.

If you’re concerned about the fact that you’re going to be starving during the day, you might want to consider pushing back the time you eat your carbs (we’ll get to all of that in just a minute) be a couple of hours – The later you eat at night, the longer you’ll end up feeling full the next day. If you stop eating you dinner at ten o clock at night, you’ll be able to eat again at two in the afternoon – That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

The Undereating Phase

So you’ve made it through your sixteen hours of deprivation, it’s finally time to break the fast! This eating phase lasts for four hours, and during it you’re going to be consuming mostly proteins that are easily digestible, fats, and veggies (think white fish, almonds, eggs, and full fat yogurt – Try your best to stay away from anything that says fat free unless you’re looking to up your sugar and processed chemical compound intake). Carbs aren’t off-limits while you’re in the undereating phase, but they should be coming from things like berries and not pasta.

Once you’ve been grazing for four hours, you’re ready to move on to your workout (The book discusses what to do if you need to tweak the diet so that you can work out in the morning). For your post workout meal, Ferruggia recommends that you drink a protein shake and eat some sweet potatoes. You’re now ready to move on to the third and final phase of the eating plan…

The Overeating Phase

renegade1I love that the book focuses so much on gut health – It even suggests that you might want to take some digestive enzymes before you begin feasting if you’re someone that has issues with digestion. After all, you are about to pack in about three quarters of your daily caloric intake right now. This phase lasts for four hours as well, which is good when you consider all of the food you have to pack away in that time in order to meet your daily quota.

You’re going to want to start your meal off with a large salad (which is actually a great excuse to sneak in some more prebiotics for your belly), and then move on to a big protein dinner (think grass fed meats and poultry, beans, eggs, fish, etc.). When you’re finished with the protein part, it’s time to pack in some carbs – Not only will they help keep you feeling full during your fasting phase, they’ll also help you fall and stay asleep better. Have you ever noticed how after eating a large carb filled meal, you’re basically ready for a nap? You have the carbohydrates to thank for that.

You might be wondering how many meals should you eat during the under and overeating phases. Honestly….that’s entirely up to you. Some would prefer eating only one meal per phase, while others would feel more comfortable splitting their calorie intake into several smaller meals. However, eating 6 meals in 8 hours would mean you’d have to eat once every 1.3 hours – this seems a bit impractical, doesn’t it? I honestly don’t think the point of this diet is to make you waste most of your day eating. A simple, and more efficient solution would be resuming to 2-4 meals split across both eating phases, but like I said….in the end, the decision is ultimately yours.

Tweaks

As I mentioned before, the diet can be tweaked to suit your own individual needs. For example, if you’re overweight (which in the case of this diet is considered when you have a body fat percentage of 25% or more), there’s a good chance that eating so many carbs so late at night is going to make you gain more weight – In that case, you’re going to want to limit the carbs you’re getting to things like berries and maybe a serving of sweet potatoes when you’ve finished working out in the afternoon.

Alternatively, if you’re someone that’s incredibly lean and looking to gain muscle mass, you can play around with and extend your eating times a little bit. It’s a little more complicated than I’m making it sound and I really don’t have the space needed here to get every point across, so if it’s something that you’d like to learn more about you should definitely make the small investment in the book by clicking here (not an affiliate link, just thought you might like to know where you can get the book from).

The Benefits

It’s Hardly A Diet

It’s no secret that I hate the term diet. I think of plans like this as more of a lifestyle – They can be worked into almost any schedule with a little bit of planning ahead, and you can actually maintain long term results.

It’s Healthy

Even though the Renegade Diet has you eating carbs late at night, they should be coming from healthy choices such as berries and sweet potatoes, not greasy French fries and German chocolate cake (there are actually carb loading diets out there that recommend you eat these things – Great in a dream world sure, not so great when your goal is to see results.

It also focuses on good gut health. Regardless of what type of diet you’re on (or not on), the basic information found in this book can help ensure that you always get the most from the foods you eat, regardless of when you choose to eat them.

It Doesn’t Screw Up Your Schedule Too Much

renegade2Unless you’re someone that tends to have a lot of lunch meetings with your clients, chances are you’re not going to notice too much of an upheaval in your eating schedule. In fact, this diet gives you the green light to go all-out at those big social dinners you like so much.

It Can Help You Sleep Better

Not only can you lose weight and even out your hormones while you’re following this eating plan, all of the carbs that you’re eating so late at night can actually end up helping you sleep better. Think about how you feel after a big holiday meal with all the fixings – It’s not the dopamine in your turkey that’s making you so sleepy, it’s the rolls and potatoes you had.

 Your Mind Will Be Sharper

Not wanting to take a nap after having a lunchtime sandwich means that you’ll actually be able to stay alert and focused throughout your entire workday.

No Weighing Or Portion Control!

The average person should be able to stick to this diet easily without ever having to touch a scale or count out carbs before sitting down with a plate of food you can’t even appreciate. Since the diet is focused on eating whole, organic, natural foods you can pretty much eat until you feel full without having to worry about anything (Of course if you’re overweight, you might have to do a little bit of tracking in the beginning, but I see no reason why you couldn’t phase that out once you began to see results).

The Cons

It’s Not For Everyone

If you have a lot of lunch meetings in which you’re going to need to eat or if you have a large family and hectic eating schedule that makes you only eat when you’re able to, this diet probably isn’t going to be for you. While it doesn’t require a whole lot of time and effort, it does require a little bit of scheduling and dedication. Not everyone has the kind of time and dedication needed to fulfill the needs of an IF diet. Don’t worry if you don’t – There are tons of other diets out there that you can feel free to study until you find one that works for your personal needs and schedule.

It’s Not Ideal For Gaining

While the Renegade diet can be tweaked a little bit to help you focus on gaining muscle, it’s not necessarily ideal for it; especially if you’re someone that’s incredibly skinny to begin with, a four hour overeating phase just might not be enough time for you to get in all of the extra calories you need.

It Might Make You Feel Bloated At Night

renegade3Especially if you don’t have your gut health game in check yet. Chances are, if you’re feeling bloated at night (or even midday before you get to break your fast), you’re eating too many carbs at night. You can try cutting them back or skipping them altogether at dinner. You want to be able to get a great sleep (that’s how your body repairs itself), and you’re not going to get that if you feel like you’re pregnant with a food baby.

Is It Safe?

Generally speaking, as long as you’re not pregnant, breastfeeding, overtraining (for a marathon or something similar), or suffering from a condition like diabetes that requires you to eat on somewhat of a schedule, the Renegade Diet appears to be relatively safe.

That said – as with any other diet – I still recommend making an appointment with your healthcare professional before you decide to throw yourself into an intermittent fasting diet (or any other type of diet for that matter) to ensure that you don’t have any sort of underlying health condition that could make this sort of diet dangerous to your health.

Does It Work?

I can definitely see this diet working out for a lot of people, especially if the recommendations in the book are followed to a tee. You might want to consider going on The Renegade Diet if:

  • You’ve come to a plateau with your weight loss efforts.
  • You struggle with digestion issues.
  • You want to lose weight, but can’t stand calorie counting.
  • You suffer from a hormonal imbalance.
  • You want to kick lower your body fat percentage without putting your health at risk.
  • You suffer from adrenal fatigue or high cortisol levels.

Just make sure that you remember to check with your doctor or naturopath first – It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Have you tried out the Renegade Diet or a similar type of intermittent fasting plan? I’d love to hear what your personal experiences with these types of diets are – Please let me know in the comments section below!

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