HOW TO START: A CRASH COURSE



I got great news for you: the system is easy to use, you just need to start, and then your body will appreciate it a lot!

First of all, familiarize yourself with two basic terms:

  • EATING WINDOW - the time interval between the beginning of the first meal and the completion of the last meal in one day.
  • FASTING - the time interval between eating windows, i.e. between the completion of the last meal in one day and the beginning of the first meal the next day (including the night).
  • In fact, every day you indeed spend some time fasting (while sleeping at night + some time before and after). Assuming your regular dinner at 6-7 PM and breakfast at 7-8 AM means that your regular ratio is 13:11 (13 hours fasting and 11 hours eating window). The fasting, which that you used to have up until now, was doing an important job to increase your health, but unfortunately not long enough, as it was interrupted by breakfasts. This fasting was not sufficient to compensate the terrible damage to your body caused by eating many times a day (well, at least that damage was partly compensated somehow; otherwise you would weigh a ton within a few week).

    In other words, you need to increase the period of fasting. First, increase its duration by 3 hours to change the ratio to 16:8 (16 hours fasting and 8 hours eating window). It would be an exaggeration to say that this task is hard to accomplish.

    Strictly speaking, only a few paragraphs of the whole list below define Intermittent Fasting. If you will observe ONLY them, that will already be a revolutionary turn for the better, so your body will thank you. However, careful observance of other rules as well will make your transition to IF much easier, and the process of losing weight will develop fast and efficiently.

    Effective tomorrow, here is what you do:

    1. Remove breakfasts. Lunch will be your first meal. Um... come on, isn’t it your sacred right to take meal every morning? Not at all. It’s an old prejudice; it is based on speculations and cannot be corroborated by facts. Missing your morning meals provides your body more time to burn fat in order to produce energy. Since hunger feels least in the morning, it is often quite simple to miss a breakfast. Doing so every day will help to build a habit. For the first few days, yes, your body will just expect to eat when you wake-up but you will be surprised how quickly things will change after the new lifestyle becomes your new norm! After a few days the feeling of hunger because of the missed breakfast will go away since your body will enter deep ketosis.

    2. Your lunch and dinner should be in a 8-hours period. For example, your first and second meal should be eaten between noon and 8 PM (or, if you prefer, between 11 AM and 7 PM, or between 10 AM and 6 PM, or between 1 PM and 9 PM):

      8 hours is the maximum allowed length of the eating window. In general, it is better to make it shorter (for example, 6 or 5 hours instead of 8) - then during the day more hours will be devoted to fat burning (18 and 19 instead of 16, respectively). For example, when I eat twice a day (in weekends), my protocol is usually not 16:8, but 18:6 or 19:5. Some experts say that the 20:4 regimen has almost the same effect as OMAD (one meal a day). Of course, in such a short time you won't get hungry, so the second meal will probably be a snack rather than a full meal. If in a few days, you will find out that you no longer want to take the second meal – excellent, you don't really need it: hocus pocus! – you are switched to OMAD (one meal a day), the most efficient type of IF! That happened to me on my 6th day of IF (now I am on OMAD in the days when I work). That is very likely to happen if you will remove fast carbohydrates (that will be discussed later), but don't set such a goal if you are just starting IF. If eating once a day shocked you now, it means that you have not read the main page of the site, which is never too late to do

      "Can I remove suppers instead of breakfasts?"

      The first paragraph of the instruction recommends to remove breakfasts. However, is it possible to remove suppers instead of breakfasts, while still maintaining the same duration for the eating window (for example: 7 AM to 3 PM, or 9 AM to 5 PM)? The answer is yes, if that is more comfortable for you. There is one subtlety you should keep in mind: skipping breakfast prolongs the effect of growth hormone, produced nightly, which plays an important role in weight loss - it "opens the fat depot" i.e. enables the use of fat deposits as a source of energy. This hormone "acts" not only in the second half of the night (when it is being produced), but also for several hours (up to 7-8!) after you have awaken. But only until the moment you eat! The insulin spike from eating suppresses its effect. That is why the first meal during the day should be as late as possible - ideally not earlier than 8 hours after waking up (but at least not before noon!)..

      For most people, it's easier to skip breakfast. For me, it was the case also because of a physiological aspect: the thought that after a few hours I would eat, was warming my soul (in contrast to the thought that today there will be no more food). When you fully enter the IF and go into deep ketosis, at which point the feeling of hunger is very rare, this aspect will disappear, but at the initial stage it may be important for someone. However, I repeat that if you prefer to skip suppers - go ahead, this is not a problem. What I said above about growth hormone is important, but much less important than the overall comfort on which the continuation of your IF depends.

    3. After completing the last meal and before going to sleep, a minimum of 3 hours (or even better 4) should elapse. If it doesn't work out one day, then wait at least 2 hours before you go to bed. But the daily routine should be an at least 3-hour meal break before bedtime. And the point here is not even in the IF (or rather, not only in it).

      From the book "Fat For Fuel" by Joseph Mercola (PDF):

      THE BENEFITS OF AVOIDING EATING HOURS BEFORE YOU GO TO BED

      No matter which fasting program you choose, or even if you choose not to adopt any formal type of fasting, you'll want to stop eating at least three hours before you go to bed. I have recently become much more aware of how important this simple change is in helping to optimize your mitochondrial function and prevent cellular damage. Many factors influence why you will reap health benefits if you develop the habit of not eating within three hours of bedtime:

      • When you are sleeping, your energy needs are at their lowest, and providing excess fuel at this time will result in the production of excessive amounts of damaging free radicals.

      • Sleep is your body's time for detox and repair, and needing to digest a meal during sleep will impair these important processes.

      • Nighttime is a common time for your body to use ketones for energy, since glycogen stores are typically depleted within 18 hours (13 hours if you are eating low carb), and eating too close to bedtime can replenish glycogen stores and prevent the body from burning fat for overnight fuel.

      • Not eating for at least three hours before bed enables you to extend that period of time without eating food on a daily basis, making Peak Fasting an easy and rewarding way of life.

      A review paper published in 2011 provides much of the experimental work supporting the advice to refrain from eating too close to bedtime. The take-home message is clear: since your body uses the least amount of calories when sleeping, you'll want to avoid eating close to bedtime because adding excess fuel at this time will generate excessive free radicals that will damage your tissues, accelerate aging, and contribute to chronic disease.

      For this reason, I believe one of the best strategies for reducing mitochondrial free radical production is to limit the amount of fuel you feed your body when it requires the least amount, which is when you are sleeping. That's why I stop eating four to six hours before I go to bed, although a three-hour window is also beneficial and probably more doable for most people.

      Please note that this is not the famous meme "you can't eat after six" (some idiot launched this nonsense, and many people repeat it like parrots) - except if you always go to bed at 9 PM. For example, if you go to bed at 1 AM, then you can finish your dinner at 10 PM.

    4. Any meal must take no longer than 40 minutes. In the worse case - up to 1 hour (if it's a family celebration, gala event or visiting a restaurant with friends). In no case do not watch TV and do not surf the Internet while eating! Your thoughts should be focused on the pleasure of eating, and not be distracted by what is happening on the screen - do you want to deprive yourself of pleasure? Absolutely forget about watching films hours to the accompaniment of nuts and seeds (saying it's still technically one meal, even though long)! I discussed that with a nutritionist, working in the clinic of Dr. Fung. She said, that we can eat nuts and seeds (as a dessert immediately after meal) for no longer than 15 minutes. For me, it's easier not to start them at all than stop after 15 minutes. In addition to very healthy fats, they unfortunately contain carbs which cause hunger and make stopping eating them almost impossible (it's not because they are tasty and we want to extend the enjoyment of this taste - for example, a high-quality steak is much tastier, but nothing like this happens). Nuts and seeds are a rare example of a natural product in which carbohydrates and fats are combined in large quantities, which causes gaining weight even more than carbohydrates alone. This is a typical "autumn" food. The combination is for gaining fat to survive the winter. Eating it all year round is the same as arranging for yourself an autumn fat depositing all year long. If you are nuts/seeds-addicted, switch to cheeses as the after-meal dessert. I always have a few kinds in my fridge (including soft and gentle onse, which make me feel too full in a couple of minutes), and I stop eating them very quickly with no effort (so, my meals rarely exceed 20-25 minutes). If you cannot stop eating, use this magic lifehack: brush your teeth (preferably with a menthol toothpaste). You will enjoy cool freshness in your mouth, which cannot be mentally connected with food, so your mind will easily get, that food doesn't even appear on the agenda!

    5. The next timeline summarizes all of the aforesaid:



      We have discussed WHEN to eat and not to eat. Now, let's discuss WHAT to eat and not to eat.

    6. Any snacks are absolutely prohibited in the fasting phase (and in the gap between the 1st and the 2nd meal when you eat twice a day). Even a smallest piece of most healthy food is essentially just another meal that resets the timer for the food digestion / fat burning cycle. In the fasting phase, this will simply stop it. In between the 1st and 2nd meals, the consequences of a snack will be much less catastrophic, but they will still exist (although they will appear later, when you stop losing weight after the initial weight loss). Explanation without going into details: the biochemical and hormonal picture, say, 2 hours after eating, is very different from that during eating (and immediately after). With a snack, you forcibly replace the second (which should be at this stage of the previous meal's digestion) with the first.

    7. Any drinks with calories and sweeteners are absolutely prohibited in the fasting phase (and in the gap between the 1st and the 2nd meal when you eat twice a day). These may include, but not limited to, coffee/tea with sugar/milk/cream, juices, any sweet drinks. No lemon juice/slice with water or other allowed drinks. Teas from hibiscus, dog rose and any fruits and berries are forbidden even unsweetened: even though they contain a minimum of sugar, these calories may be enough to raise insulin. It’s not that calories may contribute to fat accumulation (although it does matter), but it will stop the period of fasting since your organism will perceive it as another meal. Technically, even unsweetened tea and coffee contain a small number of calories (1-5), but do not be afraid to drink them - in order to break the fast, several dozens calories are needed. Sweeteners are also banned - despite the lack of calories (shocking details coming soon, keep reading!).

      Drink water (unflavoured carbonated/sparkling is fine!), as well as unsweetened coffee and various plain teas. Very tasty, without any sweeteners, are the leaf oolong, green tea and puer. By the way, caffeine stimulates the breakdown of fats, so tea and coffee contribute to speeding up weight loss. You may as well try herbal/wellness teas (double check they don't contain fruits/berries), rooibos, tulsi, chicory (the last one is prohibited if you have varicose veins!).

      Milk, cream, kefir, sour milk, yogurt and broths are not allowed between your meals because of calories, but can be consumed as part of your meals (during the "eating windows").

    8. If your stomach starts churning while you fast, just drink. You will find more details the first bullet of the TIPS AND TRICKS FOR EASY HUNGER MANAGEMENT section in the page KETOSIS AND HUNGER.

    9. Absolutely remove easily digestible ("fast") carbohydrates, and minimize "slow" ones. The fast carbs: farinaceous foods (bread, pasta, perogies, dumplings and whatever else containing grain/cereals - including all dishes fried in flour or bread crumbs), underground starchy vegetables (potatoes, beets, carrots), rice, corn, beans, peas, porridge (including buckwheat and oatmeal), and naturally the enemy number one, sugar in all its incarnations including sweets, fruits, juices (Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy) and honey (Healthy? No, honey can be WORSE for you than sugar).

      Check nutrition facts of everything you buy!!! Sugar can be added where you least expect to see it, e.g. in pickled dills, processed meat (including sausages and bacon), and dressings (including ketchup and mayonnaise). Sometimes, sugar appears under different names like juice, syrup, honey, glucose, fructose, sucrose, saccharose, galactose, xylose, maltose, dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin, treacle, agave, molasses, mannitol, sorghum, demarrara, amisake, and tens more words, by using which the food industry tries to fool you and make you think the product doesn't contain sugar. But don't learn all these words - instead, use this simple rule:

      If the ingredients list is long, or contains words you don't understand, then DON'T buy this product - it's guaranteed, that it has nothing to do with healthy food.


      If it's not something like "Beef meat, salt, black pepper" or "Goat milk, bacterial cultures" - return the product to the shelf!

      It is also desirable not to eat too much tomatoes and red bell pepper. You can eat other vegetables, but remember that they contain carbs as well, so do not eat too much of them. A lot of carbohydrates are also found in nuts and seeds, so they should also be restricted. Never buy them already cleaned - when you peel nuts or seeds by yourself, then willy-nilly you eat less for the same time period. Have you ever noticed that if you started eating them, it is difficult to stop? This is the action of carbs! If you have constipation, then increase the number of above-ground vegetables, seeds and nuts for fiber (eat cucumbers with skin!), and also return beans and peas to your table.

      Starches are one of the three main types of carbohydrates, so starchy food should be avoided as well. Since starch is usually added to minced meat products, such as sausages, those should be removed from your menu. Instead of them buy meat delicacies from the whole (not minced!) piece of meat (see the page JUST A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHAT I EAT, the 3rd bullet). Starch can be added to whatever, even to sour cream and "natural" (not sweet) yogurt - always check labels!

      "Can I eat whole grain bread? It is considered healthier."

      It is better than regular bread - just as breaking one leg is better than breaking two. But why break your legs at all? Forget about this poison!

      Removal of fast carbs is more important than Intermittent Fasting itself!


      From the highly recommended book "Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It" by Gary Taubes (PDF):

      ...two factors will essentially determine how much fat we accumulate, both having to do with the hormone insulin.

      First, when insulin levels are elevated, we accumulate fat in our fat tissue; when these levels fall, we liberate fat from the fat tissue and burn it for fuel. This has been known since the early 1960s and has never been controversial. Second, our insulin levels are effectively determined by the carbohydrates we eat - not entirely, but for all intents and purposes. The more carbohydrates we eat, and the easier they are to digest and the sweeter they are, the more insulin we will ultimately secrete, meaning that the level of it in our bloodstream is greater and so is the fat we retain in our fat cells. "Carbohydrate is driving insulin is driving fat," is how George Cahill, a former professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, recently described this to me. Cahill had done some of the early research on the regulation of fat accumulation in the 1950s, and then he coedited an eight-hundred-page American Physiological Society compendium of this research that was published in 1965.

      In other words, the science itself makes clear that hormones, enzymes, and growth factors regulate our fat tissue, just as they do everything else in the human body, and that we do not get fat because we overeat; we get fat because the carbohydrates in our diet make us fat. The science tells us that obesity is ultimately the result of a hormonal imbalance, not a caloric one - specifically, the stimulation of insulin secretion caused by eating easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich foods: refined carbohydrates, including flour and cereal grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and sugars, like sucrose (table sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup. These carbohydrates literally make us fat, and by driving us to accumulate fat, they make us hungrier and they make us sedentary.

      Fast carbs are prohibited for two reasons:

      • Even a low quantity of them will kick you out of deep ketosis. Getting back will take up to a few days.
      • Fast carbs greatly increase appetite. Soon after a meal, you are starving again. So, removing them will make your transition to IF much easier. Well, they should have been removed even without the first reason. The following graph demonstrates, that carbs satiate you quickly (even quicker than the healthy nutrients), but then something terrible happens - you become even hungrier than you were before the meal! That's why the food industry adds sugar to many products which have nothing to do with sweets (for example, meat and dressings) - that industry doesn't want to wait too long before you take your credit card from the wallet next time:

      By the way, you have at least two more reasons to remove carbs (these very important positive effects are not related to weight loss and, so, must draw attention of all people with no exception, even slim):

      • The removal of farinaceous foods solves a problem that is critical for many, because along with bakery products from your diet goes gluten! If you think that the gluten problem does not concern you since you do not have visible gluten intolerance (celiac disease), please read the article: The Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance You Haven’t Heard About.
      • Since cancer cells use sugar (to which carbs are transformed in our body) as their food, and in the body of absolutely every healthy person there is some number of cancer cells (that are constantly being suppressed by the immune system), the low-carbs way of eating is a very powerful weapon against cancer, including its prevention (you will find more details on the home page of this site).

      DO YOU FUCKING REALLY NEED MORE REASONS TO STOP EATING CARBOHYDRATES???

      "But... the body does need certain amount of carbs... sugar is necessary for brain nutrition!"

      That's what many people will probably say. Firstly, the absolute removal of carbohydrates from the diet is unrealistic even if you set such a goal. Anyway, the allowed food (for example, vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocado) does contain carbohydrates (albeit slow). Secondly, the body's need for carbs is not the same thing as the necessity to consume carbs-containing foods. The body will produce the necessary amount of glucose internally - even if the food contains absolutely no carbs. Let's read the article Low-Carb, High-Fat Is What We Physicians Eat. You Should, Too:

      The human body mainly draws its energy from ingested carbohydrates, protein and lipids. However, carbohydrates are not essential for providing fuel. Lipids can play this role in the human body, often more efficiently. There are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids. But there are no essential carbohydrates. According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (U.S.), "The lower limit of carbohydrates compatible with life is apparently zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed."

      One of the most common myths is that carbohydrates are essential to brain function. This is false. Certain parts of the brain need glucose, possibly around 130 grams per day, but that glucose does not need to come from ingested carbohydrates. The liver can effortlessly produce the required glucose from protein and fat: it is called gluconeogenesis.


      Also, please read this article: Why Humans Don’t Need Dietary Carbohydrates to Thrive

    10. Eat more proteins, as they prolong the feeling of satiety and suppress the feeling of hunger. Due to proteins, you can keep your fasting periods longer even in the beginning of your IF. Meat, fish, eggs, cheese and greek yogurt are your best friends! However, you should not eat proteins alone for a protracted period - it's unhealthy and even dangerous. Eat vegetables too (raw, in salads and baked ones), as well as fats (see the next paragraph).

    11. Include fatty food into your ration. It's extremely important!!! Eat pork lard, bacon, fatty meat (pork, lamb - for example, smoked pork ribs are very tasty, as well as lamb stewed in a brazier), fatty fish (smoked or baked in foil), avocado, nuts (especially pecans and walnuts), sunflower/pumpkins seeds, butter, oil (MCT, olive, coconut, avocado, but NOT soy, corn, canola or sunflower, even though sunflower seeds are OK)! I paid attention, that my daily weight loss were more significant if I ate fatty food the day before. Sometimes, even a slice of bacon or an avocado was enough! All this corresponds to the easily googleable idea of LCHF (Low-Carb High-Fat lifestyle).

      "But... the official guidelines instruct us to eat as little fatty foods as possible, otherwise we will get fat..."

      Have you been following nutrition guidelines and advice for years and STILL gaining weight and becoming unhealthy?!? It’s time for new guidelines. It’s time for us to take back our own health. Huge quantities of grains are urged by the official guidelines, and tiny amounts of fats are encouraged! The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (cnpp.usda.gov) were first released in 1980. I would like to comment the following graph, but what can I add???



      Government dietary guidelines are plain wrong: Avoid carbs, not fat





      Fortunately, there has been a change for the better in recent years: Low-Carb, High-Fat Is What We Physicians Eat. You Should, Too.

    12. When you could not help eating a carbohydrate, eat a lot of proteins as part of the same meal. A simple piece of bread will damage the process – you will be thrown out from ketosis, your weight will stop decreasing or will even increase temporarily, and the body will need a few days to resume the state of deep ketosis. But if you eat that bread with a good amount of proteins (eggs, a big piece of meat or fish), it can somehow compensate the damage. Pay attention that we are talking about protein, not fat. The combination of fast carbohydrates and fatty food is almost worse than carbohydrates alone. This combination will cause great damage to the weight loss process.

    13. Put your meal into your mouth by tiny pieces, and chew each of them carefully – until it vanishes. Why? The mechanism is explained in these very short, but very important videos: 1, 2, 3, 4. For more details, read the book Fletcherism: What It Is; Or, How I Became Young at Sixty, written in 1913 by Horace Fletcher. I started to chew each piece until it totally disappears in the mouth 7 month prior to starting IF and had lost 22 lbs (10 kg) only on that method. So, that has nothing to do with Intermittent Fasting – I just give this advice to everybody, now and again. I rigorously observe this rule, and it is highly probable that my transition to IF was so easy and smooth due to this in particular. Another reason for me to love this method is that it allows me enjoying my meal for a protracted period. I eat only once per day, after all, and chewing long is a good alternative to devouring it all in a few minutes – crunch-munch! (especially because my current portions are small). Therefore, I make the enjoyment longer, as the next time will come only in 24 hours or so!

    14. Get completely rid of sweeteners - in both the fasting phase and the "eating window". That includes:
      • Diet drinks (named "light" in some countries).
      • "Splenda", "Equal", "Tween", "Sweet'n Low" etc.
      • Whatever (chocolates, candies, ice-cream, chewing gum etc.) with the words "Sugar-free" on the package. "Sugar-free" means "Full of a sweetener" in the same way as "Fat-free" means "Full of carbohydrates"!
      Sweeteners, indeed, contain zero calories, but they are strictly prohibited because they make you fat and sick not through calories. Sweetness is the signal to our brain that you have consumed sugar. The sweeteners were invented only in 1879, in a pretty late stage of the evolution. That means, the body doesn't know that sweet things other than sugar exist. For it, "sweet" equals "sugar". So, how will the body react to a sweetener? Yes, you are right - by insulin spike (research: Relationships between insulin release and taste)... If you drink tea or coffee with sweetener during the fasting stage, that stage will be interrupted. But it's only the small problem. There is a bigger problem - even if you consume sweetener in your eating window. As you already know, insulin will cause fat storing. You see? Nothing to do with calories - it's a hormones game, not a calories debit/credit game! But wait - I have not finished shocking you yet. There is one more, HUGE problem - metabolic confusion (also, even if you consume sweetener in your eating window). Insulin, produced as response to sweetness, comes to battlefield to fight with sugar, and finds... no enemy! When this scenario is repeated many times over and over again, the body learns, that the alarms are false, and stops excreting insulin to the blood as the response to the sweet taste. Now imagine that one day sugar is really consumed! This path can certainly lead to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. If you already have T2D, then you have a good chance to get rid of it by using IF and fast carbs removal. As you see, sweeteners avoidance is directly relevant to the insulin curve and this to the Intermittent Fasting. You do not want to ruin your efforts!

      >> Click here to read quotes regarding the the harm, caused by sweeteners

      Sweeteners gained widespread use in the past few decades - and it is just in these decades that obesity became a pandemia, i.e. a global epidemic. No doubt, replacers of sugar helped the official guidelines to do their harmful work, so it's not a surprise that the following timeline is similar to the graph in the section "Include fatty food into your ration":


    15. Remove alcohol. It causes insulin resistance, as well as decreases level of the growth hormone (the latter is critical for fat burning). Apart from that, many alcohol drinks contain sugar and other carbohydrates. Even those that do not (pure vodka, whisky, rum, tequila) will make the process of reducing your weight a bit slower, and the calories contained in them are way nastier than the equal amount of them contained in other food. Why calories in alcohol are extra-fattening – see here. And this video explains in detail how exactly alcohol affects ketosis.

    16. Chewing gum is out of question. Each of them contains either sugar or a sweetener (otherwise it would taste like eraser for pencil), so you cannot chew it even in the "eating window". In addition, chewing in the fasting period may be misunderstood by your body as a signal that you are eating. Chewing and secreting saliva gives the body the impression that food is about to arrive, so the normal hormonal cycle starts: insulin begins to enter the blood in anticipation of a rise in sugar, counter-hormones (leptins, etc.) begin to secrete slowly preparing to suppress hunger when enough food eaten. All this will end faster than in the case of real food, but a spike of insulin has already occurred, suppressed fat burning and stopped the fasting phase.

    17. Do a sleep study to define if you have the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; if it is detected, immediately start CPAP therapy. If you are overweight, then it is likely that you also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Please get familiar with the statistics of OSA prevalence in groups of people with different body mass index (source):
      • BMI 35-39.9 - 71%
      • BMI 40-49.9 - 74%
      • BMI 50-59.9 - 77%
      • BMI 60 or more - 95%
      Be sure to read this page. It not only describes apnea, but also explains as many as 7 mechanisms how exactly apnea leads to obesity. CPAP-therapy (which is described on the same page) will remove nightly suffocations at the very moment when it started, and your weight will go down.
    That’s the whole science! You will be shocked to see what you will have become in just a few months (and realizing how easy it was)!!!

    Getting rid of "sugar narcomania".

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