Intermittent Fasting – New Me
Time To Change My Way To a Better Way
January was all about giving back to my body. I didn’t want to do the detox and just go back to my old eating habits which leaves me tired and sluggish most of the time. I want better for me. I want better for my family. I knew I needed something that would make me feel as good as I do on a detox (after the first couple of days) but also find something that I could eventually easily make part of my lifestyle forever.
When a friend of mine suggested intermittent fasting I immediately said there is no chance I would be able to not eat. I love snacking all day long, and snacks was the one thing that got me through each day. As soon as I felt tired I would have a snack and feel much better and would have new energy to continue on a high for the next hour or two. Isn’t this how most of us do things? I know this is probably exactly what you are thinking. You could never do it.
Before you say never, let me warn you about the famous last words “never say never” and read through this post. It’s a lot easier than a detox and a lot easier than it sounds.
What Is Intermittent Fasting? (IF)
IF is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. For instance: you can choose to fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, having your first meal at say 12:00 noon and your last meal at 8:00 pm. This is called 16:8, which is quite popular and the easier way to start with intermittent fasting. This is where I started. Basically, what will happen while you fast is that your body will use its stored energy. What’s great about IF is that it’s not a diet, its merely a pattern of eating. You don’t necessarily have to change what you eat, just when you eat. Obviously, you do want to keep it as healthy as possible. And again, with intermittent fasting you are merely changing the time period of eating, not the eating, so you don’t eat less than normal, you still want to get in your calorie intake needed for the day.
Why Do Intermittent Fasting?
There are a couple of reasons this is the obvious right choice for anyone. Here are some of the reasons I chose to try it out and actually love the results I am seeing.
Fasting seems to build resistance to age-related diseases. A very exciting thing about intermittent fasting is that it will help you live longer, and healthier. IF is growing in popularity, especially among anti-aging specialists. For a long time now, scientists have known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life – when you are starving, your body finds ways to extend your life. And with IF, you will activate many of the same mechanisms for extending your life without starving!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to particularly turn one hundred and fifty years old, but I would love to age gracefully. And what I mean by this, gracefully healthy.
IF is a great way to lose weight without going on a horrible diet. The fasting will enhance hormone function to facilitate weight loss – lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of noradrenaline, all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use of energy. Your metabolic rate is increased, helping you burn more calories. The amount of weight lost doesn’t seem to be any more than what you’d expect from another calorie-restricted diet. When the diet is done properly, IF can be as effective as a normal caloric restriction. Basically, between meals, if we don’t snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We want our insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat. If you are a busy person who doesn’t have time to devote to meal planning, you will probably find a time-restricted diet easier to follow than a diet or meal plan.
The awesome thing about weight loss with intermittent fasting is it will be permanent. It’s not a quick solution, it is a lifestyle. What ever you are burning, will be done the right way, the way our bodies are made to actually burn fat.
Reduced Blood Pressure
IF may help lower high blood pressure in the short term. Studies showed that IF can lead to greater reductions in systolic blood pressure than another diet that doesn’t involve defined eating times. Having a healthy blood pressure is important — unhealthy levels can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. So far the research shows these blood pressure benefits last only while IF is practiced. Once the diet ended and people returned to eating as normal, researchers found the blood pressure readings returned to their initial levels.
A recent study has shown that IF can reduce inflammation in the body. Too much inflammation can lead to various diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. The experts tell us that excess inflammation is caused by eating too much and too often.
Studies show that fasting is a simple dietary strategy that can significantly lower cholesterol levels. High Cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes.
Some studies have shown that alternate day fasting may reduce cancer risk by decreasing the development of lymphoma, limiting tumour survival, and slowing the spread of cancer cells. Fasting lowers insulin resistance and levels of inflammation which can help fight cancer. Another risk factor for cancer is type 2 diabetes and obesity – the effects of these are reversed by fasting.
Increased Cell Turnover
The period of rest involved in intermittent fasting increases autophagy, which is an important detoxification function in the body to clean out damaged cells. In other words: a break from eating and digestion gives the body a chance to heal and remove waste material from cells.
Reduced Insulin Resistance
IF can reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels, lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes.
When something is good for the body, it is often good for the brain. Because IF improves a variety of metabolic features it may improve brain health. IF may increase growth of new neurons and protect the brain from damage.
There is no cure available for Alzheimer’s, therefore we want to prevent it from showing up in the first place. Studies in rats have shown that IF may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or reduce its severity. Studies in animals also suggest that fasting may protect against other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease – however, more research in humans is needed.
Conclusion – IF will lower your insulin levels which help prevent type 2 diabetes as well as obesity, helping you maintain a healthy weight. The blood levels of growth hormone will increase which facilitate fat burning, muscle gain an have numerous benefits. Your body will induce important cellular repair processes and there are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.
Ways For Better Health Along With Intermittent Fasting:
- Limit the hours of the day when you eat, and for best effect, make it earlier in the day (between 7 am to 3 pm, or 10 am to 6 pm and try not to eat in the evening before bed)
- Avoid sugars and refined grains
- Let your body burn fat between meals – don’t snack and be active throughout your day
- Avoid snacking or eating at night
- While fasting drink as much water and bitter black coffee as possible. It especially helps if you feel hungry. Don’t add milk or sugar, it will break your fast.
- Don’t chew gum, it will break your fast.
- Most importantly enjoy every meal, eat what you love and make sure you get enough calories when you eat.
- Have one day a week where you rest, I eat when and how I want on a Sunday and enjoy my coffee with milk and sugar.
I feel great, I also feel very focussed. It’s been three weeks since I started fasting and it really is getting easier and easier. I am currently on 20:4 Just make sure how ever you choose to fast that you make a complete cycle of 24 hours.
Disclaimer: Everything I mentioned in this post is research I did myself through different websites, video’s and books. If you are not sure about any of the above information do more research or ask your medical advisor.