Intermittent Fasting

  • November 24, 2018 /

Not eating food may seem like the most basic solution to losing weight—and sometimes it is. Intermittent fasting takes this idea of not eating food and uses it to train our bodies for healthier metabolic trends. Intermittent fasting is not starvation. Starvation is involuntary, while fasting is our choice; the key between the two is control. Fasting brings a deliberate balance to our diet that allows us to regenerate and use our stored energy appropriately. As we find this balance, our body’s functions begin to work in accordance and we can experience increased mental clarity, greater energy throughout the day, and potentially even longer lives!

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. Whether we know it or not, we all practice intermittent fasting daily. We end (or break) this daily fast with “break-fast”. Every night we practice a fasting technique that allows our bodies to reset. Intermittent fasting is simply where you cycle between distinct periods of eating and not eating. Though the time when we sleep is a very basic approach to this concept, it acts as a good example.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

When we eat, our bodies intake energy. To understand fasting, we need to recognize how much energy we intake versus how much energy we use. Our bodies know that we won’t use all the energy right away, so we store the extra energy away for later use. If this stored energy goes unused for too long, it becomes fat buildup. Fasting, at a fundamental level, allows our bodies to burn the excess fat we store when we don’t need it. Fasting drains us of our excess reserves. When you don’t eat, your body will use its own fat for energy. Therefore, intermittent fasting is a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them.

As we burn through our stored energy, we use up all our excess glucose and switch over to burning fat for fuel in a process called ketosis. By now we’ve all heard of the keto diet. Intermittent fasting is the original approach to the keto diet and still stands as a healthy and smart way to lose weight. Fasting, however, is much simpler, more inexpensive, and can save a ton of extra time cooking.

In addition to the simplicity of fasting, the benefits behind fasting enormous, which is why people have been practicing fasting techniques for millenniums.

What are the Major Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting brings a healthy balance, which can have beneficial affects throughout all the systems of your body. Here are a few proven benefits to intermittent fasting:

  • Lowers risks of disease
  • Strengthens the brain and improves memory
  • Relieves symptoms of depression
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • May reduce some risks of cancer
  • Helps reduce risks of diabetes
  • Maintains a healthy heart
  • Improves antioxidant functions
  • Stimulates mitochondrial replication
  • Accelerates weight loss and keeps it off for longer periods of time
  • Decreases inflammation
  • May slow down the aging process

The list goes on for the amazing benefits behind intermittent fasting. Fasting, however, may work better for some individuals than others. The best thing to do is find a strategy that works best for you. There are a number of different approaches to intermittent fasting that differentiate the amount of time you spend fasting. Here are a few examples of intermittent fasting cycles.

  • 12-hour eating window, then fast for 12 hours- pretty easy.
  • 8-hour eating window, fast for 16 hours- a little harder.
  • 6-hour eating window, 18 hours fasted- a challenge.

It is important to eat well during the eating windows. Just because you have an eating window does not mean you get to binge on chips and donuts for 8 hours. Typically 2-3 healthy meals during the window is recommended.

Here are other types of intermittent fasting cycles:

  • Eat Stop Eat: Fast for 24 hours. When you return to eating, don’t binge- just eat like normal. Cycle this 2 or 3 times in a week. This can be very difficult for beginners.
  • Warrior Diet: Fast for 20 hours. The 4-hour eating window is at night.

As we learn to understand our bodies and what we need, we can find the balance that best suits our personal health. Intermittent fasting is a very powerful tactic to lose weight and stay healthy. It’s absolutely worth trying to incorporate into your routine to see benefits first hand.