Do you enjoy feeling deprived?
The thought of fasting used to terrify me because I thought that it meant starving and feeling too weak to live life!
While the term “fasting” has a myriad of meanings and options, it’s been a normal part of life in one form or another throughout recorded history, practiced in most religions, and even necessary in most cultures.
My first-world excuse made perfect sense: “When I get hungry, I get mean.”Who wants a mean wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, or dentist?
Because I strive to be a nice person, the fascinating research and anecdotal information on fasting has allayed my fears and is slowly changing my habits. Anybody can practice this powerful, natural healing solution. Manage blood insulin, lower triglycerides, stabilize appetite hormones, and lose weight safely with Intermittent Fasting.
Are your eyes rolling yet?
If so, that is a normal reaction.
But, if you want to live life to the fullest, feel your best, have more energy, be more resilient to stress, and lose unwanted fat — the dangerous belly fat — there’s no better place to start than with Intermittent Fasting.
Also called “Time Restricted Feeding,” periods of time without consistent food intake are not new. In fact, for most of human history, there have times of feasting and fasting due simply to food scarcity. Our bodies are designed to store calories in times of food availability and to release energy in times of scarcity.
An incredible aspect of Intermittent Fasting is that you can design a program that fits your lifestyle, work schedule, and taste buds. I like it because anybody can “start low and go slow,” letting the body adapt.
It is key to remember that fasting is not starvation. There are countless ways to fast.
Starvation is, in the truest sense, involuntary. Intermittent Fasting is a choice that doesn’t involve starving yourself. It is deliberate and controlled.
Weight-loss diets, and most fad diets in general, are difficult to sustain. Rather than focusing on what you can and cannot eat, Intermittent Fasting is a pattern of eating. It involves changing when you eat and when you don’t eat.
Counting calories is not the focus. Because this mindset has gained popularity recently. I
Intermittent Fasting may frequently be lumped into the “fad” territory and several problems can result:
Doctors and nutritionists can easily dismiss it. If they don’t bother to research it, they can “throw the baby out with the bath water.” Since it doesn’t include prescribing medicine, health care providers may not hear much about it from drug representatives. They would have to be proactive to educate themselves and then relay this information to patients.
We are conditioned to think that we have to buy our way into something to get started and reap the benefits. That can be confusing related to Intermittent Fasting because it basically costs nothing extra. That is counter-intuitive and seems too easy to be a viable form of weight loss.
Most fad diets promise immediate results. Intermediate Fasting, from my experience with my coaching clients, is slow. Healing the root of the problem safely and developing sustainable lifestyle changes takes time. Beware of anything that promises immediate results and fast weight loss. Most of those have rapid weight gain as soon as they are over and can disrupt metabolism. Intermittent Fasting offers lifestyle changes that can be incorporated into even the busiest days.
Some people are concerned that fasting can stimulate anorexia or binging behaviors. I have seen no evidence of that.
Some weight loss books currently on the market suggest that you can eat anything and everything that you can possible get into your mouth during the “feeding window” — even high calorie, junk food that is void of nutrition — can still heal your body.
While this isn’t true, Intermittent Fasting does allow the opportunity to phase some of these foods out slowly to avoid putting them in the forbidden food category.
Often, a “can’t have list” makes us crave those foods even more. There are lots and lots of unhealthy skinny people; I’ve been one of those in the past and don’t want to go back there.
Our bodies are designed with nutrient needs for growth and repair; if we give them junk, we won’t experience vitality, energy and stress resilience.
Intermittent Fasting is an important weight loss tool because it influences two powerful hormones essential to normal weight maintenance:
Growth Hormone: Growth Hormone is important for fat burning and to protect muscles by building lean body mass. It is considered one of the anti-aging hormones because it naturally decreases with age.
Insulin: Insulin is the hormone that causes the body to store fat – it actually helps us gain weight. When it is present, your body is not burning fat.
This dominant hormone blocks Growth Hormone and is released by the pancreas in the presence of food. When it is present too much of the time, our cells start blocking it and become resistant to it. While the proper amount of insulin is essential to vibrant health, it can be like your high school boyfriend or girlfriend — “too much of a good thing is not a good thing.”
Insulin resistance creates the environment for Type 2 Diabetes. Every time you eat, even a healthy snack, insulin is released and can spike violently depending on the glycemic index of the food. Even as recently as a few decades ago, people generally ate “three square meals” a day. I really thought until recently that it was normal to eat breakfast – then a mid-morning snack – then lunch – then a 3:00 snack – then dinner – and then a bedtime snack. That’s really how we have been eating in our home for the past 20 years — until recently that is!
How do you go from this “all-day grazing” to eating just two or three meals a day?
It is easy to START SOMEWHERE altering your own feeding window. Remember, there are countless ways to practice Intermittent Fasting. The important thing to remember is that there is absolutely no wrong way to get started.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Evaluate your current “feeding window.” What time do you generally take your first bite of the day and your last bite of the day?
Start by shortening your feeding window by just one hour. Depending on your lifestyle, eat breakfast later or stop eating earlier. Many experts in this field suggest that eating breakfast later is the most beneficial, that doesn’t work for me because I start work at 7 a.m. Hence, I try to avoid late-night snacking.
Make your changes gradually. Listen to your body and go at your own pace. Look at your social and work schedule and evaluate each day individually. Many people think that they need to restrict their eating to just four hours but I don’t agree with that. Many people have enjoyed excellent results with just a ten to twelve-hour feeding window, which is a twelve to fourteen-hour fasting window. Be gentle with yourself!
Drink plenty of water. Mild dehydration often feels like hunger. It drains your energy and can cause brain fog.
Include Potassium-rich foods in your day. Potassium is potentially the most important mineral to start the repair of insulin dysfunction. Insulin Resistance is a primary factor in obesity, memory issues, and even cardiovascular disease. Foods rich in Potassium include avocado, spinach, bananas, acorn squash, wild-caught salmon, sweet potato, pomegranate, dried apricots, and white beans.
Get extra sleep and take a nap if you feel like it! If you’ve been reading Start Somewhere Wellness for much time, you know the importance of intentional, restorative sleep. Fatigue increases cortisol (the stress hormone), which increases insulin, which increases hunger, which increases stress, which increases cortisol, which increases….you get the point. It is a vicious cycle! Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Avoiding food for a few hours before bedtime also enhances sleep.
Get some moderate exercise. Some of the hard-core fasters do heavy exercise but that isn’t necessary. Again, find your groove and know that you can design your own protocol. I’m mentioning it because even a brisk walk will help you feel more energetic and sleep more soundly.
Compare yourself to nobody else. It’s easy to say and hard to always do, but this may be the most important point. You will know if your mode of Intermittent Fasting is working based on how you feel. The benefits will be self-evident when you weigh and how your clothing fits. You may notice that your cravings start to diminish!
Studies on “Continuous Caloric Restriction” have shown that it has potential to greatly lengthen lifespan.
But, in reality, who wants to eat 30 to 40 percent fewer calories every single day? Count me out! I’m pretty certain that I would be mean most of the time!
A research team led by Hoon-Ki Sung of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, has recently been focusing on Intermittent Fasting without reducing overall calorie intake and they have found it to be an effective strategy for reducing weight and improving metabolism.
Although evidence in favor decreasing the feeding window is growing, the exact mechanism by which the benefits occur is still unclear. Most of the studies are indeed animal studies; with the broad range of methods and foods that people eat, it would be difficult to design a congruent study. But, there is really no risk is trying it!
Diets are not sustainable and can destroy your metabolism.
While Intermittent Fasting comes naturally to us as humans, our society has changed. Not only are we surrounded by food, we are also summoned by food, with eating opportunities and addictive food everywhere!
Eating from the time we wake up until we go to bed has become normal.
The answer to health is not in a fancy diet, a highly restrictive diet, a handful of supplements, or eating pre-planned meals from now on.
The answer is creating an environment of health, proceeding at your own pace, and with a mindset that originates from the inside-out. Intermittent Fasting offers many options that can be highly customized to each individual.
Social connectedness is a prime key to health and strict dieting gets in the way of social interaction, Intermittent Fasting is congruent with a full social life.
Our modern high-stress lifestyle and engineered food, combined with longer waking hours have created the perfect storm for obesity and its related problems.
START SOMEWHERE today exploring the benefits of this easy, virtually free, non-pharmaceutical option for enhanced vitality.
Lose weight safely with Intermittent Fasting.
You can do it. I will help you.