Why should I fast?
At some point, most of us have wished there was some “magic pill” that would help us have more energy, better digestion, lower BMI, increased mental capacity and concentration, you know, all the good stuff and none of the nasty side effects.
However, today I want to share with you a fast way to improve your health: Intermittent Fasting.
So let’s get clear on what it is, how it works, and most importantly, how you can add this tool to your daily activities to boost your body’s efficiency.
Warning: Pregnant women or individuals with a history of disordered eating should abstain from all types of fasting since this could encourage extreme behavior such as binging. Diabetes or cancer patients should consult with a health care provider before engaging in any type of fasting.
Let’s start by understanding that this is not a new trend. Intermitted fasting or full fasting has been used for centuries to improve health. Religions and philosophies practiced fasting to show sacrifice and cleansing; such Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, and Hinduism.
Some cultures fast for non-religious reasons. For instance, Genova, Switzerland, holds the “Fast of Genova” in September. The fasting “holiday” originated in the Middle ages as a penitence after calamities such as war, epidemics, or the plague.
There are many types of fasting methods, but today we are going to focus on the Time-restrictive Eating method. When done right, it’s not about eating less, it’s about eating effectively! It’s about allowing your body a window of time to eat and time to fast (not eating, only drinking water, tea, or coffee).
According to Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, part of the US National Institutes of Health. Mattson has investigated the health benefits of intermittent fasting on the cardiovascular system and brain and has called for “well-controlled human studies” in people “across a range of body mass indexes” (J Nutr Biochem 2005; 16:129–37).
There are several theories about why fasting provides physiological benefits, says Mattson. “The one that we’ve studied a lot, and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under a mild stress,” he says. “And they respond to the stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and, maybe, to resist disease.”
“There is considerable similarity between how cells respond to the stress of exercise and how cells respond to intermittent fasting,” says Mattson.
According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2005, here are some of the benefits that show Intermittent Fasting is a great way to improve your health:
Balanced blood glucose (sugar) by lower insulin levels for longer period. This helps prevent insulin resistance and keeps your body in a fat-burning state longer.
· Improved mental clarity and concentration
· Reduced oxidative
Weight and body fat loss
Improved fat burning
Your body will enter a state of Ketosis, when it will use fat stores for energy.
Deeper more restful sleep
Lower overall inflammation in your body
Protects memory and learning functionality
Fascinating, right? Ready to give it a try? There are several ways that people incorporate Time Restricted Eating. But the most effective and easy way to follow when you get used to it is the 16:8 method. You are fasting each day for 16hrs and eating nutritious meals during your 8 hours window. Now, let’s create your eating window that works best for you.
First, choose one of the following eating windows.
Here are 3 options:
Not eating for 16 hours/day, and eating during an 8-hour window
Not eating for 14 hours/day, and eating during a 10-hour window
Not eating for 12 hours/day, and eating during a 12-hour window
Looking at these options, you might notice that the time spent eating and time spent not eating aren’t that far off from what you already doing. Now, choose how many days a week you’re willing to do it. Time restricting eating is completely safe and recommended daily. However, your body and personality are unique. So, pay attention to your own behaviors:
5 days Time restricting eating 2 days off
6 days Time restricting eating 1 day off
7 days Time restricting eating.
My recommendation is to find your own balance where you feel happy. You don’t want to skip meals with friends and family! So, set up a realistic schedule. It’s very important to understand that in order to see and feel positive changes in your body, this practice should become a habit. Experiment with these windows and find what works for you and the lifestyle you love.
My own personal experience with Time Restricted Eating has proved very effective. I’ve been doing it consistently for the past 9 months and I can honestly say this is a habit of mine that its going to stay because it makes me feel just great!
I hope you are ready to do it, and I would love to help you with the process.
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