Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Besides weight loss, we are all interested in our overall health and well being. What if I tell you that there is a tool that can achieve the following: Improves cells and hormones, weight loss, lowers risks of diabetes, reduces inflammation, and improves brain function–actually just to name a few of the intermittent fasting benefits.
INTERMITTENT FASTING BENEFITS
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves time periods of eating and fasting. It’s not about what you eat and the amount of food, but WHEN you eat it. Research shows that it has physical and mental benefits.
Just like the Ketogenic diet, it promotes production of ketones, chemicals released by the liver when carbohydrates or glucose are depleted. Ketones that can be used as an energy source or fuel for your body.
Read my post here about my First Week Keto Experience if you are not familiar with the Ketogenic Diet.
How to do Intermittent Fasting
Fasting intermittently could be done in numerous combinations. The main idea is for you to stop eating at a certain period of time, and resume with eating after you fast within a certain period of time.
Depending on your eating lifestyle, you can choose to eat whatever you normally do. I personally still maintain clean nutrition just to boost the health benefits that will accompany fasting.
The following are the common ways to do it.
12-12: Fast for 12 hours and resume eating for the next 12 hours. This is the easiest one to do of all combinations.
16-8: This is the most common combination. You fast for 16 hours with 8 hours of eating period. My typical day looks like this:
8:00 pm: Stop eating
8:00 pm – 12:00 pm next day: Fast. This includes the time you sleep so it’s really not that bad at all!
12:00 pm – 8:00pm: Eat
It’s so easy it’s like just skipping breakfast, which most of us do anyway!
20-4: With 20 hours of fasting and 4 hours of eating, this would be the hardest fasting on a per hour basis. Since you only have 4 hours left for eating, most people practice “OMAD” or one-meal-a-where they consume all of their caloric needs in one eating session.
1 or 2x a week: Now that we have discussed per hour basis, you can also fast on a day to day basis. You can fast 1 whole day (yes, an entire 24 hours) a week or even add another day, making that 2 days a week. This might be a little bit more challenging to a lot of people, but it is doable.
Alternate days: Could be the hardest one of all, hence I saved it for last. The problem with this style of fasting is the risk of going overboard with your calories on the eating days.
7 Intermittent Fasting Benefits
1. Convenience. It makes life easier due to lesser amount of time dedicated to preparing meals. Anyone in a fitness journey would know that the key to a successful health pursuit is preparing your nutritious meals.
Most people would prepare 5-6 meals per day and to some, this is a bit cumbersome and hard to follow. With fasting, you don’t have to prepare as much.
2. Weight loss. If you’re goal is weight loss, it is an awesome tool to use especially when you hit that dreaded plateau. After being on the same routine for a while, introducing something new, like intermittent fasting, will shock your system and make those last few stubborn pounds melt away.
3. Preserves muscles. Intermittent fasting preserves your muscles as you lose weight so don’t worry about losing your hard-earned muscles. Read this post Does Fasting Burn Muscle for more detailed explanation with studies showing that fasting may be 4 times better at preserving lean mass.
4. Healthier skin, hair, and nails. Noticeable vanity results include stronger nails, shinier hair, and glowing skin.
5. Reverse aging. Intermittent fasting is shown to reverse aging because of the production of ketones and through a process called autophagy. Fasting increases production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which signals the body to produce newer cells. During autophagy, the old cells are replaced by the newer, bigger, and stronger cells–resulting to a more rejuvinated you.
6. More focused. Fasting is a state where your body is depleted from food. This signals your brain to turn to survival mode, becoming more focused on surviving the “danger” of no food. The brain works harder to ensure you’re fine, leading to more mental clarity, and better concentration.
7. Improved memory. When depleted of carbs, ketones produced are considered to be a more efficient source of energy for the brain.
The goal is to go as long as you can when fasting without feeling hungry and resuming once real hunger kicks on. Going as far as possible makes you reap off the benefits of fasting.
Do not undereat. Aim to eat your required calories within the eating period and eat until full. The tendency is your caloric intake will be lesser compared to the total amount you will need on regular days because it’s challenging to consume everything in smaller amount of time.
During your fasting period, you can consume some liquids including black coffee, tea, or lemon water. There are other things that do no break fast but to make it simpler, anything with no calories will not break your fast.
When breaking fast, consume the good fats first before the carbs (i.e. bulletproof coffee, avocado, coconut milk) to boost the benefits of ketone production. Bulletproof coffee is a perfect example for a starter because of the added benefits of caffeine in boosting metabolism.
As goes with anything, intermittent fasting might not be suitable for everyone. Give it a go and see how your body responds. If you feel good with the process and see awesome results, it is a powerful tool to not only help with weight loss but also improve your health!
Is this something that you would try? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!