What do you know about Intermittent Fasting? No doubt you are starting to hear more and more about it as we learn the intriguing benefit of using this method for weight-loss. Let’s take a look at the Incredible Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting 101
So what exactly is Intermittent Fasting (IF)? Basically, it is an eating pattern that vacillates between eating, and not eating. It is not so much a “diet” as it is an eating pattern.
Fasting has been a part of human life since the beginning of mankind, and according to Healthline, fasting is actually more natural than eating 3 meals a day, especially when we consider that fasting was quite common for our ancestors because we can reasonably assume they didn’t always catch something to eat.
In fact, think of it this way. Is a lion who is nice and full all the time going to survive? NO. It will put on weight and become slow. However, a “hangry” lion would indeed survive.
The Different Methods Of Intermittent Fasting
Believe it, there’s more than one way to starve. I say that humorously, as I love this style of weight-loss and healthy lifestyle. So what are the different methods of Intermittent Fasting?
- 12/12– A basic IF schedule where you have 12 hours to eat and 12 hours without. The best way to use this method is to include your sleep cycle into the 12-hour fast. This happens to be my favorite style of restrictive feeding. You can make it more effective by reducing the hours you eat. For example: Feeding nine hours out of the day, and fast for the remaining 15 hours. This has shown to increase athletic endurance.
- 2 days a week– The 5:2 fasting technique allows you to eat normally 5 days out of the week, and then limit your calories to 500 for women and 600 for men on the other two days. Studies have shown this style is great for losing weight, and have learned that fasting can initiate healing within our cells! If fasting is difficult for you, separate the two fasting days. For example, fast on Monday and Thursday.
- Eat Stop Eat– With this method, you literally fast every other day for a full 24 hours. This may be difficult for some people, or not feasible. If this is the case for you, try limiting your calories to no more than 500 for women and 600 for men on your fasting days. Another option is to not eat solids on fasting days. Research has shown that aside from weight loss, this method has shown to be beneficial for heart health.
- Meal Skipping– Yep, it is a thing. If you are new to Intermittent Fasting (IF) you may want to start with this method. You choose which meals to skip based on your hunger. This method is the simplest and is a great introduction to fasting in general.
- The Warrior Diet– Can’t keep your fingers out of the cookie jar? Well, if you use this plan, you can eat those cookies. But only if it is during a 4-hour window. With this method, you would eat a very small amount of raw fruits and veggies for 20 hours, and have one big meal during the 4-hour window you can eat. You may need to work up to this one.
- The Leangains Diet– Also known as the 16:8, this method requires men to fast 16 hours and women for 14. If you don’t find results with the 12-hour fast, this one may do the trick for you.
What Intermittent Fasting Does To Your Body
Are you ready for your mind to be blown? IF has been a staple in my health and wellness goals and for a very good reason. Our bodies are amazing machines and fasting helps to keep our machines running the way they should.
One way it does this is by adjusting your hormones so fat is more accessible to burn, all the while causing your cells to initiate important repairs! Not only that, but it lowers your insulin levels, allowing your body to convert glucose into energy and either use it or store it for later. Here’s a short list of changes:
- Cellular Repair: While fasting, your awesome cells initiate repair processes including autophagy. This is where the cells actually digest and remove the old and dysfunctional proteins that build up.
- Gene Expression: Changes are made in the way genes function, especially in regards to longevity and protection from disease.
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH): This growth hormone is beneficial for fat loss and muscle gain, and skyrocket as much as 5-fold when fasting.
- Insulin: Fasting increases insulin sensitivity and insulin levels drop dramatically! This is super important for losing weight, and for endurance.
These changes are what is responsible for all of the health benefits associated with intermittent fasting. Let’s take a gander at some of the other health benefits.
Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
There have been many studies on fasting and they have shown that IF can really have some powerful benefits for controlling weight and overall health of your body and mind.
They have even found that it may help you live longer! In fact, mice live up to twice as long with restrictive feeding. Here are some other incredible benefits of Intermittent fasting.
- Anti-aging: This blew my mind when I learned of it several years ago. IF can extend the life of rats anywhere from 36-83% longer!
- Heart Health: IF may reduce the bad LDL cholesterol, improves blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, and as I mentioned earlier, improves blood sugar levels.
- IF may improve cancer: Say what?! Remember I mentioned the cell repair process? Well, it plays a role in preventing cancer, and it has shown to reduce many chemo side effects.
- Brain health: Interestingly, it improves metabolic processes which are known to be good for brain health! Not only that, but it also reduces oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood sugar levels. It also increases insulin resistance. Also, IF increases a brain hormone BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This is a known deficiency that may be linked to depression and other brain issues.
How To Apply Intermittent Fasting To Your Life
Don’t be intimidated by the technicalities. You can simply start “restrictive feeding” as I call it. I started with a 12-hour eating schedule. From 7 AM to 7 PM I eat what I want. Then from 7 PM to 7 AM I only drink water.
I find this schedule very easy as I am sleeping for 8-9 hours of the fasting time schedule. Sometimes more! It is that simple.
Then, as I get comfortable with that schedule I drop down to a 10-hour eating schedule. However, at the 12 and 12, I lost over 10 pounds in 10 days!
Begin easy and decrease the hours you eat as you become more comfortable. As a society, we are told to eat many times a day. This is not healthy for most of us!
Our Conclusion On IF
More studies need to be done on humans before we can truly grasp what IF does, or doesn’t do for our health.
However, IF is powerful for weight-loss! I was watching a Joe Rogan podcast and IF came up. His guest, a doctor named Rhonda Patrick, talked about how rats who are on a restricted feeding schedule not only lost weight, but their muscles mass increased dramatically and without exercise!
They just limited the time they ate. They didn’t even feed them healthy diets!
You can watch the video below.
More studies are needed, but I do believe that anyone can add this to their lifestyle, without becoming obsessive, and lose weight for good!
Who doesn’t want to live longer, without getting dementia or Alzheimers?
Isn’t it worth a shot to prevent type 2 diabetes, prevent cancer, and help you live a more healthy balanced life.
Break away from unhealthy eating habits and “eat to live” and stop “living to eat”. With IF, you can have the best of both worlds… within reason of course.
Source: Science Direct.
Mental Health Advocate and Blogger. Runner. Hiker. Cycler. Anything Moving, and Everything Still. I believe in the power of the mind, the strength of the heart, and resilience of the Person. We all have the power to change…
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