Intermittent Fasting Lowdown
My Full Disclosure Policy
I have confession I haven’t been 100% forthright in my weight loss journey. For about 10 months I have been intermittent fasting. When people ask me how I lost 70 lbs I always say it was through Pray, Eat Well and Exercise. It never occurred to me that Intermittent fasting had something to do with it too but looking back it probably has helped me tremendously. It wasn’t until I was talking to someone about how I intermittent fast and she said, “Well, De that sounds like your secret formula.” I never thought of it like that because at this point it’s second nature I have been doing it for almost a year now.
Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern that alternates through fasting and feasting periods. Fasting has been practiced since Biblical days and now modern day science can give you a definition of the benefits of this long time practice. It is also very popular in the Fitness and Healthy Industry and now there is a resurgence of people fasting other than for Biblical purposes.
According to the National Institute of heather there are so many benefits to fasting:
- Reduces inflammation . Inflammation can have some adverse affects on the body. It’s the way your body responds to outside threats like stress, infection, or toxic chemicals. An overreaction can cause your body to “fight” itself which can lead to chronic diseases among other things. Fasting has been
- Optimize energy metabolism- your body uses what is has more efficiently during fasting.
- Bolster brain function. According to a National Institute of Health Study, “The behavioral responses to Intermittent Fasting are associated with increased synaptic plasticity and increased production of new neurons from neural stem cells” (Lee et al., 2002). Meaning your brain sends signal better and creates new signals more often.
- Protects against diabetes, cancers, heart disease there has been studies that intermittent fasting during chemotherapy has helped reduce the toxicity levels in cancer patients and improving their well being during treatment.(Lee et al., 2012).
- Protects against neurodegeneration (such as Alzheimer’s), When you are fasting your body will utilize fatty acids for energy, meanwhile, your brain is usying ketone, amino acids and other free fatty acids. Studies show that “a human can survive for 30 or more days in the absence of food.” It has also been hypothesized that the process of Ketolysis that happens during prolonged fasting has had improved the aging process and had a positive effects on mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Reduces obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Fasting has the potential to delay aging
How I do it?
You’re going to find a lot of different methods. Everyone has the secret sauce but if you do your research, follow comon sense you can fast too. Three methods of intermittent fasting can be found with lots of different names and variations but I will give you the fundamentals.
There is the controversial 5:2 Method: Where you eat your calorie regimen for 5 days but two days consecutively you eat 500-600 calorie.
There is the 16/8 Method: This method was popularized by Leangains and has been called “Leangains protocol”; You do a 16 hour fast and then an 8 hour feast or eating period.
There is the Eat-Stop-Eat Method:This is when you feast the you fast for 24 hours 1-2 times per week. It’s usually dinner to dinner so you have overnight but it’s still hard to withstain from food for 24 hours.
I do a combination of the 12/16/8 method and Eat Stop Eat Method. It sounds very confusing but like anything once you’ve been doing it for so long you it becomes second nature. I do a 12 hour fast daily; kitchen curfew is 8:30pm (which is late) and then the I don’t resume eating till after 8:30am. On arm days I typically do a 16 hour fast I will do kitchen curfew at 8:30pm and then begin eating the next day at 12:30p. On Sunday’s I usually do a stop eat. From Saturday dinner time to Sunday dinner time I fast. I’m not going to lie at first it was crazy hard but now I don’t really have an appetite until dinner Sunday. I don’t usually do anything other than Church and nap it’s a nice day to relax, fast and worship.
Why I do it? How
I feel better. I feel like I have more energy. I am not snacking all day and it’s easier to hit my macros in the my 8-12 hour feasting span. I plan less meals and they are larger and more nutrient dense to get all that I need. Having lots of little meals has me in the mindset of continually nibbling and I need to sit and eat meals if not I end up nibbling more than I intended. It helps to boost my metabolism as well while I am eating for my goals. I have found it very effective in my weight loss journey and contribute it to my belly fat loss as well.
Should you do it?
If you are currently underweight or have a history of eating disorders I would not recommend fasting. If you want to try another approach at your nutrition and the way you eat I would try it for a week and see if it makes a difference. Try it longer to have a lasting effect. It’s really up to you but I would inform myself prior to “joining a challenge.” The most adverse side effect of intermittent fasting has been found to be hunger. Other than that it is beneficial unless you have a preexisitng condition that prolonged fasting would effect such as diabetes. With any nutrition program you should consult your doctor first. Also, intermittent fasting is not going to replace getting prayer, rest, exercise and eating nutrient dense food. This is in addition to your existing exercise routine.
Where do you begin?
Begin with a 12 hour fast for at least 3 days a week and graduate as it gets easier. Nothing crazy just stop eating at a certain time every night and don’t begin again until 12 hours later. I would also encourage you to drink up your water during this time it will help you with cravings and meet your hydration needs. It’s really that simple. The more complicated it the less easily it is adapted. You’ll know when you’re ready to try other methods of intermittent fasting.
Some common considerations:
- While fasting it is okay to drink, water, coffee, tea, and no sugar beverages. I like to start my days off with BulletProof coffee which is Organic Coffee, 1 Tbsp . Coconut Oil, 1 Scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen and a little Cinnamon or Chai Spice Mix I don’t do Protein Shakes, Meal Supplements or Dairy Products while fasting
- I thought breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it should not be skipped. Breakfast is important but the positive affects of fasting on your body supersede the effects of well balance breakfast.
- Should I take supplements or medications while fasting. Most supplements and medications recommend consuming with a meal because they are fat-soluble. Of course, consult a physician but you should probably wait until you resume eating to take your supplements and medications.
- If you workout early in the morning and concerned about fasted workouts they are find. There has been lots of research of the benefits of a fasted workout. I also recommend Branch Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs to drink before or during your workout.
- I don’t want to lose my muscle gains. Muscle gains are from proper protein intake. During your feasting time you should be making sure you are getting the proper amount of protein to nurture muscle growth and prevent loss. There has been studies that intermittent fasting will result in less muscle loss than if you restrict your caloric intake.
- I don’t want to get Metabolic Damage from fasting and slow down my metabolism. GRR! Another lack of research that is going around I’m not sure if it’s to scare women or people just don’t check their facts but short term fast boost metabolism. It’s fasting for long periods of time of over 3 days that can cause damage and a suppressed metabolism.
Have you ever intermittent fasted?