Take 20 minutes today and learn about the benefits of intermittent fasting.
A few months ago, I came across another person advocating something crazy called Intermittent Fasting (IF). I first heard of (IF) from Tim Ferriss of the 4-hour workweek and 4-hour body. Also, Dave Asprey and guests on his Bulletproof podcast have talked about the great benefits that come from fasting. Dr. Dom Augustino is the foremost expert on ketosis and discusses intermittent Fasting in ways easy to understand on both Tim Ferriss and Dave Asprey’s podcasts.
“It takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores and after that, you start to shift to burning fat. However, if you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours (or sooner), you make it far more difficult for your body to use your fat stores” according to Dr. Joseph Mercola at mercola.com. Please take some time and listen to these podcasts. Try to learn as much as you can before trying anything new with your health. For now, I’ll share what I’ve experienced with Intermittent Fasting in the last 6 weeks.
Before I begin this story, let’s take a walk up our family tree. All the way back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This will help us understand this whole Intermittent Fasting concept.
Now these guys, the hunter-gatherers, they didn’t eat 3 meals a day at regular intervals like most do now. No, instead they went hunting & gathering, sometimes for days, before finding something good.
As leading neuroscience & ageing expert Mark P. Mattson tells us, “our ancestors consumed food much less frequently and often had to subsist on one large meal per day, and thus from an evolutionary perspective, human beings were adapted to intermittent feeding rather than to grazing
Could it be that modern society has put the human species in a “zoo-like” environment? Our eating patterns have become progressively less optimal?
More importantly, what happens if we start eating the way we’re evolutionary programmed to?
The answer, it turns out, is “amazing things”.
- Increased Fatty Acid Oxidation (Body burns more fat as energy, leading to fast weight loss)
- Increased Cell Resistance (Slowed down ageing process, improved immunity)
- Increased Insulin Sensitivity (Less fluctuation in blood sugar levels, more constant energy & mood levels)
- Reduced Cortisol Production (Lower stress levels)
- Reduced Inflammation (Faster body healing, repair, and recovery)
- Reduced Cancer Cells Proliferation Rate (Reduced incidence of several types of cancer)
- Reduced Cognitive Decline for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
- Reduced Incidence of Heart Disease
The last thing I would ever expect to try and to advocate is fasting.
The 8 bullet points above are the reasons I wanted to give it a try. I’ve always been like the “I must eat guy”. Believing eating every couple hours not only made me feel good but also increased my metabolism keeping the fat off. This worked well because I did feel good after I ate, I thought. Now after experimenting with fasting, I’m feeling even better and I’ve lost some body fat.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “all life is one big experiment. The more experiments you do, the better.”
When you eat a meal, your body spends a few hours processing that food, burning what it can from what you just consumed. Because it has all of this readily available, easy to burn energy in its blood stream (thanks to the food you ate), your body will choose to use that as energy rather than the fat you have stored. This is especially true if you just consumed carbohydrates/sugar, as your body prefers to burn sugar as energy before any other source.
During the “fasted state,” your body doesn’t have a recently consumed meal to use as energy, so it is more likely to pull from the fat stored in your body, rather than the glucose in your blood stream or glycogen in your muscles/liver.
Burning fat = win.
Well this latest experiment in health is so far going very well. I’ve had to do some tweaking here and there, so I’m not going to say my system has been perfect. The different things going on during my fast day have included frequent urination, this partly has to do with drinking more liquids during the fast. Also a little bit of cramping in my legs after a long walk. On the morning of the fast,I’ll wake and drink a glass of ice water while waiting for my coffee to be done. When the coffee’s done I’ll add 1 tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon and a half of MCT oil, plus a pinch of cinnamon. The fat in the butter and MCT oil helps jump start our body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a state at which the body has an extremely high-fat burning rate. These are energy molecules in the blood(like blood sugar). They become fuel for our brains after being converted from fat by the liver. So the body is getting its energy from the fat and burning the fat once the normal energy source (blood glucose) is depleted. Check out Dr. Dom’s website for more info on ketosis.
My first experiences with fasting have been nothing short of extraordinary. This first time I went for 20 hours and then ate normally. The next day after not sleeping too well I felt really energetic and light on my feet. I haven’t had this happen to such an extreme as the first time but other things have happened following fasting. This includes losing weight quickly and maintaining that weight loss up until now. My appetite has decreased, but on some days I crave my favorite foods. Yes this includes pizza, pasta, and of course, my sweet tooth calls out for some chocolate. The best part is I can go a little crazy eat what I want, then weigh myself the next day and gain no weight. I’ve been trying to do 16-hour fasts 3 times a week. It’s really not as hard as I thought it would be. If I have dinner at 6 p.m. I’ll not eat again until 10 a.m. 16 hours of no food just water and coffee in the morning. The butter coffee is filling and this is something I’ve chosen to use in my fast. I weighed 184 lbs. a couple months ago. Now I weigh 170 lbs. I honestly have had rare occasions where I felt I was missing out on some good (bad for you) food. Believe me when I say I do go a little overboard sometimes but there has been no weight gain, just weight loss. I do use supplements everyday. During the fast I’ll add potassium because frequent urination can cause loss of potassium. This explains the muscle cramps I experienced during the first fast. I haven’t perfected this fasting thing but It sure has been fun experimenting.