I have been struggling with weight control for the better part of my adult life. I've tried all the diets and have found some to be successful and have used alternative approaches as well. When someone suggested intermittent fasting, I just laughed. I like to eat too much. Visions of wasting away crept into my head. I have always thought of fasting as not eating for days at a time. It turns out there is another way of fasting that actually might turn out to be powerfully effective. If done correctly, will not cause suffering (I don't want that!) and not death. Got your interest? Let me tell you what I found out.
Fasting is not taking in any food for health reasons, spiritual reasons, or other reasons. Here's the clincher. The fact that you are not eating means that you are fasting. It can be for a FEW hours to one, two, or several days. You can begin the fast any time of your choosing and you can end it as well any time. I am going to concentrate on just the few hours, OK?
The fact that we generally eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner during a 12 hour period and then basically fast the next 12 hours. What actually happens is that we are eating snacks all day long outside of meals. When food is eaten, it is stored as energy. What is not used is stored for later use. When we do not eat, insulin levels decrease, causing the stored food to be used as energy. If eating and fasting are balanced, then there is no weight change. By eating all the time, we don't give the body time to go into a fasting or burning stage.
What is the way to change this? Increase the fasting time. The benefits are numerous including:
- Weight loss
- Increased burning of fat
- Decreased insulin levels, with possible impact on pre-diabetes, and diabetes
- Decreased in inflammation
- Increased feeling of energy
- Flexibility of when fasts are done
- No real need for medical supervision under normal conditions; however, if you are on medications, have diabetes or other chronic medical condition, consultation with your primary physician is warranted and recommended
Individuals who should NOT fast include:
- Pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding
- Children under 18
- Those individuals with eating disorders, such as anorexia
Suggestions of fasting within 24 hours include:
16:8- You decide to eat within an 8 hour period and fast the remainder of the day. This can be done daily or intermittently. You can be flexible on the timing depending upon your lifestyle and work schedule. For example, you may decide to start eating at 9 am and finish your last meal at 5 pm. Then you do not eat until 9 am the next day.
4:4:4:12- You eat three meals a day during a 12 hour period, with four hours in between each meal. and fast the remaining 12. I like this one best! This is actually the plan that is used in the GETFIT 21 challenge (see www.getfit21.com for more information). As a GETFIT21 Health Coach, I can attest that this does work!
Remember, just because you are not eating, you can still drink zero calorie beverages, water, tea, or coffee.
So, now you know. Want to give it a try? If interested in the GETFIT 21 Challenge, or need more information send me a message.
Until next time,
Stay well, stay healthy, stay focused.