Fasting is a choice. People have been doing it for centuries for several different reasons. Many people fast for religious reasons, but fasting is not starving.
Anytime you are not eating, you are essentially fasting. When you’re sleeping, you’re fasting because you’re not chewing or consuming anything that contains calories. There are a few different schools of thought around what you can and cannot have during a fast. An actual fast is when you do not consume anything with calories, but unsweetened water, coffee, and tea would be considered ‘noncaloric.’
Intermittent fasting can give several health benefits to your body. Let’s have a look a the reasons you should consider intermittent fasting.
Reason 1 – To Regulate And Lower Your Insulin Levels (aka Start Burning Fat)
Many patients struggle with blood sugar, thyroid, and hormonal issues – endocrinology issues. Many of these issues are affected by your insulin levels – insulin is an essential hormone in our body that involves many things.
If you are having trouble losing weight, you’re holding onto fat. Or your blood sugars aren’t controlled. This means you likely have high insulin levels. Insulin helps accumulate and store fat.
If you eat food high in sugar, refined carbs, starches, processed chemicals, and preservatives, then your body has to make a lot of insulin to combat your blood sugar from going sky high. Remember, there are no ‘free foods,’ and there are consequences to your actions. Eat a lot of sugar, your body has to produce more and more insulin, you get fat, and diabetes lurks around the corner. It also causes inflammation and salt and water retention. P.S. – research artificial sweeteners; they aren’t much better.
Reason 2 – Stop “The Hanger”
Have you ever been “hangry”? Typically when your blood sugar levels are unstable because of lifestyle, nutrition, etc., your insulin levels rise.
Since your body is dependent and possibly addicted to sugar, when you haven’t eaten in a few hours, you start feeling Symptoms of your blood sugar dropping – shaky, irritability, angry, sugar cravings. Hence the term ‘hangry.’ If you’re experiencing any of those things, you might have high insulin levels.
Reason 3 – Heartburn more than Usual
Do you experience heartburn when you eat late? Start paying attention to your body and what it’s telling you. A few ways to avoid reflux are to stop eating early in the evening, elevate the head of your bed a little if needed, and cut out offending foods for a while, such as coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and fried foods.
Where To Start Intermittent Fasting?
A simple yet powerful tip to start intermittent fasting if you’re struggling with issues is to stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. This will allow your body to begin resting and repairing.
When you sleep, your cells repair and regenerate, especially the cell’s powerhouse – the mitochondria. Therefore, when you eat late, your body has to digest and work throughout the night, so it doesn’t get that much-needed rest and repair. It can cause a host of problems, among the biggest, is hindering your sleep. Good sleep is everything! Our bodies don’t function efficiently when they are not rested.
The longer you can extend the period that you don’t eat (fasting period), the more beneficial it can be to your health. A big misunderstanding about fasting – it’s not necessarily about decreasing calories, although you probably will eat less when you condense that window. You are simply reducing the window of time that you eat during the day.
Start slow – stop eating at 6 pm every day for a few weeks, then start eating breakfast an hour later or dinner an hour earlier for the next few weeks. Continue this until you reach your desired schedule.
An intermittent fasting pattern you can follow
You can have an 18:6 schedule where you fast 18 hours daily and eat in a 6-hour window. Once per week, try to do typically do a 24 hour fast. This means going from dinner one day until dinner the next day without eating. It sounds crazy if you haven’t ever done it. And if you’re like many others who have been scared because it’s ingrained in your head by the medical community and the media that you have to eat every three hours, or you’ll starve and die.
People who have tried it notice beneficial shifts in their blood sugar levels and improvements in health and weight when they incorporate intermittent fasting into their lifestyle.
Note – Do eat healthily, take supplements, and try to exercise as best you can. But if you need to start somewhere, start with fasting!
Does intermittent fasting work?
Your body can run on two different kinds of fuel – sugar or ketone bodies produced from fat. So when you fast, we also recommend cutting back on sugar, refined carbohydrates, and junk. As a result, your body will start tapping into your sugar storage and will use the sugar up until it’s gone.
Every time you eat, your blood sugar goes up, and your body has to produce insulin. The more frequently you eat, the less rest you give your body, and it’s unable to burn up sugar and tap into your fat stores. The longer you can go without eating, and when you cut back on sugar, it helps your body burn through sugar sooner and is eventually able to tap into your fat stores. Sound like a desirable outcome? Well, it does!
Suppose you have a lot of excess fat tissue you want to get rid of. In that case, you might consider looking into intermittent fasting and embarking on a lower carbohydrate, possibly a ketogenic lifestyle.
Remember – it didn’t take you a week or a month to become unhealthy, so it’s going to take a lot longer to undo all of that damage. However, intermittent fasting is the simplest, cheapest, and most user-friendly way to kickstart your weight loss journey.
Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting?
- Kids under 18 don’t need to fast; they’re growing and need all the nutrients, and healthy nutrients.
- Pregnant and nursing mothers don’t need to fast. You can do that at any other time of your life; you don’t need to do it when you’re pregnant and nursing.
- Severely malnourished, meaning less than 4% body fat.
This is not a piece of medical advice. However, if you have any chronic health conditions and take any medications, you need to talk with your doctor.
Especially if you’re taking medications for blood sugar. It would be best if you spoke with your doctor about incorporating fasting into your lifestyle.