Is it right for you?
Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, it is a schedule of when you eat and when you don't. The most popular way to do this is to eat for 8 hour and then fast for 16 hours on repeat.
(Popular isn't always best- check out 7 different ways to use intermittent fasting on Medical News Today.)
This ancient self care plan is becoming more talked about as there have been some very interesting studies done on the health benefits. All you need to do is hit the SoCal blog scene to see how it's changing people's habits and bodies and we love it. (Big love for Lee Tilghman's blog.)
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Dramatic fat loss while maintaining muscle tone (see a study done on this)
- Mental Benefits such as increased focus and allows you produce ketones which are brain fuel and may increase age related brain function according to one study done on mice.
- There are cellular rejuvenation benefits
- Increase insulin sensitivity (see the study from the National Academy of Sciences )
- "Cancer patients who fasted for 3 days prior to chemotherapy were protected against immune system damage that can be caused by the treatment, which they attribute to immune cell regeneration" as written about in Medical News Today.
Calorie restriction is not part of this self care tool, but you may find that your caloric intake changes due to how your body responds to fasting.
So, how does it work? Basically your body regularly burns sugars as fuel everyday that are stored in your liver and your muscles.
When you are fasting, your body switches from burning glycogen to burning fat stored in your body about 8 hours after your last meal when your have finished using nutrients moving through your digestive tract.
This results in a change to your physical body and also a change to your brain.
According to Dr. Razeen Mahroof "A detoxification process also occurs, because any toxins stored in the body's fat are dissolved and removed from the body."
During a fast, this store of glucose that is in your gut, your liver and your muscles are used first to provide energy for your body. Later in the fast, once glucose is depleted, fat is the new source of energy for the whole body.
- It is not recommended that anyone fast for more than a day because of stress on your heart and cardiovascular system.
- Anyone who has a history of eating disorders should avoid intermittent fasting.
- If you are working on changing the way you eat it may be a good idea to focus on one change at a time. Start with avoiding processed food and add intermittent fasting after you've maintained that habit for six weeks.
- If you are working on changing the way you eat it may be a good idea to focus on one change at a time. Start with avoiding processed food and add intermittent fasting after you've maintained that habit for eight weeks. Eight weeks is about how long it takes to form a new habit Read more about habiting forming in Atomic Habits.
- Those who do try Intermittent Fasting should focus on eating high quality foods, avoiding junk food and soda and processed carbohydrates.
- Recommended foods include bone broth, good fats such as coconut oil and fresh vegetables.
- If you have never tried Intermittent fasting before, try eating for 10 hours and fasting for 12. For example- eating from 10am to 8pm and then cutting your hours back if that seems workable to 11am to 7pm.
If this seems interesting to you- talk to your doctor and do some research. There are risks associated with fasting. Here are some great resources that will help you figure out what is right for you.
Thomas DeLauer goes in depth with a guide to intermittent fasting with his YouTube channel.