Category: health

Update on Intermittent Fasting

Fasting

Updated on March 25, 2020. Time goes by so quickly.

I was looking at my blog and noticed I had written a post called the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting and was surprised that it was posted April 2016. To my astonishment I have been doing some form of intermittent fasting on almost a daily basis for almost 4 years. Since then I went on to post about one meal a day (OMAD) which can be found Giving OMAD a try – Day 1 and Giving OMAD a try – Day 2 both of these were written last year in February.

My fasting method is a 18/6 protocol where I stop eating around 6:00 p.m. at night, skip breakfast and eat lunch at about 12:00 p.m., which gives me anywhere from 16 to 18 hours without eating. I do this on a daily basis and try to add a 24+ hour fast once a week, typically on a Saturday.

The 18/6 protocol allows me to keep my weight within a 3 or 4 pound range, so for me that is anywhere between 162 and 166 pounds. While this is great for maintaining your weight I always felt that I was missing some of the benefits like pushing your body into ketosis and a greater level of autophagy (rebuilding of cells) in the body. One of the things I noticed is when I push the fast beyond 20 hours my body actually feels warmer, there is a slight tingling feeling, and I suspect I am beginning to make some inroads into burning fat instead of glucose for fuel.

If you are just looking to lose a few pounds and acquire some of the other benefits from fasting the 16/8 or 18/6 intermittent fasting protocols work just fine in my experience, but if you want to really start burning body fat and push yourself into autophagy throw in a 24 hour fast once a week or once a month. The question I often hear is how will I feel, especially during a 24 hour fast? I actually found I felt better in a fasted state then when I was eating. I won’t kid you for me I was pretty hungry at about 20 hours, but not in a ravenous state. One of the cool things is you can look forward to a pretty large meal after that 24 hour fast. You could do something like OMAD on a daily basis, but then you really aren’t doing a 24 hour fast and you also need to deal with social situations like declining lunch invitations, etc. Remember the longer you can stay in the fasted state the more body fat and cell regeneration is taking place, so pushing it from 24 to 36 hours once in a while can be a very good thing.

Well that’s my update for now. I continue to learn more everyday regarding the benefits of fasting and after almost 4 years I can unequivocally state that there are many positive benefits and the longer you do it, the easier it becomes. The other thing I learned is once you stop doing it and get used to eating say in the morning when I would normally fast, it can be tough to re-establish the habit.

Note: I am not a doctor and am not advocating that fasting is the only way to control your weight or be healthy. There may be some situations where fasting is not appropriate; for instance if you are pregnant or under weight. Do your own research and consult a physician if you have any concerns about trying some form of intermittent fasting.

If you want to know more about autophagy check out this article it goes into much greater detail than I have during this post:

Benefits of Autophagy, Plus How to Induce It

Namaste

 

The 5 best foods to fight aging

Great post from Tony on the best foods to eat that contribute to a long life.

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

I hope you realize that, just as you need to start saving for retiring in your youth, you need to worry about eating well for aging well starts a lot earlier than when you are a senior.

Eat well; move more; live longer  – that’s a mantra that we’re all familiar with, but what are the best foods to help us achieve that goal?  Medical News Today (MNT) offered the following:

Official figures indicate that, currently, the top three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy are the Principality of Monaco, Japan, and Singapore. These are places where the inhabitants experience a high quality of life, and an important element of that is eating healthful meals.

clear glass bottle filled with broccoli shake Photo by Alisha Mishra on Pexels.com

Often, we find praise for “superfoods” in the media – foods so high in nutritional value that they are seen as dietary superheroes.

Nutritionists reject…

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Giving OMAD a try – Day 2

OMAD 1

Actually yesterday was my second day of using the one meal a day (OMAD) intermittent fasting protocol. In two days I lost 4 pounds, had lots of energy, and ate a couple really big meals. So I was pretty determined that after I had fasted for 23 hours I was going to make sure I got in a lot of calories. The first day I ate just about anything without regard to the quality of the food, but the second day I was more selective having fish, lima beans, almonds, some high protein peanut butter, and a small plate of raw vegetables.

Well now it is Monday and I’m back to my 18:6 protocol, which is 18 hours of fasting and then eating lunch and dinner. The reason I did not continue with OMAD has more to do with being social and wanting to eat lunch with my co-workers than any real major downside to a 23 hour fast.

Overall I would rate my OMAD experience as a very positive experiment, one that I will probably do on weekends to stay trim and enhance the cleansing effect of fasting. To be honest I got pretty hungry after 20 hours or so, and I often felt cold, but my energy levels were high and my mood was very good. The only concern I would have and this may not be a big deal since my experiment only lasted two days is losing 4 pounds. I would worry that if I did this daily I might not be able to take in enough calories to maintain my weight.

As I mentioned my energy levels were high, allowing me to do yoga in the morning, weight training in the afternoon, and I even got in a 3 mile walk the first day when the weather permitted. Remember this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition, like me you might decide it just doesn’t fit into your lifestyle during the week to skip lunch with your friends or co-workers. Don’t agonize over it; you can always go back to OMAD on the weekend. I just might try something a bit more radical next weekend like a 48 hour fast and see what happens.

Sorry I can’t help myself.

Namaste

Giving OMAD a try – Day 1

OMAD 1

Since the last time that I wrote about intermittent fasting I thought it would be fun to give one meal a day (OMAD) a try. This is day one, and I have decided to eat around 5 or 6 p.m., having eaten last night at about the same time. OMAD is really just another form of intermittent fasting where you fast for 23 hours and then have one hour window for eating. So why would I go from two meals a day to one meal a day?

All the benefits I mentioned in my last post are still true with OMAD. In fact they are all enhanced, which is why I am trying it. I’m particularly interested in gaining greater energy and mental clarity along with a longer detox period for my body. There are a lot of studies that show a strong relationship between fasting and longevity, so it is yet one more reason to give this a try.

Here is a short video on some of the benefits of OMAD.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done a 23 to 24 hour fast, but I’m going to give it a try for a week or so and report back on my results. In the past I was pretty hungry at about 21 to 22 hours of fasting. If you decide you want to try this, please be advised that you should already be following an intermittent fasting protocol where you are eating two meals a day. I wouldn’t advise going from the traditional three meals a day to one without first getting used to some form of fasting.

As of this moment I have 8 more hours before my next meal. I’ll report back tomorrow and let you know how I feel and how my body and mind are adapting to this new approach to intermittent fasting.

Namaste

 

My experience with intermittent fasting

intermittent fasting meme1

I’ve been using intermittent fasting for a couple of years on and off. In the past 4 months I’ve been a little more disciplined about it and do it 5 or 6 days a week. Let me first state that I don’t consider intermittent fasting a diet. I consider intermittent fasting to be a tool that is part of your arsenal for obtaining an optimal level of health.

So what is intermittent fasting? In its simplest form it means going without any type of food or beverage that contains calories for 16-20 hours. So a typical cycle might be eating your last meal at before 8 p.m. and then not eating again until noon 12:00 p.m. the next day, which would mean about 16 hours of fasting. The graphic below illustrates a 16:8 protocol or 16 hours of fasting and an 8 hour eating window:

intermittent fasting 16x8

There are many benefits to intermittent fasting which can be obtained by almost anyone. Even if you decide you just want to lose a few pounds or stay at a specific weight, intermittent fasting can help you achieve those goals.

Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include:

  • Promotes a release of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a hormone that declines with age. Intermittent fasting can increase HGH by as much as 1000%. HGH has an anti aging effect on the human body, so naturally producing more of it can be good for your overall health.
  • It gives your body and organs a break from having to digest foods around the clock and help purify the body of toxins. This is why even doing a 24 hour fast from time to time is good for your health. So intermittent fasting helps you detoxify your body, allowing your liver to recover and rebuild and clear your colon.
  • Improved muscle tone and function will most certainly be a result of intermittent fasting especially when you couple this with strength training and high intensity training (HIT) like sprinting. As mentioned above in a fasted state your body actually increases the production of good hormones like HGH and by coupling it with strength training or HIT you ramp up the production of HGH and testosterone even more.
  • You are likely to lose a few pounds during your first week of intermittent fasting, and there is a high probability that  you will keep the weight off as long as you continue to do intermittent fasting. Don’t mistake this for a silver bullet you still need to have a good diet and not over eat.
  • Intermittent fasting can help normalize insulin sensitivity. Spiking blood sugar levels caused by eating cause insulin to increase, which has effects on storing additional fat and disrupting healthy hormone levels.

My experience

The first week or two can be difficult if you are typically eating 3 meals a day. For me I just skip breakfast and after a few days you become accustomed to not eating and the fasting becomes less difficult. Instead of eating breakfast I drink some coffee when I get up and go on with my day. I personally do not find a 16:8 or 18:6 fasting protocol to be difficult to implement and after a week or two it just becomes a habit.

I did not suffer any adverse effects from intermittent fasting; quite the opposite I feel more energetic, lost a few pounds, and improved my body composition becoming leaner and more muscular. I also changed my diet to be more Paleo like, eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean protein meats and fish. You don’t need to intermittent fast every day of the week, but the more disciplined you are the greater the benefits. You will likely find times where you eat a little earlier in the day, say maybe an early lunch so maybe you only fasted for 15 hours, or you had a late dinner the night before. Give yourself a break, these minor deviations in the program will not effect the overall outcome, so be flexible.

Remember when you are fasting you should be taking in zero calories, so stick to drinking coffee, tea, or water. Don’t use creamer or sugar in your coffee or tea. If you need to sweeten it up you can try a little Stevia, but even with Stevia the jury is still out on whether that causes an insulin response in the body.

A final tip for improving your results is the longer you prolong the fasting phase the greater your results. This means if you can stop eating the night before by 7:00 p.m. and not eat your first meal until 1:00 p.m. you have been in a fasted state for 18 hours and this means HGH levels are still increasing, fat is being burned for energy, and the detoxification process is in high gear. If you really want to ramp it up, then you might consider a 24 hour fast once every week or two, which will provide even greater results.

The following video is a good primer on intermittent fasting, but you can find all kinds of great videos on YouTube that address various aspects of this type of fasting:

If you are looking for a way to increase your energy levels, detoxify your organs, increase HGH and other good hormones, or lose a few pounds, give intermittent fasting a try.

Namaste

 

Study shows women more naturally fit than men

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

At the risk of sounding sexist, I am surprised by these findings. I guess because men are generally bigger and stronger, I assumed the opposite was true.

Women can process oxygen more quickly than men when they start to exercise, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.

Stanford professor Michel Serres hikes the Dish on a regular basis. Stanford professor Michel Serres hikes the Dish on a regular basis.

Quick oxygen uptake places less strain on the body’s cells and is considered an important measure of aerobic fitness.

“The findings are contrary to the popular assumption that men’s bodies are more naturally athletic,” said Thomas Beltrame, lead author on the study.

The study compared oxygen uptake and muscle oxygen extraction between 18 young men and women of similar age and weight during treadmill exercise. Women consistently outperformed men with around 30 per cent faster oxygen handling throughout the body.

“We found that women’s muscles extract oxygen from the…

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Plant-based diet yields cardiometabolic health benefits -MNT

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

I was a vegetarian in my younger days. I lasted for about five years. In those days, there wasn’t the same level of consciousness or acceptance of this kind of diet that there is now. Although I left vegetarianism, I have continued to limit the amount of red meat I consume. I also eat a lot of fish and seeds and nuts for protein sources.

Medical News Today reports that plant-based eating patterns continue to soar in popularity and a group of nutrition researchers outline the science behind this sustainable trend in a review paper, entitled “Cardiometabolic benefits of plant-based diets,” which appears as an online advance in Nutrients. The review will publish in a future special edition, entitled “The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health.”

chinese-vegetarian-food

The review outlines how a plant-based diet, which is naturally low in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and rich in nutrients…

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Physical benefits of yoga – Harvard

Check out Tony’s post on the physical benefits of yoga.

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

I am a great believer in the benefits of yoga, both physical and mental. You can search yoga in the tags at the right for any of my posts on the subject. Here are two I consider worth seeing: Why should I do yoga? and Are there immediate physical benefits to yoga?

4082f0d86636929ea59679129b75a8eeSorry, I couldn’t resist rerunning this charming little piece of art.

Here is what Harvard Medical School has to say on the subject: Yoga promotes physical health in multiple ways. Some of them derive from better stress management. Others come more directly from the physical movements and postures in yoga, which help promote flexibility and reduce joint pain.

Following are some of the physical benefits of yoga that have a growing body of research behind them. In addition to the conditions listed below, preliminary research also shows that yoga may help with migraines, osteoporosis, balance and mobility issues…

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Bad habits that can hurt your brain – WebMD

Tony provides some great advice on things you should avoid to stay healthy.

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

I  write often about the benefits the brain gets from exercise and how we should make regular exercise a priority as much for our mental health as physical. That is a good positive target.

It turns out that WebMD also has some excellent suggestions for keeping our brains clicking on all cylinders, but they approach from the negative side. Not doing harmful things is also an important consideration in getting to old age with a fully functional brain.

brainexerciseHere is their list of bad habits:

Missing out on sleep. WebMD notes, “… lack of sleep may be a cause of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. It’s best to have regular sleeping hours. If you have trouble with sleep, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and electronics in the evening, and start a soothing bedtime ritual.”

I would like to interject here that my Page on How important is a good night’s sleep could be…

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