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

 

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Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

About 6 weeks ago I discovered something called intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can take various forms, but the most common are a 16 x 8, or a sporadic 24 hour fast. The 16 x 8 method is when you fast for 16 hours and have an 8 hour eating window. For people that work during the daytime, it makes sense to have your last meal at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. and then not eat again until noon or lunch time. This provides you with a 16 or 17 hour fast, essentially skipping breakfast. I have been using the 16 hour fast method on a daily basis for about 6 weeks now, and found it to be fairly easy to accomplish. The first week is probably the hardest, but fortunately it becomes easier with time. Most of the fast is spent sleeping so depending on when you get up you may only go without food for 5 or 6 hours. I personally lost 5 pounds in the first 4 weeks, and this weight loss was in body fat. Here are some reasons you might want to adopt an intermittent fasting routine:

  • Changes The Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones
    • Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning
    • Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits.
    • Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
  • Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
    • Lower insulin levels, an increase in metabolism, and higher growth hormone levels, are combined to use fat as an energy source. This occurs because you have no carbohydrates in your system to burn, so your body turns to the next available source of energy body fat.
  • Can Reduce Insulin Resistance, Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
    • Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve insulin resistance and lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels
    • In human studies on intermittent fasting, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 3-6%, while fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31%
  • Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes
    • Fasting causes the cells in the body initiate a cellular “waste removal” process called autophagy
    • This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.
    • Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Other benefits may include:

  • Helping to prevent cancer
  • Intermittent fasting is good for your brain
  • May protect against Alzheimer’s Disease
  • May extend your lifespan

With so with so many benefits that have been attributed to intermittent fasting, it is worth researching. In fact I have not been able to find any research that indicates any negative effects. The only caution here is if you are someone with an unusually low percent of body fat or an anorexic.

My advice is that unless you are doing this strictly as some form of dieting, make sure you are getting those calories in during your eating window. I personally like the 16 x 8 method versus a 24 hour fast. I’ve tried the 24 hour fast and while it is a great way to cleanse your body, it is much more difficult and in most cases you will be very hungry during those additional 8 hours of fasting that you have added on.

To make the fasting period a bit easier you will need to consume some liquids like coffee, tea, or water. This helps by providing something in your stomach, making it easier to endure the fast. Do not consume liquids that contain calories, so no sugar in your coffee or tea and avoid any other liquid that contains sugar like soft drinks.

The YouTube video below provides a great overview of the benefits and different types of intermittent fasting methods. I highly recommend you spend the 10 minutes to view this as part of your own research.

 

I personally don’t view intermittent fasting as a diet, but more of a way of enhancing your health. It is entirely possible that you will not lose any weight at all if you continue to have an unhealthy diet, but if you combine intermittent fasting with a healthy diet there is a good chance that you will lose fat and improve your body composition. Do your own research, and let me know what you think.

Namaste

 

References: https://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/