When people think of intermittent fasting they think of one thing, starvation!
Fasting is different because you have control of when you eat.
You should never go too long without food.
Fasting is the voluntary withholding of food for many purposes that range from spiritual to health.
Intermittent fasting done correctly should not be painful or cause any suffering.
You can start fasting at any period of time from a few hours to a few days.
You can also end a fast at any time you wish.
There is no set time for fasting, it is merely the absence of eating.
Anytime that you aren’t eating, you are intermittently fasting.
As an example you can fast between dinner and breakfast the next day, this is a period of 12 – 14 hours.
Fasting is the oldest and most powerful dietary intervention around. It’s not as foreign as it sounds, you actually do it in everyday life.
Yet somehow we have missed it’s power and overlooked the therapeutic potential.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
Intermittent fasting allows the body to use it’s stored fat as energy.
This is actually a very normal thing that humans have evolved from.
There would be hours or even days where people would not eat.
Body fat is food energy that has been stored away. If you didn’t eat, your body would use the stored fat for energy.
Here is how fasting works, when you eat more food energy is taken in that can be used.
Some of this energy must be stored away for emergencies. Insulin is the key hormone involved in the storage process.
Insulin levels rise when we eat, helping to store the extra energy in 2 ways.
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose units, which are linked into long chains to form glycogen.
The newly created fat is stored in the liver. The majority of the fat is then exported to other deposits in the body.
The process goes in reverse when we don’t eat.
Insulin levels fall, this signals the body to start burning stored energy because no more food is coming through.
Blood glucose begins to dip, and then the body pulls glucose out of storage to burn energy.
Glycogen is the most accessible energy source.
It is broken down into glucose molecules to give energy to other cells within your body.
This process provides enough power for the body for about 24 to 34 hours.
After that the body will begin to use stored fat for energy.
The body only really has two states, the fed state and the fasted state.
We are either storing food or we are burning stored energy.
To give our bodies balance, all we must do is increase the time we spend burning energy. This is intermittent fasting.
The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
The most obvious benefit to intermittent fasting is weight loss.
But there is much more to gain if you choose to begin intermittent fasting, which date back to ancient times.
These fasting periods were called cleanses or detoxification. While keeping away from food for health reasons people used to view these times to rejuvenate the body.
Here are the many health benefits that come with intermittent fasting:
- Weight and body fat loss
- Increased fat burning
- Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels
- Improved mental clarity and concentration
- Increased energy
- Increased growth hormone
- Improved blood cholesterol
- Reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s
- Activation of cellular cleansing
- Reduction of inflammation
Fasting offers unique advantages that aren’t common in typical diets. Where diets complicate life, intermittent fasting simplifies it.
How To Do Intermittent Fasting
Shorter Fasts (Less than 24 hours)
There are many forms of intermittent fasting, you can fast for as long or short as you like.
If you are going to try fasting that lasts a few days please consult a medical professional.
Here are a few popular regimens of the shorter styles of fasting:
This style of intermittent fasting involves daily fasting for 16 hours.
This is referred to as an 8 hour eating window. You will eat meals within an 8 hour time period and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
This style of intermittent fasting involves a 4 hour eating window and a 20 hour fast.
This would mean eating one meal or two smaller meals within this period.
Longer fasts (more than 24 hours)
24 Hour Fasts
This style of fasting involves fasting from dinner to dinner or lunch to lunch.
If you eat dinner on day 1, you skip the next day’s breakfast and lunch then eat dinner on day 2. You’ll be eating but only one meal a day.
This version of fasting involves five regular days of eating and two fasting days.
However on the two fasting days you are allowed to eat 500 calories on each day. These calories can be consumed at any time during those days.
Alternate Day Fasting
This style is similar to the 5:2 approach, on your fasting days you are allowed to have 500 calories.
36 Hour Fasts
This style of fasting involves fasting for the entire day.
If you were to eat dinner on day 1, you would fast for all of day 2 and not eat again until breakfast on day 3.
This will provide a more powerful weight loss benefit for your body.
This concludes your beginners guide to intermittent fasting!