You may have heard of or know someone who is trying Intermittent Fasting, the latest diet trend. I wanted to use this post to provide some useful information and my own experiences with fasting. If you are thinking about giving it a try, read below, or talk to me about trying it out.
While Intermittent Fasting has only recently started trending, it has actually been around for a very long time. In fact it is most likely that our ancient ancestors lived in a perpetual state of intermittent fasting. As food sources were less readily available. Our bodies evolved to store or use body fat as a source of energy. However, in this day and age we have an overabundance of food and as a result we have increased levels of obesity and diabetes along with a number of other health risks that come with excess fat.
Enter Intermittent Fasting. Decades ago scientists discovered that lab animals who were made to fast for periods of time lived longer, had better insulin levels and performed better on cognitive tests than their feasting counterparts. The difference was they used their body fat instead of storing it. While human studies have not had enough time to be fully explored the preliminary results look promising. Check out these articles:
I have tried fasting off and on for the last few years, but only recently have I had success in sticking to it.
My fasting journey started with the warrior diet. One of the five types of fasting you can read about here: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/intermittent-fasting-methods/
It didn’t work for me at all. During the fasting periods I was hungry, cranky, and had no energy. If I worked out while fasting I felt weak, and when it finally was time to eat I had a hard time stopping. I saw zero benefits from doing it.
I realized I had made a very common mistake, one I often warn clients against. To much to soon.
I started fasting again about two months ago and the results have been completely different. First, I had to find a fasting schedule that worked with my life. Since we have family breakfast every morning skipping breakfast didn’t make since so I use 7am to 12pm as my eating window. That means from noon to 7am, I am fasting (19 hours). Second, I built up to this length of fasting time so as to allow my body to adapt. I started by trying not to eat after 5pm, then 4pm, then 3pm, slowly increasing the amount of time I fasted. Lastly, I had to change my workout intensity in the beginning. While my body was getting used to the new intake of nutrients I eased back on the really intense workouts, then I slowly cranked the intensity back up.
Now I am fasting 7 days a week and working out almost every day of the week at, if not higher, level of intensity. I don’t feel hungry or crabby, and feel much more clear-headed. I feel better in the mornings, and look forward to each meal as a special event, rather than a daily chore.
If you are looking to try fasting I strongly recommend doing some research, and really looking at your life style to see what makes sense. And as always Reborn Fitness is happy to work with you to help you along the way.