There has been a lot of articles highlighting the health benefits of intermittent fasting, and how doing a fast, can not only help you lose stubborn weight but also improve your overall health. You may be asking what is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting means going without food for a period of time, usually 12 hours or beyond. When you do this, you get 25% or less (roughly 400-600 caloric deficit) in 24 hours.
It works like this: Keep a short window (eight to twelve hours a day) for your meals and snacks (healthy of course), and then fast as long as you can go. An example is your last meal will consist of protein, fat, complex carbs, and fiber and will end around seven o’clock p.m. Your next meal won't happen until 8:00 a.m,10:00 a.m. to noon the following day (a twelve - to- fifteen- to sixteen-hour fast). Eating a healthy meal will move you into fat-burning, not sugar burning, so be careful to pay attention to what you are eating. When it comes to intermittent fasting, play around with this and fast as long as it feels right for you. You may want to go without dinner instead, and your twelve-hour food window would include breakfast, lunch, and a healthy snack. Then skip dinner. Use whatever works for your schedule and your body.
As you build your fasting muscle, you may want to try a 24- hour fast. I have done this with much success. I will have my healthy dinner at 6:00 p.m. and not eat until the following night at 6:00 p.m. Do this one to two times a week, (e.g. Monday and Thursday) and you’ll notice the pounds melt away faster using this method. The first few pounds may be water weight, as sugar and carbs get stored in your fat cells,to use for energy, and are the first to go. After that, your body will start burning fat, (as long as you stick to a healthy diet, and not overload on sugar and carbs the other days) and that's when you’ll notice your body composition will start to change. Excess belly fat will go down, and your energy levels will go up. The important component of any fast is to drink plenty of water with salt to keep you hydrated and your sodium levels in check. You may be thinking, why sodium? We all know that too much sodium is bad for you. But when you're fasting, it’s important to keep your sodium/potassium levels balanced. Just a pinch of Himalayan salt with your water will do the trick.
Fasting starts to move all the unwanted and accumulated toxins from your body. It’s a form of cellular detox. And when we give our body and our digestion a break, we begin to rebuild new, healthy cells, reset our metabolism and hormones, and create more energy and efficiency.
Some of you may not realize how much energy is expended during the day while digesting food. A great benefit to fasting is that we give our digestion system a rest. When we have all of this energy used up digesting food, it becomes a tremendous demand on our energy levels. When you free up that demand, you gain the energy back you lost from taxing out your digestion with food. Fasting increases your energy overhead, that can be used for healing and cell repair. When your body frees up this energy, it goes into repair mode and renews your body. In a sense, we have cleaned out the dust, dirt and debris for the day, and have cleaned house.
Fasting is not only a great strategy for losing weight; there are so many other health benefits that include:
Reduced body weight
Reduced fat mass
Reduced levels of CRP, an important marker of inflammation.
Improved gut flora
Eliminates sugar (or other food) addictions
Increases energy levels
Clears skin rashes
If you decide to try a fast, whether that is a 12-hour, 24-hour or longer fast, start small and build your way up. It works the same way exercising does. Don’t jump into a 24-hour fast and expect to feel energized and alive. You will feel the opposite. You’ll feel light-headed, and probably receive other negative side-effects when you approach it this way. In addition, your grehlin hormone (hunger hormone) will kick in overdrive, and you'll be over-eating instead.
You have to build your fasting muscle one day at a time. You’ll be surprised how fast your body adapts when you practice this strategy. Your energy levels will not go down, and in fact, you’ll feel more energized, have mental clarity and reduce those food cravings that you have been unable to conquer in the past.
It’s never too late to improve your health and transform your life. You really can reverse disease, gain more energy, increase your mental clarity, and nourish your body from the inside-out.
The roadmap you need to master this journey reveals itself as you turn each page of my soon-to-be-published book: Take Command of Your Total Health: A Woman’s Guide to Fearless Aging.
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