What is intermittent fasting and does it work?

What if you found out that “breakfast being the most important meal of the day” was wrong!

What if you found out that it’s more important WHEN to eat than to what you eat?

Most of us follow this outdated ritual to eating 3 meals and many snacks a day. Or should I say we have been brought up with the concept to eat all day long.

I am going to share a transformational strategy and concept that I have been using myself for a while with amazing physical and mental benefits. This concept tremendously shifts your health, wellbeing, weight control and healthy aging.

In the recent years there has been a massive rise in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and we know that many of these diseases are preventable.

Calories in and calories out is not enough to maintain a healthy weight, as some of us tend to follow this idea of eating less and exercising more and this has been the common practice for many years’ especially in females which obviously hasn’t solved the issue of the above mentioned diseases.

We need to be asking this “why” question. Something different needs to be done to get the different results.

We don’t have to accept this limiting belief about our health that weight gain and age related illnesses are the normal function of ageing.

Many studies have looked at the data of children and women of escalating weight gain, diseases and poor nutrition and compared it to the 1970s and found that; in the 70s where most of us were consuming 3 meals a day without any snacks. Now we are still eating 3 meals a day but snacking all day long.

The advice we get from the health professionals we get nowadays is to eat almost all day long, which overloads our digestive system and pancreas. Our system is not designed to take this much load and hence cannot work properly to digest food and absorb the nutrients from our diet.

Another important distinction when it comes to meal frequency is the debate over the sugar burner versus fat burner:

Sugar Burner

Sugar burner is someone who consumes lots of carbohydrates and glucose as their primary fuel source, which is incredibly insufficient for their healthy body, and the sign of these individuals are frequent hunger and significant dips in their energy levels and they struggle with fat loss because the insulin being the fat burning hormone is so high.

So if the insulin levels remain high, we have more oxidative stress and have more inflammation and hence struggle with weight loss.

Let’s contrast this to the fat burners:

Fat Burner

  • Fat burners access the fat stored for energy
  • They gain more sustained energy
  • More cognitive clarity
  • Don’t get hungry super frequently
  • Easier for them to lose weight because they tap into the fat stores
  • They sleep better
  • They age more slowly

So, meal timing and how frequently we eat is absolutely crucial. Statistics show that on average two third for 50 and 60 year old females are overweight and more than half are obese.

How do we proactively address these statistics?

Attitude, as most of the people want quick and easy fix, which may include prescription and over the counter drugs over changing their lifestyle, diet and exercise.

Women of over 50 and 60s gain 1.5lbs of weight a year on average. Some of it is also linked to the hormonal fluctuation, less muscle mass than men, sleep disturbances and sleep disorders.

However, there are strategies that can help offset this without spending any money on fancy diet plans, portions, powders and supplements, which we all know is not the long term solution.

But if I told you that I’ve got a better idea amongst all of them I tried so far.

To me, nothing is more effective than the intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can help fuel fat loss as well as many other life changing benefits including:

  • self-control
  • high self-esteem compared to other diets
  • it’s free, flexible and simple
  • it doesn’t take anything away from you

What is intermittent fasting?

It’s the absence of foods during the prescribed times. In other words you exist either on a feed or fasting state. For example when you eat, insulin is sacred by the pancreas.

To move sugar into the cells we store a large amount of sugar into our liver and skeletal muscles. When we exceed those storage sites, we store it as a fat. But when we fast our insulin levels are low and we can access those fat stored for energy.

How’s the intermittent fasting done?

Skip breakfast which reduces calorie intake by 20%-40%, which fuels the fat loss automatically. Typical time is 16 hours of fasting to 8 hours of eating window. It might seem a bit overwhelming to begin with, so let me break it down for you:

  • eat from 12:00pm – 8:00pm and
  • fast from 08:00PM to 12:00pm the next day

What are other benefits?

  • Fat loss around the abdomen and major organs
  • More mental clarity because insulin levels are low
  • Spikes human growth hormone, which helps us with more lean muscle mass
  • Improves blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels
  • Spring cleaning for the cells
  • Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Is intermittent fasting for you?

It is as wonderful strategy as it is but it’s not recommended for everyone. You should avoid intermittent fasting if you:

  • Have hard to control diabetes
  • If you are a child
  • An adult of over 70 years old
  • You are pregnant
  • You have chronic heart disease
  • Kidney issues
  • Had eating troubles such as anorexia, bulimia
  • Binge eating as it can evoke these issues
  • You have a low body mass index and you are frail
  • You’ve recently been admitted to hospital

One more last but important question:

Can you not eat or drink anything at all during your fasting window?

You can absolutely drink plain tea, coffee, filtered water and this will not break your fast.

What to eat when you are ready to eat?

There are definitely foods that are more beneficial for you when you break your fast, such as:

  • whole foods
  • best quality protein, ideally organic/grass fed
  • wild caught fish
  • organic fruit and vegetables
  • healthy fat including organic coconut oil, clarified butter (ghee), avocado, nuts
  • unprocessed carbohydrates
  • low glycemic berries
  • green leafy vegetables
  • quinoa, sweet potatoes and squash as opposed to bread and pasta

Quality and quantity is crucial. These foods are crucial for building our hormones and also tasty that light up our taste buds and the foods that make us happy. Make sure it’s not boring fat burning battle.

Limit sugar and alcohol level as they outweigh the goodness you are consuming. Most importantly keep yourself hydrated.

How practical is it?

You can start with 12-13 hours and gradually increase the time by an hour or so every day until you have reached the 16-hour mark.

How long can you do before seeing the benefits?

Give a solid 30 days to see any benefits and to see if it’s the right strategy for you. If you have any health condition, make sure you discuss with your General Practitioner (GP) or health care provider first.

It may take 6 to 8 weeks to really see the full benefits. It’s a simple, free, and flexible approach you can try at home.

I feel it’s highly effective strategy and should be discussed more in the mainstream area. I wish you all the best and hope you see some amazing results. Take care

Rani

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Health and Beauty Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has many amazing purposes that I come to know myself over the past few years.

In this post I am going to share my personal take on this super food/oil as well as its topical usages that I swear by to.

Also, a quick disclaimer: whatever I am going to share here is my own honest opinion and how it suits me. Please modify the recipe to your own style and suitability.

Here, we go into the actual purpose of this post which is how I personally benefit from coconut oil and use it in my unique style (as usual!).

How I found Coconut Oil 

I came across the benefits of coconut oil through a random research online, (I tend to do this quite a lot!) Me being health and beauty conscious, I quickly did MORE research just to confirm if some of the ‘ravings’ were even right!

Yes they were! As I started using it, and here is how I started using it:

Cooking

The first claim was to use it in cooking: Due to it’s high smoking point and density of nutrients I was totally convinced.

So, I bought a jar a virgin organic coconut oil and tried it in my chicken curry. To be very honest with you, I didn’t like the flavour of it. Maybe my senses were more used to the smell of clarified butter or ghee, which has its own unique aroma and health benefit (which I will share with you in another post.)

Anyway, I did not give up (as usual!) and tried the very same coconut oil in a stir-fry. Guess what! I was completely amazed by the flavour of it!

It turned out very flavoursome and I loved it and obviously it meant I made the same recipe over and over again! MY TAKE: it’s very tasty in stir fries and vegetable curries.

Sun Lotion

coconut oil acts as a sun lotion as it has a natural SPF of 4-5 and contains antioxidants that help protect the skin from harmful radiation from the sun. A natural sunscreen!

I have been using it a lot during the summer sunny days and I can’t stop raving about it. Although I have to keep topping it every hour due to its low SPF. I love it and it does its job.

MY TAKE: It seems to work on my skin as I have an Asian skin but you may need a stronger SPF if you have a fairer skin and you are prone to more skin burn.

Under Eye Cream

My very own tried, tested and highly effective formula: I add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 2 table spoons of almond oil in a jar and mix it well.

Then store it at a room temperature maybe with your other moisturisers/lotions and apply it at night time under your eyes gently, using your ring fingers. Wash it as normal in the morning. This mixture helps with under eye bags, fine lines and plump up the skin.

MY TAKE: worth a try!

Body Lotion

Ever since I found the amazing coconut oil, I haven’t touched any other body lotions, body butter etc. As I believe they are loaded with lots of chemicals and contain a little goodness and only the goodness are advertised and highlighted, and I am not buying into that anymore!

So I turned to the good old and humble coconut oil. I apply it all over my body straight after coming out of shower/bath and give it a few minutes to absorb before putting clothes on. It really hydrates my body without making it greasy. I feel somehow it makes my skin glow, which is obviously an added bonus.

So, MY TAKE: definitely recommend it!

Facial moisturiser and Acne Buster

Tell you the truth, out of all claim I was fascinated about this one the most! Having been suffering from troubled skin for years!

I was looking for a something that actually helps me get rid of the spots and achieve clear glowing skin. So I started applying it on my face once in the morning and once at night time. I even ditched the make-up and gave the coconut oil the opportunity to work properly.

It was okay for the first couple of days and then my skin started to look oily, angry and bit itchy as if the spots were coming on. I stopped it there and then and didn’t want to aggravate it any further.

MY TAKE: It may work for you people but it wasn’t for me. Or it may work better if you have a normal or dry skin. I heard many Youtubers raving about it for their glowing skin and anti aging secret to the coconut oil.

Hair Tonic

Coconut oil is known to luxuriously moisturise hair and combat dandruff, hair fall, roughness/dryness, soothes out split ends. I use coconut oil on my hair at least 2 hours before shampoo and then after shampoo to my damp hair.

It’s the best natural hair treatment you can get for your hair to ease any frizz and give your hair a shine naturally. So ditch those expensive hair serums, (I have!)

MY TAKE: highly recommend it!

Dry Lips

You can use it as lip balm and benefit from the smooth and moist lips all day long! If you have a rough or chapped lips, try dipping a corner of a face towel into the coconut oil and rubbing it gently on lips for smooth, soft, pink and plumped up lips. I tend to do this at night time.

MY TAKE: go for it, what are you waiting for!?

Hand and Feet Moisturiser

Apply it a couple of times a day or even better apply it every time after washing your hands and benefit from soft hands and nails. you can also use it on your feet at night time after washing them and put socks on and discover beautifully hydrated feet in the morning.

MY TAKE: It works. Keep that coconut oil jar handy!

Grow Your Eye Lashes Thick and Long

Apply it on your eye lashes either using your fingers on or use a clean mascara wand and discover healthy looking long eye lashes.

MY TAKE: definitely works after a consistent prolong use. But you got nothing to lose!

The only word of advice would be is to use the coconut oil consistently for a few weeks to fully benefit from it. Again, if you experience any undesired effects, please discontinue to use. All the best

Rani

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How to fit more exercise in your morning routine?

Here are my top 10 ways to include more exercise into my daily mega busy life:

1. Do squats as you brush your teeth in the morning. This could last 2-5 minutes depending on how long you brush your teeth for!

TIP – if you feel your legs are not getting tired enough – try to do the squats faster.

2. Get moving in the morning – move faster than usual when you do your usual chores in the morning. This could include bathroom visits, preparing for your breakfast or lunch, getting ready etc.

3. Go up and down the stairs faster a few times, this will get your heart pumping faster.

4. Get your house work done before your breakfast. As you get up, brush your teeth, and drink a big glass of water and then get moving to your house work.

Morning is the best time to get your household chores out of the way when your resilience level is high. I find doing the house work in the morning much more effective and faster – try it!

Of course you can reward yourself to a lovely breakfast or whatever else you like to do e.g. watch TV, or sit in the garden outside especially in the summer.

5. If moving is really not practical for you then opening the doors and windows is another way of getting more fresh air into your house and system, which ultimately makes you feel refreshed.

6. Park your car at least 10 minutes away from your work place – if you go to a job, try setting off 10 minutes earlier, which will allow you to get that extra 10 minutes of exercise into your routine.

Or if you use public transport try getting off a stop earlier. If you can do longer then of course the better. Same goes for if you are a stay at home person and you need to go out to run your house errands.

7. Take the stairs instead of the lift – I walk up the stairs to 6th floor at least once a day and always use the stairs for going back down to the ground floor.

8. This hack may not come in early morning, but I thought it was worth mentioning – go out for a walk during your lunch break or take your lunch outside and sit somewhere nice to have it.

9. This one applies mainly to the parents or adults who have the responsibility for school pick-ups and drop-offs – walk to the school with your children in the morning, if school is in walking distance.

Walking with your children is such a good opportunity to teach them about everyday life, you can have a discussion about what you see together and it is also a bonding opportunity, so grab it! And most importantly teach them about road safety and stranger awareness.

10. Go to the shop walking if you need to nip out for a milk, bread etc first thing in the morning.

Please give your valuable feedback and share your tips and tricks with us.

Rani and Habib

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