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Most of us follow this outdated ritual to eating 3 meals and many snacks a day.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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6 Replies to “What is intermittent fasting and does it work?”

  1. This article is very interesting. I have heard of this kind of fasting before where people fast 16 hours from 12 AM to 4 PM. But I think the hours of fasting which you mentioned from 8 PM to 12 PM might be better and a little bit more easier to do and doesn’t make you feel like your starving for the whole day.

    This is definitely something that I will be trying soon. Thank you so much for this information.

    1. Thank you for your feedback and compliments. I genuinely believe that this is one of the safest and most practical way to not only lose weight but also gain lots of health benefits. By not eating all the time, you are giving your body a chance to repair itself as well as help absorb more nutrients. Imagine our stomach being a washing machine drum. If you overfill it, it won’t wash the clothes properly. Same goes for the food, if its excessive, it will pass through the digestive system without benefitting us in anyway, instead I will cause us quite a few digestive issues.
      Let us know how you get on once you’ve tried it. Would love to hear from you. Kind Regards

      Rani

  2. This is something new to me to be honest. And I really like the concept. I will give it a try. Although I am highly addictive of food, I think it is possible for me to achieve discipline and eat and fast at certain times. I think this type of diet will help my with my weight loss.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Strahinja, this concept was also new to me until I tried it 6 months ago and instantly it became part of my life. Intermittent fasting has helped me with self discipline and enabled me to appreciate food more. In other words I enjoy my food more rather than eating all the time without realising. It definitely helped me lose weight at a gradual level as well as given me mental clarity and focus. I don’t tend to get the sugar cravings anymore. I would definitely recommend you give it a try and see it for yourself. Best of luck.

      Rani

  3. Hi, Rani.

    Thanks for sharing this. I can totally relate as a person who’s constantly trying to lose weight. I had heard about intermittent fasting before but have never tried it. If I’m not mistaken, this is one of IIFYM’s bases, right? I bought myself a book to get started but haven’t found the time to read it. Who said weight loss was easy? lol

    I will definitely look into intermittent fasting. I have tried numerous diets with mixed results. I need to find something sustainable.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    1. Dear Enrique, you are welcome. Thank you for the lovely feedback. I think the intermittent fasting has always been around. Nowadays it seems to be popular amongst the Hollywood celebrities I believe. I do the intermittent fasting on a regular basis and don’t tend to worry too much about my calorie count as long as I’m eating clean and healthy. I did do my research before starting it. So my humble advise would be; as long you are generally healthy, don’t dig too much into it, just start and see how you feel. Bear in mind it does take about 4-6 weeks to adjust and see clear benefit of it. Keep sharing your progress with us here at http://www.lifestyletipsandhacks.come Many thanks.

      Rani

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