Despite being reticent about intermittent fasting for such a long time I am convinced that people can really benefit from it. Almost all of us would benefit from some form of fasting.
It’s time to get real; we were made to fast, we’ve just forgotten the why and the how.
We have temptations to eat on every corner. Everywhere we turn we’re being lured in ‘you deserve it, you’ve had a great/awful/stressful/winning/losing/ day’. However your day has been, you can justify a snack. Or two. Any time of the day. It’s the norm.
But it plays havoc with our bodies, our blood sugar, and it’s aging.
There are so many studies now showing that fasting time does not have to be in any way extreme to be beneficial. Intermittent fasting is ‘next level’ and it really helps to be eating a clean diet in the first place to benefit from fasting.
“The best of all medicines are resting and fasting.” Benjamin Franklin
Four benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Weight loss: Fasting has been shown to be beneficial in fat burning. This is particularly good for losing internal abdominal fat that is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes. If you are constantly grazing your body runs on this energy. If you are fasting it will break down your fat stores to make energy. It’s that simple!
- Improved Insulin sensitivity; many studies have shown blood sugars to significantly improve and this may work very well as part of a diabetes reversal program.
- Reduced Inflammation; People with diabetes, prediabetes heart disease, high triglycerides, cancer, arthritis and many more chronic illnesses all have high inflammatory markers. Many studies now show that fasting or ongoing intermittent fasting can have a dramatic effect in reducing this inflammation and improving or reversing symptoms.
- Enhanced energy; many people will report to have better quality energy and feel more mentally energetic. This will only be obvious to those that are eating a fresh whole foods diet.
“Fasting, combined with nutritional competence, removes the most significant causes of disease” Joel Fuhrman, M.D
There are lots of different ways to fast.
The easiest for most is intermittent fasting. This is how it works: I generally get my clients to start with 12:12, eating inside a 12 hour window, eg 7:30am to 7:30pm. This helps kick the evening picking or snacks that are habit for many of us. Not too difficult! Doing this alone can have a tremendously positive effect.
Next go to a 10:14 eating window and see the difference. Now you are eating in a ten hour window and fasting for 14 hours, perhaps 8am to 6pm. For some this may look like a late breakfast eating between 10am and 8pm.
For others, particularly those that have a tendency towards higher morning sugars it may be best to have an early breakfast and a very early evening meal. Your fasting period must be scheduled according to what benefits you most and what regime you are most likely to stick to.
Depending on your blood sugars, how much weight you want to lose, and how beneficial you find it you may like to decrease the eating window to 8 hours. Many people report an 8-hour eating window to be the optimum strategy for weight loss and blood sugars.
Fasting between meals
Fasting between meals in another obvious method, while it seems simple, most people do not adhere to this simple but golden rule. For the majority of us it is not necessary to eat every few hours or graze through the day. Resting your digestive system is good. 3 meals a day is plenty, do your best to not eat between them. This is a good place to start!
24 hour fasts are frequently reported as being hugely beneficial and some people do this once a week generally fasting between lunch times of 2 days. If you are on medication this must be done with your doctor’s help. It’s more extreme but many people incorporate 24-hour fasting into their week and claim enormous health benefits; feeling so much sharper, better energy, and better sleep.
Finally you may fast from specific food groups i.e. totally cut them out for a defined period. I generally recommend a month, you should recognise a significant improvement it you have a sensitivity to that food or if it’s simply not serving your health well. Sugar is an obvious place to start, dairy products, wheat or gluten fasts can also be hugely beneficial.
If you are trying this for the first time I strongly suggest a stepped approach. First no eating between meals, then a 12 hour window eating and reduce that gradually. There are compelling studies now supporting the value of fasting for many great reasons.
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Like me you might be very surprised at how much better you feel. There is also so much anecdotal evidence to support intermittent fasting that there may be merit to it. Think of all the people that you know that lived to a ripe old age; those in my family that lived into their 90’s did not eat between meals, ate reasonable portion sizes and generally stuck to 3 meals a day possibly with one 11am snack. Did they graze in front of the tv or eat on the run? No. Did they eat sugary refined snacks or food? Definitely not!
If you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes or if you need to lose weight the benefits of fasting must be considered to accelerate your journey to good health.
Maybe it’s time to step back from the food industry ads and the propaganda that is convincing us we need to eat every few hours. The science is compelling, common sense will tell us that we can never burn fat if we are constantly topping up and there’s no arguing that burning fat is what so many of us need to do.
Always consult a health care practitioner, you may need to adjust your medications if you are taking any.
“A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors.” Mark Twain
Are you ready to upgrade your health and reverse your type 2 diabetes or prediabetes? Get my free ebook here and please stay in touch! This information can change your life for the better.
The Walking Book Club begins June 9th
Let’s jump in together and be one of the first book clubs to partake in City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.