I’ve embraced a new health regime that I thought you might be interested in hearing about. I feel this lifestyle is truly the way humans were meant to live. And no, I’m not selling anything! Actually, with this lifestyle you may even save money.
What am I talking about? Intermittent fasting. Think about it – our bodies weren’t developed to eat three meals a day plus snacks. They were developed to eat when the food is plentiful (feast) and to go without in between (fast). I know the idea of going without is strange (who hasn’t heard the old “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” trope? Don’t believe it, you really do better without… and will find you have more energy and mental clarity too.
We all are aware how many people are obese these days. It is so sad as it doesn’t need to be like this. It has been proven that the old “eat less move more” or “calories in, calories out” that has been recommended to large people as the way to lose weight doesn’t work. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many large people! The problem is usually one of hormones, and that means the hormone insulin. When we eat often, our insulin stays high, and insulin is the fat storing hormone. So if you eat less often – bingo, you get it!
If you’re interested in fasting, I’ll make some book and podcast recommendations at the end of this post but the first thing you should know is that you’ll want to fast clean. That means when you’re not eating to only drink plain water (sparkling or still), black coffee and plain black or green tea. No flavors, stevia, splenda, diet sodas, chewing gum – or anything that will tell your body that something sweet or food-like is on the way and that it should send out some insulin. Black coffee is a sticking spot for some people but the fast is so much easier when you fast clean. There are people out there saying that you can have up to 50 calories without breaking your fast but please do yourself a favor and clean fast from the start. You can thank me later, ha ha!
Another thing that happens when you fast is your body starts autophagy. I don’t want to get all science-y here but it is basically when your body cleans up old bits and pieces that they can reuse and recycle. Many report long term health issues like allergies, psoriasis, chronic headaches, plantar fasciitis, arthritis and other conditions clear up on their own. It really seems too good to be true but it is reported over and over.
I started fasting in August and found pretty much right away that I loved the energy I had as well as the lightness and lack of bloating. I think my body had a lot of healing to do as I have only lost 18 pounds but I don’t mind being a slow loser. I love fasting, it is my new lifestyle so I don’t care how long it takes.
I started out with about 19:5 (19 hours fasting and a 5 hour eating window). Basically that meant I finished dinner by 6 or 7 and opened my window at 1 or 2 pm. Most people start with 16:8, moving up to 18:6 or whatever feels good to them. The last few weeks I have been doing what they call OMAD (one meal a day) during a 22:2 window. I’ve done one long fast of 43 hours that was fun and I’ll do those here and there in the future I imagine. It’s a very flexible lifestyle as you can shift your window around based on your social calendar. I use a fasting app on my phone but many people just track their eating time (for example 2 pm to 6 pm) and find that easier.
Some people like to weigh themselves daily and some find it difficult to manage the emotional side of seeing weight go up and down. I have been weighing myself daily and I find my weight bounces up and down a fair bit before it settles at a new low.
Most people continue to eat as they normally do – as this is not a diet – but pretty much across the board people say they usually choose better quality, tastier food as it needs to be “window worthy.” Very quickly I got back in tune with my body and it’s satiety signals, which is a real treat.
If you’re interested in learning more, here are a few resources for you:
- Fast, Feast Repeat by Gin Stephens
- The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung
- Delay, don’t Deny by Gin Stephens
- The Fasting Fix by Andreas Michaelsen
- The Fasting Highway by Graeme Currie