You’ve tried everything to lose weight – the Paleo Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, juicing and cleanses, and every other fad weight loss trend that’s become popular through the last few years. But if you’re like most people, it still doesn’t work – or you lose some weight for a short time but then inevitably when you go back to “normal” life, the weight comes back on. In fact:
Only 2% of all dieters ever stick to their diets past 6 months and see long-term losses.
Something obviously isn’t working, but maybe the problem isn’t WHAT you’re eating, but that you’re eating at all. Therefore, intermittent fasting very well could be the weight loss answer you’ve been searching for.
Intermittent fasting defined:
Essentially, intermittent fasting is the practice of extending times without eating. This doesn’t just put you at a caloric negative, but actually changes your metabolism and many other body functions, causing you to shed pounds as well as many other health benefits.
This is not a new revelation (every culture throughout history has used fasting for health benefits, religious rituals, spirituality, weight loss, to increase longevity, etc.) but now the science behind intermittent fasting has finally been crystallized and refined.
What benefits can you expect with intermittent fasting
Of course we want to lose weight and lean up, but numerous studies and research shows that intermittent fasting also has huge health benefits beyond shedding pounds. Those include:
- Fat loss due to a 700% increase in the fat burning hormone
- Reduce stubborn belly fat
- Building lean muscle
- Improving strength
- Increased energy
- Stabilize hormones
- Reversing disease
- Treating unwanted symptoms
- Anti-aging properties
- Better sleep
- Increased sexual performance
- Ending of cravings and control of hunger
- Increased brain function, focus, and memory
- Reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and reversal of its symptoms
- Testosterone boosts for men
- Anti-inflammation, so your joints heal and feel better
- Detoxifying and cleansing of your body on a cellular level
- Improved circulating glucose and lipid levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce cholesterol
- Better pancreatic function
- Defense against cardiovascular disease
Why we’re more overweight and unhealthier than ever:
The human body is not meant to be a nonstop production line of food intake, but that’s really how the modern person lives. From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep, most of us are eating or drinking high-caloric foods and beverages every few hours or more, often with negligible nutritional value. At the same time, we are more sedentary and less physically active than any time in history. It wasn’t so with our ancestors, who had to hunt for their food, which meant longer periods without consumption and far more activity.
That condition has been called “chronic access to food,” especially processed and artificial foodstuffs, and it’s like we’re overloading our bodies with a constant IV drip of toxic death into our systems.
Additionally, think about all of the toxins our bodies are exposed to these days. We’re constantly under barrage from chemicals, pollutants, and other contaminants, most of which we never realize we’re absorbing. Just starting in the past 100 years, human beings are now exposed to more than 70,000 industrial chemicals each and every day (only a few hundred of which have been tested for safety!)
The resulting problems occur:
- Chronic elevated Insulin levels
- Excessive Calorie consumption
- Excessive animal-based protein consumption
- Excessive toxins in the body (& diseases resulting from trash excess)
- Chronic insulin dysfunction
How to Intermittent Fast SUCCESSFULLY:
While some people choose to skip an entire day of eating once a week to observe their fast, that may not be necessary to initiate an intermittent fasting program. The key time frame for this to work is probably 14-16 hours without eating. You can do this every other day or at least 2-3 times a week is recommended for the best effect.
The easiest way to implement this into your normal schedule is to have a normal dinner before 8pm the night you start your fast and then stop eating until lunchtime the next day, so the only real meal skipping breakfast. In that time (about 14-16 hours) you can drink plenty of water or liquids that aren’t high in calories or contain sugar, of course. So coffee, tea, and some un-sweetened fresh fruit or vegetable juices are fine.
More intensive versions of intermittent fasting utilize 24-30 hours of fasting on alternating days, and then eating without restrictions the other days.
So basically you’re just skipping breakfast in order to achieve a 14-16 hour fast. Sounds easy, right?
But they other key component that magnifies the effectiveness of intermittent fasting is to engage in a light workout the morning of the fast.
The science behind why intermittent fasting works:
Intermittent fasting triggers a process that increases secretion of the growth hormone and therefore a shift in metabolism that maximizes fat-burning. Since we are essentially in continuous-eating mode without ever skipping a meal (or even a few hours without caloric intake) our bodies have adapted by burning sugar as our primary fuel, which deprioritize the enzymes that use and burn through fat stores. Fasting breaks that cycle, which is like hitting reset on your metabolism, returning your body to its intended state of burning fat as its primary fuel.
The modern human being has been removed from our primal and ancestral state of feast and famine, which reverses decreased insulin sensitivity and lack of mitochondrial energy efficiency – two huge contributors to aging and disease. Fasting also reduces the buildup of oxidative radicals in the cells, preventing oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids that also accelerate aging and foster disease.
Why add exercise while fasting?
Exercising in a fasted state offers additional benefits and accelerates the intended effect. Just like our ancestors who often went long periods of time without eating combined wit rigorous physical activity as they hunted for food, migrated, or avoided danger, the human body still sees biological benefits from this patterns. Research points to the fact that the less glucose you have in your system when you exercise, the more fat you’ll burn. So if losing fat and getting leaner without losing muscle is your goal, then exercising while fasting may be optimal. But if your exercise goals include performance related targets, like strength and speed increases,) you may want to “fuel up” before exercise.
But for most of us, a vigorous cardio or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout for at least 30 minutes during this fasting period will catalyze the fat-burning physiology, boost metabolism, trigger Growth Hormone, and reduce insulin to zero.
Drawbacks or words of caution:
Intermittent fasting should be avoided when during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Fasting also shouldn’t be utilized during periods of high stress associated with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Diets that are too low in calories may also cause nutritional deficiencies, electrolyte abnormalities, and other risks if not undertaken correctly. Fasting relies on catecholamines to burn fat, but if you are acutely psychologically stressed, not sleeping, or you have adrenal dysfunction, that should be remediated before undergoing fasting.
It’s a good idea to consult a healthcare expert, nutritionist, or certified fitness coach before trying intermittent fasting unsupervised.
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