Fasting, without the fast…
Intermittent fasting is a hot topic these days, with a lot of research coming out that shows benefits in almost every area of study-from ageing to MS to weight loss… cancer, you name it. Very basically, the term intermittent fasting defines a manner of eating and fasting in cycles. It could be one day of eating followed by one day of fasting, for example, but most people keep the cycle to a 24 hour period.
We all do this to some degree, when we sleep, which is the time when the body regenerates, heals, and detoxifies. It makes total sense, then, that extending the break from eating beyond our sleeping hours could enhance these processes even more. That appears to be exactly the case, judging by the results coming in from the scientific community.
Fasting in this way gives the body the experience of a fast or cleanse, while at the same time maintaining an adequate caloric intake. Severely restricted calorie programs are not sustainable, and are ultimately very harmful to the body and the psyche. Problems that arise from this include increased stress levels, a damaged metabolic system, and loss of muscle mass.
Bear in mind that the odd cleanse or fast can be very healing and at times necessary- but that is very different from prolonged severe caloric restriction.
Lose fat, keep the muscle
Intermittent fasting is one of many dietary approaches used by people who are looking to transform their bodies, like actors preparing for a role, bodybuilders, or fitness models. It’s become such a favorite because it’s so easily do-able, and it really does encourage the body to drop the fat while putting on more muscle.
In case any of you ladies out there are thinking you don’t want more muscle- think again! Muscle gives your body a more beautiful, toned shape than being skinny, in addition to benefiting your overall health in too many ways to even start mentioning in this article! You’ll have to read up on it in one of my other blurbs, or take my word for it.
How I do it
I like to have about an eight hour window every day when I consume all my meals. The most recent information I’ve come across recommends having your eating time be later on in the day, to really get the best benefits in terms of fat loss/muscle gains. I’ve always naturally eaten my biggest meal late-8 or 9 or even later, and I’m rarely inclined to eat in the mornings, so this fits in with my body perfectly.
When I’m really sticking to it, I notice my digestion is way better, I never miss a morning poop, and my belly is less prone to being bloated. I’ve also always become leaner and the times when I’ve done body composition scans I’ve also put on muscle mass. The last time I did this, I was doing a 14-17 hour fast daily, and in three weeks I put on one pound of muscle while taking off just over one pound of fat.
I will have a coffee in the morning after drinking water, and won’t eat until noon or 12:30 at the earliest. My last meal will be around 8, and is usually the biggest of the day. In between those two meals I’ll have one or two other meals, depending on the day. This schedule satisfies my natural craving to eat a bigger meal at night, when most of the hard work of the day is done, and I’m in relax mode. I also find that eating in the mornings can make me feel sluggish and tired, and can disturb my stomach as well.
You’ve got nothing to lose by giving this a shot! If you find that you feel awful-just stop. What works magic for one person might be totally wrong for you, so be aware and be flexible-not just with this but in everything you try.
There’s a great app called Zero, which is totally free and has a ton of great information for you. It also shows you what’s going on in the body during your hours of fasting.
I’ll put a link here which takes you to a video discussing time restricted eating and some of the effects seen by researchers:
I’m sure now that I’ve whet your appetite you will find loads more information about this! After revisiting the idea of it I know that I’m totally inspired to get back on my program and find out just how great my body can look and feel after a few months of putting in a good honest effort.
Drop me a line and let me know what’s working for you these days, in terms of your health and fitness! I’m always open to learning new stuff. To your happiness, Lynda