I’d like to share something that can have quite profound health benefits and I urge you to keep reading.
Did you start off the year with the intention of losing weight or improving your health? If you did I’m betting that you aren’t doing as well as you’d have liked and in this blog might help you achieve your goals.
Have you heard about intermittent fasting? There are many variations with the two most common being the 5/2 diet which involves eating normally for 5 days and on the other two days eating around 500 calories or the 16/8 diet where you fast for 16 hours and only eat in an 8 hour window.
It’s been covered in the media extensively and it first came to many people’s attention after Dr Andrew Mosely from “Trust Me I’m a Doctor” covered this with great success a few months ago in his BBC program. However, for most people, including me, the very idea of fasting sounds horrible and just this word could stop you from exploring this incredible tool for your health. Instead I will be referring to the idea as intermittent FEASTING. Now doesn’t that sound much more pleasant?
It’s not just about weight loss either. I’ve discovered that it can help with a range of issues including reducing your blood pressure, decreasing your levels of triglycerides and the “bad” LDL cholesterol plus also reducing your insulin resistance. Sounds good doesn’t it?
I started intermittent feasting originally because I wanted to experience the incredible health benefits I’d been reading about during my daily research sessions. Part of the reason it’s so powerful is that it can get your body to use fat instead of glucose for its main source of energy. This makes so much sense when you start looking into all the new and emerging studies that are taking place. The health benefits can be profound.
For someone who used to believe the hype about eating little and often to stabilise our blood sugar levels it was a little difficult for me to let go of my old beliefs and embrace a new way. I decided that the 16/8 diet fitted into my life much easier than the 5/2 way. Also I finish dinner at about 8pm so there’s 3 hours before bed when I’m still full, 8 hours of sleep, leaving just 5 hours of not eating the next day. I must admit I was apprehensive about the thought of not eating, even for a few hours, so to start with I had breakfast later and then dropped it and instead had lunch early. Very quickly lunch reverted back to its normal time and I had reduced my eating window down to 8 hours, so eating between midday and 8pm.
What I have noticed is that “yes”, I do experience mild hunger but a glass of warm water or a cup of green tea soon puts pay to that and to be truthful it actually feels quite nice to actually get hungry and to savour my food even more. There’s way too much automatic eating in our culture and for the digestive system to work correctly you need to experience hunger. Without our digestive system working effectively there’s no way you can get the most from your food. That old saying "You are what you eat" isn't strictly true, instead "You are what you absorb" is more truthful. You can be eating the most nutrient dense food in the world but if it isn't being broken down and assimilated properly then your body will suffer. I'm only talking about mild hunger so nothing to fear and trust me I did fear it! Our bodies can’t repair and renew when they’re in digestive mode and so by giving your system a break all sorts of amazing things can start to happen which I mentioned in my second paragraph. All without medication and side effects.
I've found that I’ve got way more energy and my digestion has improved. On a practical note, not worrying about breakfast, which was a meal I'd never particularly enjoyed, is heaven. It had always seemed strange that most breakfast combinations were loaded with sugar or refined carbohydrates which convert into glycose and causes your blood sugar levels to rise, the alternatives such as a cooked breakfast were frowned upon.
If you love breakfast then you can always ditch dinner instead. Experiment and see what works best for you. Men appear to be able to fast for longer periods than women and I would suggest that you to consult your GP if you have any health concerns.
So in summary I’ve discovered the health benefits from intermittent feasting are quite profound and it can be life changing for some people. Weight stabilises at the right level for you and you never have to count another calorie again. Perfect! After all it’s how we used to eat before food was constantly available. Added with the practical side of things – ditching breakfast makes the decision to incorporate this into your daily routine as simple as 1, 2, 3. It’s important to realise that you don’t want to be feasting on the very foods which are potentially going to slow your journey to health, instead you want to be eating food that still looks like it did when it came out of the ground with minimal processing and ensuring you are eating good quality cold pressed oils or grass fed butter. Reducing your carbohydrates and increasing your healthy fat intake is actually a pleasure and leaves you feeling so much more satisfied.
I would love to hear how you get on if you give it a try.