The best of all medicines is resting and fasting” – Benjamin Franklin
2-3 minute read
I’m guessing by now you’ve heard about intermittent fasting. Perhaps your friend mentioned it on Facebook or you read a blog about how it’s the latest and greatest thing. Some people roll their eyes and call it a fad, while others embrace it and emphasize how it’s been life changing for them.
Fasting isn’t a fad, friends
The reality is fasting isn’t new. It’s been an integral part of human history. Of course, now we live in a society where we have access to food 24/7. We are told to eat immediately upon rising to “increase our metabolism” and we snack into the late hours of the evening. Many of us are only taking 8-9 hours away from food (while we sleep) during a 24-hour time period. So the idea of intentionally skipping breakfast and taking a longer break away from food seems abnormal. It’s not. Our bodies are designed (and love!) to fast.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is the practice of longer fasting and shorter feeding cycles in a 24-hour time period. A very common practice is 16 hours fasting and 8 hours feeding. So, perhaps you stop eating at 6 pm and then break your fast (breakfast 😉 ) at 10 a.m. That would be 16 hours of fasting. From there, you can eat your meals in the 8 hour feeding window of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The challenge with fasting
Many people are stuck in what’s referred to as a sugar-burning state of metabolism. Basically, the metabolism has gotten jammed and is relying on a steady stream of sugar and carbohydrate, and isn’t very effective at tapping into fat stores for energy. If we go back to metabolism 101, body fat is there as a back-up fuel source. If you are eating a lot of sugar and processed carbohydrate foods, you’ll find it more difficult to fast. Your body is just burning food fuel and isn’t effective at burning stored body fat for fuel.
If your metabolism is jammed in that sugar burning state, you might notice you wake up in the morning and feel HANGRY or have the shakes, you might notice mid morning you are feeling slightly nauseated or spacey if you haven’t eaten– those are telltale signs you have some blood sugar issues happening in your body. It’s very important to get those symptoms under control if you want to move forward with your health. Not just for a body fat loss standpoint, but truly for your overall health.
Let’s ease you into fasting (and start to balance those blood sugars)
What to do: start making some swaps to stabilize your blood sugars.
- Instead of chips as a snack, choose some cheese and nuts.
- Instead of pasta and a bread roll at dinner, have some steak and vegetables with butter.
- Instead of soda, find an alternative you like: sparkling water, Kombucha, or a favorite of mine, Kevita
Benefits of fasting
Research shows that fasting can decrease blood pressure, promote weight loss, reduce fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance. It’s tool that is free, easy, and can dramatically improve your health.
Intermittent fasting is something we use in the Best You Plan. Many of the women LOVE incorporating it into their daily routines. And heck, if anything, intermittent fasting just means no breakfast dishes. I can get on board with that.
To your best you,
Katie Vigesaa, RD