Why you should consider Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is all the buzz these days but what exactly is it? Some health experts are suggesting that intermittent fasting can improve your immune system, thus making you healthier. Even Hugh Jackman swears by it. He did intermittent fasting to get in tip top shape for the movie Wolverine.
What is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There isn’t much talk about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them. There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods.
What struck me the most was that most of us are doing a form of IF already. We "fast" every day, while we sleep. Intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending that fast a little longer. You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm. By doing this, you're technically fasting for 16 hours every day, and restricting your eating to an 8-hour eating window. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, known as the 16/8 method. This is the method I am currently trying out.
No food is allowed during the fasting period, but you can drink water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages. Taking supplements is generally allowed while fasting, as long as there are no calories in them.
So why do it? All sorts of processes in the body change when we don't eat for a while, in order to allow our bodies to thrive during a period of famine. It has to do with hormones, genes and important cellular repair processes. Still with me? When we fast, we get significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as a drastic increase in human growth hormone. That’s a good thing!
Many people do intermittent fasting in order to lose weight, as it is a very simple and effective way to restrict calories and burn fat. Honestly, this is why I started. I need to drop this extra 12 pounds that somehow, at some point, attached itself to my body.
Some others do it for the metabolic health benefits, as it can improve various different risk factors and health markers. There is also some evidence that intermittent fasting can help you live longer. In addition, some research also suggests that it can help protect against diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and others. Wow! SOLD!
And then there are a few others who simply like the convenience of intermittent fasting. It is an effective "life hack" that makes your life simpler, while improving your health at the same time. The fewer meals you need to plan for, the simpler your life will be. WINNING! Not having to eat 3-4+ times per day (with the preparation and cleaning involved) also saves time. A lot of it.
As long as you stick to healthy foods, restricting your eating window and fasting from time to time can have some very impressive health benefits. It is an effective way to lose fat and improve metabolic health, while simplifying your life at the same time.