Why you ought to be Intermittent Fasting! And how to do it well!
Fasting. We all do it. You may or may not realize that every sleep we get is a form of fasting. So, what is it and can it be helping in creating a healthy body? Well, it is any day fasting. Intermittent fasting aims to shed pounds, boosts mood, and increases your ability to perform at its best. You can do it any time of the year too! Sounds great, how do you start? In this article, we discuss the easiest methods to infuse intermittent fasting (IF) into your daily schedule.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Simply, intermittent fasting is the cessation of solid food consumption for periods between 5 – 36 hours. This is an approximate estimate, but that range is recommended for regular bouts of IF. Notice I said, solid food. This does not mean that if you blend up a steak or your typical smoothie filled with fruits and vegetables, you are in the clear. The aim is to stop eating food for a brief period.
We call our morning meals breakfast, literally breaking a fast. During sleep, we go for a period of 7-8 hours of non-eating. If you are having trouble sleeping, IF and Chinese Medicine can help that too!
Keep drinking your water, tea, and even coffee. Still take your multivitamin, spirulina, chaga extract, and all your supplements. In fact, continue your daily routine sans food! The point is not to fast and then lay like a turtle motionless.
Why Fast Intermittently?
There are numerous evidence-based benefits of intermittent fasting. It reads like a laundry list of wellness…
- Optimizes hormone functioning
- Improves cellular repair and restoration
- Enhances gene expression
- Augments weight loss and body composition
- Reduces blood sugar levels
- Decreases oxidative stress and inflammation
- Benefits healthy heart markers (improves blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides)
- Boosts immune functioning
- Stimulates new cell growth (brain, bone, heart, muscle)
- Extends lifespan and longevity
The fun and easy part is that we all do this, we all partake in IF. Because we do not eat when we are asleep.
This is also the key on how to refine this in your life! A common way to implement IF into your daily routine is to eat your first meal afternoon. It looks like this, have dinner the evening before, go to sleep, wake up and go about your day. Eat your first day’s meal around lunchtime.
Note: You can still get your three meals a day, or 6 meals, or whatever you prefer. You can do this extended morning fast once a week and receive all the benefits of IF listed above. Some folks follow this method for months and longer for enhanced benefits. This will give you a fast of upwards of 12-16 hours, depending on how much sleep you get.
Fast a little bit every day or fast for a day
For some folks, just as we need a “cheat” day every now and again, we may need a “fast” day every now and again (24 full hours). One of the best ways to do this is start at lunch. Have your breakfast, then do not eat again until breakfast the next day. Easy (sounding).
Look, I love eating. Some eat to live, I live to eat. Food is required to sustain life, and as a foodie, I love to prepare meals and get my grub on. When I first began IF, some days were more challenging than others. Here are a couple tips and reiterations to help you …
- Drink up! Seriously, consume water throughout the day. Tea and coffee is fine. I prefer to avoid juice since most of the commercially prepared stuff is liquid sugar. Though, if you have access to a juicer or high-quality, cold-pressed, fresh juice, go for it!
- Move your body! If you have a workout or training schedule, maintain this during your fast. Walk a bit more on those days, go to a class or the gym. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of your revved up metabolism.
- Be mindful! It’s torture to schedule a fast day when you’re going to a food-centric celebration later. To be successful, schedule it the day after or the day before a family fete.
- Repetition! Once is insufficient for beneficial outcomes. Create a short goal of once a week for the next month. Check in with yourself afterward and see how you feel. You may be surprised that the first one was the hardest and the rest get sequentially easier. Your body is amazing at adapting.
- Hungry is NOT starving! If you’re reading this article you probably live in a developed nation where access to food is as convenient as ordering online or opening the fridge. Those not of the depression-era generation have never really known deep hunger or actual starving. We say things like, “I’m starving!” Really, we are so well nourished that we are wearing many meals on our body via adipose and muscle tissue. My advice is to become friends with the feeling of hunger.
Start off slowly. Many of us skip meals anyways so we are accustomed to fasting. A huge benefit is that you can still take all of your Chinese herbal formulations and Standard Process whole food supplements while fasting. At Lakewood Ranch Acupuncture and Wellness, we offer nutritional consultations too! Our practitioners here are your expert team to personal vitality. If you are coming in from Sarasota, Bradenton, or out of state, we are here to support you. Call our office today to schedule your next wellness visit!