Intermittent fasting (I.F.) might be one of the world’s most popular fitness trends today. Fasting entails eating little or nothing at all. The vast majority of diets focus on what you do or do not eat. I.F. focuses on when you eat.
I started I.F. because I realized that I was having breakfast in the morning, though I wasn’t even hungry.htk
A different eating pattern: Most people do not eat through the night. In the morning they therefore eat a meal called ‘break-fast.’
Fasting is reputed to have numerous benefits but can be daunting for most people. I.F can be quickly integrated into most people’s lifestyles. I started I.F. a few months ago because I realized that I was having breakfast in the morning, though I wasn’t even hungry. I had been trained to believe that breakfast was the most important meal of the day so I stuffed more food into the pipeline. Many people eat mindlessly or are emotional eaters. For spiritual reasons, I desired to gain control over food in my life and decided that I.F. would be a practical way to do that for health and spiritual reasons.
There are different types of I.F. I chose the most popular one which involves fasting for about 16 hours every day, also called the Leangains protocol. This prolongs the time between dinner and breakfast the next morning. It entails eating 2 meals instead of the regular 3 or more. The two meals are consumed within about 8 hours.
How long can I go without food? As a hospice worker, I marvel at how long the human body can sustain life without food. Did you know the body can go 8-21 days without food and water? It can go up to 2 months without food if it has water.
The human body can go 8-21 days without food and water
The 4 Soci0-emotional reasons for eating: We have more socio-emotional reasons for eating than we do physical ones.
- We eat because it’s associated with socializing and having a good time.
- We eat when we are bored, sad, angry, lonely, frustrated, and for so many other emotions.
- Institutionally, we are trained to eat at set times. As I mentioned before, we frequently eat when we are not hungry, just because it’s “time to eat.”
- We eat to nurture. From working with hundreds of dying individuals, one of the toughest struggles family members face is stopping feeding for their loved one at the end of life. They don’t want them “to starve to death.” But feeding and digestion can actually be painful and detrimental to a digestive system that is shutting down in the dying process. Chocking is a very high risk. The body sees to this by diminished appetite and reduced wakefulness.
What are the 9 benefits of fasting? Many people fast for spiritual and health reasons and it has numerous benefits.
- Fasting is a common practice in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. These religions have mandates to fast to sharpen one’s spiritual acuity and to gain power over situations that can’t be overcome in other ways.
2. Many people cite weight loss as a benefit of regular fasting as well as of I.F.
- The idea of I.F. is to consume fewer calories per day, not to stuff one’s regular eating quotient into a shorter period of time.
- Insulin levels drop and Human Growth Hormone levels rise dramatically, which bode well for burning fat and building muscle to facilitate weight loss.
- Noradrenaline or norepinephrine which aids in the burning of fat is increased when we fast.
- Fasting enhances the body’s stress response and increases metabolism.
3. Fasting can alter your genes and help you live longer.
4. Fasting lowers blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance combatting type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
5. Fasting may combat cancer as cancer cells depend on a regular intake, especially of sugar.
6. Digestion takes up a lot of the body’s resources. When we take a break from digesting by fasting, we trigger cellular restoration, including brain cells. Tattered cells are carted off and new ones are created faster than when coupled with the digestion process.
7. Fasting reduces belly fat which is associated with numerous disease processes. It reduces bad cholesterol (LDL.)
8. Fasting reduces inflammation throughout body systems.
9. Fasting simplifies our lives and rewards us with time and money otherwise spent on food prep.
In a future article I will outline how I have integrated intermittent fasting into my life and both positive and negative effects I’ve experienced. Fasting is not for everyone. Always consult your medical healthcare provider before engaging in significant life changes such as fasting.