You were probably brought up like I was: breakfast is the most important meal of the day! And for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had breakfast. Every day.
Until a while ago, when I heard about buttered coffee (a whole other topic) and came across Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Intermittent Fasting is when you consciously decide to skip a meal, and go through a fasted state for the majority of the day. The most common time window you’ll encounter is between 8 pm and 12 pm the next day. So you go without eating for 16 hours, and eat your meals in the remaining 8 hours.
Why do it?
Fat-loss – The idea is to stay in a fasted state for as long as possible, to promote fat-loss. During sleep (also a fast) and IF, your body will release growth hormones. Since you’re not eating, your body has a very low insulin production, and those 2 factors combined actually accelerate muscle growth and fat burning.
Peace of mind – Not sure how else to explain this, but it’s actually very liberating not to eat. It might be weird and hard at first, but soon you’ll notice a clarity in your brain, you’re more focused and energized. It’s quite the experience. One study showed that it improved mood state, and another study actually proved it works to treat and prevent disease.
Religion – Let’s not forget, fasting is a big part in many religious beliefs, the most commonly known is the Ramadan. But also in Buddhism, Roman Catholicism & Greek Orthodox to name a few, fasting is very commonly practiced.
Are there downsides?
The start – The beginning will prove a bit of a challenge, our brain is programmed to send us an initial panic signal as soon as our stomach is empty. That will pass, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to move past it. And you’ll realize you really weren’t that hungry. Most of the “hunger” was between your ears.
Social acceptance – Ok, so you’re fasting, but everybody else around you is not. This might proof a challenge with social engagements or even just simply being misunderstood or being labeled as “weird”.
Timing – Since your window of eating is a lot smaller, it could potentially be a bit harder to plan your meals, especially when you have irregular work hours. On the other hand, with those types of jobs, IF could be just the perfect solution.
Objections and doubts
Most people often say “I could never go without food for that long” or “I just get really grumpy when I don’t eat” or “My athletic performance will suffer” .
These objections are understandable, but are also unsubstantiated. Our bodies can go for many days without food, the grumpiness comes from a habit that’s being broken, and this study on athletes during a fast shows there is no “substantial decrements in performance. ”
Our ancestors of millions of years ago, didn’t have access to food daily, and went through many, albeit unwanted, fasts all the time. IF has been around for ages, and our bodies are able to handle it just fine, providing the many benefits mentioned above in the process. My advice? Give it a try, and you might just want to stick to it.
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