In our fast paced, overfed and undernourished society our bodies thank us whenever we skip a meal. By eating 3 meals a day plus snacking we are constantly digesting. Our body gets little chance to heal, repair and regenerate. Providing we are not starving ourselves and then bingeing on processed foods, it is positive to skip meals, if we are genuinely not hungry. Why eat if our body does not require the fuel? You wouldn’t top up your car with fuel if the tank was already full would you?
Don’t confuse hunger for thirst…this is a common mistake. Ensure you are hydrated. Remember – 1 litre for every 22kg of body weight.
BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
Intermittent fasting is simply taking ‘intermittent’ times of fasting and working them into your lifestyle. Whether it be daily or a few times a week, choose to fast during an intermittent period (eg. 5:30pm-10:30am), to allow healing and repair, reduce inflammation in the body, reduce insulin levels, increasing growth hormone, speed up and maintain a healthy metabolism to achieve weight loss while finding our own individual healthy weight range. Fasting also provides better elimination of waste matter from the colon as there is less compacted matter, therefore creating clearer thinking and enhancing cognitive function.
A reduced caloric intake reduces excess load on the liver while also reducing damage to our cells (oxidative stress).
WHAT DOES INTERMITTENT FASTING LOOK LIKE?
You may choose to skip a meal or perhaps just have dinner earlier and breakfast later. For example eating dinner at 5:30pm and fasting till 10:30am the following morning, provides 17 hours for the body to burn the fuel it has stored and heal, repair and regenerate. It is also suitable to fast for a shorter amount of time when you are starting out. Aim for 12 hours – no snacking after dinner. Just drink water or perhaps a herbal tea.
WHAT WILL I DO OF AN EVENING OR MORNING WHEN I WOULD NORMALLY BE EATING?
During this time of fasting you are required to hydrate adequately with water (1L upon waking and more throughout the remainder of the day). You may choose to spend the time you would normally be eating enjoying books, meditation, writing in your gratitude journal, spending time with loved ones, researching your next holiday destination or your next healthy recipe you would like to try and getting to bed earlier than you normally would. This time can also be spent preparing for the following day – smoothie, chopping vegetables for tomorrow nights dinner, making batches of soup – the options are endless.
Upon waking, when you would normally roll out of bed and straight to the breakfast table, waking yourself up with a coffee – do such things as oil pulling (ask more?!) to draw toxins out of the body, hydrating with lemon and salt, a morning walk, yoga, stretching, meditation, gratitude journal, setting intentions for the day ahead and preparing breakfast to pack and take with you if need be. If you have an early work schedule, be prepared and make your breakfast the night before…think ahead. Blend and bottle your smoothie, boil some eggs and add greens, create a fruit salad or soak your bircher muesli, the night before.
I therefore propose another challenge…who is willing to give intermittent fasting a go at least 4 times over the next 2 weeks? Start with an achievable goal…you may choose to have dinner at 6:30pm and then not eat breakfast until 9am – giving your body 14.5 hours of fasting. The benefits are bountiful! Your liver, pancreas, colon, cells and mind will thank you for it. Keep a journal of how you feel.
Tell me in the comments below what you achieve, what you find challenging, how good you are feeling, what differences you notice. As I said above, try it at least 4 times in the next 2 weeks. Then assess how you can integrate it in to your lifestyle.
I look forward to hearing your responses. It is something that I love to integrate into my lifestyle.