Fasting is not a new phenomenon. Known as a method to effectively cleanse the body, it has been around through the ages with religious and spiritual roots in many cultures. Recently, though, with research showing the powerful effect fasting can have on the body and the mind, it has become much more mainstream.
You Are When You Eat
Intermittent fasting cycles between periods of eating and periods of abstaining. The focus is on when to eat rather than what to eat. By shifting your mindset away from traditional dieting and more towards establishing new eating patterns, you can effectively lose weight and improve your health. With fewer meals to prepare and cook, it can also save time and simplify your life. There are several methods to choose from:
- The 16/8 method (Leangains Protocol) Skip breakfast and restrict your daily eating period to 8 hours during the day. During those 8 hours you eat normally, but should keep to natural, healthy foods without overeating. Then, you fast for 16 hours in between.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Pick 1 or 2 days in the week to fast for a full 24 hours straight.
- The 5:2 diet: Consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
Many people find the popular 16/8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick with.
The Fast Track to Good Health
Although weight loss is one of the more common reasons for trying intermittent fasting, the potential health benefits that come along with it are also compelling. During periods of fasting, changes occur in the body on the cellular and molecular levels. For example, insulin sensitivity improves and insulin levels drop making stored body fat more accessible. Your cells also initiate important cellular repair and effect changes to gene expressions related to longevity and protection from disease.
Some current studies indicate that intermittent fasting could improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. It has been linked to an increase in the brain hormone BDNF. This hormone may aid in the growth of nerve cells reducing the likelihood of Alzheimer’s Disease and potentially even delaying the aging process.
Whether it is to improve your health, promote weight loss, or to simplify your life, the mind/body benefits of intermittent fasting make it an appealing lifestyle choice to try. Fast forward a few months and you will be feeling great!