Last week I sent an email about intermittent fasting. If you missed that email you can go back and read it here.
Today I want to cover more of the specifics of what intermittent fasting is and the benefits and potential dangers of it.
Did you know that technically you fast everyday? We all go periods of time between meals without food. For example, if you eat breakfast at 6am and do not eat lunch until 12pm then the period of time between those meals you are fasted. Assuming that all you consume in that window is water or non caloric beverages.
At night we all likely go the longest period of time without food while we sleep. So everyone does some form of fasting everyday.
So what is all the hype about intermittent fasting?
Last week I mentioned that intermittent fasting is the most popular diet in America. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the holy grail of weight loss and dieting. It just means it has become very popular much like the Atkins diet was 15 or so years ago and Keto has been in the past 10 years.
Most popular doesn’t mean it works or that it is even safe.
If you recall the Atkins diet or the Ketogenic diet then you remember that those are very restrictive in carbohydrate intake. They may help with weight loss but there is a cost associated with them. A health toll you must pay if you do these diets.
What does healthy even mean? Great question!
These days I don’t think many people even know or can answer that question. I will tell you right now that a “healthy” diet should support your overall physiology, mental health, sleep, stress, longevity and physical demands you place on your body. If you are compromising any of these with the way you eat you are NOT healthy. This is another topic for another day.
Here are some of the benefits of fasting. For the sake of this email we will refer to fasting as “intermittent fasting”. When your body doesn’t have to process food for extended periods of time a few things happen. My aim is to keep this simple and easy to understand.
1. When you are fasted your body works less by not having to process or digest food. Since you are not eating your body doesn’t have to work as hard. This makes your stress decrease. Not the type of stress you are thinking but the physiological stress to digest food.
2. Since we are not processing food our blood glucose levels drop. The longer you go without food the lower they fall. You should wake up each morning with a fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL. You are more likely to achieve this the earlier you eat dinner or the longer you fast from your last meal to rising in the morning.
3. If you don’t eat you intake LESS calories. Duh…right?? THIS right here is the reason that intermittent fasting is the most popular diet in America. If you eat less you lose weight. Period. People LOVE losing weight fast. But do they actually keep it off? Probably not.
I could go on and on but you should get the gist of this. Now I will explain some of the potential dangers of intermittent fasting.
1. You likely do not know what your blood glucose levels are doing. You don’t know what your levels are in the morning or after you eat certain foods. Therefor what if they drop too low? What about when you workout? How does this affect how you feel? These are all things that people who do intermittent fasting do not consider. They are going into this without important information to consider.
2. Your body needs calories to function. You need to eat. If you are fasting you are not fueling your body. As a result your body will create a pathway to keep you alive and meet demands that could be counter productive to your goals or even to your health. Maybe you get light headed or you sacrifice muscle for fuel since you are not getting food. Either way you do not know.
3. Being hangry is a real thing. When you don’t eat you get moody and likely you are creating a desire to eat something that you shouldn’t aka junk food. People who fast for 12, 18 or 24 hours have just exercised so much discipline that they are a train wreck ready to happen. If you as much see or smell something that you are craving you not only think you deserve it but you will likely eat too much of it.
Much like above I could go on with these as well.
So what do I do?
I am so glad you asked. My recommendation would be to hire an expert (like me) to help you navigate your weight loss journey. If you don’t want to hire someone then do extensive research before starting a diet.
You are capable of achieving optimal health and living your best life. I believe that. Do not let another day go by feeling terrible if you don’t like where you are in your health, weight or fitness. Let me help you. It’ll be the best decision you make I promise.
Next week I will tell you EXACTLY how I incorporate intermittent fasting into my life and the WHY behind it. You don’t want to miss that email because it will help close out this topic and give you some great insight.