All who have followed my blog for any length of time know that I am a fan of 16:8 Intermittent Fasting (IF). But since I have not written on this topic too much lately, I felt it would be a good idea to address it for our new readers, and and as a refresher for our long time readers.
For healthy weight loss and management, I love intermittent fasting on the 16:8 protocol, which is 16 hours of fasting with an 8 hour window to eat all that you are going to eat for the day. With all the hype about Intermittent Fasting, you would think it was some kind of new fad, yet the reality is, it is nothing more than how my generation used to always eat. You had breakfast, lunch and dinner and once the dishes were done, you stood the risk of catching hell from your mother if you were caught eating again. Many of us grew up hearing “Eat all you want, just make sure you eat all you take” along with “If you are hungry again, you should have ate more at dinner”. Do those phrases sound familiar to any of you? To our younger readers, there actually was a day when being overweight or obese was not the norm. There was a day when we did not mindlessly eat at all hours of the day. For those who look at the term Intermittent Fasting and assume this is a fad, or something new which might not actually be healthy, go ask a senior citizen how they grew up eating and ask, if back in the day in America, if we were a nation of unhealthy fatty’s or not.
Why I promote Intermittent Fasting
(Note: If you are an insulin dependent diabetic, please discuss intermittent fasting with your physician before trying this as your dietary needs are stricter than those who are not)
Intermittent fasting is nothing new, it used to just be a natural part of our lifestyles in America. For my generation and older, this is how our mothers and grandmothers fed us. Intermittent fasting on the 16:8 protocol is not anything new, does not require a special diet, nor does it cost you a single penny as some of the popular diet plans will. If you want to lose weight in a healthy manner, and have a lean body, simply eat a healthy diet, do not graze your refrigerator at any and all hours, and ensure you do not eat more calories than your basal metabolic rate requires. If you want to make this easier on yourself, quit eating added sugar and simple carbs which drive cravings for unhealthy foods. If you adopt high protein, low carb dietary habits, you will be satiated much easier, the cravings will leave you, and hunger will become a minor annoyance instead of something that you might feel needs to be addressed right away. When you get cravings, or the feeling of being “hangry”, this is simply nothing more than your carb addiction rearing it’s ugly head to be fed, no different than a junky looking for dope or an alcoholic feeling the need to tip a bottle of booze.
I find IF combined with healthy dietary habits to be an easy and healthy way to lose or manage weight which anyone can accomplish. That is, easy for anyone who is serious about losing weight and has made the personal choice to actually go all in and just do it. Please, do not tell me you are serious about weight loss if you are going to refuse to give up your low nutrition, empty calorie dense junk foods. That which got you to the point of obesity in the first place. You may actually believe you are serious, but by trying to keep eating that which got you fat is not what I would consider going all in to get lean and healthy. If you want to continue eating cookies and cakes on a regualr basis, you are not serious about being healthy in any way, shape or fashion. Period. This type of thinking is a major flaw I find in Weight Watchers, where they tell their members they can eat anything they want and still lose weight. I have two thoughts on this; First, if you had no control over junk food in the past, you are not likely to just gain permenent control over it simply by joining a weight loss group. Second, while I have no proof, I cannot help but to feel that Weight Watchers and groups like this, who advocate still eating your unhealthy junk, are doing you, the consumer, a great disservice. They know that by telling you that you can do this, you are nothing more than a perpetual income stream to their business. Don’t believe me? Follow their social media and you will see this struggle every day where people are following the plan yet cannot lose their weight.
What makes IF effective is the food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, sugars and refined grains are quickly broken down into sugar that our cells use for energy. If we do not use all this energy, we store it in our body as fat. Sugar enters our body’s fat cells through insulin, and will keep it there. An over abundance, obviously causes obesity. Between meals, as long as we are not shoveling food down our throats, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can release their stored sugar to be used as energy. We lose weight when we let our insulin levels subside. (1)
This does not happen when we are constantly snacking on low nutrition high claorie foods, does it?
The idea of IF is to allow your insulin level to go down long enough to burn off our fat. Or in other words, we go into ketosis which means our bodies are burning fat for energy instead of glycogen. Intermittent fasting will help you to easily lose weight in a healthy manner without ever feeling overly hungry if you eat whole, healthy foods with no added sugars or processed foods.
Another thing that makes IF easy is a good portion of your fasting hours can, and should be, at night when you are asleep. Hopefully, you will get 7 to 8 hours sleep during the night. If your last meal of the day is at 6:00pm, then you will not eat again until 10:00am the next morning. This should be simple for anyone who usually skips breakfast anyhow. And keep in mind that without sugar cravings, once you quit sugar, your hunger at the end of your fast will not feel overwhelming as it would if you continue eating refined sugar and simple carbs.
Changes that occur in your body during intermittent fasting (2):
- Blood insuling levels drop which causes your body to burn fat.
- Human growth levels increase which facilitates fat burning and development of lean muscle mass.
- During IF, important cellular repair takes place such as the removal of waste material from our cells.
- There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.
- IF can reduce insulin resistance and lowers your blood sugar which lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has spread significantly along with our epedemic of obesity.
- IF reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress and inflammation contribute to early aging and many chronic diseases including cancer.
- IF is beneficial for heart health by helping to improve blood pressure, lowering total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and reducing inflammatory markers.
- IF improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health by increasing levels of a hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. A deficiency of this hormone has been shown to cause depression and various other brain problems.
Of course with the desire for instant gratification now days, here are a few other results you can expect almost right away with Intermittent Fasting. Your energy levels will stabilize throughout the day, you will feel less need for naps in the afternoon. You will notice a quick initial weight loss and your clothing will feel looser as there will be an almost instant shedding of excess fluid retention. If you go all in with your commitment by quitting sugar and processed foods, your cravings are going to rapidly diminsh which will make it easier for you to continue on your weight loss journey. You will feel better physically and mentally which is going to greatly help your self esteem and confidence in being able to continue going forward. If you do not believe me, or have been curious about giving IF a try, then commit today to doing it. Intermittent Fasting does not cost you a penny and other than cleaning up your diet, there are no special dietary considerations such as special foods. You will find that by quitting added sugar and processed foods, it often becomes quite difficult to consume all of the calories your body requires based on your basal metabolic rate. By going to our main blog menu, you can find your daily caloric needs by simply entering your information into our Calorie Counter Pro. Give intermittent fasting an honest try and let us know how well you benefit. If you have further questions about IF, please contact us through email. You can go to our blog menu to do this. I promise that either Brenda Sue, myself or the both of us will get back to you with answers to your questions.
God bless and thank you for reading.
(1) Harvard Health