What’s the deal with intermittent fasting anyway?

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I’m not a morning person, and I don’t particularly like eating food before noon, so you can imagine my intrigue when I learned I was practically already an intermittent faster. I just wasn’t thinking much about it. This diet trend has gained in popularity big time over the past few years. And for a good reason. It seems to be a viable weight-loss solution for thousands of people. According to our friends at Wikipedia, “Although being studied as a practice to possibly reduce the risk of diet-related diseases, intermittent fasting is also regarded as a fad.” A fad? Really? Well, let’s take a closer look into this fad.

Without getting too detailed, intermittent fasting is essentially a strategy for timing food consumption to fall within a restricted time of day. The most popular approach is to limit eating to drop between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eating anything outside that time frame is out of bounds.

The scientific jury is still out concerning the long-term health benefits of intermittent fasting. Still, the American Heart Association admits the practice may, in fact, produce weight loss and help lower the risk of heart disease. That sounds pretty sweet, err I mean good, to me!

Metabolic Switching

When reading about intermittent fasting on WebMD, the science of intermittent fasting becomes clear. The article states, “When people are fasting, they are slowly burning through the glucose stored in their liver. . . The liver holds about 700 calories of glucose. It takes 10 to 12 hours to use the liver’s energy stores. Then what happens is, fats are used for energy.” This switch from using the liver’s energy to using fat stores is called Metabolic Switching.

This explains why it’s so essential to go long periods, 12 hours or more, without eating. Hence

WebMD further confirms the American Heart Association’s assertion that intermittent fasting can and does help with a variety of health benefits and adds an exciting benefit: Improving brain health and memory. Who doesn’t want that one!

It’s not what you eat. It’s when you eat
The distinguishing factor setting intermittent fasting apart from all other diet plans (or shall we say “fads”) is its total focus on when you eat vs. what you eat. This is welcome news to folks like me who aren’t keen on “tracking” food. I have no problem keeping track of hours, though!

Harvard weighs in

Yup, that pun was intended. Harvard has shown interest in the topic of intermittent fasting and has researched how the practice can help with weight loss. They get a little academic in their delivery, but here is what they say: “The entire idea of intermittent fasting is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn our fat. Initial human studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss.”

How to begin intermittent fasting

  1. Do nothing

    With fasting, there’s literally nothing to it! It’s the practice of removing something from your life (food) during certain times of the day. Fasting is the controlled voluntary abstinence of food. It’s not a practice of starving. According to Benjamin Franklin, the best of all medicines are resting and fasting.

  2. Skip breakfast

    Begin by skipping breakfast and eating an early lunch at 11 a.m. Then eat a typical dinner at 6 p.m. After dinner, resist the temptation to eat anything until the next day at 11 a.m.

  3. Start a pattern

    Do this for one day, and you’ve begun. Do this for two days, and you’ve started a pattern. Do this for seven days, and you’ve established a rhythm.

  4. Keep with the rhythm

    After about a week, you’ll begin to settle into the rhythm of intermittent fasting. Your body with thank you, and you’ll discover a renewed desire to add more wellness patterns to your life.

It worked for me. I’m confident it will work for you!