Intermittent fasting otherwise known as I.F is a popular dieting program with many varieties, some of which we will consider below:
1. Intermittent fasting refers to a sort of eating pattern which comprises of two cycles; eating and fasting.
2. As its name suggests, intermittent fasting is a type of cyclical eating which involves a particular period of fasting closely succeeded by a period of eating.
From both definitions, it is easily understood that intermittent fasting is not in itself a type of diet. Instead, it is an approach to eating which is dependent on time factor. Thus, instead of other conventional dieting systems which are focused on the number of calories one takes in, intermittent fasting places no inhibition on what foods can be eaten but ‘when’ food should be eaten. In this vein, there are no specified foods, and one is free to eat what they want.
From the above rhetoric, it can be deduced that intermittent fasting isn’t exactly like a dieting program in itself, but a pattern of eating an eating habit. The two cycles of eating and fasting are determined by the method of intermittent fasting one engages in. The sequence of dieting has certainly raised some questions about the credibility of intermittent fasting, but it has more than proved its worth. For one, fasting has long been a regular practice across the human race for centuries. Matter of factly studies reports that the absence of grocery stores, storage systems, etcetera made food scarce in ancient times. Moreover, because of being unable to find food, humans were able to function with little to no food over an extended timeframe. Fasting over time became quite natural rather than a regular eating plan three to six times a day like in contemporary times.
Although there are many health advantages to intermittent fasting, the one for which it is well known and now promoted is weight loss. However, this quality doesn’t make it overly satisfactory for every person.
Having discussed what intermittent fasting entails, let’s take a look at the science behind it and why it works.
Intermittent fasting revolves around using the energy (calories) stored up by the body. First, it is imperative that you understand that fasting is a normal phenomenon in human existence, resulting in why humans are capable of going short periods (hours) without any detriment to well-being.
On the one hand, body fat originates from calories obtained from food which the body stores away as energy packets or fat. The body will use up the fat or energy packets if you don’t eat over some time. The whole concept of intermittent fasting works based on balance two sides of the same coin in which eating is simply the flip side of fasting. That is, if one isn’t eating, fasting is going on. Duh, right?
In all, a summary of how intermittent fasting is as follows:
The eating process:
When you consume food, more calories is introduced into the body than can be expended at the time; so, the body proceeds to store some of the energy for later use in packets making up fat or muscles. In the storage of food energy, the hormone insulin plays a vital role. As food goes into the body, the level of insulin will fluctuate with time. This change in insulin level aids with the storage of excess food energy in two significant ways.
Carbohydrates are digested into units of sugar (glucose) which when linked into longer chains result in glycogen. From here on, the glycogen is forwarded to the muscles or liver where it is stored. However, there is only so much space the body has to store carbohydrates. Hence, excess glucose is converted into fat by the liver through a process known as de-novolipogenesis which translates as “creating new fat.” The newly created fat is stored in the liver, and excesses are transported to fat deposits within the body.
Thus, the body only holds two systems of energy storage which is glycogen and fats. While the former is easily accessible and has limited space for storage, the latter is rather difficult to access, and the storage space is almost limitless. Yikes!
The fasting process:
The whole process is reversed during the fasting phase. Insulin levels drop significantly in the body, ushering in the period of spending stored energy. First, glucose levels in the blood reduce. Then this causes the body to withdraw glucose from the storage areas for energy.
Overall, for balance to be restored and fat lost, the fasting process must be increased to use up excess food energy which has been stored. In essence, that is the science of intermittent fasting; ensuring the body uses up its stored energy to acquire a desired body fat percentage, weight and size.
It isn’t enough to know about intermittent fasting or how it works. There is also a need to understand the right approach to intermittent fasting, as it is critical to the success of the indulgence.
Below are five tips to enlighten you on how best to approach intermittent fasting.
1. Identify your goals:
It is vital that you have a target in mind as you begin intermittent; it will help you in determining what method of intermittent fasting works best for you. The goal could be to improve metabolism rate, shed fat, balance hormones, or boost overall well-being.
2. Choose a suitable method of fasting:
In all, there are about four primary methods of fasting that you could choose from to improve your health, namely:
b)Eat stop eat
c)Alternate day fasting; and
Begin by selecting the method which best suits your interest and can be adhered to. It’s advisable you stick to one way of fasting for a specific timeframe, say a month or more before switching to another method. While practicing intermittent fasting, remember that there are no boundaries to what you can eat. Although, to attain weight loss and well-being goals, it’s best your diet is healthy, rich in vegetables, lean meats and other protein sources, and high on fibre.
4. Plan your meals:
When employing intermittent fasting as a weight loss routine, you may find it helpful to plan your meals in advance. You don’t have to get too restrictive with your meals, just ensure to prioritize a meal with high nutrition value and take caloric values into consideration.
Utilizing the app I developed will help you meet caloric requirements, track your macros, and most importantly, calculate your vitamins, minerals and nutrients so you are not deficient in your personal daily recommendation of nutrients. You will be able to recognize if you need more vitamin c, for instance, because the app will alert you in regards to specific areas.
Visit NancyAnderberg.com to register for the Fit4Raw app.
5. Make the calories worth it:
Calories come in different types. Moreover, although no strict regulations are placed on the number of calories you can take in during intermittent fasting, it is vital that you take the nutritional value of the food into consideration. Thus, target foods with nutrient density and higher nutrient value per calorie.
Intermittent fasting can be done in many different ways; all of which comprises of dividing the day or week into periods of fasting or eating. During the fasting phase, you are not allowed to eat any food whatsoever.
The most common methods of intermittent fasting are explained below:
1. Leangains or the 16:8 method:
This is easily my favourite and the easiest to implement.
Martin Berkhan created this method for weightlifters. However, it has since gained popularity among the fasting community. The 16:8 process involves skipping breakfast and restricting your period of daily eating to a maximum of 8 hours, like 1 pm to 9 pm. Then, you spend the remaining 16 hours of day fasting. Personally, I find it easier to stop eating at 7pm then eat from 11 am and 7 pm.
2. Eat Stop Eat:
Brad Pilon developed this method. It involves a whole day spent in fasting once or twice in a week. For instance, after eating dinner on a Monday, your next meal would be dinner on Tuesday.
3. The 5:2 method:
This method, also known as the alternate day fasting, revolves around the concept of consuming a specific number of calories, say 500 to 600, within a timeframe of two nonconsecutive days in a week. For the remaining five days, you can eat normally.
By reducing caloric intake, the methods as mentioned above would result in weight loss. However, it’s essential you don’t try to compensate for the deficit by taking in more calories during the eating phase.
4. The warrior diet method:
Ori Hofmekler created this method. It revolves around the concept of consuming little food in the space of 20 hours every other day of the week. The remaining four hours is used for typical food consumption. That is, 20 hours of fasting and 4 hours of eating.
A good many people find the leangain or 16:8 method of fasting as the easiest to practice, the most sustainable and the simplest for weight loss, hormone balance and overall well-being.
The concept of the 16:8 method involves limiting the intake of foods to a specific timeframe of 8 hours a day, and staying away from food for the remaining 16 hours. The cycle can be repeated as frequently as you like, from once a week or twice to every day. In addition to being good at controlling blood sugar levels, the 16:8 method enhances weight loss, increases the human growth hormone (HGH), promotes longevity and improves brain functionality.
How to go about the 16:8 method:
Begin by choosing a period of 8 hours that best suit you. Proceed to limit your food consumption between this period. Many people consider it preferable to eat between 12 pm and 8 pm as they get to skip breakfast and fast overnight, but can still eat lunch and dinner.
Regardless, you should still pick a window that works well for you and doesn’t disrupt your schedule. In the fasting phase, it’s advisable you eat evenly spaced small meals to help control your hunger and blood sugar levels. Also, to improve the potentials health benefit of the fasting routine, stick to whole foods with high nutrient density. You can also use your Fit4Raw app.
Benefits of the 16:8 fasting method:
1. Improved weight loss:
Restricting food intake for a few hours of the day can help in the expenditure of more calories, burn fat for fuel, boost weight loss and improve the rate of metabolism.
2. Improved control on blood sugar levels:
The 16:8 method has been shown to reduce the level of blood sugar by 3 to 6%, and insulin levels in the body up to 31%. Thus, decreasing the risk of diabetes.
3. Improved longevity:
Studies in animals have shown that the 16:8 intermittent fasting method can improve longevity.
4. Increased production of human growth hormones (HGH):
One of the hormones 16:8 fasting method regulates is the human growth hormone. It improves the production of this hormone in the body.
5. Balance many fluctuating hormones:
The 16:8 fasting technique helps to regulate hormonal levels in the body.
6. Decreases symptoms of anti-aging.
7. Increases energy, strength and libido:
Since the 16:8 method taps from the energy stores in the body, it energizes and strengthens the body, as well as boosting libido.
During intermittent fasting, many different things tend to occur in your body on a molecular and cellular level. For instance, your body tends to alternate between hormone levels to make accessible the fats stored in the body. Cells in the body are capable of initiating processes of repair as well as changing the expression of genes.
To gain a better understanding of how intermittent fasting works on a cellular level, let’s consider some of the changes that happen in the body when you fast.
1. HGH (Human Growth Hormone):
Intermittent fasting causes rapidly rising levels of growth hormone. The increase has been shown to reach up to 5 folds. This increase in the human growth hormones level is beneficial for muscle, weight loss, increased testosterone, decreased inflammation, better mood, improved libido, and stronger skin, hair and nails.
The body becomes increasingly sensitive to insulin as you fast, and insulin levels reduce steadily. Lower levels of insulin make body fat easy to access to be burned as fuel (energy).
3. Repair of cells:
During periods of fasting, the cells in the body start processes of cellular repair. These processes include; autophagy a type of programmed cell death carried out by self-digestion. In autophagy, the cells digest themselves by use of enzymes which originate from the very same cell. It is often a defensive measure for self-preservation.
4. Gene expression:
Intermittent fasting causes changes in the way genes function, which results in a protection against diseases and longevity, and opens up the signalling pathway to enable the 11 systems of the body function at their best. The systems are,
The hormone, insulin, has been mentioned multiple times throughout this book. Moreover, as one of the hormones which play a significant part in weight loss, weight gain, and everyday functionality, it’s imperative we take a look at how it is affected by intermittent fasting.
What is insulin?
When food goes into the body and undergoes metabolism, the sugar (glucose) in the food is transported into the bloodstream for distribution to the cells. The cells require glucose as a fuel to function. However, to receive the allocation of glucose, the cells must be informed of the distribution. This responsibility falls to the insulin hormone. It is what tells the cells of their dosage of glucose fuel.
How does insulin come to be the hormone on duty now? Easy. When you eat, the body is notified of the intake of food substances, which causes the beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin, which in turn stimulates the cells to receive glucose.
What is insulin resistance?
If the cells are so dependent on insulin for their dosage of fuel, how then does insulin resistance enter the fray? Let’s see.
When insulin notifies the cells of the distribution of fuel, the latter responds by absorbing the glucose from the bloodstream. This process results in the body getting energized with no excess energy stored as fat.
Insulin resistance comes in when communication gets distorted. A simple case scenario of insulin resistance: the power bill is sent, but no one pays for it. That is when insulin notifies the cell of fuel distribution, but the latter doesn’t open up to absorb it; causing the sugar to remain in the bloodstream. After a period of no absorption, the body converts and stores the sugar as fat.
When no one pays the bill, the body gives a period of grace in which more insulin is produced to increase the signal for the cells to absorb the glucose. Often, the cells need a little more insulin than usual to get the message. However, when this is not the case, and the cells refuse to absorb the glucose, insulin resistance happens. In this case, the pancreas can only manage to produce so much insulin before it gets fatigued and suffer a deficiency, prediabetes, or diabetes. All these now result in fat storage and blood sugar levels.
To recap the importance of insulin, its lifesaving job us to regulate the blood-sugar levels. It does this by filtering out excess sugar from the blood into the cells in the body to be used as energy. The bottom line is, if your diet contains too much sugar or refined carbohydrates, you wouldnt need the extra energy right then, so insulin would store it as fat. It is what earned it the name fat storing hormone. But it also wrecks your mood and fogs up your brain.
There are lots of people with insulin resistance who have no idea of the presence of such condition in their bodies. These people would live their life year to year without having the energy they could have had. Many times, insulin resistance in no way triggers any definitive signs or symptoms it can be associated with, so about any trait that rears up could be linked to it. Some symptoms which can be related to insulin resistance are inclusive but not limited to the following:
1. Unusual fatigue: Since energy is barely ever absorbed into the cells, you might find yourself easily fatigued.
2. Additional weight in the midsection: When the sugar in the body keeps getting converted and stored as fats, you will most likely put on weight, especially in the middle.
3. Acanthosis Nigricans or Patches of dark skin: This is a skin symptom linked to insulin resistance and diabetes, type 2. There appear to be skin tags, and the skin seems to be thick, velvety or darkened in the folds of the skin.
4. Acne: Insulin resistance increases the chances of the skin breaking out in acne.
5. PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome):
Owing to the high levels of insulin produced by the pancreas trying to stimulate the cells, PCOS occurs a medical condition associated with menstrual, polycystic ovaries, and other serious symptoms.
6. Increased levels of blood sugar: Since the cells are unresponsive to the stimulation of the insulin, the distributed sugars remain in the bloodstream for longer than necessary, thus adding to the blood sugar level.
7. Increased carbohydrates and sugar cravings: The increased level of blood sugar and insulin would cause an increase in cravings.
8. Fatty liver disease: Also known as hepatosteatosis, insulin resistance can cause the vacuoles of the liver to act abnormally and retain triglycerides.
9. Hair loss: It’s strange but real, especially for women. Insulin resistance can lead to thinning hair on the scalp.
10. Hangry feelings: The excessive level of insulin in the body can cause you to become angry and raise your hunger levels. Thus, making you hangry.
The following are some of the many benefits of indulging in intermittent fasting:
1. Reduced risk of diabetes (prediabetes and type II diabetes):
Intermittent fasting helps reduce the risk of diabetes by about 20 to 31% which is adequate protection against diabetes, type 2.
2. Healthy heart:
Intermittent fasting decreases the chances of having blood triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar, inflammatory markers and insulin resistance; all which are bad for the heart.
3. Protection against inflammation:
Intermittent fasting is vital in reducing inflammatory markers which studies have shown to be an essential factor in many chronic ailments and diseases.
4. Cancer prevention:
Studies carried out on animals show that intermittent fasting may help prevent cancer.
Studies carried out on animals have shown that intermittent fasting can extend lifespan, and by36 to 83% longer, increase youth hormone.
6. Healthy brain:
Intermittent fasting improves the hormone of the brain (BDNF) and can promote the development of new nerve cells. It could also help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Unlike conventional fad dieting which may work for a short timeframe. Intermittent fasting has proved itself to be an efficient way of combating excess weight, obesity, and symptoms of ageing. As a pattern of eating, it can be easily inculcated into your lifestyle without bringing about many changes which may be challenging to adopt.
If you need more help, I have created an affordable on-line weekly training program in which I will be your elite personal trainer, nutrition coach and anti-aging specialist. Visit my website NancyAnderberg.com and sign up for my newsletter, tips and update. You can also reach me via social media:
Congratulations on deciding to get more information and support on reaching your wellness goals.I look forward to working with you and seeing you attend my Facebook LIVES, as well as joining my zoom training sessions.
Blessings to YOUR Health and Prosperity in EVERY way~
Founder Fit4RAW real.authentic.women