Eat Your Heart Out . . . Intermittent Fasting Works!
Let me begin by saying that I'm a girl who loves to eat. Being East Indian, food has always been a driving force in my life.
Cookies with morning tea? Yes, Please.
Rice with beans for lunch. Yes, please.
Cookies with evening tea? Yes, please.
Chicken curry and Naan for dinner. Yes, please.
Hot halwa for desert? Yes, please.
But I'm also a girl who loves to look good in my clothes. So, any time, the scale tips by even one extra pound, I either hop on a new diet or I'm pounding away at the gym.
All that's changed now. I have been intermittent fasting for a month.
I skip breakfast each day and eat only two meals, the first around 12 p.m. and the second around 8 p.m. Then, I fast for at least 14 hours until I start eating again the next day at 12 p.m.
Ever since I started intermittent fasting, I'm eating more but I've maintained my ideal weight and decreased the amount of time I'm spending on training (down from 5 hours a to 1.5 hours a week.)
You may be wondering, how is it possible?
Let's find out. . .
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it's a pattern of eating that cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting (usually going 12-18 hours a day without food.) The content of your meals during eating periods is not a factor.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.
Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it's very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.
After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isn’t processing a meal. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.
When you're in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.
Because we don't enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it's rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule. (ref:http://jamesclear.com/the-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting)
Conclusion: More a dieting pattern than a diet, science says it can help you lose weight (a smaller eating window means less calories consumed), but even better, research (http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/facts-about-fasting-diets) has linked it to improved blood sugar levels, decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, and, according to neuroscientist Mark Mattson's research, it might just help your brain ward off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's while improving mood and memory.
Caveat: Start slow. If you jump into the time-restricted plan by fasting 18 hours the first day you're going to be biting your nails with hunger AND be cranky. I would suggest go slow. Begin your day with coffee or tea (black only) and increase your intake of water. In a week's time, it'll be your new normal!