Beginners Guide To Intermittent Fasting

Dec. 21, 2017; by Briana McDonald, Staff Writer- Silver Bulletin e-News Magazine (UtopiaSilver.com) The practice of fasting has been around since the dawn of time.  Before we lived in a world of excess, our ancestors would often go days between meals and this was very normal. In many studies, it is proven that fasting animals systematically increased their life span up to 2-3 times. James F. Balch, M.D. Co-Author of “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” states; “By relieving the body of the work of digesting foods, fasting allows the system to rid itself of toxins, while facilitating healing. Fasting regularly gives your organs a rest and helps reverse the ageing process for a longer, healthier life.” With the amazing benefits I have personally received from fasting I wanted to put together a brief beginners guide to fasting that will ensure success with your efforts.

 Intermittent Fasting 
This form of fasting is brief where for 12-16 hours or more you don’t eat anything except drink water. This might sound intimidating but it’s actually a lot easier than most people would expect. For those of us trained to eat six times a day to “keep up our metabolisms” it may seem contradictory to go so long without food but science backs up this ancient practice.
Medical studies show that fasting has many physical benefits such as: 
  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Mental Clarity
  • Relaxation
  • Purification
  • Right use of Will
  • Spiritual Awareness
  • Reduction of Allergies
  • Creativity
  • Cleanse and heal “stuck” emotional patterns (1)
My Personal Fasting Experience 
 
I love to take one day out of the week to fast, (since I am pregnant it has been a while but I will resume once I am able) for me this day was usually the middle of the week on a Wednesday. The night before my fast I would not eat past 7 pm, the day of the fast I would have 3 detox drinks with apple cider vinegar, honey, cayenne powder, and cinnamon and I would drink water in between. To my surprise I was having more energy on my fasting days than on the other days of the week and I started losing weight quickly although that was not even a goal of mine but a natural by product. The mental clarity I experienced was profound and it made me realize how much my body craved those digestive days off. I didn’t realize how much energy was being used for digestion alone and once that was freed up, I had an outpouring of energy I had never experienced before. I’m not going to lie, there was hunger. Thankfully the apple cider vinegar drinks were helping curve the appetite when I would start to get hungry and since most of our hunger is stemmed from dehydration anyway, when I would drink a lot of water I would notice the hunger pangs would go away. I would allow myself to eat again at 7 pm the next day making it a 24 hour fast and when I did eat, it was very light like a smoothie with hemp protein or a bowl of rice and vegetables. 
 
However, with us ladies, if we do not fast correctly we can cause serious hormonal imbalances so it is important that we do this correctly. Women are sensitive to signals of starvation and if the body senses its being starved it will ramp up production of the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin which can throw our hormones out of whack and even halt ovulation. It can affect menstruation and shrink the ovaries, plus it can worsen eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder so be sure you are fasting for the right reasons! Fasting one day out of the week is safe and effective, you could even fast a few days out of the week on and off fasting one day, eating normal the next and so on. Doing this will aid in losing body fat, improve inflammatory markers, and regain much needed energy to do this thing called life. (2)
 
There are 6 golden rules outlined by Dr. Axe when doing this form of fasting which I’ve found to be very helpful. 
 
Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting

  1. Fast on 2-3 nonconsecutive days (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for example) 
  2. fast for 12 to 16 hours
  3. on fasting days do mild to moderate exercise such as yoga or very light cardio
  4. on non fasting days do more intense workouts like Burst/HIIT or strength training 
  5. drink plenty of water throughout the day (tea and coffee are okay in between as long as there are no added sweeteners used) 
  6. after a couple of weeks of doing this if you would like you can add one more day of fasting however I never found that I needed to and one day was always enough for me, personally. 
 There is another method of fasting that I know other people have found great results which is the 16/8 method. 
 
The 16/8 Method  
This method, also called Leangains Protocol is the most popular method for Intermittent Fasting. It only requires trading breakfast for a cup of coffee or tea with no added sweeteners and having lunch as the first meal of the day. Fasting from 8pm to 12 noon for example equals 16 hours of fasting when you include sleep. This method, 16 hours of not eating, 8 hours of eating during the day is the one most people start off with and then work there way up to longer periods without food. 
 
Should Everyone Do Intermittent Fasting? 
 
I personally believe the health benefits we would all gain from doing this would make everyone a candidate however, not everyone should try intermittent fasting. For example: 
 
  • if you are totally stressed out or sleep deprived you should focus on nourishing yourself instead of fasting 
  • if you are on any medication that requires you to eat, especially insulin. 
  • growing children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women should not fast as they have an increased need of nutrients. (3) 
 Sources:  

 

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