The How and Why of Intermittent Fasting

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( — March 1, 2014) Portland, OR — However, this often was not voluntary. It was called crop failure, drought, or starvation. Now days in the developed countries there is more to eat than ever before. Not all of it is good for us, especially if we try to eat it all at once.

Those that focus on both waist sizes and health have done a little bit of studying. They are finding that we don’t have to count calories every day. They are showing that occasional calories restriction actually works better than constant calorie restriction. It doesn’t even have to be a full day, partial days’ work well too.

The benefits of intermittent fasting go far beyond losing weight. They include fighting diabetes, improving inflammation, reducing blood pressure, improving your metabolic rate, improving pancreatic function, improving cardiovascular health, reducing LDL and cholesterol levels, reducing hunger, reducing the risk of cancer, and improving memory and learning.

There are multiple ways to do intermittent fasting. Those used to all day fasting can simply fast one to two days a week. For most of us that is pretty hard. We feel like we need some kind of calories in order to keep up with our busy lifestyles. We are afraid that if we don’t eat something our metabolism will tank and our thinking will get muddy. This is so far from the truth!

There are several different ways to intermittent fast. One of the simplest is to postpone your first meal until later in the day. Skipping breakfast doesn’t help much if your later meals are full of junk, but if you eat healthy foods the rest of the day skipping breakfast can be a big benefit.

Limiting your eating times to a total of eight hours a day is considered different, but to me it is the same. If your eight hours are between noon and eight pm you have simply eliminated breakfast and cut out the late night snack.

The same eight hours could start at an earlier time and end before dinner. Then you skip a formal dinner and eliminate snacking in the evening. If your evenings are full and you don’t miss the snacking this can be a very easy form of fasting. You wake up hungry for breakfast the next morning.

A twist on intermittent fasting is to break it into even smaller intervals. Eat a very light breakfast and wait until dinner before you eat again. Sometimes this is enough to get you going and to last you until that evening meal. You end up with two shorter fasts, between breakfast and dinner and between dinner and breakfast.

Who shouldn’t do fasting, or even intermittent fasting?

Those who are severely hypoglycemic (those with mild forms can slowly stretch the time between meals without truly eliminating them) those that are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those with cortisol dysregulation.

The key to successful intermittent fasting is finding a method that works for you. Try a method for a few days and listen to your body. If you don’t experience any physical signs of hypoglycemia then take a look at your emotional stability. If it doesn’t meet your needs physically, psychologically or with your hectic schedule then try a different form.

This is not an all or nothing mindset. It is all about listening to your body and finding out what is working for you and getting you closer to your goals. The biggest key to success is to make sure you are eating healthy food in the meals you do it, and not making up the number of calories that you missed.


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