“Intermittent fasting (IF) is an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting.”
Can I just tell you something? It’s not a “diet”. Intermittent fasting has changed my life. For me intermittent fasting is not something I do temporarily or just long enough so I can look okay for an event and pretend I’m actually in good shape in front of others for a while. It’s just simply the way I do things now. Virtually everyday with some minor modifications for Thanksgiving, Christmas or special occasions. In other words, intermittent fasting is not the exception, it’s the rule while modifications are the exception.
It’s no joke. Here’s a great video by Terry Crews laying out how he implements intermittent fasting for his schedule.
I’ve fallen in love with it as a lifestyle for several reasons:
- It’s super simple
- It’s free
- Anybody can do it
- You can make it more complicated but you don’t have to... and it’ll still works.
- You don’t have to count calories. Eat decent and it’ll likely to still work (P.S. - unless you’re eating nothing but Krispy Kremes... I can’t promise you anything if you’re eating nothing but Krispy Kreme’s.) (P.P.S. - But I can’t blame you either)
- It gives me productive time back
- It gives me a measure of headspace back
- It puts me in control of my appetite instead of the other way around
- Did I mention it’s simple?
- And that it’s free?
What I’m Getting Out Of Intermittent Fasting
- Losing fat... everywhere
- Double chin going away
- Belly fat is shrinking away
- Less time thinking about food and more time thinking about the things I want to do with my life each day. i.e. more productive.
- Enjoy eating more
- Dealing with emotions and feelings more effectively instead of smothering them with food.
- More sustained, consistent energy level
- My wife finds me ever more attractive and interesting.
- More time to drink water which is a really good habit
What is Autophagy? (aw-taw-fuh-jee)
Mr. Yoshinori Ohsumi won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine prize for his discoveries around this remarkable cellular self-cleaning process that the body begins at hour 18 of a fasting window. This means that if you embark on a well accepted and practiced 5 hour eating window with a 19 hour fasting window (explained later) you get at least an hour worth of cellular clean up. What this does for the body is astounding. Loose skin, Disease, toxins, and dead or damaged cells in every part of the body get cleaned up or renewed. This adds years and youth to your life.
Watch this video to learn the basics of Autophagy.
What Intermittent Fasting Is Not
Intermittent fasting is not starving yourself. It’s not depriving your body of energy or nutrients. It’s not injuring yourself through lack of nourishment for days on end. Many people hear the word “fasting“ and immediately conjure images in their mind of holy men fasting for 20, 30 or 40 days at a time to reach some otherwise unknowable level of enlightenment. While that may be an experience with benefits I’m not familiar with (since I’ve never tried it nor do I have any plans to) that is also not what is meant by the term intermittent fasting. So you can relax.
Intermittent fasting is much simpler and easier to implement than all that. It’s based on the very simple principle that the human body seldom ever gets around to burning fat if it always has glucose or glycogen to burn. When we eat anything the body breaks the food down into it’s fundamental components and uses the chemical compounds that are easiest to burn for energy first. That means glucose is burned first, followed by glycogen and then it gets around to burning fat when those have been processed.
The problem is it takes 8-12 hours for a body to process all the glucose and glycogen in an average meal. Only then can it even begin to work on accessing your fat stores for a very clean and efficient energy source. So, if you’re adding more glucose and glycogen to your body every 4-6 hours or less before the previous round even finished being digested then your body is NEVER getting around to burning the fat.
Think about it... we wake up and because we’ve been programmed by decades of propaganda paid for by breakfast food manufacturers that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day” we immediately get something into our bellies. For most of us that’s sometime between 6:00 - 8:00 AM. Then we’ll have an energy drink or coffee or snack around 10:00 - 11:00 AM (when we have our government mandated break) full of caffeine, sugars (glucose), and maybe some B vitamins if we’re lucky. Before you know it we’re dying for lunch between noon and 2:00 PM. Followed by another afternoon break often consisting of another drink or snack. It might even be a good snack like pure organic orange juice. And then it’s dinner time between 5:00 - 7:00 topped off by some kind of dessert. Or maybe dessert is an hour or two after we’ve finished dinner before we go to bed. It could be a super healthy dessert as well like an apple or an organic herbal infusion with a bit of honey. We hit the sack at 10:00 PM and barely 8 hours later we’re back at it again because lest we forget “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Never in that 24 hour period does the body even get a chance to start burning fat stores.
What intermittent fasting suggests is that instead of having only an 8-hour “fasting window“ that you’re not eating when you’re asleep (that is 8 hours if you’re lucky because you know you’re staying up late binge-watching Netflix, don’t lie to me) what if you switched it around to where you only had an 8-hour “eating window” during which you were eating and extended your “fasting window” to the other 16 hours of the day? What happens then?
Well, it’s a simple math equation.
If the body has finished digesting the glucose and the glycogen from your last meal and starts digesting fat stores sometime between 8-12 hours after eating has stopped then you’ve now given your body somewhere between an additional 4 to 8 hours EVERY DAY with which to burn nothing but fat regardless of what you’ve eaten during your “eating window”.
For example, let’s say you’ve chosen 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM as you’re eating window. You’d still eat a really hearty breakfast, as many snacks as you want, a solid lunch and maybe another snack if you don’t feel satisfied. But once 3:00 rolls around you’re done. That’s it. You stop eating and focus on anything else that you want to do except eating. At this stage the body will break down the glucose and glycogen by sometime between 11:00 PM and 3:00 AM (8 - 12 hours later) and then start burning nothing but fat until you eat again.
My Personal Experience With Intermittent Fasting
What I can tell you from personal experience is that I sleep better, I don’t feel as heavy throughout the day, I’m steadily dropping pant sizes and that’s with a very inconsistent and mediocre workout habit. Add some solid High Intensity Interval Training to the mix just before you enter your eating window and see your results accelerate.
But don’t take my word for it. I’m not a doctor but I know someone who is. I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Scientific Approach To Intermittent Fasting by Dr. Michael Vanderschelden.
It’s a super simple read that really helped me understand and apply intermittent fasting in a way that works best for my schedule. Do yourself and your family a favor and consider trying it out. The worst that can happen is you might live longer and enjoy your food more.
P. S. - Special thanks goes to my amazing wife, Sarah, for turning me onto intermittent fasting. She’s amazing because she learns about all this stuff when I don’t have the time to do so.