Intermittent fasting is a way of life according to which we eat all the calories we need, in a short, specific period of time.
The goal is not to eat less, but to reduce the window of food during the day.
We have already talked about some of the benefits of fasting but many people assume it will low our metabolism. But it is actually the opposite! Let’s have a look why.
- Fasting helps to keep a healthy metabolism. This means we will maintain our metabolism and we should not be afraid.
- Fasting helps to balance our hormones. We will not feel hunger and still have plenty of energy. Long-term problems like insulin-resistance will start to resolve themselves.
Each time we eat our body will only take two steps.
It will use some of the food immediately for energy and save the rest for later availability. And this happens every time we eat because hormones, such as insulin, whose purpose is to store energy are secreted.
But the problem, according to research, is that the average person eats during the day for 14.45 hours. This means that half of us eat from 8 in the morning until 10.45 in the evening. And if we think that digestion lasts a few hours after the last meal, then close to 20 hours a day we store energy and never burn it. And this is not normal. Our body is made so that when we do not give it food, it can use the energy it has stored in a previous time. If it were not so then with the first meal we would lose we would die!
And in English the word breakfast describes it very well. Breakfast is a very important meal but it can be at any point in the day. I break the fast. So simple and intertwined with our physiology and our prehistory.
It is essential to understand that when we eat we store energy and when we do not eat we burn the stored energy (if we are healthy). There is no other situation we can be in and we want to find the golden section between the two, to be healthy and not to put on weight.
So what can we expect when we find the golden section of fasting?
Our metabolism is defined by the energy to do all the body needs during the day. Around 70% of our energy is used for breathing, our heart beating and all other mandatory processes.
- It has been proven that diets low in calories have no effect. We may lose some weight in the beginning but then we gain it again. This is because fewer calories destroy our metabolism. When we reduce our calories, our metabolism also decreases. If we reduce calories by 30% the metabolism will decrease at the same rate. One can understand this because he will often feel cold, because his body temperature will drop.
- It is a basic rule that when we eat less, we burn less and this stops fat burning and weight loss.
- Another important side effect of low calorie diets is that we are always hungry. If we can’t satisfy our hunger we are playing a lost game!
The problem is relatively simple.
As we said when we eat there are two metabolic processes. The first is to burn the energy we just ate and the second is to store it. If we eat less one would expect to burn the same energy and use the stored, and thus lose weight. This is the well-known theory called calories-in calories-out.
Unfortunately the body does not work that way. Due to a large number of hormones involved, if we reduce calories and eat 5 meals a day what is reduced is our metabolism and not the stored fat. Central to this process is once again insulin. High levels of insulin disrupt energy usage.
How does fasting help?
Intermittent fasting deals exactly with the issue of the downregulating its metabolism because it does not have the energy it needs. This happens when
- we are on low calorie diets but also
- when our body does not have access (!!) to what we eat due to metabolic syndrome.
When we are not eating we activate the processes to access a tank with “infinite” energy, our own fat! So even when we do not eat our metabolism remains stable and we can lose weight without getting stuck or afraid of gaining weight again. All this should not surprise us because it is simply part of our physiology and how we have been designed to function for thousands of years.
What else will you gain when you do intermittent fasting?
- Time. Fasting will free your hands. How tedious it must be to have to cook 5 times a day, from morning to night. Less shopping, less cooking!
- It is economical. Fasting is the easiest and cheapest solution for your health. And it is inexpensive. It is free actually!
- It’s a way of life. Fasting is a way of life and can be included in any diet.
- Fasting is a way of life that is an integral part of our physiology and therefore keeps our metabolism healthy, allowing our body to burn its own fat for energy.
We don’t need to start with any strict protocols. Here are just some simple starting points which you should consider incorporating into your life.
- Avoid snacking. This will help you to adjust faster. Having 3 meals a day is doable for everyone.
- Avoid calories during your fasting window. Black coffee, tea, water and salt are allowed. It is better to reduce the fasting window but keep this simple guidelines.
- If we want to have healthy metabolism we need to avoid low calorie diets.
- By abstaining from food for a few hours we are able to activate the machinery to burn fat in order to produce energy. This is the only way to safely lose weight!
- Try it out!