For the last 8 to 10 months I have been practicing Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting, or IF is a method of eating where you cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting. It doesn’t mean you starve yourself, you just have on and off periods of eating every day.
My current schedule is 8/16, meaning I eat for 8 hours and fast for 16. (The fasting period includes the time I am asleep). In the morning I wake up, skip breakfast, start eating at noon and stop at 8pm.
Here is my current eating schedule:
- 5:00 A.M. Wake up + Coffee
- 9:00 A.M. 10g of BCAAs
- 9:30 A.M. Gym (M/W/F )
- 12:00 P.M. Start Eating
- 8:00 P.M. Stop Eating
I still get all the nutrition that I need by calculating the number of calories I need to eat per day to hit my goals and tracking what I eat with Myfitnesspal, and if I’m lacking anything, supplements really help.
How I Found Intermittent Fasting
I found intermittent fasting (IF) during a period of research that I went through late last year. I was looking for a healthy lifestyle and workout plan that I can live with for the rest my life.
- IF was one of many things that I tried
- IF was the one thing that stuck
Lately I’ve been reading lots of fascinating information about the benefits of fasting and I wanted to share some of those with you today.
Two are the results of studies that have been posted online and the third is from my own experience.
Here they are.
3 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
1. Health Recovery
Historical records say that fasting has been used for health recovery for thousands of years. Hippocrates, Socrates, and Plato all recommended fasting for health recovery.
Fasting provides a period of concentrated physiological rest during which time the body can devote its self-healing mechanisms to repairing and strengthening damaged organs. The process of fasting also allows the body to cleanse cells of accumulated toxins and waste products.
The fast will also allow you to experience more energy, healthier skin, bettors quality sleep, I clean and healthy cardiovascular system, a decrease in anxiety and tension as well as many more beneficial effects.
*Note: While these health benefits are not the reason that I started fasting it’s nice to know that I could be allowing my body and mind to self-heal and repair itself. I spent years tearing my body and mind apart… they could probably use the repairs.
2. Immune System Regeneration
I recently read an article on telegraph.co.uk. It talks about a study that reveals that a person’s entire immune system can be rebuilt by fasting for three days. (hat tip to @artisconcept for sharing the story on twitter)
Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as “remarkable”.
It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common diseases.
The researchers say fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system.
*Note: I do not fast for multiple days a time. As I mentioned previously I fast only 16 hours a day, but I do it every day and from what I’ve read this consistency also provides some of these added benefits.
Before I started fasting I experimented with a few different eating plans, including the popular clean eating and six meals a day routine. To make this happen I prepped 10-15 meals at a time into Tupperware containers and ate them through the entire day.
I didn’t really mind the preparation part. What I didn’t like about it was the constant feeling that I needed to be eating.
If I planned on leaving the house for more than three hours I had to bring food with me. Either a protein bar in my pocket or a tupperware container (or two) full of chicken, sweet potatoes and vegetables.
And after eating meat and vegetables for a few weeks… I was just sick of it. I was scared to eat fats or carbs too so my energy and mental levels hit an all time low. It was a f#cking drag.
To me, that’s just not a sustainable lifestyle.
Now that I’m Intermittent Fasting I only eat 2 to 3 meals a day. This allows me to focus on doing other things like work, writing for the site and working out.
I no longer worry about if I’m getting in enough meals per day, or if my metabolism is slowing down or any other voodoo like that that I was previously led to believe. I also eat a healthy mix of protein, carbs and fats that have returned my body to normal working order. I feel better than ever.
Overall it’s a much smoother lifestyle and one I think I can live with for a long time.
If you’re interested in trying intermittent fasting it’s very simple. All you have to do is skip breakfast every day for a few days and see how you feel.
How to Start Intermittent Fasting
- Skip breakfast tomorrow
- Eat from Noon – 8pm (you can change this to whatever you want)
- See how you feel
Give It Time
It is perfectly natural to feel a bit weird for the first few days or weeks. Especially if you don’t drink enough water.
I learned the hard way that fasting (especially working out fasted) without a lot of water in your system can leave you feeling dizzy and confused. Most people think it’s the lack of food, but it’s actually just dehydration.
It takes a little time to get used to. You’re changing the way your body gets it’s fuel and with any big change there is a period of discomfort that you have to breakthrough.
But as with anything else once you break through that uncomfortable bubble… Your home free.
If you have any questions please ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them. I’m not a health expert or a nutritionist, but I can offer advice based on my own experience…
And sometimes that’s more help than anything else.