5 years ago, I started this website which kick-started my business and has since cultivated a growing clientele for me in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m very proud of this creation, which has helped me grow as a bodyworker, massage therapist and business owner.
But this website has also helped me grow as a blog writer. I have written about many topics concerning massage therapy and exercise. But today I’m excited to write about another aspect of human health- diet.
And when I say diet, I’m not referring to the act of dieting or restricting caloric intake. Dieting makes me think of what one does when they want to lose weight quickly, or jump onto the latest fad that promises extraordinary results in 30 days. I’m referring to YOUR diet, the steps that you take each day to put healthy things into your body. Dieting is a short-lived fad, but YOUR diet should be about always working towards a healthy lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting is a simple system, which is easy to follow, but can produce great health results. I’m not sure of where or how it originated, but countless studies prove that it just works. Contrary to popular belief that fasting is counterproductive or that it quickly puts your body into starvation mode, intermittent fasting can actually help you lose unwanted fat and increase the body’s ability to process the nutrients you consume. It also can make you less vulnerable to chronic illnesses.
Intermittent fasting (or IF as many people call it) revolves around restricting your eating for specific periods of time, and then eating your day’s worth of food during pre-determined “feeding windows.” It requires you to fast for 12-16 hours at a time, and eat within an 8 hour “window.” During this window, people will eat 2 meals. It is typical that these 2 meals will be eaten around noon and then at 8pm. But if your schedule does not permit this eating schedule, you can choose what works best for your life. If you prefer to eat earlier, try eating your meals at 10am and 6pm, or 2pm and 10pm. Essentially, this style of fasting requires you to skip breakfast and then not snack in-between meals. Easy enough!
When I try to explain this fasting concept, people often get hung up on certain ideas like, “But don’t I need to eat six small meals a day?” or “I will starve if I go 12 or more hours without eating.” But try to go into this with an open mind. If you think about it, people who eat 6 small meals a day don’t eat very much at once. Of course this does prevent your blood sugar from spiking, and helps control hunger. But the small portions help reduce high caloric intake as well. I believe this is one major reason that small portions work so well. If you eat 6 meals consisting of 200 calories, that’s 1200 calories in one day. But if you eat 2 meals a day, as you would with intermittent fasting, you might eat 500 calories in one sitting, amounting to 1000 calories. There is no requirement for caloric intake for either small meals or intermittent fasting. This is just an example of how many calories would be eaten, hypothetically.
Intermittent fasting is best understood when the physiological aspect is explained. Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.
After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isn’t processing a meal. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low. When you’re in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.
And if you think eating every 12 to 16 hours is impossible, think about your sleep schedule. If you sleep 8 hours a night, maybe from midnight until 8am, that is already 8 hours in which you are not ingesting food. If you ate dinner at 10pm, then by time you wake up at 8am, it will have been 10 hours without food. You would only need to wait 2 more hours, at 10am to eat your first meal of the day. Some people find it very challenging to go the full 16 hours, and you don’t have to, but the longer you wait to eat, the more fat that is turned into fuel. Intermittent fasting is ideal for people who tend to skip breakfast anyways.
If breakfast is the most important meal of your day, this may not be the best plan for you, but if you are looking to shed some serious pounds of fat, this is an incredible plan. It’s all about changing WHEN you eat and not WHAT you eat. Of course this doesn’t mean you can eat dough nuts and cheeseburgers for your 2 meals, but you don’t have to make a massive change to your diet. It’s always good to eat plenty of veggies and a good amount of healthy fats, which keep your body satiated for much longer. This will prevent snacking in between your 2 meals.
And there you go. Intermittent fasting is very straight forward and most importantly to me, it’s easy. You don’t have to prepare a ton of meals ahead of time and you don’t have to diet, which usually means eating the same stuff all the time, and feeling restricted.
I have always believed that if something is not working in your diet, or you really are wanting to lose weight, it never hurts to try different things. If Intermittent fasting sounds like it could work for you, remember to give it 4-6 weeks to begin seeing results. Please don’t hesitate to ask me for more info or call me in Salt Lake City, Utah at 801-349-3934. And of course, good luck!