The upcoming holidays are usually a dizzying whirlwind of never-ending family gatherings as well as a plethora of delicious food and alcohol; can’t wait!
Every Christmas we all seem to overindulge; right? So, is it possible to keep the “physique progress” going while enjoying ourselves?
What if I tell you it doesn’t have to be all or nothing over the holidays? Do you want to lose weight, improve your health and simplify your lifestyle by simply concentrating on WHEN you eat, rather than WHAT you eat?
Intermittent fasting is one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends.
This is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. How does it work? Well, there are several ways to do intermittent fasting. The most popular method involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 1pm to 9pm. Then you fast for 16 hours in-between.
Chances are you’ve done many “intermittent fasts” in your life. Say you’ve had dinner, then slept late and didn’t eat until lunch the next day; you’ve probably already done a 16 hour fast. Easy as that!
When you think about it, our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available for 3 meals per day. Their bodies evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time. If anything, fasting from time to time is more “natural” than constantly eating 3-4 (or more) meals per day.
So, yes, the main reason why people try intermittent fasting is to lose weight, also there’s no crazy diet or cutting calories to almost nothing. Sounds perfect for the Christmas holidays, doesn’t it? Just think of how it would simplify your day. No more “decision fatigue”; fewer meals that you need to plan for, prepare, cook and clean up after. Awesome!
Intermittent fasting can have many benefits for your body and brain:
- It prevents Insulin Resistance. Intermittent fasting reduces circulating glucose, which in turn reduces insulin levels in the blood which helps to normalise insulin sensitivity – meaning a reduction in insulin resistance.
- Improves Cardiovascular Health. Intermittent fasting has been shown to lower blood pressure and blood levels of LDL cholesterol and fat.
- Boosts Human Growth Hormone which results in improved muscle mass and better bone health, thus slowing down the ageing process.
- Reduces Inflammation and decreases oxidative stress, warding off cell damage and thereby preventing cell death and increasing longevity.
- Boosts the Health of the Microbiome. Diversity of gut bacteria is key to good health and improved immunity. Beneficial bacteria in the gut thrive and multiply in a fasted state.
Truth is, nutrition is an evolving science and advice tends to change with new research. Off course, intermittent fasting is certainly not for everyone. Don’t attempt any form of fasting if you are hypoglycaemic or diabetic. This is not a good idea for pregnant or breast feeding women either. Also if you are underweight, or have a history of eating disorders, consult with your doctor first
All that being said, intermittent fasting does have an outstanding safety profile. There’s nothing “dangerous” about not eating for a while if you are healthy and well nourished.
So, the key part of the intermittent fasting experience is just starting with it and seeing how it works for you. Fasting before the feast? What do you think?