The ins and outs, do’s and don’t’s!
The big questions I get are, “How long should I fast?” or, “What type should I try?”
We’ve all heard of it by now. Fasting and IF (Intermittent Fasting) have been around since our ancestors were hunting and gathering.
“In ancient Greece, Pythagoras was among many who extolled its virtues. During the fourteenth century it was practised by St Catherine of Siena, while the Renaissance doctor Paracelsus called it the “physician within”. Indeed, fasting in one form or another is a distinguished tradition and throughout the centuries, devotees have claimed it brings physical and spiritual renewal
In primitive cultures, a fast was often demanded before going to war, or as part of a coming-of-age ritual. It was used to assuage an angry deity and by native north Americans, as a rite to avoid catastrophes such as famine.
Fasting has played a key role in all the world’s major religions (apart from Zoroastrianism which prohibits it), being associated with penitence and other forms of self control. Judaism has several annual fast days including Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonements; in Islam, Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan, while Roman Catholics and Eastern orthodoxy observe a 40 day fast during Lent, the period when Christ fasted 40 days in the desert.”
Now, the biggest question is WHY?
Weight loss? Stop, IF is not going to optimal for sustained weight loss. Just like with any program, your body will get used to the method and find a way to adapt. So if weight loss is the goal, IF can be used as a short term tool to clear inflammation in order to start shedding body fat.
The number 1 focus for myself, and clients, has actually been the autophagy benefits, Anti-Aging. The killing of of old cells, so new cells can take its place. This is your body’s way of cleaning itself from the inside out. Like spring cleaning. Your cells create membranes that hunt out scraps of dead, diseased, or worn-out cells; eat ‘em up; strip ’em for parts; and use the leftover molecules for energy, or to make new cell components.
This plays a major role in regulating inflammation and immunity. Thus slowing the aging process. We can also achieve this through exercise.
Doing Juice fasts or simply skipping meals will not accomplish this and can actually stress the body while NOT achieving Autophagy. So drop the juices and go without. The autophagy benefits actually do not start until an 16 hours of fasting has been achieved. Extending to 24 all the way to 48 hours will maximize those results, the results drop off rapidly after 48 hours and after 72 hours the metabolism drops 10% or more.
Now, the question is how long?!
This answer will surprise you as much as it did me!
I’ll cut right to the fact: the autophagy benefits actually do not start until 16 hours of fasting has been achieved, Extending all the way to 48 hours will maximize those results, the results drop off rapidly after 48 hours and after 72 hours the metabolism drops 10% or more. So, with that information, anything under a 17 hour fast will not achieve the benefits. You’re simply stressing your body and limiting your nutrient intake, for nothing. Unless you consider it training to see how long you want to feel hungry! Lol!
Now there is a bit of a hack! It’s called ketosis. Entering into a state of ketosis tricks your body into thinking its fasting. Ketosis basics consist of getting your macronutrients percentages to 30% protein, 70% fat and 5% carbs. This can vary 10-20% in each macro range depending on the activities your doing and your individual metabolism.
Now the question is: do I even fast? Or enter into ketosis? That all depends on you!
How to fast optimally.
If you’re going to use a timed window, I would suggest a 12 fast/12 feast or a 14/10. For a bigger cellular cleanse, a 5 days feed 2 days fast, 1 to even 4 times per month. This, in my experience, has led to the most manageable results.
The number one factor in a successful fast is control, you must not break. The second is hydration. Making sure you get filtered water with either a neutral PH or even an Alkaline PH, while adding minerals or salt will drastically cut cravings and ensure that dehydration stays away! Shoot for 1-2 gallons of water. This will also help cleanse any junk you may have sitting in your digestive system, creating a fresh start after the fast.
You may also take in a small amount of calories from: fish oil, greens powder and some other fats to bring cravings down. What’s worked optimally for me is keeping my total “fasted window” calories to under 500, spread throughout the day. I’ll take in 2 tablespoons of a liquid concentrate fish oil and 1 scoop of a greens powder. This keeps my body from bumping out of a “fasted” state, keeping all the benefits in tact.
Breaking your fast.
This will be one of the biggest factors of being healthy or not. I’ve seen many use the “feast” window to eat absolutely anything they want. While the may lose weight, the body will suffer and see other negative results from eating garbage. Food quality is of the utmost importance. Eat foods that are extremely nutrient dense and feel good on your gut. Try and eat intuitively and go with foods that make your body feel best, not the foods you have been missing and craving, unless of course those foods are good for you too!
I personally eat salmon, walnuts and black rice with some REAL salt! I love using fasts as a taste bud reset. Killing off old sugar and processed food cravings.
So, there it is, an efficient wrap up on intermittent fasting. Now, go out and be your own experiment!