Fasting has been practised for thousands of years – sometimes for religious reasons, sometimes as a result of famine and sometimes by choice. And it turns out that, whatever the reason for going on a fast, it is hugely beneficial to health, reducing obesity and even reversing conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
If only fasting wasn’t so gruelling to do! Well, there’s good news –
Intermittent fasting is just as beneficial as regular fasting
and isn’t hard to do at all. In fact, since I switched to the In-Sync Diet lifestyle, it’s what I do naturally every day without a second thought – and intermittent fasting is a trend that’s spreading around the globe. So, what is it and how does it work?
The idea is to have a minimum of a 12-hour period of not eating within your 24-hour day, although the optimum time would be 14-18 hours without food.
When you factor in sleeping time it’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds
I aim for 16 hours and eat my meals within an eight-hour period. This means skipping breakfast and making lunch the first meal of the day, then waiting a minimum of five hours before the next meal.
According to nutritionist Fleur Borrelli, my co-founder on The In-Sync Diet:
Fasting helps the body to become a better fat burner
It also helps it to become more metabolically flexible. Our over reliance on refined carbohydrates has made us less able to burn fat as fuel and so the body turns to sugar and carbohydrates for energy. This is how we accumulate fat. Fasting helps us to develop healthy, energy efficient bodies that have the ability to switch from carbohydrate to fat burning as the primary energy-yielding system (also known as keto-adaption).
Fat burning produces much more energy
In fact, the ability to switch from carbohydrate burning to fat burning is an evolutionary survival mechanism that has enabled us to survive periods of famine while searching and hunting for food. This was interspersed with periods of feasting or eating plenty.
Fasting has been shown to clean out toxic debris
It lowers insulin and increases growth hormones, which are important for vitality as well as muscle development. It can shift stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal, protect against cardiovascular disease, and can combat insulin resistance and its related health problems, which includes some types of cancer. It can also lower inflammation as well as blood pressure. It stimulates the creation of new brain cells and triggers brain chemicals that protect against the changes associated with not only dementia, but also Parkinson’s disease.
In fact, the benefits are so vast, they’re too numerous to mention. If that’s not worth missing breakfast for, I don’t know what is.
Try intermittent fasting
- Aim to do a 16-18 hour fast two to three times a week. Do a 12-hour fast the rest of the week.
- It’s not only about fasting but also about the types of food you eat. Choose healthy proteins such as fish, chicken and eggs, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables.
- Try to eliminate processed and refined carbohydrates and sugars completely.
- Avoid snacking and keep a five-hour gap between meals. If you fill up on healthy proteins and fats you shouldn’t feel hungry. Eat hearty meals.
- Exercise in a fasted state before your first meal of the day if possible. This will help the body switch to fat burning.