Growing up in the Catholic School system, I remember having a fast during the period of Lent to repent for my sins and live as Jesus did. I remember feeling the utmost emptiness in my stomach and I thought I was going to die. But I guess that was the point.
These days, fasting is on trend. You probably know someone who has done, is doing or is thinking to intermittent fast,(IF). If you Google search "intermittent fasting" over 59 million results show up! 59 million?!!?! Most of them being about how someone lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time, what to and not to do. You will also get a lot of hits around Keto and IF. Don't go down the rabbit hole without reading this first! I first learned that fasting isn't about weight loss. It's about bringing you back to a baseline.
There was a point this year where I was frightened about having Metabolic Syndrome. My father had type 2 diabetes when he died. Because of this, regulating my blood sugar has always been important. I felt like I couldn't quench my thirst for days, (a symptom of diabetes), my blood pressure was increasing and I was holding weight around my mid-section. Sure, I was active, but these things were setting off alarms for me.
So what have my results been?
Able to stop eating
Lowered blood pressure
Disclaimer ** FASTING IS NOT FOR EVERYONE ** But if the above interests you or a loved one, it may be a good option. You should also speak to your doctor about any major changes in your diet.
So, you may be thinking you want to try this fasting thing...
Where do you even start? Time-restricted eating, like any diet alternation requires organization and planning.
Humans have fasted throughout history. In the beginning, it was due to the scarcity of food, that they ate when they could find food. Throughout world wars and rations, humans have fasted. Obesity didn't start to be a health issue until after the Industrial Revolution. In today's world, where food is abundant for most, we are wildly trying to find the perfect "diet" so that we can lose weight.
So what makes sense to me?
What makes more sense to me when I break things down, that we don't need all of that food throughout the day. That it's good to feel "starved" during times and that sensation will go away. What also makes sense to me is that insulin is created in your body when you eat something...and if you are eating throughout the day, with food you don't really need, your fat storage will increase. So why not eat once, then you get your insulin pumped and throughout the day, your smart body will break down stored fat for food.
Whatever routine you choose, the results can be similar, I have tried both and have come to see what works best for me.
There are two main versions of IF which people follow:
16:8 clock - fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8 hour window.
I found this difficult to follow. I started my window from 11am - 7 pm, which in the beginning worked really well. Until I got invited out for dinner outside of my window. What the hell am I supposed to do now? Everything went out of the window several times over!
Some notes about this eating style:
Still eating normal style meals within the given window
This window is a good starting point for anyone who wants to see what IF is all about. You should notice some differences in your body. Here are somethings that I noticed:
My hunger and fullness hormones were working - I was full after eating my meals and didn't want to continue eating.
My bloating decreased a little, but not enough. I was still feeling bloated at the end of the night
My bowel movements were all over the place!
Energy levels relatively the same
Restrictive Eating - Eating once a day
I've been eating like this for the past two weeks. At first it seemed impossible to happen, but since I don't eat breakfast anyhow, I just had to last a little longer. I eat my meal between 4-6 pm. This has been challenging when I am not working during the day and if I have a harder early-morning workout.
Carbohydrates are limited to 30 grams per day (very keto-style)
Protein - 50 grams
Fat- 20 grams
I'm not measuring my macros, just keeping an eye on them.
Bloating decreased significantly
Decreased blood pressure (back down to normal, from 140/90)
Though not as frequent, better formed poo