Fast but not like Usain Bolt
A new hot take on dieting is fasting, yep that's right not eating. Here I'll talk about intermittent fasting specifically and later I'll do a short blog on multi-day fasting which is its own animal. Simply put the number 1 thing that the science points to for improved health is fasting. Case in point, studies have shown if you cut your eating window down to 8 hours and keep the exact same diet your health will improve. A simple google search of pubmed to check out some scientific articles may quell your skepticism. A quick look at some benefits are 1. Autophagy (fancy for your body taking care of any cell mutations) 2. Insulin drops 3. When insulin becomes low your body will burn fat for energy 4. Sleep improves. Easy analogy used in The Circadian Code; when is road work done on major highways? Answer is at night/in off hours. Why? Obviously there are no cars on the road which makes it easier to perform those jobs. Think of your body as that highway and food being traffic. If you are eating all day long you are giving your body no time to do other important jobs because it has to digest food and make sure it isn't harmful to you. To remedy this by shrinking your eating window as you are purposely restricting the time you eat (Time Restricted Eating). Everyone wants to jump in and do an 8 hour eating window, eat for 8 hours don't eat for 16. My suggestion is start with a 12 hour window and go from there, hell start at a 14 hour window or where you know you will succeed. Initially choose a window that is manageable and expand from there. The most important part of the time restriction is stopping a minimum of 2 hours before bed. Everything slows down when you sleep and when you are getting close to sleep. Your body does soooooo many important things while you are asleep the last thing it needs to do is waste energy on is digesting that pint of Ben and Jerry's. Believe me, I know it is delicious you just have to have it earlier. Is it hard when you start... yep, can't lie. Your body is used to the schedule you have been doing for years so it will take time for the body to adapt but it will. That is why I recommend starting with small wins like not eating after 7 or 8pm. As your body adapts shrink your window a little more. No one is keeping score, the object is to make it a long lasting behavioral change. I know when you google intermittent fasting or TRE you are bombarded with a ton of information, a lot of it is people selling you something or trying to make something more complexed than it is. Some sites or articles will talk about feast days, fast days, and the amount of calories on said days. You will get lost in the sauce as they say, KISS method works with any and all things. Concentrate on the eating window period. Side note, I know I am concentrating on eating but it technically goes for ANY and ALL calories, that means coffee black and no sugary drinks. Here's some helpful hints for those just starting:
1. START WITH A WIN- whatever it is start with something you can do.
2. Don't change your diet just concentrate on your eating window and when it's where you want it start changing things about your diet.
3. Stop eating 2 hours before bed.
4. Push breakfast off as late as you can. Drink water, tea, or coffee black (remember no calories). Go off of your work schedule as a lot of people I know start their eating window because there work break is 9am or whenever.
5. Before you feel like you have to eat drink some water, wait ten minutes and if you still are starving you're probably hungry.
6. Try to stay consistent most days and don't beat yourself up for going to a late dinner and slamming some red wine. Just break your fast later the next day. Believe me I do it a decent amount.
Deeper dive- Circadian Code by Dr. Satchin Panda, The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung
And of course if you want help or have any questions shoot me an email at email@example.com
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