What is it though?
Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle choice that you can make. It's basically where you eat between certain hours of the day and during the other hours you consume only water. For example I eat between mid day and 8pm and then consume only water between 8pm and mid day. Sounds a little odd I bet, so I'll explain below.
Fasting has some fantastic effects in your body and there are plenty of different ways to fast. Some will see you eating virtually nothing for a whole day or 2. Some will see you eating only during the hours of darkness and some will see you fasting intermittently each day. Either way they all see you reducing or completely stopping your intake of food for a certain length of time. Now some of you are going to worry straight away that it's bad for you buy hear me out.
When you give yourself a break from eating for 16 hours or more you body has to learn how to manage its own fuel sources more efficiently. It gets much better at burning the stores of fuel you have on your body rather than relying on a steady flow of fuel coming from your digestive system. In English that means that your body becomes better at using the fat you have as fuel.
Another effect it has is on your muscles, liver and fat cells. Insulin is the hormone that allows your body to store excess sugar in your blood on your muscles, liver or fat cells. When you eat regularly, especially if your diet is high in sugar or carbs (like most people), your insulin levels stay relatively high most of the time. This isn't good as your cells actually start to ignore it. As this happens over a longer period of time and becomes more intense you start to develop diabetes. Fasting actually helps lower insulin resistance and can help prevent the onset of diabetes. By giving your body 16 hours where you aren't increasing the blood sugar level through food you give it some 'time off' and help ensure it stays sensitive to insulin.
The final thing I want to talk about today is sugar cravings. I've written an article before about how sugar elicits similar effects on our brains as certain drugs in terms of addiction and satisfaction so it's good to know how to help break that addiction. For me fasting was the answer. By allowing your body to become better at managing its own fuel sources, and by having time off sugar each day, you start to lessen the cravings you get for high sugar foods. Once you get used to fasting your body will actually start to crave the healthier foods fuel of natural protein, fat and unprocessed carbs (like vegetables). This in turn sees a drop in you sugar consumption which in turn sees a drop in cravings and the cycle continues.
What about breakfast though?
Lots of you will believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I used to believe that too. But guess what... That's another myth that has managed to assert itself as fact over a number of years of effective marketing by food companies. In fact, nowadays I actually perform worse with breakfast in me than without! If you decide to give intermittent fasting a go then to start with I expect you will feel hungry for breakfast, maybe for a few days. But if you ignore it, make sure you have a good lunch and stick with it you'll soon see that the hunger stops (a lot of it is from the habit of eating at that time everyday).
A few things to note.
Do more research to find out more about to before you start.
Don't so it if you're not well - when in ill I revert to eating more often.
This is not about cutting calories, so make sure you eat enough good food each day.
The important thing is having a 16 hour fast - the exact timings matter little.
What do you think? Willing to give it a go for a week?