Intermittent fasting. A buzzword these days. Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular in recent years and I have personally fallen in love with it. There is a lot to unpack in this post, so stay with me! Trust me, it’s worth it.
I have been intermittent fasting for about 2 years now, more so in the last year. I typically skip breakfast and last as long as I can. I loosely follow the 16:8 plan (16 hours fasted, 8 hour feeding window). My goal is to fast until 1PM each day. If I am super hungry that day, I’ll eat earlier. If I can go longer than 1PM, I will.
I am currently managing a hair salon and it is often times very busy. I bury myself in projects or am busying interacting with clients. Before I know it, it’s already 3PM. Being busy makes fasting so much more doable!
I want something to be clear, intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat and with that brings along many benefits.
Well, most notably, it’s a great way to keep muscle mass and get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you’ll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting (most people eat bigger meals during a shorter time frame). I eat like I normally would, until I am satiated. I don’t count calories, ever. Too much work!
With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. But what many people don’t know is that intermittent fasting is extremely beneficial to your brain and cells! Helloooo longevity!
It has been known for awhile now that fasting causes a metabolic switch to happen in each individual cell in your body. As a result, your cells regenerate faster and more efficiently. This helps your body fight off sickness and disease. The effects of fasting are so incredible that researchers at MIT, Koch Institute, and Whitehead Institute (yes, real name) have studied a drug that mimics fasting by turning that metabolic switch (they studied cells specifically in the intestine) in cancer patients who are unable to fast (link to article here). That means that the benefits of fasting has on the body is so significant, they want to create a drug that mimics it and give it to cancer patients. Wild!
To give you an idea of the article, here is an interesting excerpt:
“Intestinal stem cells are the workhorses of the intestine that give rise to more stem cells and to all of the various differentiated cell types of the intestine. Notably, during aging, intestinal stem function declines, which impairs the ability of the intestine to repair itself after damage,” Yilmaz says. “In this line of investigation, we focused on understanding how a 24-hour fast enhances the function of young and old intestinal stem cells.”
I won’t continue to bore you with the biology and chemical pathways behind all of this (my first love). Instead, here are some bullet points of the benefits that may happen to your body.
- Less body fat, while keeping lean muscle mass
- Slows down the aging process
- Cellular repair and restoration
- Optimizes physical performance
- Helps the body combat sickness and disease
For all of my fellow nerds, click on this article for more in-depth information and some amazing podcasts regarding all things fasting!
I encourage you to give fasting a try. The first couple of times you do it, it may feel unbearable. But let your body know that you are in control and in return it will thank you for it! ♥
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