Friday, May 14, 2010

Intermittent fasting 101

Happy Friday!!

I've been such a blog slacker lately but you know what I don't regret it! I was just not feeling it so I listened to myself and laid low. It was good and allowed the free flow of fresh ideas to enter my brain. I just read an article that was featured in the Crazy Sexy Life weekly newsletter about how big-time business people do this on a regular basis to keep their edge. I believe it too because I produced some big ideas while I was laying back that I might have shrugged off if I was just go, go, go. I will be talking about one of these big ideas soon. I'm a little apprehensive to talk about it but I'm going to anyways because I value every readers' opinion (the nice one's anyways!). Also, starting June 1st I will be back working at the office at the coast so my blogging schedule is going to change as I won't be able to blog during the day as much. I will also be taking full advantage of the beautiful summer weather so I'm thinking early morning blog sessions are going to be happening in my near future. Are you changing the pace on your blog for the summertime?

Today I wanted to talk about a type of fasting that I am going to be experimenting with during my transformation contest called intermittent fasting. Brad Pilon is the author of Eat Stop Eat and he explains intermittent fasting or IF as a style of eating where a person alternates between periods of fasting and non-fasting (eating normally). This may seem self evident but I want to stress the word "alternate." This type of fasting does not go on for days (or months) like a juice fast can, in fact, its most effective when completed over a 24 hour period. Brad suggests 1-2 days per week of fasting. I am going to try one day a week. Actually once I hit publish I'm going to start my fast (noon to noon).

If we go way back to the cave men era I'm sure you wouldn't find them eating 3 square meals a day (plus 2 snacks!). They ate when they killed something or found a patch of berries, seeds, greens etc! This is basically a natural form of IF. Did we find obese or overweight cave men? Nope (at least I've never seen one). So, I guess you could say IF is a primal form of eating and I think we have a lot to learn from it! I'm sure you have heard the phrase " you need burn more than you eat" when it comes to weight loss. Yes, the only way to lose the pounds is to create an energy deficit. Yet, society is stuffing their mouths like food is going out of style and our waistlines have gone up an average of 5 inches over the past four decades.Yikes! We are constantly in the "fed" state and that has certain implications to our health, especially for those trying to lose weight. Brad explains it is hard for those to lose weight these days because of this constant fed state. The body is used to storing extra calories when we eat over our needs so that we can use this energy when we do not have food available to us in the future. This makes sense to me, does it for you? I'm going to assume yes and continue.

You may be wondering if your metabolism will be effected if you don't eat for those 24 hours? Well, there is tons of research on this subject but I want to just share two little research tid-bits with you. A study of women who ate half the amount of food they normally ate for 3 days saw no change in their metabolism. Another study made people fast for 3 days and their metabolic rate did not change. Crazy hey?

Weight loss is not the only benefit of IF, many other studies have found the following health benefits:

  • Maintenance of skeletal muscle mass
  • Decreased blood glucose levels
  • Decreased Insulin Levels and increased insulin sensitivity
  • Increased lipolysis and fat oxidation
  • Increased uncoupling Protein 3mRNA (protein involved in fat burning)
  • Increased norepinephrine and epinephrine levels (trigger release of of glucose from energy stores, cause feelings of alertness, releases fatty acids from your fat stores)
  • Increased glucagon levels (maintains blood sugar levels, increases fat burning, decreases the production of cholesterol, and increasing the release of extra fluids from the body)
  • Increased growth hormone levels ( prevents muscle loss during fasting, releases stored fat, keeps metabolism elevated during the fasting process)

***Benefits were noted from Eat Stop Eat

Sounds only too good to be true, right? If IF sounds like something you would be interested in trying please read up on it to make sure it is right for you. And if you have medical complications make sure you check with your doctor before you jump in. I've read many testimonials from people who used it and it greatly improved their health and helped them lose excess fat too!

I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow! I also have a recipe to share with you called scrumdidilumptious bars. Hopefully Willy Wonka won't mind that I used one of his candy bar names:)

Have a wonderful weekend!


Kris | said...

Welcome back ;)

Wow, I am not sure if I can fast.....I get way too grumpy!

But the benefits do sound good!


Nelly said...

i use to do this...and now i am thinking perhaps i was on to something i was also very teeny weeny and the happiest and energetic i have ever been!!!

i'm thinking i want to start all over i can lose these pesky 15 pounds i put on in the last year...due to sciatica, but nonetheless annoying as *bleep*...haha!

thanks for sharing lovely.

have a beautiful weekend.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

i love the caveman analogy and I know that for me, i find that people who eat 3 squares and 3+ snacks per day and who are constantly stoking the digestive fires and that one's digestion is never allowed to just rest...that this would not be for me. I can go long periods of time without eating, then eat alot, and sort of "stockpile up" my calories, caveman style. I know some ppl need a steady stream of food, i know i dont. I also dont have rules about eating late. I eat a ton! of food between 11p-2am. It's when i am hungry, so i eat.

Anyway i think this is a cool experiment and lmk how it pans out!

Lauren said...

This was really interesting to read. I hear a lot of controversial things about fasting. Some people think its great and others think its not, or some think its just unnecessary. Its hard for me to know either way because I don't think I've ever really tried it, or if I have, I certainly haven't done it properly. I am interested to see what kind of results you get. I'm always a little nervous about changing my eating patterns and how that will effect my body and health, but if you get good results from it, I would definitely consider it. All those benefits sure do sound good to me! Good luck with it, I hope it goes well for you.

Also, I'm happy you took some time off when you needed it. Sometimes we need "intermittent fasting" from blogging and give our minds a chance to recuperate. Hope you're having a great weekend xox

HiHoRosie said...

Interesting and informative post my dear! Can't say I've done much in way of least for long periods. Probably the longest I've done (voluntarily) is about 12 hours. lol! But you know, IF might be the thing that's best for me. Anyway, I'm interested in how this works for you as well.

And hey, I blog when I can or when I feel I have something to contribute/say. So consistency is not me. ha ha! And esp in the summer time! If anything when you take your respites, it's my time to catch up anyway. :D

Melissa said...

Hey Kris - I thought it would be worse but it wasn't bad at all! I think if you eat relatively clean then the fasting goes better:)

Hey Nelly - did the fasting..very cool! Sorry to hear about the sciatica:( You are gorgeous!! But I know what you mean about pesky things hanging around and you can't do much about it!

Hey Averie - I love how you go with what works for your body!! I love your caveman analogy too!

Hey Lauren - Thank you for supporting my little blog vacation lol! I totally agree sometimes we need to step back and be away from technology for awhile!
Yes, there are a gazillion opinions on fasting and such so its hard to know who to believe. Yet, Brad from Eat Stop Eat was highly recommended from various sources so I trusted his work and he has tons of research to back up his claims, which I like. We shall see and I'll let you know my thoughts on it after a few fasts!

Hey Heidi - I will keep you updated my dear! It's one of those topics that is scary to think about but once you do it a couple of times you get the hang of it:) It's weird to think that not eating can help the!
I like your blog writing style! I should adopt that:)