Is it feasible and actually worthwhile?
There’s no question that, much like “dieting”, fasting has negative connotations. Feelings of hunger, stress and fear likely enter the brain, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Sure, it’s a challenge and takes some commitment, but veterans of the diet wars are already well aware of the difficulties that lie ahead. However, through intermittent fasting, that challenge can result in real, positive changes.
Bottom line? It’s good for you, both body and mind.
Is it difficult?
No, in fact it’s quite doable. Have you ever woken up one morning, skipped breakfast and not had anything to eat until lunch or brunch at noon the next day? Well guess what! You may have inadvertently already practiced intermittent fasting.
If you ate dinner at 7 p.m. and didn’t eat until noon the next day, you fasted for 16 hours. You also slept through eight of them – and wasn’t that easy? It’s all about when you plan to forgo eating on a recurring basis that makes this system work, and work for you.
The pattern described above (16 hours without eating) defines “Time Restricted Eating” (TRE). TRE means limiting your calorie consumption, or eating window, to eight hours per day. Dinner at 6 p.m., brunch or lunch the following day at noon and voila! That’s intermittent fasting in its simplest form.
There are other patterns that work well. For instance, one can fast for 24 hours with little hardship and great effect. Actually, you’re still having one meal on that day – no going to bed hungry! Fast for one or two days a week? Everyone is different, so the key is finding a fasting plan that works best for you.
Is it worth it?
If you think fasting is another fad or gimmick to help you cut calories, delete that thought. No one is against reducing calories. After all, when it comes to losing weight everything helps. But calorie restriction will not solve the obesity problem. As you’ve learned, there’s more to it than that. In a nutshell:
- Insulin blocks the breakdown of body fat. When you fast, insulin levels drop – and that’s a good thing.
- When fasting, after 12 hours your body switches fuels (energy source) from glucose to fat. Fat burning – that’s another good thing.
- Finally, the act of shifting metabolisms from sugars to fat – the switch itself – has beneficial effects on many body systems. This can result in improved cognition (memory), body composition and insulin sensitivity.
So, is intermittent fasting feasible and worthwhile? Yes, and yes!