I have to state that if you are considering or have any interest in intermittent fasting you must discuss it with your family medical doctor or your weight loss Doctor and get their approval before beginning such a program. This article is not medical advice and not to be followed as any type of medical advice or recommendations. Before beginning any type of nutrition, diet and exercise plan you must discuss it with your doctor first. Especially if you’re diabetic you must clear this type of program with your doctor.
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Not only is intermittent fasting getting quite a bit of attention in the diet and fitness world but is also getting a lot of attention in the news and social media. And many of our patients have lots of questions about intermittent fasting. Just to clear up some confusion intermittent fasting is not necessarily a diet. What intermittent fasting is is a method, a system telling you when and how often you should be eating. It doesn’t really get into the type of food that you should be eating, the number of calories you should be eating throughout the day and how much protein, vegetables and good healthy fats during the day that you should eat in a day. Again intermittent fasting is more about when you should be eating during the day and how frequently you should be eating. So the next question is why he is intermittent fasting so popular? It’s popular because when combined with the proper nutrition plan it can be a very effective way to help you lose weight and help improve your overall health and wellness. The reason why intermittent fasting is popular is that it helps control 2 very important chemicals or hormones when it comes to losing weight. And those hormones are growth hormone and insulin. Now usually when everyone thinks of growth hormone they think about athletes and possibly steroids. But your body produces its own growth hormone. It’s one of the major hormones in the body when it comes to losing weight and developing nice lean muscle. Most people associate growth hormone with being the anti-aging hormone. So growth hormone is important across it helps you build muscle and helps burn body.
The other hormone affected by intermittent fasting is insulin. Now everyone has heard about insulin and usually only think of insulin we think of diabetes. And this is true diabetics usually do have problems with insulin and insulin resistance. But insulin also controls how much fat we store on our body. If insulin is in your body, floating around in your bloodstream is impossible for your body to burn fat. Insulin basically tells your body to store fat. So with the insulin levels are high in your body it does not matter what you are eating, the calories from the food are going to be stored as body fat. Even if you are eating a delicious grilled chicken with some steamed vegetables when the insulin levels are high all of those calories are going to be stored as body fat.
Insulin actually works against growth hormone and will prevent your body from burning fat and building lean healthy muscle. So now you know that if you see someone with a very large stomach they probably have a problem with insulin.
It’s a complicated process in the body. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. When everything is normal the cells in your body are receptive to the insulin that is being produced by the pancreas and everything is fine. But when people start over eating problems start to show their ugly head. Because a person is constantly eating, especially your sugar and carbohydrate foods and beverages your body, your pancreas produces more insulin to help control this. The issue is that the body is producing so much insulin the cells become resistant to it. And because the cells are resistant to insulin the pancreas produces more and more insulin.
When the pancreas is producing more insulin than the body needs the cells of the body actually become resistant to the insulin. And what happens is there is a low amount of insulin in the cells of the body but there is a tremendously high amount of insulin floating around in the bloodstream. This high amount of insulin in your body causes everything that you are eating to be stored as body fat. This is one of the main precursors to diabetes or being what they call prediabetic. And if you do not get this under control you are on your way to having full-blown diabetes.
Intermittent fasting can help with this because it decreases the number of times that you are eating during the day. Every time you eat something your body usually converts part of that food into sugar or glucose; and this in turn elevates insulin levels. So the theory is that if you decrease the number of times you are going to eat during the day you decrease the number of insulin spikes throughout your day.
Intermittent fasting can be practiced several different ways. Usually if someone is beginning with intermittent fasting we usually suggest that they start with 3 meals a day. Usually that would mean that you are eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. You are eating three times a day with no snacking in between. In my opinion this is probably one of the best ways to start with intermittent fasting. For most of us this sounds familiar because we have been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner and probably enjoying one or two snacks in between. If you need a snack in between these three meals I would suggest that you eat vegetables.
If you are successful with just eating your three meals a day and you are losing weight and feel really good most people would continue and keep this regimen.
If you want to step up a notch with intermittent fasting then you would limit your eating to just 8 hours during the day. And if you are eating during only 8 hours of the day you would be fasting approximately 16 hours of the day. For example if you’re going to have your first meal at 11 AM you should be finished eating by 7 PM. You can still enjoy your normal breakfast, lunch and dinner with this schedule.
Most people have great success with this routine of only eating during 8 hours of the day and they find that it is an easy lifestyle to adjust to.
Some people might decide to take intermittent fasting a step further and they go to a time schedule of just eating during 4 hours of the day. This is something that I do not think is necessary for most people and would not recommend it for most people. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to maintain this program. Again this schedule of only eating during a 4 hours during the day is something that I do not recommend for most people. And if you were considering doing this type of routine you definitely have to speak with your medical doctor and get clearance to do it.
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