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Intermittent Fasting- A Way of Eating that can Change Your Life!

FREQUENCY

 

As we approach the summer months, I thought it a good time to revisit the idea of intermittent fasting as an effective weight loss tool.  I myself have been intermittent fasting for over a year, and the results have been fantastic! Not only in my body composition, but also in my gym performance.  You  may have heard of it when researching weight loss strategies on the internet, as it has been a recent fad, but one that has proven effective and is backed by a lot of recent research.
 
Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet or a food plan, instead it’s more of an eating pattern.  Meaning you can eat much of the same food you do now (but more on that later), but within a certain time-frame.  There are several different patterns you can adopt based on your comfort level and lifestyle, but we’re going to focus on the 16/8 Method (the method I follow).  The 16/8 Method  involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 12pm to 8pm. Then you “fast” for 16 hours in between.

Basically you’ll need to eat for only 8 hours every day.  That means if you have your first meal at 12pm, you can eat until 8pm but after that you can eat/drink nothing but water, coffee, or tea.  During that 8 hours, you would eat 2-4 meals of approximately what you’d eat in a normal day (or slightly less, depending).  You can eat basically a normal diet and still have good results.

HERE’S WHY

Your body burns two major things for fuel… sugar and fat (protein too).  It prefers sugar, which it gets mainly from carbohydrates (but also from pop, sugary drinks etc.).  It does not do this because sugar is a better energy source (it is not), but because it is EASIER.  As you know from the gym, your body will do the easiest thing/take the easiest path whenever it can, despite long term detriment (which is why I’m always yelling at everyone to NOT SHRUG).  

FAT, however, is a fantastic form of energy.  It is also all over our bodies, waiting to be burned. 
The poorly designed/manipulated research from the 70’s-90’s made everyone on earth afraid of “fats” in food… which made everyone eat bread and wheat as their primary source of energy. Fat is not bad, nor will it make you fat. Sugar not only packs on the pounds, it makes it impossible for you to LOSE fat.

Basically, if you only eat for 8 hours of the day your body will burn the carbs/sugar for the first few hours after you’ve stopped eating (or started “fasting”), this is called a fed state.  This is normal and what it would do on any other day. While in this state insulin levels in your blood are high, making it difficult for your body to burn fat. However, about 5-8 or so hours after your last meal you enter a fasted state. Your body runs out of carbs to burn, but still needs energy. This is where it flips over to burning fat and the real magic happens: 
 
- Your human growth hormone (HGH) spikes (up to 5x) – this might sound bad for someone wanting to be “smaller”, but it’s not. HGH increases strength, cellular repair, and actually BURNS fat (this is why your body releases it, to break down the fat for energy).  
- Insulin levels drop dramatically.  This has two effects, one if makes it easier for your body to burn the existing fat on your body, and two IT MAKES YOU LESS HUNGRY (I’ll discuss why later)
- It actually helps your body remove buildup of unwanted proteins and decreases inflammation in your body.  This has a billion disease-related benefits, in that it makes it harder for you get them (more in the next newsletter)
 
Last point:  I know you’re probably thinking “but I get all tired/hungry/etc. during the day and I god damn well need food or I’mma get HANGRY and my family and co-workers will cower in fear of my food-deprived wrath!”
 
… YES… you are feeling that way and so did I and most people.  It is partly because your body has a clock, and it gets used to being fed at certain times (like a habit). When you don’t eat at those times it can get a little testy, but that feeling passes in about a week (replaced by ENERGY).  It is also because the mechanism that is making you hungry is more akin to a SUGAR CRASH than it is a BIOLOGICAL NEED (you’re not even close to being low on energy or food).    When we eat carbs/sugar, our insulin levels SPIKE, and spiked insulin levels do a couple of things:  
 
1) Makes it impossible to process fat (insulin in your blood prevents fat breakdown)
 
2) Once the sugar is processed there is still insulin in your blood CRYING OUT for more sugar to process
 
THIS IS THE HUNGER PANG.  It’s not that you’re running out of energy to live on, just that you’re literally on a sugar crash.  So if you limit your carb/sugar intake, you’ll notice a huge decrease in your hunger pangs and an UPSHOOT in energy (because you won’t crash halfway through the day).  Trust me, or even better ask around the gym for the people who have tried intermittent fasting, once you start it’s actually pretty easy to stick to (and if you fall off for a day or two for a weekend barbeque, who cares! Just go back into it the next day!)
 
That is a LOT of information to process in one newsletter… so I’m going to break it up into two installments and you guys can ask your questions this week for clarification! 
Things that will be addressed in the next newsletter:
 

  • Concerns about women and intermittent fasting
  • Can intermittent fasting affect my metabolism negatively?
  • Isn’t starving myself bad?
  • Long term health effects of Intermittent Fasting- including how it can be good for your brain and aging well
  • And more!

If you’ve got any questions about intermittent fasting and why it helps you lose fat and feel more energized, or even some strategies to help get you started, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at bryan@pricehealth.ca , or check out our Love Your Summer Body program starting in May in which I’ll talk more about intermittent fasting and other strategies for weight loss!

 
-Bryan

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