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Intermittent Fasting: How To Do It and Why

by Mark Davis on Jul 21, 2022

Intermittent Fasting: How To Do It and Why

If you've been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I'm here to tell you you have been lied to. It's great marketing, but it's not the scientific truth. So we're going to dive deep into intermittent fasting and why breakfast is definitely not the most important meal of the day, rather breaking a fast is. See what we did there? Let me explain. 


Religions have been touting the benefits of fasting for millennia, and science itself is known for over a hundred years that fasting can have positive health benefits on things such as improved mental clarity, improved memory and recall, weight loss, improved insulin response, improving intestinal digestive issues, as well as a whole host of other health concerns. It's natural and it's healthy, and it's a great way to overall improve your health. And the best part is intermittent fasting is completely, totally free.


Intermittent fasting isn’t hard or complicated, you just time your eating differently than the mass media has taught you to. I'm going to walk you through what intermittent fasting is, some of the science behind the health benefits of how intermittent fasting actually works, and the best part, how to easily incorporate it into your busy lifestyle so that you can actually reap all the benefits of intermittent fasting. 


What is Intermittent Fasting?

Let's start with what intermittent fasting isn't. Intermittent fasting is not what a lot of people think it is, which is not eating for days and days at a time. Some people think it's taking special potions or concoctions to flush your colon. That is not what intermittent fasting is. 


Intermittent fasting is simply choosing a time window each and every day in which you're going to eat. Many of us have been taught to wake up, hurry up and eat a really big balanced breakfast, get started for the day, then a few hours later, maybe have some lunch, and maybe have a snack a couple hours later, and then a dinner after that. And then, hey, if we're lucky, have a dessert or something at the end of the night. That is way too much food in a way too long period of time. 


Intermittent fasting is simply choosing a shorter window of time to consume your food. I find that the most effective method is a 16:8 fasting eating ratio. Don’t let me lose you here, it’s not all that complicated. A 16:8 just means that you don't eat for 16 hours of the day and you eat during an eight hour period of the day. My favorite window for eating is somewhere between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm. What that means is you have the last food of the day at 8:00 PM, and you can start eating during the day at noon. So, between noon and eight are the time periods in which you're consuming all your food. At the end of eight o'clock, you don't have anything until noon the next day. 


You're probably thinking you're going to be ravishingly hungry in the morning, and while that may actually happen initially for the first couple of days, you're going to be amazed at how soon, after a week or so, your body adapts and you're not even going to miss breakfast at all. You won't wake up hungry and you won't even think about eating until around lunchtime. But the key is you're going to have to stick to intermittent fasting for a couple weeks to get to that point. 



The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting

There is a science to why your body is able to adapt and thrive with intermittent fasting, it's not just your body getting used to it. When you're in a fasted state, your body burns fat for energy. Those fat cells, which scientists refer to as adipose cells, secrete a peptide hormone called leptin.


This cool little hormone does a few really cool things. First, it increases your metabolism. Second, it inhibits not only insulin synthesis, but its release. And the best part, it actually tells your brain, in an area called the hypothalamus, not to desire food. Intermittent fasting actually develops a hormone response that decreases your appetite. How cool is that? 


It makes you less hungry, and that's because the leptin that's being released when your fat cells are being used for energy inhibits a pesky little hormone called ghrelin, or as I call it, the growling ghrelin because it's in charge of making your stomach growl. This hormone is secreted from the fundus of your stomach and it makes your stomach growl. It tells your brain that you're hungry, and sometimes it'll tell your brain that you're ravishingly hungry. Leptin tells your brain not to even pay attention to the ghrelin response even if it's present and you don't feel hungry. 


Becoming Fat Adapted

When your body gets used to intermittent fasting over the course of a couple of weeks, it starts to become what's called fat adapted, meaning it knows to burn your fat during the fasting hours. When it's burning your fat, it increases your metabolism, your insulin decreases, your hunger subsides, and you get the health benefits of weight loss, improve mental performance and improves sugar regulation, all because you made the decision to change when you eat. 


If you really want to supercharge your results, you can also change not only when you eat but what you eat. I find that eating a ketogenic diet when you're not in a fasting state has absolutely amazing results. 


A few words of caution about intermittent fasting. Understand that initially, you are going to feel hungry. This is going to pass for the reasons that I've described previously, but you may also have this feeling of being tired or a little hazy feeling for the first couple of days. Please don't panic. Just follow the simple tips that I'm going to share with you and it's going to help minimize some of those not so great feelings in the beginning, but stick with it. 


Tips for Fasting


Drink Water

Tip number one, make sure you're drinking lots and lots of water. Not only is this true during a fasting time, but it's also true during the times when you're eating as well. Water is important for all metabolic processes in the entire body, but it also helps flush out the toxins that are being released when you burn fat. 


Your body stores toxins in adipose or fat tissue and when you burn that fat in the fasted state, these cells release these toxins back into the circulation. It's possible that these toxins may be responsible for some of those not so great symptoms that you feel when you first start fasting. So remember to add a lot of water while you're fasting. You may even want to add a tiny pinch of Himalayan sea salt, a pink Himalayan sea salt into the water. Adding salt will help with electrolyte imbalances, and ultimately it'll help with cellular metabolism as well. No matter how you do it, drink lots and lots of water when you're fasting. 


Drink Water

Tip number two, when you're in the fasted state, meaning you're not in the eating time window, try having one ounce of organic apple cider vinegar diluted in water as soon as you get up in the morning. This doesn't break your fast. In fact, it actually does the exact opposite. 


The first thing ACV does is it helps satiate or control those early morning hungers that you might have, but it also boosts the metabolic benefit of the fasted state to take effect a lot more quickly that would without the presence of the apple cider vinegar. This is not one of those things that you absolutely have to do while doing intermittent fasting, but it definitely is a hack for those early days when you first get started and are trying to get into that fat adapted state.


Coffee

Tip number three, enjoy coffee. Coffee does two really cool things. It helps stimulate your metabolism, and it also encourages fat burning. Not bad, right? The key here is it must be black, no cream, no sugars, no sweeteners. This may be a challenge if you're used to making these creamy, sugary coffees, but adding even one ounce, just a little bit of milk or cream is going to break your fast and you're not going to get all the benefits of having that fast for the extra hours that you would've otherwise. 


Exercise

Tip number four, work out in a fasted state. So, if you're going to do your fast between 8:00 PM and noon the next day, generally it's best to work out when it's convenient for you in the morning. Working out during this time is going to continue to encourage fat burning for energy and a process called lipolysis. Without question, this is going to help with weight loss if that's one of your health goals. 


But don't you have to eat protein immediately after your workout to get those gains? Heck, the commercials even tell us you have to drink milk right afterwards, right? That's just great marketing. It's not 100% scientifically accurate for a vast majority of people. The reality is protein synthesis that builds muscle after a workout literally occurs for up to 24 hours after the workout. 


In most cases, just waiting a few hours after your workout to break your fast and consume protein is not going to have a negative impact on your gains at all. But at the same time, you're going to get all the positive health benefits from the intermittent fasting that you've been working so hard at.


Intermittent fasting really is as simple as that. It just takes a little planning and sticking to it. And it's a great lifestyle with a multitude of health benefits, and I'd highly recommend it. Best of all, it's free and it's easy to do. It really is as simple as making the choice to change. 


Until next time, remember, health is by choice, not chance.