Intermittent Fasting – A Tool Not A Rule
Before I start this blog I want to make it clear that I am not qualified to prescribe any ‘diet’ and I try hard not to stray outside my lane. I am qualified to advise on healthy eating habits and always stress that what works for one will not necessarily work for another. Therefore, this blog will be giving you my thoughts on Intermittent Fasting.
I chose this particular diet because it is trending at the moment and many people are doing it. If you want to delve deeper into the subject, you will find endless articles on the internet. Be warned, much of what you read will just be another writer’s opinion. The nitty gritty is there, but you must be determined to find out what is fact and what might be fiction. Read on to see if you think it is worth the effort.
When I hear people say that this or that diet worked for them, they are telling the truth. When they go on to say things like, it is the best diet, an easy diet, gives fast results, you are never hungry etc. they are talking about their own experience and should not be suggesting that someone else will experience the same thing. The reason they do this? It is exactly how the diet was sold to them!
An unavoidable and unglamorous fact about losing weight is something known as calorie deficit. Without that, it just won’t work.
Eat less than you use, not less than you need.
How much you need will depends on many factors, most of which are ignored in many ‘this is a great diet’ articles.
We all know the dangers of being overweight but did you know that excess fat stored around the waist is the most dangerous? From here it can move around the body and get stuck in places it shouldn’t be. Lowering your risks is more than important, it is essential. BUT, the weight loss has to be sustainable.
Ask yourself, am I overweight simply because I eat to much?
In my experience, there are always underlying factors. Please do not ignore them.
Get your head in order first, then tackle your body!
Fasting comes in many different shapes and sizes : The 5:2 The 16:8 The Alternative Day Fasting. The Diet Mimicking Diet…..
Suffice it to say, they all aim to get you into a calorie deficit. That is good news. Finding one which suits your lifestyle is they key.
Feast or Famine it is not! If you can’t eat sensibly in between the fasting, it is safe to say that particular eating style is not for you.
There are many health benefits of giving your body a rest from digesting and absorbing food. When we sleep, we fast. The longer this fast lasts, the better. If you prefer, or need to eat late in the evening as I do (when not in lockdown!) then breakfast will just have to wait, or even be forgotten, especially if you have a sedentary morning ahead. Shortening your feeding window is an easy to understand way of using fasting to lose weight. No magic, just fewer hours to eat!
- Most studies have only been carried out on rats
- Fasting is not found to be as beneficial for women as men
- In rats, during fasting, the females ovaries shrank and stress hormones increased
- Livers are different in men than women. During fasting a man’s liver becomes a more efficient fat burner. Women’s don’t, in fact they store more fat and tap into muscle stores (not fair!)
- Fasting produces stress hormones so moderation is best
- More high quality research is needed to determine long-term results
- Heart health
- Cancer prevention
- Reduction in inflammation
- Brain health – hormones released increase regeneration of brain cells
You will be able to find many other benefits of specific fasting diets. They are all factual, but how many are unique to fasting diets and cannot be achieved on any calorie deficit diet?
Do’s & Don’ts:
- Don’t start fasting until you understand healthy eating. A stable eating pattern is essential before you start.
- Don’t use it long term.
- Avoid completely if you suffer from diabetes.
- Don’t attempt to fast if you are underweight or have disordered eating.
- Use it as a Tool not a Rule.
- It will be counterproductive if you don’t have a good sleep pattern as your stress hormones will already be high.
- Practice moderation. More is not necessarily better.
- There are more, so proceed with caution and research!
Remember, this is only one way of doing things, not the only way. Do what works for you.