Intermittent Fasting: A Free Fitness Tactic That You Can Implement Tomorrow
“Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.” — Hippocrates
“Instead of using medicine, rather, fast a day.” — Plutarch
Before the age of Big Pharma, the rise of Western medicine, and a pill being the answer for every ailment; fasting was a key purifying force used by doctors all over the world. It’s interesting isn’t it, that when a pet is sick, they won’t eat until they feel better. We are creatures of feasting and fasting. From our times living in caves to our times traversing the Wild West, there were times of eating and times of wondering when the next meal was going to happen.
It isn’t until recently that we have been able to eat every second of the day. With the advancements in agriculture and the big money thrown into food-like products, we have been taught that the answer to most of our problems can be found through a particular food or drink.
After a couple decades in the dark, fasting is back.
Intermittent fasting, fasting, and Time Restricted Feeding have grown from a religious ritual and medical practice to become a key tactic used by many of the most successful entrepreneurs and fitness fanatics out there today.
Tim Ferriss, of Four Hour fame, practices various forms of fasting throughout the year. Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, created a fasting app (Zero) that lets you know when to start and stop fasting based on various factors. Malcolm Gladwell believes that very little should be consumed before noon. There is even a biohacking group in the Bay Area that meets to break fasts, called WeFast.
Health Benefits of Fasting:
As the momentum picks up for this way of organizing your eating pattern, so does the research that backs it up.
Fasting is known to decrease the rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.
Studies suggest improved memory retention in fasting individuals through a brain chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Restricting the time we eat daily allows our body and brain to self-repair and “take out the garbage.” This is one of the reasons our mental performance is enhanced by fasting. But fasting can also improve our long-term health. Numerous studies count reduced cardiovascular risk, improved resilience against cancer and reduced signs of aging as benefits of fasting.
According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3–8% over 3–24 weeks.
The people also lost 4–7% of their waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of belly fat, the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease.
One review study also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction.
Intermittent fasting is hard in the contemplation, of that there is no doubt. “You go without food for 24 hours?” people would ask, incredulously when we explained what we were doing. “I could never do that.” But once started, it’s a snap. No worries about what and where to eat for one or two out of the three meals per day. It’s a great liberation. Your food expenditures plummet. And you’re not particularly hungry. … Although it’s tough to overcome the idea of going without food, once you begin the regimen, nothing could be easier.”
— Dr. Michael Eades
Causal Benefits of Fasting:
If the medical, biological, and longevity benefits of fasting aren’t enough for you; here are some causal benefits that have been reported due to implementing an intermittent fasting regimen.
It saves money.
When it comes to the grocery bill, a lot of us cringe when we read the receipt after throwing the food in the fridge. When you incorporate Time Restricted Feeding into your life, that money will either be saved or go a lot further. You can buy that more expensive organic item and leave the cereal box at the store.
It saves you time.
Think about your most time crunched periods of the day, where you are rushing around with your head cut off. Most likely, these moments occur around a meal. What if you just cut that meal out for yourself? Boom, you’ve achieved TRF or intermittent fasting.
It saves you mental space.
Most people who talk about their fasting habit tend to bring up a sense of clarity they feel due to the practice. They seem to get more work completed, feel free, and are quicker on their feet. You release any decisions you need to make about a particular meal and don’t have the lingering food coma weighing you down.
There’s fasting, and then there’s FASTING.
I have heard multiple accounts of a man who fasted, went without eating food, for 382 days and ended on July 11th 1966. There is limited documentation of Angus Barbieri and his feat of fasting.
Angus walked into a hospital in Scotland weighing in at over 450 pounds. The doctors put him on a short fast, hoping it would help jumpstart the weight loss he needed, they didn’t expect him to keep the weight off.
Days turned into weeks and Angus was excited to continue the fasting regimen. He knew it was dangerous, but he wanted to reach his goal weight of 180 pounds.
He lived almost entirely at home during his fast and routinely visited the doctors for checkups and overnight stays. Regular tests were done on him to allow him to continue the fast as were vitamin supplements given to help keep his electrolytes in check. He was allowed to drink coffee, tea, and sparkling water during the streak.
At the end of the 382 days, he tipped the scales at 180 pounds. Five years later, he was only touching 197 pounds.
The human body is an amazing creation and it wants to be in a state of ease, not disease. Giving your body time to cleanse itself, without worrying about any incoming substances, can be one of the most beneficial habits you could give yourself. Watch your weight go down, and your energy go up!
***Before you do any type of prolonged fast, please consult a physician or medical professional. If you are reading this, I assume you are very intelligent. Please prove me right.***