FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS IT?
Johns Hopkins Medicine tells me that intermittent fasting is a plan for eating that will switch me back and forth between eating and fasting on a regular schedule.
It is more about when you eat than what you eat.
Quite simply, intermittent fasting prolongs the time during which your body has already burned the calories consumed during your most recent meal. You are now burning fat.
I will get into much more detail later, but I want to explain how I stumbled upon the concept.
A FREAK ACCIDENT
It would be logical to assume that anyone who subscribes to an eating plan that involves fasting would have carefully considered this and would have exercised caution while making plans.
I had always eaten lunch around 12 noon and had planned my dinner for around 5:00 PM. Recently, however, I had begun to do my workouts in the morning before breakfast. This began after my ritual of shaving, taking nose and eye drops, then taking and recording my blood pressure and pulse.
My resistance workout took about 30 minutes, though I could hurry and make it 15 minutes. After that, I would begin my cardio workout, either by walking on my treadmill as I listened to music or by walking outside. After this, I always enjoyed a long and hot soaking bath with Epsom salts.
All of this could take me to 11:00 or even later, especially since I wanted to be pleased when I finally got around to weighing myself.
I soon found myself purposely turning my first meal into a 12 noon brunch.
Then I did an article on Halle Berry, who was coincidentally timing her workouts and meals in a very similar manner. She was calling this intermittent fasting. Here is my article on Halle Berry.
I was surprised to learn that I was doing intermittent fasting. My fasting period was roughly 16- 18 hours, from the end of my 5:00 dinner to the beginning of my brunch. There was nothing especially demanding about this and I was not feeling hungry or deprived in any way.
For me, it was only a matter of defining what I was already doing. A little reverse engineering seemed appropriate.
Neuroscientist Mark Mattson, Ph.D., has done extensive study on intermittent fasting. He knows that our bodies have evolved to withstand long periods of fasting, even for a few days. We were hunters and gatherers. It took time to find food or to gather berries or nuts.
He knows that we were better able to control our weight many years ago, before television and the Internet. We were physically more active then, less inclined to sit around and eat snacks.
Here are a couple of types of intermittent fasting:
- We may eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours. Actually, this is very nearly what I was doing, without realizing it.
- We could eat regularly for 5 days each week and eat one meal with around 600 calories on the other 2 days, maybe on Monday and Thursday
It is important to check with your doctor before embarking on either of these plans. There is also a “breaking in” period, wherein we may be hungry or irritable as we adjust.
Dr. Mattson tells us that those who stick through the adjustment period generally feel a lot better than ever and stay with the plan.
Black coffee, water and drinks with zero calories are permitted during fasting. Also, eating huge amounts of food after fasting is strongly discouraged. My plan is to keep my daily calories under 2000. I had done this before and after beginning (accidentally) the program.
This is simply a metabolic switch, with many benefits.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
- Improved thinking and memory
- Better heart health. An improvement in blood pressure and resting heart rate
- More fat loss and muscle mass. Better cardio endurance.
- Prevention of diabetes and obesity
- Reduction of tissue damage in surgery or otherwise
Dr. Mattson speaks of a sharper mind, longer life and leaner body – also protection against age-related diseases, cancers and inflammatory bowels.
Here are a few relevant books and other options that are available from Amazon. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. Click on the links and then scroll around as you see fit.
- Fast. Feast. Repeat.
- The Complete Guide to Fasting
- Fast Bar – plant-based protein bars for weight control and intermittent fasting
- Intermittent Fasting Diet Guide and Cookbook
- Intermittent Fasting for Women over 50
- Intermittent Fasting for Dummies
- Intermittent Fasting for Beginners
- Life in the Fasting Lane
- Intermittent Fasting T-shirt
- Self-hypnosis for intermittent fasting
- Delay, Don’t Deny – the intermittent fasting lifestyle
Here are a few of my favorite affiliates, in general:
- Dick’s Sporting Goods – the largest sporting goods merchant in the U.S. and my source for sports equipment, accessories and apparel for several decades
- Bullworker – high quality isotonic and isometric workout tools, portable and often taken on trips
- Goli Nutrition – gummies and chocolate bites for better health and disease prevention. Check my link for discounts
I am quite happy and more than a little surprised that I found myself doing intermittent fasting without even trying. It has been a happy experience and my general health has greatly improved.
My plan is to continue this program, with no end in sight. It is not difficult.
But I would recommend doing it differently. Study the material, discuss it with your primary care physician. Do it purposefully.
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well and stay healthy!