Intermittent Fasting

Vibrant Living Adventures


I've been an advocate of fasting since I found out about it as a teenager when I read my first yoga book. I practiced fasting many times in my life when I started feeling "off" or "yucky", and always fasted when I felt a cold or flu coming on.  I've done mono-diet fasting (just apples, or just avocados), juice fasting, spirulina fasting, and water fasting. My record was a 20-day water fast, and a 54-day spirulina fast. I enjoy fasting only because of the way it allows me to feel--mostly after it's done.

At no point during a fast was I disabled from not eating food, and the only reason I stopped a fast was because I felt I'd gone as far as I could go with it. We are programmed to believe that without food we would starve. And in fact, this belief I believe causes starvation.

I've always known there were benefits to allowing the body to spend time unburdened by having to constantly digest food. If you eat "three square meals" a day, especially if you include the nocturnal "fourth meal" made famous by Taco Bell, then your body is pretty much digesting food all the time. It is not healthy, as many, many studies are showing of late.

Researchers have for quite some time equated fasting with longevity, as in many experiments with lab animals have proved longer lifespans from limited caloric intact. There's even an entire movement--The Calorie Restriction Society--that espouses a longer life on less than 1600 daily calories. 

Fasting can be an extreme form of therapy, but recent research has found that the much more conservative intermittent fasting for only 16 hours, has a myriad of benefits for every system of the body. As far as weight loss goes, at about 14-16 hours, the body goes into "ketosis", producing ketones that directly break down fats to glucose from fat stores in the body.

The easy way to tell if you've gone into ketosis is the hunger sensation. Now this hunger sensation is not a craving, it is the hunger you get after not eating for a prolonged period--in this case 14-16 hours. The tendency is to immediately eat something when we feel hungry. Use your mindfulness drill to allow the hunger. The hunger is signaling many processes in the body to increase, speed up, or engage, such as detoxification of the blood, increase in oxygen absorption, and the clearing of mucous throughout the body. When you "break" the fast, there is a greater release of serotonin and endorphins, and food has a more intense taste and enjoyment.

Most conveniently, do not eat after dinner, then waiting to eat until lunch--usually about 16 hours. Then eat lunch and dinner within the remaining 8 hours. Your body will thank you, and you'll have more energy, and maybe lose that fat you've been hung up about.

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