Let’s keep it real here – there wasn’t always a McDonalds or Burger King on every corner. It was much more difficult to acquire food even 100 years ago, so sometimes we simply had to wait. That’s a major reason why we have survived as a species – our ability to be able to thrive in the absence of food. The fact is our bodies were meant to deal with a variance in the availability of food and there is plenty of evidence that suggest there can be many health benefits from calorie restriction. More and more in the fitness and weight loss community you hear about Intermittent Fasting (IF) as a method of weight/fat loss, so I’ve decided to put together 4 reasons why fasting may work for you as a fat loss tool.
The Natural Cleanse
Our bodies go through millions of cellular reactions at any given time which lead to cellular wear and tear. Accumulation of cellular garbage leads to further destruction within the cell and has been linked to accelerated aging and many types of chronic disease. The process of autophagy deals with garbage cells by recycling them within the body. The only catch: you have to be in a fasted state for this process to work really well. The hormonal response from the introduction of even a tiny amount of food immediately blunts the process. That’s also the reason why adequate sleep slows the aging process; because sleep essentially is a fast! On the flip side prolonged fasting can lead to the degeneration of muscle mass, bone tissue and overall weakness in the body. A healthy balance of these two processes will lead to a body that can essentially cleanse itself while continuing to build and repair tissues efficiently, leading to increased vitality and longevity.
Improve Your Relationship With Food
Being able to say no to food is a powerful fat loss tool. Dr. John Berardi says in his e-book on intermittent fasting, “Hunger is not an emergency, it is a feeling… one that’s nothing to panic over.” When you learn to defer food gratification you start to understand the difference between psychological (mental) hunger and physiological (body) hunger and you unlock the key to the biggest reason why people gain excess body fat ; eating too much too often.
Fat Loss Simplicity
The most important factor to dietary success is compliance. Brad Pilon, author of one of the best IF resources available, says, “a bad diet that you can stay on is more effective than a good diet that you can’t”. Most of the popular diet plans like Atkins, The Zone and South Beach are just different methods of reducing caloric intake for weight loss. Most versions of Intermittent Fasting provide greater simplicity than traditional diets allowing you to stay on track longer, getting you better results over time. A particularly good book on IF is Brad Pilon’s “Eat stop Eat” and can be downloaded here.
Portable Fat Loss
I often get asked the question “what I should eat when I go on vacation to continue to lose fat?” While you should always be eating nutritious whole foods, there are times when this will be more difficult or you may just want to splurge! Planning at least one fast can minimize the damage to your fat loss goals when on vacation or in any situation where good food choices are not readily available. Intermittent Fasting does not require any special food to work so you can stay compliant anywhere on the globe.
If you would like to do any additional reading on the topic check out precisionnutrition.com for great articles on the topic. They also have a free e-book which gives a complete overview of intermittent fasting. It can be downloaded here.
Yours in good health,