There's a new trend in how we eat, or possibly I should say how often we eat. It's popularity is due to the fact that it helps people lose weight without having to deal with the effects of real hunger. It also helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
What is this new trend? "Intermittent fasting" or IF is the name of this game.
Intermittent fasting is really nothing new. In fact, IF goes way back to our original ancestors. It is an eating strategy imprinted in our DNA, because our our ancestors practiced a reduced eating schedule. They literally had no choice in the matter. They simply did not have the kind of frequency and ease of access to food we have now.
Our Eating Window –
This new strategy towards eating is not just about skipping meals. It's about spending as much time as possible in the fasted state.
The best way to define any type of fasting is to think of it as simply a change in eating patterns. In the case of IF, in place of three square meals in a day, or eating a handful of smaller meals throughout the day, there is a window of time when we're allowed to eat. This could take the form of a few hours a day, or the fasting window could represent certain days of the week. During that time, we can eat whatever we want – within reason of course.
Spacing out our "eating window," allows our mind to get in tune with our body so we can understand what real hunger really feels like.
IF is not about starving. Fasting does not mean starving, but it isn't a diet either. The literal definition is:
"to abstain from food and drink during a specific period of time."
IF is about eating two meals in a day rather than three (or multiples) during which you introduce a 16 hour fasting period. You can choose either breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, and it's proving to be a powerful approach to eating.
The Western world spends little to no time in a fasted state. True hunger is something we should only experience every 16-24 hours, not every four hours as we are accustomed to. For most, there is a constant grazing from dusk to dawn, and even into the late night for some people.
IF won't work for anyone whose diet centers around processed foods like chips. Fasting requires us to stick to a mostly whole food diet, rich in vegetables, lean proteins, healthy carbohydrates and fats in order to experience the best and quickest benefits of IF. The two meals chosen for the day need to be packed full of nutrition and completely balanced.
It is estimated that one out of every two people in today's modern world is obese or overweight and millions are dying from complications that stem from this truth. IF helps to manage body weight and is a powerful tool in the life extension arena as well.
Unless you snack late into the night, you likely incorporate a form of IF in your schedule already, fasting for approximately 12 hours daily. However, current research shows that some benefits of IF require longer periods of fasting to be realized, as many as 20-24 hours depending on activity levels.
The proposed benefits of IF in animals and humans reads like a laundry list of "look better," "feel better," and "live longer" …
Having a window of limited eating is much less difficult to pull off then restricting calories. IF is truly one of the simplest strategies for taking fat weight off and keeping good weight (muscle tissue) and requires very little change in behavior.
Slowing the aging process, boosting energy levels and rebooting the immune system are all benefits gained when you incorporate IF into your eating schedule.
So, what are you waiting for? Decide which two meals you want to enjoy going forward and choose the richest, nutrient dense foods to enjoy during that period. If you follow this protocol, and combine it with challenging strength training exercises, I promise you will see positive changes in your body and in the way you feel.