Intermittent Fasting Regularly

10 Reasons Why I’m Fasting Regularly

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Fasting has been used in many cultures throughout history as an effective method for treating various illnesses. Although the ancients sometimes went over the top with homeopathic healing methods, fasting is to this day considered as one of the things they got right.

Fasting has also been used to cultivate inner peace and build self-discipline. After all, having the willpower to abstain from food for a prolonged period is the first requirement for becoming an Übermensch.

For this article, I’d like to share 10 reasons why I fast on a regular basis. And more specifically, why I follow the intermittent fasting approach.

Intermittent fasting is a less radical approach to fasting. It involves fasting for hours, not days. The standard method involves skipping breakfast and eating meals in the late afternoon or evening. So the fasting period lasts approximately 16 hours. However, it can be customized to suit individual requirements.

Many fitness experts, athletes, and recreational lifters have reported getting leaner and feeling more energized and healthier since doing intermittent fasting.

I happen to share this experience. But I’d like to share my personal 10 reasons that have kept me on this journey for more than 5 years.

1. Effective Weight Loss Strategy

The reason why intermittent fasting is helping many people lose weight is mainly that they’re skipping a few meals a day by eating their first meal later.

But, it wouldn’t be impressive if they were starving of course.

The great thing about IF is that you don’t feel hungry at all while doing it. It seems that our bodies are naturally designed to fast for prolonged periods of time, possibly due to evolutionary development that has taken into account various situations that might occur when long-term supplies of food are unavailable.

A reason that has more scientific backing is the effect of hormones leptin and ghrelin. These two hormones are directly responsible for regulating fat storing and hunger signals. Fasting normalizes their function, and when they work correctly, we get hungry only when our body truly requires additional calories and nutrients. This happens to be far less often than we think!

Intermittent fasting has made my life much easier in the sense that I don’t have to worry about all those calories that I ate since I rose out of bed. I start eating at about 4 pm, and then I can eat a day’s worth of food without any stress.

Since the time frame is smaller, the amount of calories I eat is also much smaller. It’s kind of hard to stuff yourself with 4000 calories in two meals. But 4-5 spread throughout the day? That strategy can get you chubby in no time.

Digestion Gut Health

2. Improved Digestion

When you eat from the moment you wake up and right until you go to sleep, you are wasting a whole lot of energy on digestion.

This can wreak havoc on the digestive system as well since it has little time to rest. When you do intermittent fasting, your digestion has time to recover from continually shuffling food in your stomach.

If you’re bulking, it makes more sense to eat often because your body requires more nutrients.

But if you’re trying to maintain weight or lose fat, allocating your meals to later in the day provides the additional benefit of making your digestion run more smoothly as well as reduce gut inflammation and bloating.

3. Reduces Health Risks

Studies performed on animals have shown that intermittent fasting can reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, balance blood sugar levels and heal inflammation across the body, especially inflammation in parts of the cardiovascular system.

Whether the same can be said for humans remains to be seen, but from the experience of many practitioners, a lot of this seems to be applicable for us as well.

What I’ve noticed is that intermittent fasting has made me more energized and keeps my energy levels stable throughout the day. No longer do I feel the need to take a nap in the afternoon. There are two principal reasons for that:

  • all of that energy that would otherwise be spent on digesting food suddenly becomes available.
  • when you’re fasting, there are no blood sugar levels spikes and drops, so there is no fluctuation of energy levels

Does that mean that you’ll get a significant blood sugar elevation when you eat the first meal in the late afternoon? Not really. Intermittent fasting has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity. When you eat that late afternoon meal, blood sugar levels remain balanced.

4. Speeds Up Metabolism

Another important benefit of IF is increased metabolism. The benefits of faster metabolism are widely acknowledged. The faster your metabolism is, the more calories your body burns while at rest.

5. Increases Brain Performance

While you fast, all of the energy that would otherwise be spent on digesting food is now open to being used for other faculties of the body. Our brain is one of the most active organs of the body. Fasting allows the brain to use more energy, providing mental clarity and improved concentration.

It also boosts the production of a protein called „brain-derived neurotrophic factor,“ or BDNF. This protein is responsible for creating new neurons by activating brain stem cells and promotes improved mental performance as the direct result.

I’ve always felt sluggish after eating breakfast as if I needed to take a break from a long day of work before the day even began. If you’re in a similar rut, you should give intermittent fasting a shot.

6. Toughens Up The Immune System

Fasting is a natural response to illness. For animals, this is a standard way to fight off parasites, viruses, and already established health issues.

Humans also have this instinctive reaction, but we’re often given the wrong advice of eating MORE food when we’re ill.

The reason why fasting can help us be healthier is that it improves the functioning of the immune system, and who doesn’t want that?

7. Raises HGH Production

IF has been shown to increase the amount of HGH (human growth hormone) that our body can produce. Growth hormone is a powerful component that helps in building muscle, losing fat and recovering from physical activity. It also slows down the aging process.

One study has shown that IF combined with high-intensity training can raise GH by over 2000% in men and about 1300% in women. These numbers are remarkable. Professional bodybuilders and fitness models inject HGH into their bodies to experience these benefits on an extreme level. But just tweaking our diets with IF can produce quite satisfactory results.

One direct benefit that I notice is improved vascularity. If you like having that grainy, vascular look, this is a natural way to get it. Coupled with a low body fat percentage of course!

8. It’s Convenient

This is more of a practical piece of advice, but I wish someone told it to me sooner.

If you’re waking up at 6 AM and rushing to work in the morning, preparing a healthy and tasty breakfast is usually not an option. So you eat some cheap source of carbohydrates and go on with your day.

I hate eating when I feel rushed like that. Mealtime should be relaxing, without any external pressure. Food should be chewed down properly and without thinking about the PowerPoint presentation you’re doing on a super-important meeting in 2 hours.

My point is mornings are usually too busy for people to eat properly anyway. And the time that you do spend preparing meals could be better used to focus on other important things, whether it’s business, meditating for 20 minutes, studying or packing the kids to school.

Once I realized that breakfast was not only taking chunks of my precious time but was also making me feel lethargic, I started eating later on. Now I eat after I’ve done everything I need to do, and I focus on preparing healthy meals with genuine peace of mind.

9. Normalizes Insulin Sensitivity

One of the major contributors to chronic diseases such as kidney disorders and diabetes is insulin sensitivity and impaired insulin secretion.

Insulin often becomes a problem when we overeat sugar on a daily basis. When our blood sugar levels go up, insulin is secreted to lower them. After some time, this regulatory system becomes impaired due to its overuse.

When it stops functioning properly, blood sugar levels remain high for too low, or they drop very low too fast. These fluctuations cause constant hunger, and many people develop diabetes if they don’t change their dietary habits in time.

Fasting is a proven way to normalize insulin sensitivity.

Coming from a family of diabetics, I have to take extra precautions. Intermittent fasting is a painless way to keep my blood sugar levels in check.

10. Better Workouts

You might want to eat something before heavy squatting and deadlifting sessions. But the opposite is true for doing cardio.

If you have undigested food rolling around inside your stomach, it can make you feel lethargic and not excited about jogging or running up a hill. It can also cause stomach cramps, burping, farting, you name it!

That’s especially the case if you ate a lot of fiber-dense foods before your workout, and now you’re trying to squeeze your core muscles to stabilize your upper body. The same applies to training abs as well, especially on a decline bench.

For those reasons, fasting can improve your workouts. Some recreationists still think that they must get their post-workout meal in as soon as possible after they’ve finished the workout. As if their muscles will magically deflate because they don’t slurp down a protein shake immediately.

However, this is entirely false. You don’t need to eat your PWM under any specific time limit. You can eat your PWM 4 hours after you worked out and you’ll get the same benefits.

What matters is your total caloric and macronutrient intake during the day. When you eat the meals is not important from a muscle-building/muscle-preserving perspective and it only depends on your personal preference. 

Conclusion

So, if you think that these benefits are worthy of giving fasting a try, you’re right!

If you’re a beginner, I recommend you start slowly. Fast for a couple of hours in the morning, and after a few weeks you’ll be able to easily expand the fasting period to 15-20 hours and obtain these benefits in their full form.

I hope this article has broadened your knowledge of intermittent fasting and it’s various health and fitness related benefits.

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