Let’s first admit there is quite a bit to read on the internet about fasting. But intermittent fasting is not at all like fasting as most of us have come to know it. In the past we heard about all the “terrible” things associated with long fasts and let’s clear that up. But first let’s get intermittent fasting clarified; what it is and how you may very well be able to use it to achieve those dreams you have for your looks and the goals you have for your health and paleo lifestyle.
Many of us have heard that fasting starves your body, it stores fat while fasting on water or fruit juices, or maybe lemon and maple syrup, as the key to getting through those “starvation” days. Maybe you have concerns you will lose muscle tone? How about feelings that your metabolism will slow down so much that you are sure to gain weight. Let’s get intermittent fasting clarified first, and then we can look at this other fasting. Of note, this is very helpful information for those of you that don’t want to pack on too many pounds during the holiday season.
The current trend of intermittent fasting, which is not days but maybe 2 days on and 5 days off or maybe just a 12-16 hour “break” from eating and keeping the carbs less or lowered the remaining hours. Well, this latter sure worked for me!
During this part day “fasted state,” our body does not have any recent meal to use as energy, so it is more inclined to pull from that “lovely” fat stored in your body, rather than the glucose in our blood stream or glycogen in your muscles/liver. Guess what this means? Burn fat, lean out and feel great. Woohoo, now you get this idea — right!?
There is ample evidence that shows this has anti-aging benefits and I for one feel this is true and I have witnessed this in a number of avid athletes of all ages. Their times are better, the recovery is faster and less pain, more gain. Dr. Mercola amongst many others speaks at length about the anti-aging benefits and factual evidence of this protocol.
When I did my intermittent fasting I did my own trial and found what works for me. I felt my way through and gradually was able to do a longer break time after a good 6-7 days. I tend to eat at night (I know it’s a no-no, but I am tiny and lean and this works for me or else I wake mid-sleep hungry as hell). I cannot go from 6pm to 12 noon the next day without feeling like total crap and I go into ketosis far too fast and strong. Once again it is individual (as is paleo) and I found what works for me and encourage others to do the same. I enjoy slower steady and stable gains.
Since I head to bed a bit later I end off with my last snack around 9pm (a bit of protein and maybe fat not fruit) and I have my version of Bulletproof Coffee (with Brain Octane or MCT), in the morning around 8 or 9am, then eat a good 1st meal around 12-2pm at latest. This enables me to fast a good 15 hours or so. Some mornings I can tell my blood sugar is going to wreak havoc if I dare drink any coffee without some protein so I have an egg or two. I love to eat… 🙂 I even sometimes add grass-fed collagen to my coffee.
I usually exercise in the morning (my favorite time for hiking, swimming or weights), then I often try and not eat any food until after my workout, and mostly protein and veggies (and a slice of paleo bread too).
The leaning out, muscle tone and energy is out-the-roof amazing. IT DID NOT happen immediately at all. I was wondering what all the excitement was about, then I hung in there and kept my carbs low enough on the off hours, to feel and SEE the difference. Wowzers! It worked for me! I am so happy I kept at it.
Also, I do not ever weigh on a scale as I gain muscle tone well, and I may be heavier but all my clothes are just how I like them. You know the saying, the skinny jeans are looking good… 🙂 I love salt and salt can make water retention now and then, and I could care less. I love it and need it as I sweat like an oinker when I work out, especially since I hike and adore heat more than the average person. I’m an oddball as I adore humidity and sweating buckets.
Some people feel that the fasting period is a “push through” phase and you have to just get over the rough spots if any. I do not think that is healthy for everyone. If someone feels the stressful effects on the adrenals and there is evidence of this “push” over the edge causing the adrenals to sort of burn out, that is not optimum. If this happens this can cause troubles with other hormones. If one is healthy then it may be safe to proceed. If one wakes stressed out it may be good to get a cortisol test and get that balanced out and check on the hormones afterwards.
I currently have had stable hormones for years; the proof is in the blood tests every 3-6 months. My thyroid is the only one playing games now and then since I was diagnosed with celiac disease and I am on very little thyroid now, compared to previously as my body is so much healthier now. I can also handle coffee now, where I could not a year ago. I have no stress and feel great. Interesting! Now my version of Bulletproof coffee and intermittent fasting has a beneficial effect. I love it. I also now love the taste of a good coffee or espresso.
OK, now what about fasting on water or fruit juice for a week or on water, lemon and maple syrup? Is this going to get you the muscle tone, lean you out, and give you strength and energy? I highly doubt it as your body will be burning your muscle tone and breaking it down for “energy,” and will be storing any little bits of anything it can during and especially after as FAT; as it is a smart living organism. It wants to survive and it wants to live. As a living organism it will do what it can to make sure the next time it is starving that it has plenty of “reserves” for that next starvation period you put it through (as if you were a hunter surviving through winter famine). It will make fat and store that fat for future survival. This is the simple basic explanation and we all know if you starve you will drop weight, but what kind of weight? What happens at the end of starvation? Think about it. Most people I know who do this for weight loss gain it all back and more. Yo-yo effect and a real saddened loss about the topic. For a cleanse, maybe, but if you are eating clean as a good basic routine, why would one need a cleanse so often?
To learn even more, I adore Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness and his approach to this entire topic. I also just appreciate his no nonsense approach to a simple yet precise explanation of intermittent fasting. He walks the talk and, if you know me, he is my kind of person. Thanks, Steve!
If you have any specific questions on how I eat, or what else I do for my health and lifestyle please feel free to ask me. I love to help and it has been terrific for me in applying all this to my life.
Enjoy and do well.