Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine: Intermittent Fasting:
Do you want to burn stored body fat, feel less hungry and improve your overall health? Of course you do! Well, interment fasting could be the way to go for you (it’s not right for everyone); this is not a diet but a way of life, let me explain…
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a general term for various eating patterns that involve fasting for short periods of time. Fasting has many proven benefits such as burning stored body fat for energy, feeling less hungry and improving your overall health.
I must stress it has absolutely nothing to do with starvation; you give your body what it needs when it needs it but you simply push your first meal later in the day. By doing this you can virtually optimize every system in your body.
The easiest way to do this is either skipping breakfast or dinner; you need to work out what option would suit your lifestyle best. By doing this you’re fasting for up to 14-20 hours, during this time you’re forced to break down body fat to use as a form of energy. As a result you lose weight, stabilize your energy levels and hormone levels are normalized meaning you feel less hungry.
Fasting retrains your body to become fat adapted. This means you burn stored body fat for energy, rather than being dependent on sugars from food.
This is great news because your body becomes self sufficient, you lose weight, have lots of energy and will no longer require your caffeine or sugar fix throughout your day. Moreover, you will feel less hungry.
Fasting teaches you to tune into your body. You will start to understand what “real” hunger feels like, something that occurs every 16-24 hours not every four hours!
Being in a fasted state promotes incredible changes in the body. It’s how our ancestors ate when food wasn’t readily available, now we rely on sugar for energy and mid-morning and afternoon energy dips are the social norm – I promise you this is so unnatural. We have a phobia of having an empty stomach, but rest assured amazing things happen in the body when it is!
All you are doing is pushing your first meal later into the day and then enjoying two filling meals in the afternoon.
The geeky science techie bit:
When you extend periods of non-eating some amazing things happen:
- Ghrelin (“the hunger hormone”) levels are normalised.
- Cortisol levels are at their peak in the AM, eating when cortisol is raised has been linked to increased insulin resistance and increased post meal hunger. By intermittent fasting individuals find it easier to control cravings.
- Growth Hormone (GH) increases, helping preserve muscle mass but can also help cause growth in muscle, bone density and cartilage. An increase in GH effects adipose tissue (Fat) by breaking stored body fat into fatty acids which can be used for energy throughout the body; in fact, they are worth more than carbohydrates (explaining the stable energy levels).
- Norepinephrine increases, which has been shown to have an effect on the mind as well as the body. High Norepinephrine levels have been shown to increase mental alertness, and boost the metabolism of fat. Conversely scientists now think that low levels can cause depression.
- Insulin Sensitivity increases. Short term this can benefit you by directing carbs to your muscles for muscle gains, rather than being converted to fat. Conversely being insulin insensitive long term can lead to Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
As well as these processes going on in the body fasting has been show to:
- Decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s
- It enables ketosis – where the body burns fat for energy rather than sugar, which has significant links to reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
- Increases gene and cell repair
- Increase longevity
- Decrease oxidative stress
- Improves cardiovascular health
- It lowers triglyceride levels and improving other biomarkers of disease
- Being insulin sensitive boosts mitochondrial energy efficiency (all cells are more efficient at using energy)
Are you ready to turn your body into a fat burning machine?
The human body is naturally a fat burning machine, but because of clever marketing and an abundance of ‘food like products’, we have become dependent on sugar to supply us with energy. Every time we have that mid- morning snack we create a bloody sugar spike, which causes the hormone insulin to be released. Too much insulin not only causes us to put on fat, but it actually stops us from burning the fat we already have. Long term this can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Eating ‘little and often’ or ‘grazing’ has become the social norm with the myth that it keeps the metabolism high. Unfortunately, we are encouraged to snack in between meals by companies who create ‘food like products’ which are cheap, nutrient sparse, and highly processed. To achieve your fat loss goals, avoid these products.
What you are trying to achieve is turning your body into a fat burning machine – this is called ketosis. It’s vital you fuel your body with nutrient dense food, especially if you’re exercising.
Eating plenty at meal times is key so you aren’t tempted to snack on low quality food in-between meals. Digestion takes up a lot of energy and contributes to energy slumps throughout the day. Fasting will help stabilize blood sugar levels and force your body to draw on its own fat reserves for energy, rather than being dependent on a constant stream of food.
The body will take time to adapt to this way of eating and for some people you'll find it very difficult. However, once your body goes into ketosis you will quickly reap the benefits of stable energy levels, feeling “real hunger” (every 12-24 hours), dropping body fat, and not being a slave to hunger.