Many people may want to turn the other way at the idea of fasting. But daily fasting? Yes it sounds really intense, but many people don’t even realize they are already fasting 12 hours a day. This happens mostly during our sleep cycle, it’s the part of the night that our body regenerates and repairs itself.
People tell me all the time, “I have to force myself to eat breakfast because I’m not hungry in the morning” so they wait an hour or two before eating. It is no surprise as our bodies are intuitive and very often if we tune in to listen we can be in-sync with our natural bodily cycles.
Intermittent Fasting is Not a Fad Diet
Intermittent fasting is not a fad diet, there is an evolutionary explanation. Our ancestors have been fasting for over 2.6 million years and our bodies have naturally adapted to this cycle.
Here is an example of how 12 hour fasting works for me: 2 hours before bed I don’t eat anything, I sleep for 8 hours and then I eat breakfast after 2 hours of waking up. That amounts to a 12 hour fast in which I only drink water.
When I wake up in the morning I don’t have an appetite, it usually takes me 2 hours to work one up. There is no reason to force yourself to eat breakfast when the body is simply not ready.
I have been practicing intermittent fasting on and off for about a year now and I do feel a positive difference in how I feel. I have more energy in the morning, my skin seems better, and I end up maintaining a healthy weight. Read on to know the full benefits!
1. Weight Loss
Weight loss is usually one of the biggest reasons why people do intermittent fasting as the pounds do shed. This really revs up your fat burning potential and helps with appetite control. There have been dozens of studies on this topic showing some positive effects, one study found a 3.6% increase in resting metabolic rate in healthy humans (1). Another 2014 review of scientific literature involving human subjects found that intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks (2). It can make a huge difference if you are planning to lose weight.
2. More Energy Minus the Food Hangover
Have you ever noticed that when you eat junk food before going to bed (especially if it’s a sugary kind) you wake up sluggish and tired. It’s called a food hangover and it’s just like a hangover because you placed something in your body that was more of a toxin than food and your liver spent the entire night trying to get rid of it instead of healing and restoring itself. You won’t ever have this problem if you are fasting for 12 hours. It’s certainly easier to get out of bed, as I wake up feeling rested and ready to face the day. You might even be able to reduce your caffeine intake.
3. Heals and Detoxifies Our System.
When we fast it allows our bodies to rest, heals our digestive system, balances our hormones, and increases cellular turnover. Instead of putting energy into processing food our bodies use energy to repair cells and heal our body from the inside out. All our body’s energy is used to carry out thousands of processes that restore our system, the liver, brain, kidneys, everything.
Toxins are removed and energy is given for new cells to grow and growth hormones are released. This is how we have better hair, beautiful skin, and more energy. Fasting can be especially great for people who eat junk food and can benefit from giving their stomach a rest and detoxify.
4. Improves Sleep
When we eat meals before going to bed, digestive juices flow, our stomach starts processing and absorbing, our body wakes up! Yes, there are some people who need to have a little snack before they go to bed to help them sleep, and I know a few individuals like this. Our bodies are not made identical, but most of us will sleep better if we don’t have to do the work of digesting food.
Now we all know life is not perfect and our work and life schedules can force us to adapt differently. 12 hours is just a basic guideline, and if it’s 11 hours or every other day– it’s just as great. Do what you can, see how you feel. It may not even be your thing, our bodies are unique and what works for some may not work for others. Although the studies have shown benefits for intermittent fasting, further research in this area is still needed.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you are considering any kind of fasting regiment, whether it is a 12-hour fast or a two-day fast, you should talk to your doctor. It may be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions to make sudden changes in diet and some medications may not work properly. Your primary care provider can help you determine the possible benefits and consequences of a fast to see if it’s appropriate for you.