Good morning ladies, grab a cup of coffee, pull up and chair and listen in, this is the sassy moments podcast, BONUS MOMENT – Fast, a four letter word to boost your energy.
Boost my energy by not eating? What nonsense is this? I know, it’s totally counterintuitive. But, I believe the single most powerful thing you can do to boost your energy and increase your health span, is to fast nightly for a minimum of 12 – 14 hours. I know, I know. Fast is the other four letter F-word in some social circles. Fasting is a concept that is in complete contrast to the currently accepted societal dogma that we must eat multiple, small, low-fat meals all day long or risk hunger or overindulging when we do decide to eat. I would like to suggest you set that aside and consider this: we all fast every night for however long we sleep, about 7 – 8 hours.
To fast as a concept is simple and easy to understand – don’t eat. In practice, it’s not so easy – mostly because of that societal dogma. Since the early 1980s, with the introduction of the ‘food guide’ we have been taught high fat is bad, and that we must eat multiple small, low fat meals throughout the day to avoid hunger and to avoid overeating. But our body is not designed to eat that way.
I am not talking about multi-day fasts; I am not talking about starving yourself; Not at all.
I am talking about completely changing the way you think about eating. Completely.
Our body, like our brain, was designed many centuries ago when vicious predators were everywhere and food was scarce. Back in the day when we were hunter – gatherers, we certainly didn’t eat three meals a day plus snacks neatly dispersed throughout the day. Our ancestors fasted most of the time. Sometimes for weeks. They feasted occasionally after a successful hunt and grazed if berries or tubers happened to be in season – protein with fat and limited carbs. They didn’t eat every day, all day. And guess what? They survived to tell the tale!
Now we eat mostly refined carbs, in the form of sugar and flour, with processed protein and if you follow the food guide, low fat alternatives. It’s backwards and it shows up on our butt and/or belly as fat and it’s killing us! Since the introduction of the food guide, obesity, type two diabetes and dementia have skyrocketed. Frightening!
So what is intermittent fasting? As the name suggests, you choose to fast intermittently – kinda vague huh? It actually makes more sense if you think of it’s flipside – time restricted eating. Time restricted eating is when we voluntarily limit the hours of the day during which we eat. The eating window defines the hours during which we eat. A 14/10 fast has an eating window of 10 hours, say between 8am and 6pm and a fast of 14 hours from 6pm to 8 am the following morning.
Research has shown that the most effective health promoting intermittent fasting regimen is to delay breaking your nightly fast by 1 – 2 hour after waking, and to finish eating 3 hours before bed. It’s really not a huge difference from what you currently do with two added rules – no snacking after dinner and delay breakfast for an hour or so.
Okay I heard the collective groan and argument… “I’m not even home from work until after 6pm… I don’t sit down to dinner until 7pm on a good day.” That’s fine, shift the window to fit your schedule but keep it consistent, even on weekends.
That is the ideal, which may not work best for you. In which case, it’s not ideal for you. Having said that, consider this: you cannot reap the massive benefits of fasting without fasting.
To get started, aim for a 10 – 12 hour nightly fast. Determine dinner time – say between 6 – 7pm. Do not eat after 7pm – no evening snacks. Break your night-time fast 1 – 2 hours after you wake, say between 7 – 8am. Eat 2 – 3 meals, over the course of the day – no snacking between meals.
During your eating window, eat mindfully. Notice, notice, notice. Utterly enjoy your meal. Do not multitask at your desk as you mindlessly inhale your food. Limit distractions, do not watch television or scroll Facebook. Have a conversation about more than the weather with your partner or colleague. If nothing else, get lost in your thoughts with yourself – how can it help but be interesting? Eating can be, and absolutely should be, very pleasurable – even more so when you have been fasting.
Truthfully, it has been my experience that many women find it easier to simply skip a meal creating a 16 – 18 hours fast with 6 – 8 hour eating window. Which one? Your choice, though most women skip breakfast and enjoy lunch with a colleague and then share dinner with the family – a highly recommended family bonding activity. Eat between 12 – 1pm, then again between 6 – 8pm. It’s your call. Try it, see how it works, then tweak as necessary.
If you’d like to learn more about intermittent fasting and how to introduce it into your life so that you can reap the many benefits of fasting, check out my mini course – Fast, a four letter word to boost your energy.
Talk again soon.
Live Life, Love Life, Always…