WELLNESS--For those who tend to overeat, as you may already expect, the news isn’t great. But if you under eat regularly or simply eat to survive, then this article may offer a promising outlook.
For years studies have shown that those people who consumed less calories seemed to live longer lives. Part of the theory behind it was that the body was less taxed and overworked from excess calories in those who consumed smaller amounts of food versus those who ate more.
Fasting before an annual physical or blood work is not unusual nor is fasting while doing a full body cleanse. But the latest trend, which has gained much attention, is intermittent fasting. What is intermittent fasting? It is a pre-planned and timed schedule of eating where we consume all of our calories within approximately an 8-hour window while fasting the rest.
For example, by consuming your last meal at 8pm and not eating until noon the next day you have fasted for 16 hours. While it is not always recommended to do this every day of the week, many people have adapted this style of eating at least 2-3 days per week for positive health benefits.
Why in the world would we want to purposely go without food? The latest studies are showing that those who take longer and more regular periods without food may experience lower serum cholesterol, weight loss, increased muscle mass, higher levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), improved sleep and energy levels, less inflammation in their body, stronger heart and brain health, and possibly a reduction in their risk of cancer and diabetes. With such an exhaustive list of benefits, it looks like intermittent fasting is here to stay.
Timing our meals as such can be challenging especially when many of us have become accustomed to eating small meals every 2-3 hours and we have always been taught NOT to skip breakfast! We learned that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As time and research progresses, we are constantly making new discoveries. What was once seemingly harmful or unwise such as skipping our morning meal may now be the best thing that we can do to turn back the clock.
Of course like any health, fitness, or diet regimen, always consult with your doctor to ensure that fasting is safe for you especially if you’re exercising on an empty stomach. It’s also important to get the okay for those taking medication or with diabetes or low blood pressure.
If you Google intermittent fasting you’ll pull up an array of studies that are mostly supportive of this new trend. Once you receive the green light from your physician, start off slow. Try it one day per week at first and gradually build up to a more regular routine. Of course you can vary your fasting program and make the necessary changes according to your daily routine and work schedule.
Regardless of whether or not you follow a strict intermittent fasting regimen, it is highly recommended to consume less calories overall and to make the ones that you do eat count. Focus on eating good fats such as avocado, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, along with organic and grass fed chicken and beef, wild caught fish, including sardines, and an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep your carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread to a minimum.
If you’ve tried everything else to lose weight, boost your metabolism, and increase your energy and nothing has worked or you’ve hit a plateau, this may just be the fountain of youth that you’ve been waiting for.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)