Intermittent fasting and I, we met in 2012. It was when I was still working at university, probably just after the carnival period. At that time, we went to conferences in the US once a year, in the spring.
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Intermittent fasting is increasingly popular due to the attention it gets from superstars such as Beyoncé. But what is it, intermittent fasting? And why would you wanna do it? Because we've always learned that your breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Well, I will give you some answers tothese questions inthis blog.
Intermittent fasting and I, we met in 2012. It was when I was still working at university, probably just after the carnival period. At that time, we went to conferences in the US once a year, in the spring. My roommate and I used to combine those obligatory acts with a nice pleasure trip: Bahamas, Miami, Las Vegas, and so on. In the period prior to the conferences, we used to physically prepare ourselves for a week-long living the life of beach boys. How? Simply, by training hard and dieting. Yes, in that period I was mainly focused on the aesthetic aspect, or realizing 'the perfect beach body'.
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My first years went well with a low carb diet. In 2012, I first tried intermittent fasting. Never before had I lost body fat as quickly as then. Later I discovered that intermittent fasting also brings other benefits in addition to a "divine body", about which more later in this blog.
Intermittent fasting, a hype of recent years?
Everywhere you look you see IF passing by: TV programs, magazines, books, celebrities, influencers and even doctors talk about this incredibly popular method. Yet, fasting is not a thing of recent years. Fasting goes back to ancient times and it is also a recurring thing in many religions. Just think of Islam (Ramadan) and Catholicism (Ash Wednesday to Easter). You will also find it in Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism too, as well as in various cultural expressions among natural peoples. You can probably also imagine that - when we were still living as hunters and gatherers - periods of food scarcity and food surplus alternated - depending on the catch of the day: a variant of intermittent fasting.
How does Intermittent fasting work?
Intermittent fasting means that you do not eat for a relatively long period during the day (or night; for at least 14-16 hours). That is your fasting period. At some point you interrupt that by eating again. The period that you fast is also called the fasting window. The feeding window (or the eating window) is the period in which it is allowed to eat.
IF has many variants. For some, the fasting period may recur every day, with a rule of thumb that you don't eat for about 14-16 consecutive hours a day; the remaining hours you eat normally and what you want. The most popular form of this 16:8 protocol uses a feeding window between 12 noon and 8 p.m.
You can well imagine that this is the most practical option from a social point of view, partly because this option allows you to eat your evening meal with family or friends.
“An advantage of fasting that should not be underestimated: it makes you less dependent on food while exercising. I have coached many athletes who, before they started fasting, were heavily dependent on carbohydrates to perform.”
You can start the feeding window at any time of the day, as long as it starts and ends at the same time every day. In addition, there are also variants where you do not eat for a whole day or for a few days. For example, the variant 'Every other day fasting' assumes that you fast for one day after every normal day, and the 5:2 variant implies: 2 days of no food intake, followed by 5 days of eating normally. Ideally, you do all this in blocks of about 6-8 weeks, several times a year, with blocks in between (at least 2-3 months) in which you eat according to a normal pattern. In this way, in periods of contemporary abundance, you still stimulate mechanisms that occur during periods of food scarcity, as we experienced cyclically when we still lived in the wild.
Benefits of Fasting
Intermittent fasting owes its popularity mainly to a number of benefits it brings. The most frequently mentioned reason is losing some kilos, something that will be discussed in a separate blog. In addition, it is known that fasting can improve the process of cell division (autophagy), have anti-inflammatory effects, help reduce or prevent the risk of diabetes, reduce intestinal complaints and improve intestinal health.
An advantage of fasting that should not be underestimated is that it makes you less dependent on food while exercising. I have coached many athletes who, before they started fasting, were heavily dependent on carbohydrates to perform. After one or two blocks of “fasting training” their metabolism changed and they were also able to perform and grow at their maximum (i.e. recover) in the absence of any intake of food around exercise.
There is no food and no food
Not eating has different interpretations. Strictly speaking, it means that you are not allowed to
consume energy-rich foods. In that case, only water would be allowed (water fasting). Some milder varieties also allow black coffee and tea, and even milder varieties allow you to have low-energy but artificially sweetened soft drinks.
Eat your breakfast!
Not eating for a certain period of time seems to have more advantages than disadvantages. So apparently we can do without breakfast. The body is made to endure food scarcity. The continuous food schedule from 07:00 to 22:00 has not made us healthier. We eat throughout the day, often have 5 to 10 eating moments a day, and therefore often make wrong choices. Choices at the snack machine, through an extremely challenging environment. Pushing breakfast until about 12 noon is not such a bad first step in taking back control of your own health. But before you start: deepen your knowledge, go for a balanced diet in the basics.
Finally, be aware that your fasting journey does not end after a month or two. Shortcuts don't exist in the world of healthy living, folks. As much as we might wish for that six-pack: something that comes quickly is often short-lived, driven by a superficial purpose and an intention far removed from what could be regarded 'honest' with yourself.
Invest in the long term and eat with your mind; delicious & nutritious is the magical combination…..
Dr. Ludidi (PhD) is a nutrition scientist, and bestselling author of ‘The Dr Ludidi Method of Intermittent Fasting’., who motivates and inspires people to understand their bodies and how great food can positively change their lives. He is a top nutritionist, who works with elite athletes, artists, performers and business executives from all over the world, in his special Private+ Coaching Program. Dr. Ludidi offers help via nutrition programming and lifestyle coaching for sports performance, general health & wellbeing and more.
"Because science shouldn’t be just for the scientists."