As we move toward winter, more time indoors, less farm fresh foods and two major feasting holiday seasons, concern for my health is on my mind. I wonder how I will be able to improve my weight and overall health with all these challenges. I know, I know... eat whole foods, less food and avoid feeding the emotions. But is there something else I could do to help maybe reset my metabolism? I think I found something that just might help, intermittent fasting.
I have written about fasting before (Can Fasting Be Good For You? and Slipping into Idolatry), but this approach appears to be less intense, but just as effective and beneficial.
I was watching a great documentary series on YouTube this week. Dr. Mercola was being interviewed and his discussion about the benefits of intermittent fasting caught my attention. I went to his website and did a bit of research. Here's what I learned:
- Intermittent fasting helps reset your body to burn fat for fuel instead of sugar.
- Fasting has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, reduce cancer risk, aid gene repair, and increase longevity.
- The same benefits that are gained from severe calorie restriction can be gained from intermittent fasting, which is following an eating schedule where you eat normally on some days, and dramatically cut calories on others.
- Intermittent fasting helps reduce cravings by normalizing ghrelin levels, or the "hunger hormone",
- HDH, human growth hormone, is increased with intermittent fasting and this hormone is known to slow down the aging process.
- Fasting can be combined with spiritual exercises to deepen faith, increase peace of mind, and create solidarity with those less fortunate.
Another way to intermittently fast is to choose two days a week to eat the restricted calories and eat normally the other days of the week. When doing this, it seems to be most effective to eat only one meal on fast days rather than snacking throughout the day, which often leads to eating more and focusing on food to much.
Dr. Mercola has a third method for intermittent fasting that he finds to be very effective. This is to limit eating to a window of time, say only 6 or 8 hours each day and not eating at all (so effectively fasting) the rest of the day. He recommends not eating 3-4 hours before going to sleep. This is continued until the fat burning process kicks in and then the hours of eating can be extended to 8-10.
Of course, eating a whole food diet and lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, means I will be nourishing the cells of the body and giving them the nutritional resources they need to work the miracle of health.
I am eager to give intermittent fasting a try and report back in a future post. Would anyone like to join me? Leave a comment below and we will support each other.