Updated: Feb 8
Fasting - a time when you cease to take in calories, focusing on hydrating with pure water. You do it every day to some extent - from dinner to breakfast you are fasting (unless you like to snack!). The regular practice of Intermittent Fasting takes this natural behavior and transforms it into an optimal lifestyle.
IF (also called Restricted Eating) is a way of life, not a diet. and there are as many misconceptions and myths about this way of life as any other out there. IF practice is a major component in most 6D programs and as such needs clarification in order to separate the rumor from the truth.
Our bodies are designed to fast and feed in regular cycles – our first meal of the day is after all called BreakFast! We are all very good at the feeding part but we miss the opportunity to take full advantage of the fasting part. During fasting hours, our bodies continue working and when not overwhelmed with the work of digesting food, our bodies can focus on repairing cells, healing illness as well as detoxifying our blood.
Employing IF as a lifestyle choice facilitates our physiological organism to function at a more optimal frequency, thereby impacting our health and well-being in a plethora of ways – from digestive health to emotional balance, it all begins (and ends!) in the gastrointestinal track.
Now let's explore some of the mistakes and misconceptions about intermittent fasting and set up some guidelines that will help your practice be successful.
Eating 5 – 7 meals a day increases your metabolism. False
Metabolism is determined by TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)
TDEE = BMR + ACTIVITY LEVEL + THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD
Studies have shown that increasing meal frequency has no effect on metabolism as the inherent thermic effect of food (digestive rate of food consumed) does not change. WHAT we eat, HOW ACTIVE we are and our Base Metabolic Rate are the determinates of our metabolism, not how often we eat. There is no epidemiological evidence available at this time that supports the multiple meal theory. Whether you nibble, graze or gorge – your metabolism will not change.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. True and False
Whilst breakfast is a important meal (and arguable the most important as it sets you up for your day) and is usually enjoyed first thing in the morning,
BreakFast is indeed a crucial meal of the day as it breaks your fasting hours; providing your body with optimal nutrition for this first meal is vital. Though it could be argued that providing your body with optimal nutrition at EVERY meal is important!
So, it is true that BreakFast is very important – and how you break a fast really matters. It is false that this meal has to be consumed in the morning. It is the quality of the meal, not the timing of it. Again, nutrient dense foods are important and breaking wisely (raw fruits and veg or a fresh vegetable juice) is key to a successful IF lifestyle.
Fasting decreases your metabolism – much like starvation. False
IF is NOT the same as starvation. It is not even close as during your feeding hours you are ensuring that you are consuming nutrient dense foods that will nourish your body and provide all the vitamins and minerals required to its mighty work.
Studies have shown that fasting for up to three days has no discernible impact on metabolism. Remember that metabolism is determined by BMR + Activity + Thermic Effect of Food – not by when or how often you eat.
Fasting causes your blood sugar to drop. True and False
While blood sugar levels may dip during the fasting hours, it is not common for the dip to be dangerously low. This is proven out by the fact that when we have our blood sugar tested by doctors, they require we fast for at least twelve hours before testing. This is because ‘Fasting Blood Sugar’ levels are a good indicator of our overall glucose levels. Remember that these tests are merely a snapshot in time of our health status – and blood sugar levels fluctuate with each hour before and after any meal.
Our bodies automatically regulate our blood glucose levels with or without food. That said, if you are a diabetic you should monitor your blood glucose levels when you begin fasting so you can clearly identify the type of IF lifestyle which will best suit your health needs. There are no studies available that show IF to be detrimental to our blood glucose levels or brain function during fasting.
Fasting causes muscle mass loss. False
It is not true and there are no studies showing that we require protein every three hours to maintain our muscle mass. None. There are studies showing that our bodies can go for up to 72 hours without any protein before any muscle ‘feeding’ takes place.
With IF, the fasting windows are never more than 24 hours so there is no fear of muscle loss with an IF lifestyle. One important note on protein and muscles – we can only increase our muscle mass if we regularly practice strength training; only impact/compression exercise can build muscle – so fast and train and get ripped!
During the Feeding Window
· Do not fear weight gain when in the fed state
· Eat real, whole foods and avoid processed foods
· Break Well – with alkalizing fresh foods
· Overeating/Poor Food Choices
· Undereating – causing frustrations, cravings and feelings of being ‘h-angry’
· Breaking Badly!
During the Fasting Window
· Begin slowly and build gradually
· Keep busy!
· Enjoy as many zero calorie drinks as you like
· Do not try to be perfect – be patient and kind with yourself on this journey
· Nibbling/munching during the fasting hours
· Not keeping busy and occupied
· Not fasting long enough
· Not understanding the full spectrum of benefits offered by practicing IF
· Giving up too quickly – it takes time for our bodies to adjust
Patience – Kindness – Forgiveness – Gratitude
Practice these actions with yourself daily
Always remember ...
A key component to successful IF is your nutrition during your feeding window. Be sure to focus on nutrient dense foods to ensure your body receives the vitamins and minerals it needs to perform optimally.
Remember – IF is a lifestyle choice, one that can be practiced each and every day of your life. Explore the IF options and find the one that fits best into your schedule and preferences. Please click here to learn about the four primary types of Intermittent Fasting.
Keep at it … it has taken some time for your body to learn its current feeding schedule, allow it time to adjust to a new schedule now so that you can fully reap the health benefits of IF.