Most personal trainers & nutritionists are trained to recommend eating 5-6 small meals a day in order to keep your metabolism spiked and to burn more fat. However, there’s a problem with this common piece of conventional wisdom. It has to do with the way our bodies are hard-wired.
Our bodies really haven’t changed much since our hunter/gatherer days. Here’s what our typical food scenario would have been:
- Search for food for 2 days
- Finally find food
Our ancestors lived in a a perpetual state of stress & scarcity, faced with intermittent periods of fasting. They didn’t know when their next meal would come and they didn’t have the luxury of being able to run to the grocery store or fast food restaurant. So, if conventional wisdom isn’t optimal, then what is? That’s where intermittent fasting comes into play.
First off, what is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting, IF for short, is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle. IF doesn’t tell you what types of food to eat or even how much you eat, it simply tells you when to start eating and when to stop eating. There are a few different forms of IF; Some are more extreme than others. I’ve found that having a 12-16 hour fasting window followed by a 12-8 hour feeding window is suitable for most people. This way, you never go a day without eating. Instead, you just extend your overnight fast. You have the freedom to choose the hours and how many days a week you do IF. Personally, I think a 16 hour fast/8 hour feed is optimal. You can do more. You can do less. You just have to listen to your body.
What’s so special about IF? IF has many health benefits, including:
- reducing oxidative stress
- enhancing cellular repair
- slowing down the aging process
- improving skin health
- increasing HGH production
- making fat loss considerably easier, and that’s not all…
Not only that, but IF can also help the body detox, heal and repair. Digesting food is actually a very taxing task for the body and it takes a lot of energy. If you’re constantly stuffing your face and digesting food, the energy and blood that could have been going other places in the body to cleanse and heal is constantly confined to the same area (the stomach and intestines) for digestion.
What about fat-loss? Science has proven the fat-loss benefits of fasting. In one study, two groups of mice were feed the same amount of calories. One group of mice were fed only in a 8-12 hour feeding window. The other group of mice were fed in more frequent intervals. The group of mice who fasted had lower body fat levels and also showed an increased glucose tolerance, less inflammation, and less insulin resistance.
What do you think about IF? Will you give it a try? Send me a tweet on Twitter @HaylieGrayson and let’s discuss!
Haylie Grayson in a banana peel: Certified fitness professional, motivating health coach, meatless athlete, animal/human rights activist, & lover/fighter. She specializes in My Fight Gym’s Strength & Conditioning and Nutrition classes & is the author of My Fight Gym’s series of nutrition guides.
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